Dear Commons Community,
Marie Yovanovitch was the American ambassador to Ukraine until May, when she was removed by President Trump after a smear campaign orchestrated by Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer. In a July 25 phone call with Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, Mr. Trump described Ms. Yovanovitch as “bad news,” adding, “She’s going to go through some things.”
Investigators have explored whether the president recalled her because she was an impediment to the shadow foreign policy promoted by Mr. Giuliani and other American officials. That “second channel” of diplomacy, as some witnesses have called it, pressured Ukraine to open investigations that would have benefited Mr. Trump politically.
Here are some highlights from her testimony yesterday compliments of the New York Times and CBS News.
- Ms. Yovanovitch described how it felt to be bad-mouthed by Mr. Trump on the July 25 call: “shocked, appalled, devastated that the president of the United States would talk about any ambassador like that to a foreign head of state. And it was me. I mean, I couldn’t believe it.” A person who saw her reading the transcript told her that the color drained from her face, she said. Asked what the words “going to go through some things” sounded like to her, she said, “It sounded like a threat.”
- As Ms. Yovanovitch testified, Mr. Trump posted a tweet attacking her record as a diplomat in many troubled regions of the world, saying that “everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad.” Representative Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the committee holding the hearings, read the tweet back to her in real time. “It’s very intimidating,” she said. “The effect is to be intimidating.” Our television critic wrote that it was a “remarkable fourth-wall-breaking moment” and a “real-time meta-confrontation.”
- Ms. Yovanovitch was unsparing in her criticism of the Trump administration. “Ukrainians who preferred to play by the old, corrupt rules sought to remove me,” she said. “What continues to amaze me is that they found Americans willing to partner with them and, working together, they apparently succeeded in orchestrating the removal of a U.S. ambassador.” She went on: “How could our system fail like this? How is it that foreign corrupt interests could manipulate our government?”
Ms. Yovanovitch is surely a victim in the sleaze Ukraine operations of President Trump and Rudy Giuliani!