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Philip Reeker, US Embassy in Iraq spokesman, speaks during a press conference in 2007. Photo: Khaled Mohammed/AFP via Getty Images

Philip Reeker, the acting assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, told House impeachment investigators Saturday that top State Department officials overruled his attempted defense of Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The big picture: The House Intelligence Committee subpoenaed Reeker after the State Department directed him not to attend his Saturday deposition. Reeker is one of several Trump administration officials to testify that he was disturbed by Rudy Giuliani's involvement in Ukraine policy and by the State Department leadership's lack of support for Yovanovitch.

Context: President Trump ordered Yovanovitch's removal in March, after Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer, argued that she was talking badly about the president and was obstructing efforts to persuade Kiev to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

  • Around the same time, Reeker was named to his current role. He testified that he endorsed efforts by some officials in the department to issue statements supporting Yovanovitch, but the statements were blocked from being released, AP reports.

Reeker said he also became troubled during a White House meeting in which Laura Cooper, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, raised concern over the freezing of congressionally approved Ukraine aid.

Go deeper: EU ambassador told House panels Trump's Ukraine action was quid pro quo

Go deeper

Biden picks up his pen to change the tone on racial equity

Vice President Harris looks on as President Biden signs executives orders related to his racial equity agenda. Photo: Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

President Biden is making a down payment on racial equity in a series of executive orders dealing with everything from private prisons to housing discrimination, treatment of Asian Americans and relations with indigenous tribes.

The big picture: Police reform and voting rights legislation will take time to pass in Congress. But with the stroke of his pen, one week into the job Biden is taking steps within his power as he seeks to change the tone on racial justice from former President Trump.

Most Senate Republicans join Rand Paul effort to dismiss Trump's 2nd impeachment trial

Photo: Joshua Roberts-Pool/Getty Images

Forty-five Senate Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, supported an effort to dismiss former President Trump's second impeachment trial.

Why it matters: The vote serves as a precursor to how senators will approach next month's impeachment trial, making it highly unlikely the Senate will vote to convict. The House impeached Trump for a second time for "incitement of insurrection" following events from Jan 6. when a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol.

Texas judge temporarily halts Biden's 100-day deportation freeze

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

A federal judge in Texas has temporarily blocked the Biden administration's 100-day freeze on deporting unauthorized immigrants.

Why it matters: Biden has set an ambitious immigration agenda, but he could face pushback from the courts.