Published: Sat, October 12, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

White House accidentally sends Ukraine talking points to Democrats again

White House accidentally sends Ukraine talking points to Democrats again

Trump came under fire after a whistleblower complaint alleged he pressured Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, a Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, appeared on CNN this afternoon after hearing from former USA ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

Trump had told a rally on Thursday that Biden "was only a good vice president because he knew how to kiss (former President) Barack Obama's ass".

It had been unclear right up until Yovanovitch arrived whether she would appear because she still works for the State Department.

"He said that the president had lost confidence in me and no longer wished me to serve as his ambassador", Ms Yovanovitch said.

In her prepared testimony, Yovanovitch said the State Department had brought her back to Washington because of pressure from the White House that was based, in part, on disinformation spread by people including the president's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

He also said he will not publish the Ukrainian transcript of the July phone call.

Trump is being investigated for abusing his office, to force the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, to investigate Trump's political opponent, former vice-president Joe Biden, and his son Hunter, who had business dealings in Ukraine.

"She's a courageous woman", Democratic congressman Michael Quigley said of Ms Yovanovitch during a break in the testimony. "She always avoided attention because she thought it interfered with quiet diplomacy", one USA diplomat who worked with her earlier in her career said earlier this week. She said Giuliani's associates "may well have believed that their personal financial ambitions were stymied by our anti-corruption policy in Ukraine".

It comes after two Florida businessmen tied to Giuliani were charged Thursday with federal campaign finance violations.

Marie Yovanovitch, who was abruptly recalled as the USA 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.

Three-time ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, who was abruptly recalled from Kiev in May, gave a closed-door deposition on Friday to three congressional committees investigating whether there are grounds to impeach President Donald Trump.

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Yovanovitch defied a state department instruction not to speak to congressional committees leading impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy said for the first time that his country will "happily" investigate the conspiracy theory pushed by Trump that it was Ukrainians, not Russians, who interfered in the 2016 US presidential election.

"I don't want to interfere in USA elections", Zelensky said.

Zelensky agreed with Trump that she was a "bad ambassador".

Schiff called Yovanovitch a "model diplomat" and expressed gratitude and "appreciation" for her coming to testify before members today.

Most of the questions at Thursday's unusual media event related to the Russian Federation conflict or Ukraine's economic troubles.

"He also said that I had done nothing wrong and that this was not like other situations where he had recalled ambassadors for cause", she added.

She also said she had only minimal contact with Giuliani and that the Bidens were never mentioned.

House Democrats have demanded to hear from four other state department officials: Ukraine Special Envoy Kurt Volker, Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent, and Counselor T Ulrich Brechbuhl.

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 ambassador's first scheduled deposition earlier this week was blocked by the state department.

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