Marie Yovonavitch, The US Ambassador To Ukraine Trump Fired, Testifies

Who is Marie Yovanovitch

Former ambassador to testify at inquiry into Trump

He revealed text messages between U.S. diplomats documenting the Trump administration's efforts to have Ukraine investigate the company that employed Mr Biden's son. He was scheduled to testify this week but the administration blocked him.

"By federal law and regulation, the State Department has sole authority to produce such documents, and Ambassador Sondland hopes the materials will be shared with the Committees in advance of his Thursday testimony", his lawyers said in a statement.

After being blocked by the Trump administration this week, USA ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland will testify before the House next week on a congressional subpoena.

Sondland is the sitting US ambassador to the European Union and an employee of the State Department. "He has no agenda apart from answering the Committees' questions fully and truthfully", Luskin said in the statement.

The former diplomat who spoke with Yovanovitch said the ambassador refused to do "all this offline, personal, informal stuff" and made clear that the US government had formal ways to request foreign governments' help with investigations.

Yovanovitch told House lawmakers that she was removed after "a concerted campaign against" her from President Trump and his allies.

Yovanovitch testified today despite the stated policy of the White House that State Department officials should not cooperate with the House impeachment inquiry and not show up to testify.

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Democrats have accused Trump of pressuring a vulnerable foreign ally in need of foreign aid money to dig up dirt on a domestic opponent for his own political benefit. On Thursday, Mr Zelensky also said there was "no blackmail" in the phone call. The men, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, were arrested at Dulles International Airport Wednesday night trying to board a one-way flight to Vienna, where they were to be meeting Giuliani. Trump has denied he did anything wrong on the call.

The opposition-led probe centres on Mr Trump's dealings with Ukraine, including a call to investigate his presidential election rival Joe Biden.

"After being asked by the department in early March to extend my tour until 2020, I was then abruptly told in late April [of 2019] to come back to Washington from Ukraine 'on the next plane, '" Yovanovitch said in her opening statement to members of the House Intelligence, Oversight, and Foreign Affairs Committees, according to a copy of her remarks obtained by the Washington Post. It was unclear if Yovanovitch's appearance signaled a shift in that strategy or if she was breaking with White House orders.

CNBC reported on the text messages that connect Sondland to Trump's call with the Ukrainian president where the president spoke about efforts to investigate corruption in the country, including Hunter Biden's controversial involvement with an energy conglomerate while Joe Biden was vice president. Giuliani and his associates also worked to have Yovanovitch removed from her post, something she alleged could be tied to their personal financial stake in the matter.

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. 'She's going to go through some things, ' Trump added.

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.

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