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Transcripts of witness deposition in Donald Trump impeachment released

Michael McKinley had testified last month that he had constantly requested Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to support the ousted Yovanovitch but to no avail, according to CNN.

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The US House Intelligence Committee released transcripts of former US ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, and former State Department adviser Michael McKinley’s testimonies. Yovanovitch testified that Trump wanted her removed from her post. She said it was based on “unfounded and false claims”. She gave the testimony after a congressional subpoena after the White House had directed her not to appear. Michael McKinley had testified last month that he had constantly requested Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to support the ousted Yovanovitch but to no avail, according to CNN. “The timing of my resignation was the result of two overriding concerns: the failure in my view, of the State Department to offer support to Foreign Service employees caught up in the impeachment inquiry; and, second, by what appears to be the utilisation of our ambassadors overseas to advance domestic political objectives,” McKinley said during his deposition. Yovanovitch denied knowing about any official policy where aid from United States to Ukraine could be linked to the Biden investigations. However, she says, after reading the texts between Kurt Volker, Gordon Sondland and Bill Taylor, she wonders if there was an unofficial one. In September, the White House had released a transcript of a phone call between the American and Ukaranian presidents, where many thought it was clear that Trump was referring to Yovanovitch being “bad news” and that she was “going to go through some things.” Yovanovitch, in her testimony, said she was “shocked” and “apprehensive” when she learned about the call. Ambassador Michael McKinley, former senior adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, testified: “I was disturbed by the implication that foreign governments were being approached to procure negative information on political opponents. I was convinced that this would also have a serious impact on Foreign Service morale and the integrity of our work overseas.

The initial reports were followed on September 25 by the release of the transcript of the President's telephone conversation with President Zelensky, which included negative comments on Ambassador Yovanovitch. The disparagement of a career diplomat doing her job was unacceptable to me. Inside the building, meanwhile, there was no discussion whatsoever, at least in my presence, by senior State Department leadership on what was developing.” Critics had accused her of working to undermine Trump’s interests. “The embassy in Ukraine was a ‘Hillary Clinton for president’ office. And they were looking to dig up dirt on President Trump,” Giuliani had said, according to Time. “There was a lot more collusion with Ukraine than in Russia, where there doesn’t appear to be any. They were trying to bring Trump down,” he was quoted saying. "Until today, nobody has ever actually asked me the question from the US government of whether I am actually guilty of all of these things I’m supposed to have done. Nobody even asked, because I think everybody just thought it was so outrageous," Yovanovitch said according to the deposition.

Hand over 8 years of tax returns: Court to Trump

President Donald Trump’s accounting firm must hand over eight years of his tax returns to New York prosecutors, a US appeals court ruled on Monday in the latest setback for Trump in his tenacious efforts to keep his finances secret. The ruling by a unanimous three-judge panel of the New York-based 2nd USCircuit Court of Appeals backed the ability of prosecutors to enforce a subpoena for the returns against the firm. - Reuters

First Published: Tue, November 05 2019. 01:49 IST
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