The latest on the Trump impeachment inquiry

By Meg Wagner, Veronica Rocha, Mike Hayes and Lauren Said-Moorhouse, CNN

Updated 1:58 p.m. ET, November 5, 2019
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2:15 p.m. ET, November 4, 2019

Yovanovitch: Ukrainian official told me to "watch my back" after Giuliani efforts

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

In her deposition, former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch said she was warned by a senior Ukrainian official that she needed to watch her back as Trump associates worked to undermine her and have her removed.

Asked about her conversations with Ukrainian officials about Rudy Giuliani, Yovanovitch said she recalled a February 2019 conversation with one official who was “very concerned” about Giuliani’s efforts along with his associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman.

“He basically said, and went into some detail, that there were two individuals from Florida, Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman, who were working with Mayor Giuliani, and that they had set up the meetings for Mr. Giuliani with Mr. Lutsenko. And that they were interested in having a different ambassador at post, I guess for because they wanted to have business dealings in Ukraine, or additional business dealings.” 

2:10 p.m. ET, November 4, 2019

Yovanovitch was told she needed to come back home out of concerns for her "security"

From CNN's Marshall Cohen

Former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch fought to stay in Ukraine, but was told she had to be "on the next plane home" out of concerns for her "security." 

Here's how Yovanovitch explained the situation:

“She said that there was a lot of concern for me, that I needed to be on the next plane home to Washington. And I was like, 'What? What happened?' And she said, 'I don't know, but this is about your security. You need to come home immediately. You need to come home on the next plane.' And I said, 'Physical security? I mean, is there something going on here in the Ukraine?' Because sometimes Washington has intel or something else that we don't necessarily know. And she said, 'No, I didn’t get that impression, but you need to come back immediately.' And, I mean, I argued with her. I told her I thought it was really unfair that she was pulling me out of post without any explanation, I mean, really none, and so summarily."

2:03 p.m. ET, November 4, 2019

Yovanovitch recounted Volker telling her Giuliani backlash against her would "blow over" 

From CNN's Jenny Hansler

Former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch said former special envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker told her the backlash against her would “blow over,” and that she did not recall discussing Rudy Giuliani’s activities in Ukraine with Volker.

“About maybe a week, a week and a half after The Hill article, we had a conversation but about the Donbass,” she testified. “And he started the conversation by saying, You know, it's going to be okay. It will all blow over. I know it's unpleasant now. But that was the extent of the conversation.”

2:23 p.m. ET, November 4, 2019

McKinley was "disturbed" by implication of foreign governments being asked to find dirt on political opponents

From CNN's Zachary Cohen

Former State Department adviser Michael McKinley testified that one of the reasons he resigned was that he “was ‘disturbed’ by the implication that foreign governments were being approached to procure negative information on political opponents."

“It wasn't just the situation inside the building and the lack of a statement of support," he said.

McKinley continued:

"I read the news. I read what is happening. I think I tried to say clearly in my statement that I think I used the words 'deeply disturbed' or 'disturbed' by the implication that foreign governments were being approached to procure negative information on political opponents. Well, actually that was another issue of concern to me and one that threw into question exactly what you're saying. I have spent 37 years being a diplomat. Being a diplomat for the United States means supporting millions of Americans overseas. It means supporting our companies to create jobs at home. It means resolving conflicts that impact the United States. It means keeping the homeland safe. It means working with our military, the agency, all of our civilian agencies on projecting our interests and influence overseas. It means projecting American values ... In this context, frankly, to see the emerging information on the engagement of our missions to procure negative political information for domestic purposes, combined with the failure I saw in the building to provide support for our professional cadre in a particularly trying time, I think the combination was a pretty good reason to decide enough, that I had I had no longer a useful role to play."

1:55 p.m. ET, November 4, 2019

Ukrainian official told Yovanovitch he thought engaging with Giuliani was "dangerous"

From CNN's Greg Wallace

Ukraine’s interior minister told US Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch in early 2019 that he believed it “dangerous” to engage with President Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani “because of his concerns about what they were doing.” 

Those concerns, Yovanovitch testified, were that Ukrainian officials could be compromising their support from bipartisan US officials.  

“That Ukraine, since its independence, has had bipartisan support from both Democrats and Republicans all these years, and that to start kind of getting into U.S. politics, into U.S. domestic politics, was a dangerous place for Ukraine to be,” Yovanovitch testified, describing the concerns of Interior Minister Arsen Avakov. 

