Ambassador ousted by Trump testifies at impeachment hearing


WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — On the second day of public impeachment hearings, former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch said her ouster by the Trump administration put national security at risk.

Yovanovitch, a 30-year career diplomat, was fired by the Trump administration in May. She said the Trump administration sided with corrupt Ukrainian leaders who wanted her out.

“Ukrainians who wanted to play by the old corrupt rules sought to remove me,” she testified before the House Intelligence Committee Friday. “I still find it difficult to comprehend that foreign and private interests were able to undermine U.S. interests in this way.”

“Let me get this straight,” Rep. Andre Carson, D-Ind., said, “you were effective at fighting corruption in the Ukraine, fighting that corruption was important to the United States, and you were punished.”

Yovanovitch said the administration launched a public smear campaign documented in President Donald Trump’s July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the center of the impeachment inquiry. She said she was shocked and disturbed by the president’s attacks against her, which continued on Twitter during her testimony Friday.

“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 U.S. President’s absolute right to appoint ambassadors,” he tweeted.

Democrats called that tweet another impeachable offense.

“We take this kind of witness intimidation and obstruction of inquiry very seriously,” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, said after the hearing.

While some Republicans condemned the president’s tweets, others came to his defense, saying he has the right to fire any diplomat he wants.

“The president has the right to make their own foreign policies and to make their own decisions,” Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, said.

At the White House, Trump ripped into the hearings.

“In the history of our country, there has never been a disgrace like what’s going on right now,” he said.

Both public and private impeachment hearings continue next week.

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