Marie Yovanovitch, the ousted U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, told House impeachment investigators Friday that President Donald Trump personally pressured the State Department to remove her from her position, even though a top department official assured her that she had “done nothing wrong.”
Yovanovitch said that after she was abruptly recalled from her post in the spring, the deputy secretary of state told her “the president had lost confidence in me,” according to her prepared remarks obtained by NBC News.
“He added that there had been a concerted campaign against me, and that the department had been under pressure from the president to remove me since the summer of 2018,” Yovanovitch told lawmakers, according to her opening statement.
The career diplomat, who said she was informed of her ouster in April, said in her statement that she was “incredulous that the U.S. government chose to remove an ambassador based, as best as I can tell, on unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives.”
Yovanovitch appeared for her expected closed-door deposition before the House Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs Committees as part of those bodies’ ongoing investigations into Trump’s efforts to persuade Ukraine’s new government to commit publicly to investigate corruption and the president’s political opponents.
It had been unclear right up until Yovanovitch arrived whether she would appear because she still works for the State Department. The White House had vowed administration officials would not cooperate in the impeachment probe.