Marie Yovanovitch was the ambassador to Ukraine, and now she’s a problem for the president*.BY CHARLES P. PIERCE
On Friday, the scandals undermining this administration* and this presidency* like one of those thousand-acre mushrooms in Michigan finally produced a hero whose name we now know. Up until this point, the heroes have been anonymous: “sources close” to whatever the atrocity of the day was, whistleblowers, leakers, and other figures in the shadows. Now, though, there is Marie Yovanovitch, and she was once the United States ambassador to Ukraine, until she wasn’t, and she didn’t come to Washington on Friday to fck around. From CNN:
Yovanovitch told lawmakers at a closed-door deposition that she was informed by Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan there had been “a concerted campaign against me” and that Trump had lost confidence in her, adding that the State Department had “been under pressure from the President to remove me since the Summer of 2018.”
Yovanovitch said she believed she had been removed because of “unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives,” a reference to the effort led by Trump’s personal attorney and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and his associates to remove her as ambassador.
Yovanovitch appeared Friday after the White House and State Department had directed her not to attend, according to a statement from the three Democratic committee chairmen leading the impeachment inquiry. In response, the chairmen issued a subpoena to compel her testimony.
She was a hero even before she hit the hearing room. She told them to stuff their directives, she would answer a congressional subpoena like a citizen is supposed to do. And she didn’t sneak in through the basement. She walked into the Capitol through the front doors, and she didn’t do so to fck around.
Her deposition is a key part of the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into the President and Ukraine, which has been fueled by a whistleblower complaint alleging the President sought help from Ukraine to investigate his political rival and the White House tried to cover it up. Yovanovitch suggested some of those associates had financial motivations for pushing her out.
“With respect to Mayor Giuliani, I have had only minimal contacts with him — a total of three that I recall. None related to the events at issue,” she said, according to her prepared statement. “I do not know Mr. Giuliani’s motives for attacking me. But individuals who have been named in the press as contacts of Mr. Giuliani may well have believed that their personal financial ambitions were stymied by our anti-corruption policy in Ukraine.”
She was unexpectedly pulled from her position in the spring, and her ousting was cited in the whistleblower’s complaint as having raised red flags about whether the President was abusing his office by soliciting foreign interference in the election to help find dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
The crooks and the grifters with their hands on the country’s throat did not scare Marie Yovanovitch. She saw through the bluster and the fog and the empty threat gestures that are nothing more than another count on the eventual indictments and articles of impeachment. She shone a light through it all, and she showed the way as well. If anyone has the guts to follow, we’re going to have to see.