Monday, 03 August, 2020

Former US ambassador to Ukraine arrives for questioning in impeachment probe

President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington Thursday Oct. 10 2019 before boarding Marine One for a short trip to Andrews Air Force Base Md. and then on to Minneapolis for a campaign rally CONGRESS RETIREMENTSMembers of the U.S. House of Representatives not seeking reelection in 2020
Robin Buchanan | 12 October, 2019, 02:19

Yovanovitch's prepared statement said that she was suddenly recalled from Kyiv at the end of April 2019, told to return to Washington "on the next plane".

Sondland's attorney said that while his client can provide testimony to the impeachment investigation, the subpoenaed documents are another matter entirely.

House Democrats want to question Sondland about what he knows about a decision to withhold military aid to Ukraine and whether that's tied to efforts to get Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. Hers may prove to be the most consequential testimony yet heard in the Democratic Party's impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.

Earlier this week, the White House sent Congress a letter outlining its opposition to the impeachment probe and refusing to cooperate with requests for information, including interviews with administration officials. In the call, Trump pressed Zelenskiy to investigate his political rival Joe Biden, a former United States vice president and a leading candidate seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. "He has no agenda apart from answering the Committees' questions fully and truthfully", Luskin said in the statement.

After reports detailing her opening statement came out, top Democrats said that the State Department directed Yovanovitch not to appear, so they issued a subpoena that she is now complying with. Trump said earlier this week that he would block all officials from testifying, saying the probe was unfair and "illegitimate".


The State Department apparently did not demand that she not appear, as it did earlier this week with U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland.

"Notwithstanding the State Department's current direction to not testify, Ambassador Sondland will honor the Committees' subpoena", the lawyers said.

A declassified transcript of a July 25 call between Trump and Zelensky, released by the White House on September 25, quotes Trump as saying, "There's a lot of talk about Biden's son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great".

On Thursday, two foreign-born Florida businessmen who had helped Giuliani investigate Biden were arrested in what prosecutors said was a scheme to illegally funnel money to a pro-Trump election committee and other US political candidates.

Democrats have accused Trump of pressuring a vulnerable foreign ally to dig up dirt on a domestic political opponent for his own political benefit.


Biden, the former US vice president, is a leading Democratic contender for the right to face Trump in the November 2020 presidential election.

The former ambassador, who since her removal has been on academic sabbatical at Georgetown University, went on to talk more generally about the crisis of morale at the state department.

The former envoy also said she was shocked by the timing of her dismissal and the reasons for it. Trump has denied he did anything wrong on the call.

She further said that her contacts with Giuliani were "minimal", she was never asked by the Obama administration to help then-candidate Hillary Clinton or harm then-candidate Trump, never met Hunter Biden and never discussed Hunter or Burisma, the Ukrainian gas company where Hunter was a board member and in which Trump wanted investigated by Ukraine, with Joe Biden.


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