Giuliani had personally called Avakov “in either late January or early February” 2019, and the two spoke briefly. Avakov told Yovanovitch he did not want an in-person meeting with Giuliani.  

“I think he felt that that was just very dangerous terrain for another country to be in,” she testified. 

Raed more:


1:54 p.m. ET, November 4, 2019

Yovanovitch said, in retrospect, Rudy Giuliani seemed to be leading parallel policy in Ukraine

From CNN's Jenny Hansler 

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Although the Trump administration cited anti-corruption efforts as rationale for holding up security assistance to Ukraine, former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch said she was not aware of shadow officials like Rudy Giuliani raising concerns about such corruption reforms in conversations with Ukrainian officials.

But Yovanovitch said that “in retrospect,” the characterization that Giuliani was leading a parallel policy in Ukraine “seems to be correct.” 

“But at the time, you know, we weren't seeing, you know, all of the pieces. I mean, we could feel that there was stuff out there, but we hadn't put it all together,” she said. “And so, you know, I mean, I was telling everybody, you know, keep on charging forward. This is our policy. This is agreed policy that Republicans, Democrats have all approved.”

1:47 p.m. ET, November 4, 2019

McKinley said he asked Pompeo about sending statement of support for Yovanovitch 3 times

From CNN's Zachary Cohen

Former State Department adviser Michael McKinley testified that he raised the idea of sending a statement of support for former US ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch three separate times with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and never received a substantive response from him. 

McKinley disclosed this during a line of questioning by Rep. Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

Here's that exchange:

Schiff: In the first conversation you had with the Secretary, you essentially got no response to the request for a statement. Is that accurate?
McKinley: That's accurate.
Schiff: And in the final conversation with the Secretary where you raised the matter again, you again got no specific response to that 'issue when you raised it with the Secretary. Is that correct?
McKinley: That is correct, yeah.
Schiff: And was there a third conversation?
McKinley: Yeah. So I presented my resignation on September 30th. I spoke with the Secretary again when he called from Europe to discuss my resignation. And I think at that point I said, well, you know, we really I was pretty direct. I said, you know, this situation isn't acceptable. We need to you know, I've already made my recommendation, but … I am resigning. And that was the conversation. Again, I didn't get a reaction on that point.

Later, McKinley was pressed by Republicans on whether it was possible that Pompeo’s lack of response could have been due to the fact that he hadn’t “fully come to grips with how they were going to respond to this inquiry.” McKinley acknowledged that was possible but also stated that “this approach … was having a negative impact” insight the State Department.

1:46 p.m. ET, November 4, 2019

Yovanovitch said she felt threatened after Trump singled her out on July phone call

Former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch said she felt threatened after President Trump used her name on the July 25 phone call to the president of Ukraine.

According to the transcript from her deposition last month, Yovanovitch was asked about a transcript of the call, which showed President Trump saying "she's going to go through some things."

During the testimony, someone asked Yovanovitch, "What did you understand that to mean?"

"I don't know what it meant," she answered. "I was very concerned. I still am."

"Did you feel threatened?" she was asked.

"Yes," she responded.

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1:46 p.m. ET, November 4, 2019

Yovanovitch said she believed charges against Ukrainian official convicted of election meddling were politically motivated 

From CNN's Jenny Hansler 

Former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testified that she didn’t believe the charges against Serhiy Leshchenko, a former Ukrainian government official convicted in a Kyiv court in 2018 of meddling in the 2016 US election. 

Leschenko and Artem Sytnyk released documents in August 2016 exposing Paul Manafort’s secret dealings in Ukraine, and were later accused by Rudy Giuliani of colluding to help the Democrats.

“I mean, honestly, I didn't believe the charges. I thought that they were politically motivated against Leshchenko,” Yovanovitch told the committees.

She also said that “it felt too political” to her and that she did not have instructions from State, [Department of Justice] or Washington to intervene on “what seemed to be internal Ukrainian political fights kind of using us.”

“The court system in Ukraine, and certainly at the time that we're talking about, was still not reformed, and so the court system didn't have a great deal, and still does not enjoy, a great deal of credibility,” she added.

She denied that there had been conversations with the State Department about special treatment or protections.