Marie Yovanovitch, the ousted U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, told House impeachment investigators last month that U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland told her she should tweet out support or praise for President Donald Trump if she wanted to save her job, according to a transcript of her testimony made public Monday.
The three House committees leading the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump released two transcripts — including of Yovanovitch’s testimony — of the behind-closed-doors interviews they have conducted so far as their investigation moves to a more public phase.
According to the transcript, Yovanovitch she asked Sondland for advice on how to handle an onslaught of criticism from conservative media and Donald Trump Jr.
“He said, ‘You know, you need to go big or go home. You need to, you know, tweet out there that you support the president, and that all these are lies and everything else,'” she told the committees. “It was advice that I did not see how I could implement in my role as an ambassador, and as a Foreign Service officer.”
The release of the transcripts triggered an immediate influx of interest that seemed to overload the House website where the transcripts were posted, with the digital copies briefly unable to be accessed. The committees also released the transcript of the deposition of former Ambassador Michael McKinley, who recently resigned as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s senior adviser.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who is leading the impeachment inquiry, told reporters Monday that the committees will release the transcripts of the interviews with Sondland and former U.S. envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker on Tuesday. The remainder of the transcripts of interviews that have been conducted thus far could all be released before Friday.
In a statement with the chairs of the two other committees leading the inquiry, Schiff said the round of transcripts released Monday “demonstrate clearly how President Trump approved the removal of a highly respected and effective diplomat based on public falsehoods and smears against Ambassador Yovanovitch’s character.”