Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, President Trump's nominee to become the next U.S. ambassador to Russia, testified during his Senate confirmation hearing on Wednesday that Rudy Giuliani was involved in the effort to oust former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

  • During an exchange with Sen. Robert Menendez, the Senate Foreign Relation Committee's ranking Democrat, Sullivan confirmed he told Yovanovitch that she was being pulled out early from her position as ambassador.
  • Yovanovitch told the House committees involved in the Trump impeachment inquiry earlier this month that she was accused by Giuliani of disparaging the president and trying to protect the interests of Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
  • Yovanovitch called those allegations "fictitious."

The exchanges:

MENENDEZ: What did you know about a shadow Ukraine policy being carried out by Rudy Giuliani?
SULLIVAN: My knowledge in the spring and summer of this year about any involvement of Mr. Giuliani was in connection with a campaign against our ambassador to Ukraine.
...
MENENDEZ: You were aware that there were individuals and forces outside the State Department seeking to smear Ambassador Yovanovitch?
SULLIVAN: I was.
MENENDEZ: And seeking to remove her?
SULLIVAN: I was.
MENENDEZ: And that Mr. Giuliani was one of those people?
SULLIVAN: I believe he was. Yes.

Go deeper: Giuliani: Recalled Ukraine ambassador was viewed as obstacle to Biden probe

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7:30 p.m. ET: 18,982,658 — Total deaths: 712,266— Total recoveries — 11,477,642Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7:30 p.m. ET: 4,873,747 — Total deaths: 159,931 — Total recoveries: 1,598,624 — Total tests: 59,652,675Map.
  3. Politics: Pelosi rips GOP over stimulus negotiations: "Perhaps you mistook them for somebody who gives a damn" — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine tests positive.
  4. Public health: Majority of Americans say states reopened too quicklyFauci says task force will examine aerosolized spread.
  5. Business: The health care sector imploded in Q2More farmers are declaring bankruptcyJuly's jobs report could be an inflection point for the recovery.
  6. Sports: Where college football's biggest conferences stand on playing.
2 hours ago - World

Nuclear free-for-all: The arms control era may be ending

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The mushroom clouds over Hiroshima and Nagasaki have remained unreplicated for 75 years in part because the U.S. and Soviet Union — after peering over the ledge into nuclear armageddon — began to negotiate.

Why it matters: The arms control era that began after the Cuban Missile Crisis may now be coming to a close. The next phase could be a nuclear free-for-all.

Pelosi, Schumer demand postmaster general reverse USPS cuts ahead of election

Schumer and Pelosi. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer sent a letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on Thursday calling for the recent Trump appointee to reverse operational changes to the U.S. Postal Service that "threaten the timely delivery of mail" ahead of the 2020 election.

Why it matters: U.S. mail and election infrastructure are facing a test like no other this November, with a record-breaking number of mail-in ballots expected as Americans attempt to vote in the midst of a pandemic.