Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testified Friday during the House’s second day of public impeachment hearings that President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani worked with corrupt Ukrainians to carry out her removal.
Yovanovitch testified that “it was and remains a top U.S. priority” to root out corruption in Ukraine, and said that “significant progress has been made.” But she alleges that “Ukrainians who sought to play by the old, corrupt rules sought to remove me.”
“What continues to amaze me is that they found Americans willing to partner with them and working together, they apparently succeeded in orchestrating the removal of a U.S. ambassador,” Yovanovitch said. “How could our system fail like this? How is it that foreign, corrupt interests could manipulate our government? Which country’s interests are served when the very corrupt we’ve been criticizing is allowed to prevail?”
Last month, during her closed-door testimony, Yovanovitch testified that she learned that Giuliani, in cooperation with two Florida businessmen with Ukrainian connections, went behind her back to attempt to replace her with someone more favorably inclined towards their “business dealings in Ukraine.”
Yovanovitch stated that Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who were arrested in October for campaign-finance violations and subsequently subpoenaed by the House, were interested in exporting liquid natural gas to Ukraine, a move the embassy normally supports.
“I didn’t understand that because nobody at the embassy had ever met those two individuals,” she continued. “And, you know, one of the biggest jobs of an American ambassador of the U.S. Embassy is to promote U.S. business. So, of course, if legitimate business comes to us, you know, that’s what we do, we promote U.S. business.”
Yovanovitch went on to argue on Friday that Giuliani’s actions “are leading to a crisis in the State Department, as the policy process is visibly undermined.”
“The State Department is being hollowed out from within at a competitive and complex time on the world stage. This is not a time to undercut our diplomats.”