Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch gave public testimony Friday regarding the circumstances of her abrupt ouster from her post as part of the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
Catch up quickly:
5 things we learned from Yovanovitch's public testimony
- Including stirring testimony, a GOP strategy and how Russia benefited ...
Trump defends attacking Yovanovitch after Dems accuse him of 'witness intimidation'
- “I have the right to speak. I have the freedom of speech just as other people do,” Trump told reporters.
Analysis: The devastating day Trump's presidency came into sharp focus
- Also: A fate worse than firing — humiliation. "All we have is our reputations," Yovanovitch said.
Yovanovitch says Trump admin kneecapped her diplomatic efforts
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Unlike Bill Clinton, Trump is unable to compartmentalize impeachment
WASHINGTON — The previous American president who was impeached talked Thursday about the current American facing impeachment.
And here was Bill Clinton’s advice to President Trump: don’t forget about focusing on your day job.
"Look, you got hired to do a job. You don't get to — every day's an opportunity to make something good happen," Clinton told CNN’s Jake Tapper. "And I would say, 'I've got lawyers and staff people handling this impeachment inquiry and they should just have at it. Meanwhile, I'm going to work for the American people.' That's what I would do."
But here’s what Trump has been doing:
“While we are creating jobs and killing terrorists, the radical left, Democrats [are] ripping our country apart. They are trying to overthrow American democracy and erase the votes of tens of millions of Americans,” he said last night at his rally in Louisiana.
Trump rips Pelosi ahead of impeachment hearing
Yovanovitch arrives for hearing
Posters are up
The posters on tripods on the Republican side of the dais read:
- “I have never seen a direct relationship between investigations and security assistance.” Ukrainian foreign minister Vadym Prystaiko November 14, 2019.
Trump also mentioned the statement in a pair of overnight tweets.
- 95 days since Adam Schiff learned the identity of the whistleblower.
- “I’m concerned if we don’t impeach this president, he will get re-elected.” Al Green
The number of chairs in the audience for members of Congress has been cut in half, from the about 70 on Wednesday to about 35 today. There are now seats reserved for a House staff with credentials.
OPINION: Republicans' Sixth Amendment impeachment objection has ominous implications
Not every constitutional law question has two sides. We don’t lose sleep, for example, over how many senators represent each state (two), or whether representation in the House must be proportional (yes), or whether the president really has to be at least 35 years old at the time he is sworn in (he does). Much of the time, the text of the Constitution is clear beyond any reasonable dispute — leaving no room for even the most compelling policy arguments that the text should be understood to mean something else.
But you wouldn’t know this from the latest legal objection to the ongoing House impeachment proceedings — that they violate the president’s Sixth Amendment right to confront the witnesses against him.
The right to confront is one of nearly a dozen different individual rights protected by the Sixth Amendment. Those rights apply, per the first four words of that provision, “[i]n all criminal prosecutions.” Thus, federal criminal defendants today have a panoply of protections all designed to ensure the fairness of their trial — ranging from the right to a speedy and public trial to the right to the assistance of counsel in their defense. But only in criminal cases.
Trump on Yovanovitch: 'I don't know much about her'
Budget official expected to defy White House, testify in impeachment inquiry
A top official at the Office of Management and Budget indicated Thursday he is willing to testify in the House impeachment inquiry, his attorney said.
Mark Sandy would be the first employee from the OMB to defy the White House and appear before Congressional investigators. The White House has urged administration officials not to comply with what they are calling a sham investigation.
“If Mr. Sandy is subpoenaed, he will testify this Saturday,” Barbara Van Gelder, an attorney at Cozen O'Conner, said in an email.
Sandy is considered a critical witness who can provide insight into the withheld security aid to Ukraine, which is at the basis of the impeachment inquiry opened by House Democrats.
Read the full story here.
Here's what Yovanovitch said during her October deposition
Key details from Yovanovitch's Oct. 11 deposition closed-door testimony:
- Said she was a victim of false claims promoted by right-wing media outlets that she'd been badmouthing the president and had presented Ukrainian officials with a "do not prosecute" list.
- When she asked him for advice on how to deal with the campaign against her, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, told her she should tweet out support or praise for Trump if she wanted to save her job. "He said, 'You know, you need to go big or go home,'" Yovanovitch said, adding that she declined to take his suggestion because it would not have been appropriate for an ambassador.
- A top State Department official, John Sullivan, told her she was being removed on the president's orders because he'd lost confidence in her, even though she had "done nothing wrong." "He added that there had been a concerted campaign against me, and that the department had been under pressure from the president to remove me since the summer of 2018," Yovanovitch said.
- She was "surprised and dismayed" when she found out the contents of the president's July 25 call with his Kyiv counterpart.
How to watch the impeachment hearing: Day 2 schedule, witnesses and more
The first public presidential impeachment hearings in over 20 years will continue on Friday with Yovanovich's testimony.
The hearing is slated to start at 9 a.m. ET Friday, an hour earlier than the first hearing on Wednesday, which featured testimony from diplomats Bill Taylor and George Kent. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., will make an opening statement, followed by an opening statement by the ranking member on the committee, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., and then a statement from the witness.
Who is Marie Yovanovitch?
Here's what you need to know about the longtime diplomat:
- She was born in Canada after her parents fled Nazi and communist regimes, and moved to Connecticut when she was 3 years old.
- Her nickname is Masha.
- She's a graduate of Princeton, where she studied the former Soviet Union.
- Yovanovitch has been a foreign service officer for 33 years, and served in six presidential administrations — four Republican and two Democrat.
- She's been appointed ambassador three times — twice by Republican George W. Bush and once by Democrat Barack Obama. She was ambassador to Kyrgyzstan from 2005 to 2008 and ambassador to Armenia from 2008 to 2011. She was U.S. ambassador to Ukraine from August 2016 until her abrupt removal in May.
Yovanovitch testimony will describe the 'first chapter' in Trump's Ukraine efforts, official says
House Democrats are holding their second public hearing with Yovanovitch to go into more detail about how President Donald Trump's efforts to get Ukraine to investigate his political rivals began, a Democratic official working on the impeachment inquiry told reporters Thursday evening.
"Ambassador Yovanovitch was really the first chapter of that story in that she was unceremoniously removed by the president for being very effective in her job in trying to root out corruption in Ukraine,” the official said.
The intention in the first public hearing with Bill Taylor and George Kent "was to provide the beginning-to-end storyline" of the president's actions, the official said.
“After a vicious smear campaign that was based on false allegations and propagated by the president and his allies, Yovanovitch was inappropriately fired," the official said. "This set the stage for the president’s scheme when he began to press Ukraine to investigate his political rival and affect the 2020 elections.”
Yovanovitch was the “first casualty” of the president’s Ukraine pressure campaign efforts, and her removal shows “even more evidence of abuse of power by the president to really set the stage for this irregular channel to really begin their pressure campaign,” the official said.
The way Trump described Yovanovitch in the July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy “leads many people to believe this was not an appropriate removal” and that it was “an attempt to remove somebody who was standing in the way of efforts by people like Rudy Giuliani to do the president’s political bidding in Ukraine.”