President Donald Trump's envoy in Ukraine, mentioned in the whistleblower complaint, resigned as special representative just one day after the complaint was made public.
Kurt Volker met Mike Pompeo on Friday to announce the news, according to an Arizona State University official, where he is executive director of the McCain Institute.
A Democratic-led committee of the US House of Representatives issued a summons on Friday for Secretary of State Pompeo, seeking to force him to submit documents regarding contact with the Ukrainian government, just three days after speaker Nancy Pelosi announced an official accusation investigation .
The Foreign Affairs, Intelligence and Supervision Committees have also planned deposits in the next two weeks for five officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including the former US ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, Ambassador Gordon Sondland, the US Ambassador to the European Union and Ambassador Kurt Volker, the US Special representative for Ukraine.
Kurt Volker, executive director of the McCain Institute, met Mike Pompeo on Friday to announce the news
Months before the call to initiate an investigation into accusation, many in the diplomatic community were alarmed by the abrupt removal of a career diplomat from her position as ambassador to Ukraine.
The expulsion of the ambassador and the campaign against her that preceded it now appear as a major sequence of events behind the whistleblower's complaint that the president has pressured a foreign country to investigate his political rival.
In a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday, Senator Robert Menendez demanded answers about the expulsion of Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch.
& # 39; Why was the US ambassador to Ukraine recalled in May 2019? & # 39; the Democratic senator wrote in a list of questions about what he considered the & # 39; perversion of US foreign policy & # 39; mentioned by the whistleblower. & # 39; Have you approved that decision? & # 39;
Yovanovitch is one of the five officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who have to be dismissed by the House intelligence, foreign affairs and monitoring committees about the whistleblower's complaint. The committees also issued a summons for documents from Pompeo.
The removal of Yovanovitch received little attention at the time it took place, when many in Washington were engaged in escalating tensions with Iran. Foreign ministry officials said she was only ending her term a few months prior to a departure scheduled for July. She remained silent and moved back to Washington. She remained a diplomat but had a university scholarship and no permanent assignment from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Volker met Friday with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to announce his resignation, said a representative of Arizona State University. Pompeo is shown during an event that is being organized on Thursday by the Energy Resources Governance Initiative of the Department of State in New York
But privately, many in the US and worldwide diplomatic communities were shocked because they believed that they were improperly removed from a sensitive position at a critical moment, because a new president took office in a struggling period without any political experience country that desperately needs US economic and military assistance in an ongoing struggle against separatists supported by Russia.
President Donald Trump said in his telephone conversation on 25 July with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that Yovanovitch & # 39; bad news & # 39; and that she goes through some things & # 39 ;, according to the memo of the call issued by the White House this week. But that characterization of her and her performance was contradicted by five current and former officials who spoke to The Associated Press.
The officials described Yovanovitch as a respected and highly educated diplomat who carried out two important missions on behalf of the government: urging the Ukrainian government to address the long-standing American concerns about public corruption in the Eastern European nation and to build support for Ukraine's efforts fights against the separatists.
It was really only because elements of the Ukrainian government wanted her to ease her pressure on corruption investigations – and expected her to do so because they noticed that Trump would be less concerned about the issue – that she was starting a campaign against her , said current and former officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, to discuss internal matters. That campaign got steam with the arrival on the scene of Trump & # 39; s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
First, officials said, Pompeo resisted the demands for her recall and argued that she had to complete her tour in Kiev. Pompeo & # 39; was against her early removal & # 39 ;, said one of the current officials. However, when it became clear that the opposition to her was not diminishing, she said Pompeo arranged a & # 39; soft landing & # 39; for her in Washington.
Yovanovitch, a fluent Russian speaker, had previously been an ambassador to Kyrgyzstan and Armenia and was deputy head of the embassy in Ukraine from 2001 to 2004. The removal of the experienced diplomat and Trump's cryptic but apparently threatening remarks about her led to protests from the diplomatic community this week.
& # 39; The threatening tone of this statement is very disturbing & # 39 ;, said the American Academy of Diplomacy about Trump's comments. & # 39; It suggests actions outside and in violation of the procedures and standards of a professional service whose officers, like their military counterparts, take an oath to uphold the constitution. Regardless of the government's opinion on Ambassador Yovanovitch's performance, we call on the government to make it clear that retaliation is not tolerated for political reasons. & # 39;
In this file photo of March 6, 2019, the US ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, sits in the middle during her meeting with Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko in Kiev, Ukraine. Months before the call to initiate an investigation into accusation, many in the diplomatic community were alarmed by the abrupt removal of a career diplomat from her position as ambassador to Ukraine. The expulsion of the ambassador and the political campaign against her that preceded it now appear as an important sequence of events behind the whistleblower's complaint against the president
And the American Foreign Service Association, the union representing American diplomats, called on all Americans to do & # 39; non-partisan, non-political work & # 39; honor and respect the duties of the dedicated officials of the Foreign Service. & # 39; We insist that their service, which is sometimes under the most serious circumstances and security risks, is not politicized and is not carried away in partisan political battles. & # 39;
The former and current officials said she was probably appalled by her attention, including a letter from Rep. Pete Sessions, a Republican Texas who lost his bid for re-election in November, to Pompeo who requested her resignation because he had received notification of concrete evidence that she & # 39; had spoken privately and repeatedly about her contempt for the current government & # 39 ;.
A former official said he was unaware of such evidence and said it would be unlikely that the diplomat would discredit any government. Sessions did not respond to questions about the letter sent to him through a spokeswoman.
Sessions was one of the GOP politicians and a Trump affiliated political action committee that received campaign donations in 2018 from Soviet-born business partners, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman. The congressman from Texas received $ 5,400 of the nearly $ 500,000 given by the men and met one of them. They worked with Giuliani on his investigation into the son of former vice president Joe Biden, who was a member of the board of directors of an energy company in Ukraine.
Ukrainian media have reported that the business partners organized a meeting in New York in January between Giuliani and the former prosecutor of the country, Yuri Lutsenko.
In the course of the following months a series of articles appeared in which the ambassador was criticized. Donald Trump Jr. called her and other ambassadors & # 39; jokers & # 39; on Twitter and tweeted a link to a critical piece. Lutsenko then gave an interview in which he claimed that Yovanovitch, who had been critical of the public prosecutor in the past, had given him a & # 39; no prosecution & # 39; list of people who should not be pursued, so the whistleblower complaint. He publicly withdrew that claim on April 17.
But the ambassador would be out of her position by the end of the following month. As the whistleblower noted: & # 39; I heard from US officials with direct knowledge of the situation that Ambassador Yovanovitch was suddenly recalled to Washington by senior Foreign Ministry officials for & # 39; consultation & # 39; and would probably be removed from her position. & # 39;
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