Top State Department official says ousting ambassador to Ukraine was a White House priority

Philip Reeker (L) greeting Italian politician Stefano Parisi at a 2016 event at the US consulate in Milan. Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images

Although the testimony occurred behind closed doors, the Wall Street Journal reported that Reeker testified that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo actively neutralized support for ousted US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch before she was abruptly removed from her post in May. Reeker also reportedly described concerns raised in a July White House meeting about defense aid being withheld from Ukraine.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Reeker and Kent both attempted to express their concerns about Yovanovitch’s treatment to senior State Department officials, but Pompeo and others discouraged any kind of internal solidarity campaign. Pompeo and other top officials reportedly told Reeker to stop his efforts to defend Yovanovitch because Trump himself wanted her recalled.

Beyond questions surrounding Yovanovitch, Reeker’s testimony also reportedly detailed a July 31 meeting at the White House, during which Defense Department officials expressed concerns that the US was withholding aid to Ukraine. The White House has said in recent weeks it did, in fact, withhold about $391 million in congressionally approved military aid from Ukraine for months, although its reasons why are evolving.

Beyond questions surrounding Yovanovitch, Reeker’s testimony also reportedly detailed a July 31 meeting at the White House, during which Defense Department officials expressed concerns that the US was withholding aid to Ukraine. The White House has said in recent weeks it did, in fact, withhold about $391 million in congressionally approved military aid from Ukraine for months, although its reasons why are evolving.

Article URL : https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/10/26/20933914/impeachment-inquiry-ukraine-aid-quid-pro-quo-reeker

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