Posted by Curt on 28 September, 2019 at 8:35 am. 1 comment.


It’s becoming clear that Democrats are widening the net when it comes to bringing in Trump administration officials involved in dealing with Ukraine. Secretary of State Pompeo was subpoenaed by Democratic chairs of three House committees Friday for documents they claim relate to Ukraine and the impeachment inquiries.

A story in the Daily Mail about the resignation submitted by President Trump’s envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker, a Special Representative just one day after the whistleblower’s complaint became public takes a turn. This whole impeachment inquiry now smacks of revenge against President Trump for the removal of the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine. Volker was named in the complaint. He introduced Rudy Guiliani to President Volodymyr Zelensky. The complaint claims that along with the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, Volker advised Ukrainian officials on how to navigate pressure from Trump about cleaning up corruption.

Volker is Executive Director of the McCain Institute at ASU. He has served as special envoy to Ukraine since 2017 on a part-time, unpaid basis. He helped Ukraine’s government resolve its confrontation with Russia-sponsored separatists. Volker and Sondland were subpoenaed Friday, along with former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and Deputy Assistant Secretary of European and Eurasian Affairs George Kent.

On July 3 Volker tweeted about his “great” meeting with Zelensky. He tweeted about Zelensky’s “clear commitment to peace in Donbas, but Russia needs to do its part”. Volker said that Zelensky pledged his strong commitment to reforming Ukraine.

Then came the phone call from Trump on July 25 that put the complaint into play. It looks like the CIA agent who registered the complaint was upset about Trump’s dealings with Ambassador Yovanovitch.

Three weeks later, President Donald Trump said in his July 25 phone call with Zelensky that Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch was ‘bad news’ and that she is ‘going to go through some things,’ according to the memo of the call released this week by the White House. But that characterization of her and her performance was contradicted by five current and former officials who spoke to The Associated Press.

Yovanovitch’s name may ring a bell. She was unceremoniously relieved from her position in May and brought back to Washington, D.C. The story didn’t get a lot of press coverage at the time but I do remember reading that she left her post in Ukraine. I thought at the time that she was another Never-Trumper resigning to protest President Trump.

Months before the call that set off an impeachment inquiry, many in the diplomatic community were alarmed by the Trump administration’s abrupt removal of the career diplomat from her post as ambassador to Ukraine.

The ambassador’s ouster, and the campaign against her that preceded it, are now emerging as a key sequence of events behind a whistleblower’s complaint alleging that the president pressured a foreign country to investigate his political rival Joe Biden’s son.

She served as an ambassador in both the George W. Bush and Obama administrations. Apparently the diplomatic community considered Trump’s remarks during the July 25 phone conversation to be of a threatening nature towards Yovanovitch. She was an Obama holdover in Ukraine.

Yovanovitch, 60, is a career official who was twice chosen for ambassadorships by President George W. Bush and once, to Ukraine, by President Barack Obama. Trump said of her on the call: “The former ambassador from the United States, the woman, was bad news and the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news,” Trump said in their July 25 conversation, according to a transcript released by the White House. “She’s going to go through some things.”

That prompted widespread condemnation from American diplomats. “The threatening tone of this statement is deeply troubling,” the American Academy of Diplomacy said in a statement. “Whatever views the Administration has of Ambassador Yovanovitch’s performance, we call on the Administration to make clear that retaliation for political reasons will not be tolerated.”

When calls for her removal began, Pompeo resisted but he eventually agreed. Her appointment was up in July so the State Department said she was just leaving a couple of months early.

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