Future of presidency at stake in Trump impeachment probe

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

She was unceremoniously ousted from her job even as her boss assured her she had done nothing wrong.

She described a "smear campaign" against her by Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and others, including the president's son, Donald Trump Jr., before her firing.

She'll testify in the second impeachment hearing this morning. Multiple former officials told CNN they thought she was an ideal choice to serve in Kyiv. "I just couldn't imagine it".

Since being unexpectedly removed from her post in Kiev in May, Yovanovitch has become increasingly ensnared at the center of the widening scandal.

Marie Yovanovitch, the former USA ambassador to Ukraine who was ousted from her position, is scheduled to testify Friday in a public hearing as part of the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.

Pelosi's remarks came a day after William Taylor, the top American envoy in Kyiv, and George Kent, a deputy assistant secretary of state overseeing Ukraine policy, told lawmakers in the House's first public impeachment hearing since 1998 that they were deeply troubled by an apparent perversion of USA policy done at the apparent behest of Trump personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Trump himself.

"What the President has admitted to and says it's ideal, I've said it's perfectly wrong".

Lawmakers are also set to hear private testimony from David Holmes, a Kyiv embassy official who is said to have overheard Trump discussing investigations in a July 26 phone call with Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the European Union.

The call occurred a day after Mr Trump asked Ukraine's President during a phone call to conduct these investigations.

The intelligence community whistleblower who spurred the House investigation cited Yovanovitch's ouster as one in a series of events that amounted to an abuse of power by the president.

Although some State Department officials have said they objected to what they saw happening, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo agreed to end Yovanovitch's tenure early and spurned requests to defend her in public, witnesses have said.

Republican counsel Steve Castor also underscored with Yovanovitch, as he did with earlier witnesses, that corruption in Ukraine remains a real problem and that at least one big case involving the gas company Burisma hadn't been resolved.

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The president had fired Yovanovitch months before the July 25 phone call in which he pressured Ukraine's president on the Bidens.

Yovanovitch, who was recalled from her post in May after Giuliani complained she was interfering with his demand for an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden, has testified that Giuliani's efforts were at odds with USA policy.

"The devastating testimony corroborated evidence of bribery uncovered in the inquiry", she said.

Trump didn't mince words about his disdain for Yovanovitch in his July call with Zelenskiy.

What do we know about the witness from the release of her transcripts? "She's going to go through some things".

"It's very intimidating", she said, although Yovanovitch said she couldn't address what Trump's intentions might have been.

John Solomon, a columnist for the Washington news outlet The Hill, published a March interview with Yuriy Lutsenko, a former prosecutor general in Ukraine. Under the Foreign Assistance Act that governs American assistance to allies, the US president has the authority to condition security assistance. In response, Sondland encouraged her to tweet her support for Trump on social media.

"All I expect him to say is he doesn't know why the aid was held and wished that he did", said Meadows, R-N.C. Ukraine's president, however, never made the public commitment for investigations that intermediaries have said they sought on Trump's behalf.

Sandy has worked in the OMB on and off for 10 years, during Democratic and Republican administrations, and could likely answer questions about the decision made this summer to freeze $400 million in military aide to Ukraine. She is now working as a senior State Department fellow at Georgetown University.

Mr Nunes hewed to the Republican strategy of arguing that Mr Trump did nothing wrong or impeachable when he asked Mr Zelensky to investigate Mr Joe Biden, a key 2020 re-election rival.

In emotional testimony, Ms. Yovanovitch described how she was "shocked and devastated" that a smear campaign against her by Ukrainian officials attempting to thwart USA anti-corruption policy had found a willing partner in Mr. Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

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