Donald Trump said that he had no idea who the former career ambassador to Ukraine was. Contrary to his declaration, he knew exactly who Marie Yovanovitch was. He did not like her, because she was a strong woman who told him “no” and a beacon of ethics against his Ukrainian scheme.
‘She may be very much a wonderful woman. If you remember the phone call I had with the President — the new President — he didn’t speak favorably. But I just don’t know her. She may be a wonderful woman.’
Senator Bob Menedez (D-NJ) questioned Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, now nominated by Trump to the position of ambassador to Russia. The senator wanted to know about Trump’s TV attorney/fixer Rudy Giuliani’s covert actions, and the deputy secretary responded:
‘My knowledge in the spring and summer of this year about any involvement of Mr. Giuliani was in connection with a campaign against our ambassador to Ukraine.’
In truth, Trump did not like her questioning him about coercing the new Ukrainian President Volodyny Zelensky to dig up dirt on his top 2020 presidential opponent. So POTUS started a campaign to force her out of her work in the eastern European country.
Sullivan was the person the administration gave the dirty job of recalling Yovanovitch. The reason he gave was not that she had done anything wrong. No, her recall was due to “the president losing confidence in her.” The career official told the impeachment inquiry committees that there had been a “concerted campaign” to oust her.
Menendez pressed him on the matter of why Trump wanted her out, but that was all the nominee had.
‘My experience has been that when the president loses confidence in an ambassador, no matter what the reason, that the president’s confidence in his ambassador in a Capitol is the coin of the realm, the most important thing for that ambassador.’
Sullivan also told the committee that there was a packet of so-called evidence against the ambassador collated by a member of the White House, but he did not know the source. It seemed that Giuliani gave these documents to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The secretary said his department would check them out. However, Pompeo claimed that he:
‘[N]ever promised Rudy Giuliani that he would investigate the contents of the envelope or anything related to Ukraine.’
After the president released a “rough transcript” for his phone call on July 25th call to Zelensky, the Democrats wanted to investigate Yovanovitch’s dismissal further.
It included unproven allegations about the former vice president Joe Biden (D) and his son Hunter. The Democrats referred to them as “propaganda” and “disinformation.”
The deputy secretary said that he requested the Justice Department or the State Department investigate the mysterious packet of materials, just to stay on the cautious side:
‘It didn’t provide, to me, a basis for us taking action against our ambassador.’
Sullivan told the senator that dual channels of authority involved in foreign policy would be a problem. The reason he gave was that it would make it difficult for the State to keep control over its own issues.
The “second channel” on Ukraine, led by Giuliani included:
Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) said:
‘I think we normally assume everyone is pursuing the same policies when we have different channels of communications to a country. That’s a problem when there are multiple parties involved and it’s a challenge I think for any secretary of State to maintain control over U.S. foreign policy in any government, even within the U.S. government.’
Sullivan pointed to other disputes between cabinet secretaries during the George W. Bush administration:
‘It’s a challenge for the secretary of state to maintain control over that policy in any administration.’
The Mueller Report Adventures: In Bite-Sizes on this Facebook page. These quick, two-minute reads interpret the report in normal English for busy people. Mueller Bite-Sizes uncovers what is essentially a compelling spy mystery. Interestingly enough, Mueller Bite-Sizes can be read in any order.