Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch told Congress Friday, according to a prepared testimony obtained by the Washington Post, that she was recalled suddenly from her post in May, after previously being told by the State Department she’d stay there until at least next year.
Yovanovitch is currently being interviewed by House investigators behind closed doors as part of Democrats’ impeachment inquiry. She was removed by President Trump after months of prodding by his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, who claimed that she was disloyal to Trump and that she was blocking the opening of a Ukraine probe into the Bidens.
In the statement, the ousted ambassador told the House that the State Department faces the prospect of being “irreparably” harmed under the current administration.
Yovanovitch’s prepared statement said that she was suddenly recalled from Kyiv at the end of April 2019, told to return to Washington “on the next plane.”
Upon her arrival in the United States, Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan told Yovanovitch that she was the victim of a “concerted campaign” and that the State Department “had been under pressure” from Trump to remove her since summer 2018, according to the statement.
“Although I understand that I served at the pleasure of the President, I was nevertheless incredulous that the U.S. government chose to remove an Ambassador based, as best as I can tell, on unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives,” Yovanovitch wrote.
The ousted ambassador described herself as targeted by unnamed associates of Rudy Giuliani’s who apparently “believed that their personal financial ambitions were stymied by our anti-corruption policy in Ukraine.”
Hours into her interview, House Democrats announced that they had subpoenaed her that morning.. Some lawmakers heading into the interview Friday suggested they weren’t even sure that she was going to show up.
Though Yovanovitch did not refer to any associates of Giuliani’s by name, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman reportedly lobbied to change the management of a state-owned Ukrainian oil and gas company, part of a drive they were undertaking to engage in potentially lucrative energy deals with the Eastern European nation.
In the statement, Yovanovitch categorically denied a series of accusations that originated with the former general prosecutor of Ukraine Yuriy Lutsenko — an official who faced sharp criticism from Yovanovitch for his failure to fight corruption.
Lutsenko alleged — via The Hill opinion contributor John Solomon — that Yovanovitch had given him a “do not prosecute list.” He also claimed that an investigation needed to be conducted into former vice president Joe Biden’s activities in Ukraine with respect to his son Hunter’s position on the board of a Ukrainian gas company.
Yovanovitch added that she had not been involved in discussions surrounding the Trump administration’s decision to withhold military aid to Kyiv. That, she noted, came after her departure.
“I must share the deep disappointment and dismay I have felt as these events have unfolded,” she wrote.
“Today, we see the State Department attacked and hollowed out from within,” she added. “State Department leadership, with Congress, needs to take action now to defend this great institution, and its thousands of loyal and effective employees.”
Yovanovitch went on to say that, under her tenure, the US Embassy in Kyiv put forth efforts that were “intended, and evidently succeeded, in thwarting corrupt interests in Ukraine, who fought back by selling baseless conspiracy theories to anyone who would listen.”
“Sadly, someone was listening, and our nation is the worse off for that,” she concluded.
Read the full written testimony, via the Post, below:
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