US ex-envoy to Ukraine felt ‘threatened’ by Trump
A recalled US ambassador at the center of the Trump impeachment inquiry said she felt threatened by a cryptic remark the president made about her on a call, BBC said.
Ex-envoy to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch told Congress she was “very concerned” by President Donald Trump’s comment in the phone call with Ukraine’s leader.
Mr Trump told his counterpart: “Well, she’s [Ms Yovanovitch] going to go through some things.”
Democrats have just released the first transcripts from closed-door testimony.
The Republican president is accused of trying to pressure Ukraine into investigating unsubstantiated corruption claims against his US political rival, Joe Biden, and his son, Hunter Biden, who worked with a Ukrainian gas company.
During the 25 July call with President Volodymyr Zelensky, a rough transcript of which has been released by the White House the US president also described Ms Yovanovitch as “bad news”.
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That call triggered the current congressional impeachment investigation that could seek to remove Mr Trump from office for alleged abuses of power.
In her testimony from 11 October released on Monday, she said she had been “shocked” by what the president said.
“I didn’t know what it meant,” Ms Yovanovitch said. “I was very concerned. I still am.”
The House Intelligence Committee released Ms Yovanovitch’s testimony on Monday.
The career diplomat said that when she sought advice from the US Ambassador to the EU, Gordon Sondland, a Trump donor, he suggested Ms Yovanovitch tweet praise of the president.
“You need to go big or go home,” Mr Sondland allegedly told her. Ms Yovanovitch testified that she did not think she could follow the advice.
Ms Yovanovitch added that Mr Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani had begun efforts to discredit her in late 2018 as he effectively ran a shadow foreign policy on Ukraine.
Mr Giuliani wanted to investigate Mr Biden and his son in order to find information “that could be possibly damaging to a Presidential run”, the diplomat testified.
Mr Giuliani also enlisted Ukraine’s chief prosecutor, Yuriy Lutsenko, to spread “falsehoods” about her in order to “hurt” her “in the US”, according to Ms Yovanovitch.