So if you're keeping track of all the players on the State Department side of the Ukraine impeachment mess, you may be wondering why the US had a special envoy to Ukraine (Kurt Volker, who has resigned from that post and testified last week) and not a full Ambassador. That's because the US Ambassador to Ukraine, career diplomat Marie Yovanovich, was ousted in May
Yovanovitch, who was outspoken about the need to crack down on corruption in the country, was thrust into the spotlight in March when Ukraine’s top prosecutor claimed, without evidence, that the ambassador had outlined a list of people he should not prosecute when he first met her. The U.S. State Department called the claim by Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko an “outright fabrication.” In April, he walked back the statement in a separate interview.
Lutsenko’s allegations about Yovanovitch came two weeks after she issued scathing remarks about Ukraine’s anti-corruption efforts and called on the authorities to fire special anti-corruption prosecutor Nazar Kholodnytsky. In wiretapped phone conversations, Kholodnytsky allegedly coached suspects on how to avoid corruption charges.
Lutsenko made his claim against Yovanovitch in an interview with Hill.TV’s John Solomon, which aired on March 20. That same day, the Hill published twofurther pieces based off what appears to be the same interview with Lutsenko, in which the prosecutor said he had opened a probe into alleged attempts by Ukrainian law enforcement to tip the 2016 U.S. presidential election in favor of Hillary Clinton by leaking financial ledgers with details of payments made to Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort by former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.
Coming weeks before special counsel Robert Mueller published his report on Russian election interference in the 2016 election, Lutsenko’s allegation about Ukrainian interference was seized upon by Trump and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, with the president tweeting out the headline to the Hill article, “John Solomon: As Russia Collusion fades, Ukrainian plot to help Clinton emerges.”
Yovanovitch then faced a slew of criticism from Fox News personalities and other right-wing media figures, who accused her of denigrating the president in private conversations. In March, Fox News host Laura Ingraham said that former Republican Rep. Pete Sessions sent a letter to Pompeo in May 2018 calling for the “expulsion” of Yovanovitch as ambassador to Ukraine “immediately.” The then-congressman said that he had evidence the ambassador had been critical of the Trump administration in private, though the current and former U.S. officials who spoke to Foreign Policy say that claim was unfounded.
“The fact that Sessions wrote that letter a year ago and she wasn’t removed shows me there’s no ‘there’ there,” said John Herbst, a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who is now at the Atlantic Council, a Washington-based think tank.
Knowing what we know now, the May story on Yovanovich's ouster looks extremely damaging for the Trump regime. John Solomon, Trump's disinformation go-to at The Hill and now a FOX News State TV contributor
, was happy to pen the death of Yovanovich's career at State for not playing ball with Trump's efforts to use Ukraine to take down Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. Jeff Sessions, who called for her expulsion, we now know took illegal campaign money from Lev Parnas's shell company
It gets much worse for Trump though, as today Yovanovich testified to several House committees on why she was fired once Rudy Giuliani personally got involved, behind closed-door sessions because we now know Rudy Giuliani is now and has been under federal investigation
The business relationship between President Donald Trump's private lawyer Rudy Giuliani and the men charged Thursday in a campaign finance scheme is a subject of the ongoing criminal investigation being conducted by federal authorities in New York, according to two sources familiar with the matter.
The investigation became public after the FBI had to quickly move to arrest Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman before they boarded a flight out of the country from Washington Dulles Airport with one-way tickets. They have been named as witnesses in the ongoing impeachment inquiry into President Trump.
The investigation is being conducted by the FBI's New York field office and prosecutors in the Southern District of New York, the same U.S. Attorney's office Giuliani ran before he became mayor of New York.
Yovanovich's testimony, judging from her prepared statement, will be devastating
The former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine whose abrupt ouster in May has become a topic of interest for House impeachment investigators said Friday that her departure came as a direct result of pressure President Trump placed on the State Department to remove her, according to her prepared remarks before Congress obtained by The Washington Post.
Marie Yovanovitch told lawmakers that she was forced to leave Kiev on “the next plane” this spring and subsequently removed from her post, with the State Department’s No. 2 official telling her that, though she had done nothing wrong, the president had lost confidence in her and the State Department had been under significant pressure to remove her since the summer of 2018.
Yeah, big info there: the pressure to get rid of Yovanovich started more than a year ago, before Biden entered the race
Read Marie Yovanovitch’s prepared deposition statement
In explaining her departure, she acknowledged months of criticisms by Trump’s personal attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani, who had accused her of privately badmouthing the president and seeking to protect the interests of former vice president Joe Biden and his son who served on the board of a Ukrainian energy company.
Yovanovitch denied those allegations and said she was “incredulous” that her superiors decided to remove her based on “unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives.” She also took direct aim at Giuliani's associates whom she said could've been financially threatened by her anti-corruption efforts in Ukraine.
“Contacts of Mr. Giuliani may well have believed that their personal financial ambitions were stymied by our anti-corruption policy in Ukraine,” she said.
The sweeping criticisms by a diplomat with more than 30 years in the foreign service came amid rising dissatisfaction inside the State Department at what is seen as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s failure to defend his subordinates who became targets in the Ukraine controversy. Michael McKinley, a career diplomat and senior adviser to Pompeo, resigned from his post this week as resentment in the building has grown.
They tried to get rid of her for nearly a year before Giuliani came in and told Trump to make it happen, because she knew Rudy's boys were crooked and she was trying to fight them. Rudy won the battle.
He's about to lose the war.
Along with one Donald Trump.
Oh, and one more thing: US EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland has changed his mind and will testify next week to House Democrats.