Yovanovitch: Trump-backed ‘campaign of disinformation’ weakened national security


The ousted U.S. ambassador to Ukraine said a “smear campaign” against her by President Donald Trump and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani undermined U.S. national security, telling lawmakers during impeachment proceedings Friday that she was “kneecapped” by corrupt interests and was abandoned by State Department leaders.

Marie Yovanovitch delivered a scathing rebuke of Giuliani and his work on behalf of the president, accusing the former New York City mayor of pushing a “campaign of disinformation” based on claims that originated with “individuals with questionable motives and with reason to believe that their political and financial ambitions would be stymied by our anti-corruption policy in Ukraine.”

“How could our system fail like this? How is it that foreign corrupt interests could manipulate our government?” said Yovanovitch, who was recalled to Washington in May.

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“It’s not the way I wanted my career to end,” she later told lawmakers.

Yovanovitch also addressed the central focus of the impeachment inquiry — whether Trump abused his power by pressuring Ukraine’s leaders to investigate his political rivals — and said such a campaign damaged U.S. authority abroad.

“Our Ukraine policy has been thrown into disarray, and shady interests the world over have learned how little it takes to remove an American ambassador who does not give them what they want,” she told lawmakers.

She implicitly lambasted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, too, asserting that the department “is being hollowed out from within at a competitive and complex time on the world stage.”

Yovanovitch also addressed failed efforts at the State Department to issue a public statement of support after Trump forced her removal as ambassador, saying she remains “disappointed” that senior officials “have declined to acknowledge that the attacks against me and others are dangerously wrong.”

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