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House Releases Impeachment Transcripts

Top official said he has never seen similar attempt to use State Department to dig up political dirt in 37-year career.

The House committees investigating President Donald Trump’s actions with respect to a quid pro quo with Ukraine for an investigation into the company that hired Joe Biden’s son have released the full transcripts to the public. In a joint statement, the chairs of the Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, and Oversight committees said, “The American public will begin to see for themselves the evidence that the committees have collected” and that more is being learned “about the President’s attempt to manipulate the levers of power to his personal political benefit.”

The transcripts released so far include the testimonies of former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie “Masha” Yovanovitch and former Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State Ambassador P. Michael McKinley. Ms. Yovanovitch’s complete testimony can be viewed here and key excerpts are located here. Mr. McKinley’s complete testimony is here and excerpts can be found here.

Among other things, the excerpts reveal that Ambassador Yovanovitch was the woman that President Trump said was “bad news” and that was “going to go through some things” in the July 25 phone call with Ukrainian officials.

Yovanovitch also learned from staff members that Rudy Giuliani and Ukraine Prosecutor General Lutsenko were allegedly “looking to hurt” her “in the US.” Afterward, she said that Lutsenko began to spread “falsehoods” about her. Minister of Internal Affairs Arson Avakov told Yovanovitch that “Ukrainian officials was [sic] very concerned” about Giuliani and that she should watch her back.

The falsehoods apparently relate to documents sent to Secretary of State Pompeo earlier this year. In addition to targeting Yovanovitch, the documents also referenced Hunter Biden. It is not known precisely what the documents alleged or who sent them to Pompeo.

Yovanovitch said that she communicated her concerns to superiors in the State Department, including Acting Assistant Secretary Phil Reeker of the European Bureau, Undersecretary for Political Affairs David Hale, Fiona Hill of the NSC, and Gordon Sondland, ambassador to the EU. She said that Sondland recommended that she “tweet out there that you support the President and that all these [disinformation claims from Lutsenko and Giuliani] are lies.”

For his part, McKinley said, “In 37 years in the Foreign Service and different parts of the globe and working on many controversial issues, working 10 years back in Washington, I had never” seen an effort to use the State Department to dig up dirt on a political opponent.

McKinley proposed releasing a statement from the State Department supporting Ambassador Yovanovitch, but Secretary of State Pompeo denied the request, ostensibly to protect Yovanovitch by not drawing “undue attention to her.”

McKinley raised the issue with Pompeo several more times and eventually resigned over the “lack of public support for Department employees.” In a final conversation with Pompeo, McKinley told the Secretary, “This situation isn’t acceptable.”

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