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I've read that in the Zelensky-Trump phone call:

Zelensky said he agreed with Trump "100 per cent" that the former US ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, was "a bad ambassador."

And as context:

Yovanovitch was abruptly recalled by the Trump administration in May. Though she was widely respected in the national security community for her efforts to prod Ukraine to tackle corruption, she became the target of political attacks by conservative media outlets and Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal laywer.

This comes pretty close to the fund freeze that Trump imposed on Ukraine, if I got that right.

But has Yovanovitch's recall been tied more directly to the efforts to have the Bidens investigated? E.g. was she asked to pressure Ukraine too [to investigate the Bidens], but she refused?

CNN summarizes some rather vague claims of this sort:

Giuliani has claimed without evidence on numerous occasions that Yovanovitch had impeded his investigation in Ukraine and has tied this baseless claim to a conspiracy theory involving funding from the billionaire George Soros.

But it's unclear from that what Giuliani's investigation into Ukraine was about, investigation that Yovanovitch supposedly obstructed somehow.

If nothing more clear transpired publically in that regard insofar, has the impeachment inquiry interviewed Yovanovitch already or announced they might be trying/planning to interview her?

  • 1
    Possibly helpful timeline. – Denis de Bernardy Sep 27 '19 at 14:29
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    It looks like former ambassador to Ukraine Marie "Masha" Yovanovitch will be deposed as part of the impeachment inquiry. – Rick Smith Sep 27 '19 at 23:44
  • @RickSmith: given how I've formulated my question, that's a valid answer too. I guess they've considered her relevant enough after all, even if not clearly connected to the Biden issue. – Fizz Sep 27 '19 at 23:49
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+50

Has the recall of the US ambassador to Ukraine been tied with the efforts to have the Bidens investigated by Ukraine?

Yes. According to the Wall Street Journal:

WASHINGTON—President Trump ordered the removal of the ambassador to Ukraine after months of complaints from allies outside the administration, including his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, that she was undermining him abroad and obstructing efforts to persuade Kyiv to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, according to people familiar with the matter.

[...]

In an interview, Mr. Giuliani told The Wall Street Journal that in the lead-up to Ms. Yovanovitch’s removal, he reminded the president of complaints percolating among Trump supporters that she had displayed an anti-Trump bias in private conversations. In Mr. Giuliani’s view, she also had been an obstacle to efforts to push Ukraine to investigate Mr. Biden and his son Hunter.

From the Washington Post on the ambassador's testimony before the House Oversight and Reform Committee:

In explaining her departure, she acknowledged months of criticisms by President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, who had accused her of privately badmouthing the president and seeking to protect the interests of Biden and his son who served on the board of a Ukrainian energy company.

Yovanovitch denied those allegations and said she was “incredulous” that her superiors decided to remove her based on “unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives.”

According to Politico, both Hunter Biden and ambassador Yovanovitch were targeted in a smear campaign:

The State Department’s inspector general briefed congressional aides Wednesday about an apparent attempt to smear the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, who is seen by House Democrats as a key witness in their impeachment inquiry.

Sources who attended the closed-door briefing — deemed “urgent” when it was announced on Tuesday — described it as bizarre and confusing. Steve Linick, the inspector general, revealed that a packet of documents containing misinformation about the former ambassador, Marie Yovanovitch, was sent to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earlier this year from an unknown source. Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, was also a target of debunked conspiracy theories laid out in the documents, lawmakers and aides said.

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No, it has nothing to do with the Biden issue. The only connection is that they were both mentioned on the White House transcript of the Ukrainian phone call.

As a history, Pete Sessions (R-TX) wrote to Mike Pompeo in May of 2018 that he'd heard tell that the ambassador for Ukraine expressed 'disdain' for the Trump administration. It appears that Pompeo did not pass that information on to the president, so Sessions went to Fox News in March of 2019, and Joe DiGenova repeated the (unsubstantiated) charge on-air. Trump Jr. re-tweeted it, Trump saw it...and she was fired shortly afterwards.

3

No, though it is kind of mixed up in a lot of the other Ukrainian stuff. There was reporting from right-wing sources that Trump likes to read of allegations by a Russian prosecutor that Yovanovich was trying to undermine Trump's election campaign and had even given him a list of names of people he was not allowed to prosecute.

The State Department (Trump's State Department) called the claims "an outright fabrication" and the prosecutor later retracted his claim about the list. But Trump read what he wanted to read from the original story, and that played a large role in his decision to remove the Ambassador.

Washington Post: How a conservative columnist helped push a flawed Ukraine narrative

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