Former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch issued a grim warning on Wednesday night during her first public appearance since her blockbuster hearing in the House’s impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump.
“We need a vigorous Department of State, but right now the State Department is in trouble,” Yovanovitch said as she was accepting a Trainor Award for “Excellence in the Conduct of Diplomacy” at Georgetown University.
“Senior leaders lack policy vision, moral clarity and leadership skills,” she continued. “The policy process has been replaced by decisions emanating from the top with little discussion.”
The diplomat said that as the department is “being hollowed out from within,” its officers “are increasingly wondering whether it is safe to express concerns about policy even behind closed doors.”
“This is no time to undercut our diplomats,” she warned.
Trump abruptly removed Yovanovitch from her post in Ukraine in May 2019 after an extended smear campaign by Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Despite Yovanovitch’s reputation as a well-respected diplomat by her peers, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo refused to defend her amid Trump and Giuliani’s attacks.
Yovanovitch retired from the State Department at the end of January, several months after giving crucial testimony to impeachment investigators on Trump and Giuliani’s efforts to force Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden.
Watch Yovanovitch speak below:
Marie Yovanovitch warns that "right now the State Department is in trouble." pic.twitter.com/Fgl6qz1r0x
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) February 13, 2020