Thursday, 17 October, 2019

Giuliani under investigation for Ukraine work

Volodymyr Zelensky Enlarge Image Volodymyr Zelensky AP
Patty Aguilar | 12 October, 2019, 16:13

The legal drama comes on a day when the former US ambassador to Ukraine whom Giuliani disparaged, Marie Yovanovitch, testified before the House Intelligence Committee. Multiple people familiar with her and her actions in Ukraine told Buzzfeed News that they had never heard her say derogatory things about Donald Trump.

Even one hour before her scheduled testimony it was not clear if Yovanovitch would appear or be blocked by the administration.

In the closed session, Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch told lawmakers that her premature dismissal was based on "unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives", according to a copy of her opening statement published by TIME.

Later, a State Department official told Yovanovitch she had done nothing wrong but that Trump pushed for her removal after a campaign to convince him she should go, she said. "I want to express my appreciation for not just what a great champion she was for the rule of law in Ukraine, but also the respect she has for the rule of law here at home".

The Democrats are investigating Mr Trump's dealings with the Ukrainian president.

In her statement, Yovanovitch denied any bias. "She always avoided attention because she thought it interfered with quiet diplomacy", one US diplomat who worked with her earlier in her career said earlier this week. "Individuals who have been named in the press as contacts of Mr. Giuliani may well have believed that their personal financial ambitions were stymied by our anti-corruption policy in Ukraine".

Marie Yovanovitch, who was abruptly recalled as the U.S. envoy to Ukraine in May, appeared for a closed-door deposition, according to Democratic politicians leading the inquiry, after she had been told by the State Department at the behest of the White House not to show up.

President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy looks on during a meeting in NY on September 25, 2019, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

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"He added that there had been a concerted campaign against me".

During his July 25 call with Zelenskiy, Trump mentioned CrowdStrike, a security firm hired by the DNC that detected the hack.

During a rally Thursday night in Minneapolis, Trump leveled some of his most personal attacks yet against Biden and his family, highlighting unsubstantiated claims about his potential 2020 rival's son and using profanity to describe Biden's tenure as vice president.

The official had told her that the president had pushed for her removal since the middle of a year ago, even though the department believed "I had done nothing wrong", she said in the the prepared statement.

Zelenskiy said he was ready to investigate Ukraine's role in the 2016 USA elections if served with an official request by the US. "This was precisely the time when continuity in the embassy in Ukraine was most needed".

U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland will testify before the House on Thursday in compliance with a congressional subpoena, according to his counsel, according to The Hill.

It appears to be some of these White House officials who first alerted the whistleblower who started off this process of what was going on with the July phone call and other matters related to Ukraine.

ABC News has also learned that the president's former Russian Federation adviser Fiona Hill has agreed to sit down with congressional investigators on Monday. The lawyers, Robert Luskin and Kwame Manley, said that State Department regulations prohibit Sondland from producing documents concerning his official responsibilities and that the department has the "sole authority" to do so.

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