Wednesday, 16 October, 2019

U.S. ambassador to European Union to testify on Thursday, won’t share documents

Former ambassador to testify at inquiry into Trump US envoy to testify in impeachment probe, against State Dept order
Deanna Wagner | 11 October, 2019, 19:42

The ambassador, Marie Yovanovitch, is scheduled to testify before congressional lawmakers on Friday as part of the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. She is expected to face questions about her knowledge, if any, of the Ukraine episode.

Sondland's decision to testify marks a 180-degree shift from earlier this week, when he declined to do so.

Yovanovitch was recalled from Kyiv in May as Rudy Giuliani - who is Trump's personal attorney and has no official role in the US government - pushed Ukrainian officials to investigate baseless corruption allegations against the Bidens.

Democrats have called her removal politically motivated.

President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy looks on during a meeting in NY on September 25, 2019, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

There has been no evidence either Biden was engaged in illegal activities.

Democrats have accused Trump of pressuring a vulnerable foreign ally to dig up dirt on a domestic political opponent for his own political benefit.

The two had donated $325,000 to a pro-Trump political action committee called America First Action in May 2018, and the money was falsely reported as coming from a purported natural gas company set up to hide its true source, according to the indictment.

Trump has responded that he and his administration will not cooperate or participate in the House impeachment process. "She's going to go through some things", Trump added.

Yovanovitch became the target in March of allegations - vehemently denied by the State Department - that she gave a Ukrainian prosecutor a list of people not to prosecute.

Yovanovitch has always known that the role of diplomat "wasn't about her" but about "serving American national interests and supporting the people around her", said Nancy McEldowney, a former US ambassador to Bulgaria who now directs a Foreign Service program at Georgetown. Until Ms. Yovanovitch arrived at the Capitol Friday morning, it wasn't certain whether she would show up.

German synagogue shooting video viewed by 2,200 people on Amazon's Twitch
It is also significant that the attacker spoke in English during the live-stream, indicating a desire to reach an global audience. Speaking on public German television, he also cautioned, however, that full protection of all religious sites was not feasible.

She was born in Montreal to Russian parents, her family moving to the USA a few years later. She has dual U.S. -U.K. citizenship.

The investigation of Trump could lead to the approval of articles of impeachment - or formal charges - against the president in the House. The committees are intelligence, foreign and oversight.

"Notwithstanding the State Department's current direction to not testify, Ambassador Sondland will honor the Committees' subpoena", the lawyers said. "By federal law and regulation, the State Department has sole authority to produce such documents, and he hopes the materials will be shared with the Committees in advance of his Thursday testimony", the statement read.

Sondland, a Trump political donor who contributed $1 million United States to the Republican president's inauguration committee, exchanged text messages about Washington's relationship with Ukraine with other top diplomats.

House Democrats moved ahead with the impeachment probe after the complaint was made public and a rough memo of the July 25 call was released.

Although Sondland now is poised to appear before the panels, he can not turn over documents requested by investigators, his lawyers said.

"The president has been crystal clear no quid pro quo of any kind", Sondland said. The men, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, were arrested at Dulles International Airport Wednesday night trying to board a one-way flight to Vienna, where they were to be meeting Giuliani.

President Trump, despite admitting that he wanted the Bidens investigated, has said he did nothing wrong. A trial on whether to remove him from office would then be held in the U.S. Senate, where the Republicans who control the chamber have shown little appetite for ousting the president.

Two associates of Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani have been arrested and charged with campaign finance violations.

Michael McKinley, a former ambassador to Brazil, Afghanistan and Colombia, was a senior adviser to Mr. Pompeo and seen as a bridge between career foreign-service officers and political appointees.