Yovanovitch testimony shows diplomat undermined by business interests

I spent my afternoon reading the testimony of U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. It details a public servant being undermined by an attorney and his associates who didn’t have the United States’ best interests in mind.

The trio may have used the president’s obsession with his re-election and disproving Russian interference in the 2016 election to manipulate him to help them profit from a change in ambassadorship.

Ambassador Yovanovitch has spent 33 years with the State Department, serving as a foreign service officer over six administrations, four Republican and two Democrat. She has served in seven different countries, five of which were hardship post. She was appointed ambassador three times, twice by a Republican president, once by a Democrat. A truly, bi-partisan foreign service officer.

The ambassador was targeted because she was considered an hinderance to the business dealings of Rudy Guiliani’s clients, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman. Someone, possibly Guiliani, convinced President Trump that she didn’t support him, although Yovanovitch testified under oath that she had made no disparaging remarks about the President.

Parnas and Fruman had bought influence by hiring Guiliani and making sizeable campaign contributions to President Trump—such as $325,000 contribution to the pro-Trump America First Action super PAC in May 2018—and other GOP candidates.

Yovanovitch was first warned of Guiliani running an independent foreign policy from a Ukrainian official, Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov. The minister warned her to watch her back. Avakov was concerned that Guiliani was trying to pull Ukraine into domestic U.S. politics by pushing for an investigation of the Bidens.

In April, she learned from an open letter from the Dale Perry of a plot to remove her from the embassy. Perry, no relation to Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, has an energy company that does business in the Ukraine. Last month he told NPR that he had learned of a plot to “take the (Ukrainian) gas sector back to where it was during the Yanukovych regime”

He told host Ari Shapiro, “I had never seen anybody in any part of the world where I’ve worked—and I’ve worked in some 30 different countries—never seen a business person to claim that they could see an ambassador removed.”

The FBI arrested last month Parnas and Fruman at Dulles International Airport, and charged them with planning to direct funds from a foreign government “to U.S. politicians while trying to influence U.S.-Ukraine relations.”

President Trump has denied knowing Parnas and Fruman.

Guiliani posted Twitter last Friday, “You have to wonder why the media is all of a sudden hell-bent on slandering me. I’ve got the evidence, extending high and wide!”

Yesterday, Parnas agreed to cooperate with impeachment inquiry.

Stay tuned.  Read testimony.