Updated Nov 15, 2019 - Politics & Policy

Trump impeachment hearing: Highlights from Marie Yovanovitch's testimony

Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, testified Friday in the House's second public impeachment hearing.

Driving the news: Trump took to Twitter as Yovanovitch testified to attack her diplomatic career, saying that everywhere she served "went bad." House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) read the tweets directly to Yovanovitch about 20 minutes after Trump posted them.

Other highlights:

  • Yovanovitch used her opening statement to push back on a number of unsubstantiated allegations that led to her ouster as ambassador, including that she directed embassy staff to ignore President Trump's orders and that she crafted a "do not prosecute" list for Ukrainian officials.
  • The former ambassador offered a defense of the State Department's work in the current era while criticizing corrupt conduct that "undermines the U.S., exposes our friends, and widens the playing field for autocrats like [Russian] President Putin."
  • She said she felt threatened by the fact that Trump said she would "go through some things" during his July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
  • Committee Republicans attempted to defy the agreed-upon rules for the impeachment inquiry at the start of their questioning period — likely an attempt to stage a bad television moment for Schiff.
  • During a line of questioning from Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), Yovanovitch said that if she had been kept on as ambassador she would not have recommended an investigation into a conspiracy theory linked to the 2016 election, a freeze on military aid to Ukraine or an investigation into the Biden family.
  • After being questioned by Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio) about the president's ability to fire diplomats at will, a key GOP argument for the former ambassador's ouster, Yovanovitch agreed but asked: "What I do wonder is why was it necessary to smear my reputation also?"

The backdrop: During her closed-door deposition before the House impeachment committees, Yovanovitch testified that President Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani led the smear campaign that led to her firing.

  • Yovanovitch is a career diplomat who also previously served as the ambassador to Armenia and Kyrgyzstan under the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama.



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