Left Menu
Development News Edition

Abandoning diplomat's discretion, ex-Ukraine ambassador takes Trump to task

Reuters | Kyiv | Updated: 12-10-2019 04:33 IST | Created: 12-10-2019 04:32 IST
Abandoning diplomat's discretion, ex-Ukraine ambassador takes Trump to task
US President Donald Trump (File Photo) Image Credit: ANI

The former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine abandoned diplomatic discretion and accused the Trump administration of recalling her based on false claims and of eviscerating the State Department, an act that may end her career but drew praise for her courage.

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. The Democratic-led House of Representatives' inquiry began on Sept. 24 after a whistleblower's allegations that Republican Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate unsubstantiated corruption charges against Democratic political rival Joe Biden and his son, businessman Hunter Biden.

Trump has denied wrongdoing and defended his request to Zelenskiy in a July 25 phone call, which Democrats say is evidence Trump pushed a vulnerable foreign ally to dig up dirt on a rival for his own political benefit. Former vice president Biden is a leading contender for the right to face Trump in the November 2020 presidential election.

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. [nL2N26W0IX} "Although I understand that I served at the pleasure of the President, I was nevertheless incredulous that the U.S. government chose to remove an Ambassador based, as best as I can tell, on unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives," Yovanovitch said according to a copy of her prepared remarks published by the Washington Post.

She also said diplomats took risks to defend U.S. interests in part because of a belief that "our government will have our backs and protect us if we come under attack from foreign interests. That basic understanding no longer holds true. "Today, we see the State Department attacked and hollowed out from within," she added.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment about the testimony and the State Department declined comment. Former senior U.S. diplomats said it took courage for Yovanovitch, who joined the foreign service in 1986 and also served as ambassador in Armenia and Kyrgyzstan, to so baldly call out the Trump administration.

"I'm very distressed with her present difficulties, but enormously buoyed by her courage," former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, who served in that post under Republican George W. Bush, told Reuters. "A real professional." Glyn Davies, a three-time U.S. ambassador who was executive secretary of the White House national security council, said it was a "supremely unnatural act" for a diplomat to have to defend her actions and criticize her bosses.

"This demonstrates that the administration's guerilla war against American diplomats ... has now become open warfare," Davies said. "Clearly Marie Yovanovitch decided, given what had happened to her, that it was necessary ... to rebuke her own commander in chief and his appointees." Yovanovitch, who is now a senior State Department fellow at Georgetown University, is likely at the end of her diplomatic career. Former diplomats said it was inconceivable Trump would give her another assignment, triggering her retirement.

But they also said it was unlikely she would be subjected to direct retaliation, noting she had testified in response to a congressional subpoena that gave her little choice but to appear despite a State Department order not to testify. Eric Rubin, president of the American Foreign Service Association that represents U.S. diplomats, said Yovanovitch's testimony was in "the proud tradition of our nation's Foreign Service, emphasizing non-partisan commitment to our country's interests and loyalty to our country's elected leaders."

"Its members do not ask for much in return, but do ask fairly that they not be forced to choose sides in domestic political disputes," Rubin said. Representative Michael Quigley, an Illinois Democrat who attended Yovanovitch's appearance, was circumspect when he stepped out of the secure conference room where she spoke: "No comment but she's a brave woman."


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Uganda COVID-19 response: Was off to a good start but reopening dwindled prospects

Uganda has shown success in using health information to enhance efficiency of disease surveillance, reporting and monitoring. The success, however, has critical challenges confronting it as the country resumes normal activities....

New farm bills in India: Focusing on farms or farmers?

... ...

Kenya’s COVID-19 response: Chaos amid lack of information

Confusing numbers and scanty information on how effective curfews and lockdowns have been in breaking transmission have amplified coordination and planning challenges in Kenyas response to COVID-19. Without accurate data, it is impossible t...

Farkhad Akhmedov: Calculating the price of impunity from the law

In insistences such as the battle over the Luna, Akhmedov has resorted to extreme legal machinations to subvert the High Courts decision and keep his assets from being seized. ...

Videos

Latest News

Farooq not being allowed to leave house a 'new low' in curtailment of rights in J-K: Gupkar alliance

The Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration PAGD on Friday said National Conference president Farooq Abdullah not being allowed to leave his house to visit Hazratbal shrine here is a new low in curtailment of fundamental rights of the peopl...

Indian Entrepreneur Mr.Puneet Bery taking company to Global Outreach and proud to contrubute in #makeinindia campaign

KSP Inc Leading exporters of metal fabricated products Mr.Puneet always had the inner drive to obtain knowledge and have had a true passion to be the best version of a fatherhusbandson and most importantly an entrepreneur. As an entrepreneu...

Southern European bond yields rise as Spain introduces new Covid restrictions

European government bond yields rose on Friday as Spain joined other countries on the continent in imposing tougher rules to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Spain will be under a state of emergency until early May, giving regions legal ...

Plea in SC seeks SIT probe into 'forceful conversion' of Hindus in Haryana's Nuh

A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking the setting up of a special investigating team SIT to probe into the alleged forceful conversion of Hindus and crimes against women of the community in Nuh district of Haryana. A number...

Give Feedback