Washington — Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, testified to the House committees leading thethat Rudy Giuliani, President Trump's personal attorney, worked to have her removed from her post.
According to a transcript of her testimony October 11 released Monday, Yovanovitch testified she learned in late 2018 that Giuliani and former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko had plans to "do things, including to me." She said Lutsenko and Giuliani had several meetings, and Lutsenko sought to remove her in retribution for the embassy's efforts to rid the prosecutor general's office of corruption.
She and other State Department officials had concerns about Giuliani's role in Ukraine, according to her testimony, but they did not feel they could stop Giuliani's efforts. Giuliani spread rumors about Yovanovitch, including allegations she opposed Mr. Trump and was standing in the way of investigations into alleged Ukrainian interference in the 2016 elections and the Bidens.
The longtime ambassador said she never "directed, suggested, or in any other way asked, for any government or government official in Ukraine or elsewhere to refrain from investigating or prosecuting actual corruption."
She said she wanted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to put out a statement in support of her, but that such a statement never materialized. Yovanovitch said "there was concern that the rug would be pulled out from underneath the State Department if they put out something publicly," including a potential tweet of disagreement from the president.
Yovanovitch left her position in May. She testified she "assumed" the president's lack of support for her stemmed from the "partnership" between Lutsenko and Giuliani. She also testified State Department official Philip Reeker told her that Pompeo had tried to protect her position, but was no longer able to do so.
Yovanovitch said she was told by Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan that she needed to depart her post because "they were worried that if I wasn't, you know, physically out of Ukraine, that there would be, you know, some sort of public, either tweet or something else from the White House."
Yovanovitch told Sullivan she believed her removal was a dangerous precedent.
"As far as I could tell, since I didn't have any other explanation, that private interests and people who don't like a particular American ambassador could combine to, you know, find somebody who was more suitable for their interests," Yovanovitch said in her testimony.
Yovanovitch claimed there was a rumor in Kiev that Mr. Trump had spoken with Lutsenko and Giuliani in January, but added she was never able to confirm this.