Recalled US ambassador felt ‘threatened’ by Trump

A recalled US ambassador at the centre of the Trump impeachment inquiry said she felt threatened by a cryptic remark the president made about her on a call.

Ex-envoy to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch told Congress she was "very concerned" by President Donald Trump's comment in the phone call with Ukraine's leader.

Mr Trump told his counterpart: "Well, she's [Ms Yovanovitch] going to go through some things."

Democrats have just released the first transcripts from closed-door testimony.

The Republican president is accused of trying to pressure Ukraine into investigating unsubstantiated corruption claims against his US political rival, Joe Biden, and his son, Hunter Biden, who worked with a Ukrainian gas company.

Ms Yovanovitch said she was "shocked" by what the president said about her in the 25 July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

That call triggered the current congressional impeachment investigation that could seek to remove Mr Trump from office for alleged abuses of power.

"I didn't know what it meant," Ms Yovanovitch said about the US president's words. "I was very concerned. I still am."

The House Intelligence Committee released Ms Yovanovitch's testimony from 11 October on Monday.

On the Trump-Zelensky call, details of which were previously released by the White House, the US president also described Ms Yovanovitch as "bad news".

In her testimony, the career diplomat said when she sought advice from the US Ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, a Trump donor, he suggested Ms Yovanovitch tweet praise of the president.

"You need to go big or go home," Mr Sondland allegedly told her. Ms Yovanovitch testified that she did not think she could follow the advice.

Ms Yovanovitch added that Mr Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani began efforts to discredit her in late 2018 as he effectively ran a shadow foreign policy on Ukraine.

The diplomat testified that Mr Giuliani wanted to investigate Mr Biden and his son in order to find information "that could be possibly damaging to a Presidential run".

Mr Giuliani also enlisted Ukraine's prosecutor general, Yuriy Lutsenko, to spread "falsehoods" about her in order to "hurt" her "in the US", according to Ms Yovanovitch.

She said she had been warned by Ukraine's justice minister that "I really needed to watch my back".

Ms Yovanovitch left Ukraine in May, months ahead of her scheduled departure.

During her testimony she recalled how Mr Giuliani sought to override a Department of State refusal to grant a tourist visa to former Ukrainian prosecutor general Viktor Shokin, whom consular officials had rejected on the basis of "known corrupt activities".

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On Monday the House Intelligence Committee also released the transcript from testimony by a former top adviser to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Michael McKinley, who appeared before Congress on 16 October for a private hearing, said he tried but failed to get Mr Pompeo to defend Ms Yovanovitch.

Mr McKinley said he had suggested a letter "that's not poRead More – Source

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