US House holds 2nd public hearing in Trump impeachment probe

WASHINGTON, Former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie L. Yovanovitch delivered a key testimony at the second public hearing by the House of Representatives on the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

Testifying to the House Intelligence Committee on Friday, she said she was targeted by “a smear campaign” led by President Donald Trump and his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, which undermined US national security interests.

“After being asked by the Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs in early March 2019 to extend my tour until 2020, the smear campaign against me entered a new public phase in the United States,” the ousted diplomat said.

“State Department officials suggested an earlier departure, and we agreed upon July 2019. I was then abruptly told just weeks later, in late April, to come back to Washington from Ukraine on the next plane.

“I couldn’t believe it. I mean, again, shocked, appalled, devastated that the president of the United States would talk about any ambassador like that to a foreign head of state,” she said, referring to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. “And it was me. I mean, Individuals, who apparently felt stymied by our efforts to promote stated US policy against corruption-that is, to do the mission-were able to successfully conduct a campaign of disinformation against a sitting Ambassador, using unofficial back channels,” she added.

Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff said, “Certain Americans like Giuliani and two individuals, now indicted, who worked with him, Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas, Lutsenko, Giuliani, Fruman, Parnas and others who would come to include the president’s own son, Don Jr., promoted a smear campaign against her based on false allegations.” “At the State Department there was an effort to push back, to obtain a statement of support from Secretary Pompeo, but those efforts failed, when it became clear that President Trump wanted her gone,” he added.

On his part, Trump said in a tweet, “Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go?” “Then fast forward to Ukraine, where the new Ukrainian President spoke unfavorably about her in my second phone call with him. It is a US President’s absolute right to appoint ambassadors,” he stressed.

Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham affirmed, “The President will be watching Congressman Nunes’ opening statement, but the rest of the day he will be working hard for the American people.”

Source: Kuwait News Agency