Ousted US ambassador to Ukraine claims Donald Trump pushed for her removal

Volodymyr Zelensky

Up until the time of her arrival, there was uncertainty about whether the White House or State Department would try to block her testimony.

Ms Yovanovitch, according to a copy of her opening statement posted online by the Washington Post, said she was told by a senior State Department official about "a concerted campaign against me" and that Mr Trump had pushed for her removal since the middle of previous year even though the department believed "I had done nothing wrong".

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says his country will "happily" investigate whether Ukrainians interfered in the 2016 US elections. They accused President Trump of threatening to cut aid to Ukraine (which POTUS actually did in May) if Kiev doesn't provide assistance in investigating the dealings of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son in Ukraine, where Hunter was employed as a board member of natural gas company Burisma Holdings.

"She's a fearless woman", Democratic congressman Michael Quigley said of Ms Yovanovitch during a break in the testimony.

She also expressed alarm over damage to USA diplomacy under Mr Trump and warned about "private interests" circumventing "professional diplomats for their own gain, not the public good".

Two Florida businessmen tied to Giuliani were charged Thursday with federal campaign finance violations. "He said that the president had lost confidence in me and no longer wished me to serve as his ambassador".

The drive to collect compromising material was lead by Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and according to former officials, one of the reasons Yovanovitch was dismissed was because she refused to help Giuliani to collect information outside official channels.

Lawyers representing the anonymous whistleblower said in a statement their client "has never worked for or advised a political candidate, campaign or party".

Yovanovitch addresses point-by-point some of the charges that have been made against her, notably those from Giuliani.

She said she did not know Mr Giuliani's reasons for attacking her.

"To make matters worse, all of this occurred during an especially challenging time in bilateral relations with a newly elected Ukrainian president". They include Gordon Sondland, who was blocked from appearing this week but whose attorney said he would testify on October 17. "This was precisely the time when continuity in the embassy in Ukraine was most needed".

She also was firm that she had never criticized the president in an unprofessional manner, or that she had done anything to disobey or ignore his orders.

Sondland, a Trump political donor who contributed $1 million United States to the Republican president's inauguration committee, exchanged text messages about Washington's relationship with Ukraine with other top diplomats.

Meanwhile, former Vice President Biden has denied he or his son committed any wrongdoing, lashing out at a reporter when asked about the subject last week.

Previously, in a broader discussion in which White House officials were reportedly encouraging Ukraine to continue its work to eliminate corruption in the country's energy sector, Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union and one in charge of ties with Kiev, thundered that there were also "investigations that were dropped that need to be started up again", according to a USA official familiar with the matter.

Yovanovitch told lawmakers that she was abruptly told to come back to Washington "on the next plane" in April this year, where the Deputy Secretary of State informed her that she would have to leave her post two months early due to "a concerted campaign" against her.

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