The House Intelligence Committee has just released two previously confidential witness transcripts, and one of them (embedded below) reveals the President’s son played a key role in Rudy Giuliani’s plot to remove a sitting U.S. Ambassador without cause for standing in the way of his mission to dig up dirt on the Biden family.
The U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine testified in front of the impeachment investigators all day on October 11th. The newly released 317-page deposition shows a State Department content to allow Rudy Giuliani to usurp the Ambassador’s role in Ukraine, removing a crucial obstacle to his efforts to bully the Ukranian government on Trump’s behalf. Ambassador Maria “Masha” Yovanovich’s testimony also exposes a State Department utterly paralyzed by the President’s use of Twitter for invective as well as directives.
Ambassador Yovanovich was subjected to an orchestrated right-wing media smear campaign, in which the president’s extremely online son Donald Trump Jr. played such a substantial role that he was mentioned by name in Yovanovich’s testimony. Remember that this is the same Donald Trump Jr. who took over his father’s business dealings at the end of 2016 to insulate the Trump organization from politics and the presidency. According to the testimony, the younger Trump who claims to just be “a businessman… not representing anyone” was a key figure in an internal government plot to smear a top official to further the president’s political agenda.
Don Jr. posted a tweet in March of this year with a story from the Daily Wire and called her a “joker” while using his platform to promote efforts from Fox News’ Sean Hannity and The Hill’s John Solomon to help whip up an outrage mob demanding her dismissal.
In response, the Ambassador sent a secure email at the end of this past March to the State Department brass, explaining that Trump Jr.’s public tweets led to an “avalanche of attacks” on both herself and the embassy, which “undercut” the perception that she spoke for the U.S. government, and promoted Rudy Giuliani as our nation’s rightful messenger to the authorities.
Incredibly, instead of a statement of support, Ambassador Yovanovich was instead advised by hotelier turned-EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland that she should tweet praises of President Trump if she wanted to save her job.
Here is an excerpt from the transcript of Ambassador Yovonovich’s testimony demonstrating Donald Trump Jr.’s role in the political scandal that led to a presidential impeachment inquiry:
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According to her testimony, the “seventh floor,” as State Department leadership is collectively called by their top-floor location at Foggy Bottom, delivered a shocking response to the Ambassador to Ukraine according to her testimony.
She was on her own because nobody would stand up to Donald Trump Jr. for fear that President Trump might undermine their statement with an angry tweet.
That revelation by Ambassador Yovanovich led to a surreal exchange with House Intel Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) which clarified that the United States government had completely abandoned her, a career foreign service officer Ambassador, while she was in a war-torn country on the border of Russia. On page 64, the transcript reads:
THE CHAIRMAN: I just want to make sure I’m understanding. The statement you’re talking about, is that the requested statement by the Secretary of State?
MS. YOVANOVITCH: Yeah.
THE CHAIRMAN: So you were informed, basically, that the statement was not going to be issued by the Secretary of State because it could be undermined by the President?
MS. YOVANOVITCH: Yes. No statement was going to be issued, not by the Secretary, not by anybody else.
THE CHAIRMAN: Because if the secretary did issue a statement, it might be undermined by the President?
MS. YOVANOVITCH: Yes.
Yovanovich was recalled by President Trump in May 2019, creating a vacuum that was filled by his unelected personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani while the State Department looked the other way.
It’s clear Secretary of State Pompeo and the rest of the department responsible for carrying out U.S. foreign policy and international relations decided they were more afraid of crossing Donald Trump Jr. and risking a career-ending presidential tweet from his dad than they were committed to serving their country and doing their jobs.
It’s a stunning dereliction of his sworn duty to carry out America’s foreign policy by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo—although if we’re being honest, not too shocking for him—to turn over the State Department to the president for his petty political ends.
In fact, the transcript confirms what Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said at an infamous press conference last month where he admitted President Trump sought a quid pro quo of dirt on the Bidens from Ukraine in exchange for congressionally appropriated funds for their war of self-defense. “And I have news for everybody: Get over it,” Mulvaney told a roomful of shocked journalists from the James Brady White House Briefing Room. “There’s going to be political influence in foreign policy.”
Today’s newly released testimony from former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovich dramatically reveals exactly what Mulvaney’s statement translates into real-world foreign policy.
It is a sad day when we realize that America’s foreign policy is entirely in the hands of President Trump, his personal lawyer(s) and his family, which is managing his international real estate business that he owns directly — and to make matters worse, the State Department has been broken to the point where it is nothing but a sad lapdog in service of the Trump family’s private interests.
Here’s a link to the complete transcript of Ambassador Marie Yovonovich’s testimony to the impeachment inquiry:
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— Grant Stern (@grantstern) November 4, 2019
Grant Stern is an Editor-At-Large for OccupyDemocrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report. Find out more at grantstern.com.