This Tuesday, on the day before the House was set to finally vote to send its impeachment case against President Donald Trump to the Senate for a trial, stunning new evidence came out about the president’s posse’s schemes. According to the information from personal Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s associate Lev Parnas, one ardent Trump supporter (and Connecticut Congressional candidate) named Robert Hyde even had Yovanovitch under seeming surveillance, with approval from Parnas, who, again, is just steps away from the president. During an appearance this Wednesday on CNN, Clinton-era White House spokesman Joe Lockhart slammed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for enabling this dangerous spectacle to unfold.
The plot against Yovanovitch was a sideshow of President Trump’s main scheme to get Ukraine to investigate his domestic political opponents in exchange for military aid and a summit in D.C. Although there’s no actual evidence that she harbored any kind of conspiracy against the president, the idea was that her work as ambassador to Ukraine stood in the way of that plot.
Discussing the new evidence, Lockhart noted:
‘We now see that Giuliani on the record is telling Zelensky that he’s doing this on the behest of the president, and you see through a variety of ways that the president is directing this from the Oval Office… I was struck this morning given my experience in government — the people that we had doing special diplomacy were people like George Mitchell, you know, Tom Foley went out and did some things — the former speaker of the House. Richard Holbrook.’
After host Alisyn Camerota pointed out the contrast between them and figures like Parnas, Lockhart called him and his associates “two-bit criminals who are either mob figures or trying to act like mob figures,” and added:
‘It’s unconscionable that Mike Pompeo allowed all this to go on. You have to believe at some point he was read into all of the stuff, and he allowed it… After Mike Pompeo from the mountaintops screamed about Benghazi and protecting our diplomats, it’s possible that he was allowing a Benghazi in Ukraine — and knew about it! — perpetrated by Americans!’
During her Congressional testimony in the impeachment inquiry, Yovanovitch told investigators that Ukrainian officials had told her that Giuliani and his associates “had plans, and that they were going to, you know, do things, including to me.” During a phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky himself, Trump himself ambiguously insisted that Yovanovitch was “going to go through some things,” as the White House call record puts it. What kind of bonkers, dangerous scheme were these people cooking up?
Reminder that Yovanovitch testified that UKRAINIAN officials warned her that Guiliani and other associates “had plans, and that they were going to, you know, do things, including to me”. https://t.co/MG6Y5J1t9F
— Bianna Golodryga (@biannagolodryga) January 14, 2020
Pompeo has already faced steep public criticism for his complicity in the whole arrangement. His top adviser Michael McKinley, who had served in the State Department for decades, resigned in part in frustration over Pompeo’s refusal to even try to come to Yovanovitch’s defense. McKinley went on to testify as part of the impeachment inquiry.
That inquiry is about to culminate in a Senate trial for the president, which may start next week. The additional evidence against Trump that has been revealed further complicates the positions of those Republican Senators trying to acquit the president no matter what.