- Title: Ex-envoy tells impeachment inquiry Trump ousted her based on 'false claims'
- Date: 12th October 2019
- Summary: WASHINGTON D.C., UNITED STATES (OCTOBER 11, 2019) (UNRESTRICTED POOL) (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. REPRESENTATIVE LEE ZELDIN (REPUBLICAN - NEW YORK) SAYING: "You are talking about the impeachment of the president of the United States and everything is going to happen behind closed doors, offering no protection whatsoever, no transparency, no accountability, no due process. Substantively, you should know every single word that we just heard." WHITE FLASH (SOUNDBITE) (English) HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN ADAM SCHIFF, SAYING: "I think we're all deeply in her debt for representing the country so well around the world and for so long. I also want to express my appreciation for not just what a great champion she was of the rule of law in Ukraine, but also the respect she has for the rule of law here at home."
- Embargoed: 26th October 2019 13:56
- Keywords: Donald Trump whistleblower Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch
- Location: WASHINGTON D.C., UNITED STATES
- City: WASHINGTON D.C., UNITED STATES
- Country: USA
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA002B0SKH8N
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:The former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine on Friday (October 11) told a House of Representatives impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump that Trump ousted her based on "unfounded and false claims" after she had come under attack by his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
Marie Yovanovitch, the ambassador who was abruptly recalled from Kiev in May, spent more than nine hours in a closed-door meeting with House members and staff. She had been expected to appear last week, but was told not to by the State Department at the behest of the White House, according to Democratic House members. Lawmakers then issued a subpoena for her appearance and she complied.
Yovanovitch, according to a copy of her opening statement posted online by U.S. media, said she was told by a senior State Department official about "a concerted campaign against me" and said Trump had pushed for her removal since the middle of 2018 even though the department believed "I had done nothing wrong."
She expressed alarm over damage to diplomacy under Trump and warned about "private interests" circumventing "professional diplomats for their own gain, not the public good."
The impeachment inquiry focuses on a July 25 phone call in which Trump pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate a leading rival seeking to face Trump in the 2020 presidential election, former Democratic Vice President Joe Biden, and Biden's businessman son Hunter Biden.
Democrats have called her removal politically motivated.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff praised Yovanovitch as a "great champion" of the rule of law both in Ukraine and the United States.
Republicans were critical of the decision to have Yovanovitch testify behind closed doors.
"You are talking about the impeachment of the president of the United States and everything is going to happen behind closed doors, offering no protection whatsoever, no transparency, no accountability, no due process," Representative Lee Zeldin said.
According to a White House summary, Trump in his call to Zelenskiy said of Yovanovitch: "the woman was bad news and the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news." Zelenskiy agreed she was a "bad ambassador" and agreed to investigate the Bidens.
The conversation occurred after Trump withheld $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine as it faces Russia-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country.
Yovanovitch, who entered the Capitol complex for the deposition wearing dark glasses, did not respond to questions.
Yovanovitch has worked under both Republican and Democratic administrations and has had support from members of both parties in Congress. A senior Republican congressional aide described her as someone widely viewed as "professional."
Democrats have accused Trump of pressuring vulnerable ally Ukraine to dig up dirt on a rival for his own political benefit. Biden is a leading Democratic contender seeking his party's nomination to face Trump in the 2020 presidential election. Trump has denied wrongdoing.
Democrats have also criticized the Trump administration for what they see as efforts to obstruct the investigation.
(Production: Deborah Gembara)
- Copyright Holder: POOL (CAN SELL)
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None