Yovanovitch retires from State Department: reports

Yovanovitch retires from State Department: reports
© Greg Nash

Former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie YovanovitchMarie YovanovitchGrand jury adds additional counts against Giuliani associates Lev Parnas and and Igor Fruman Strzok: Trump behaving like an authoritarian Powell backs Biden at convention as Democrats rip Trump on security MORE, who has been at the center of President TrumpDonald John TrumpCensus Bureau intends to wrap up count on Oct. 5 despite judge's order Top House Republican calls for probe of source of NYT Trump tax documents New Yorkers report receiving ballots with wrong name, voter addresses MORE's impeachment inquiry, is retiring from her role in the State Department, according to multiple reports. 

Both CNN and NPR reported Friday that Yovanovitch had retired from her role sometime within the last two weeks, though the exact time of her departure was not made immediately clear. The former ambassador was most recently serving as a senior State Department fellow at Georgetown University.

Yovanovitch played a key role in the House's impeachment inquiry into Trump, serving as a witness as she discussed the president's dealings in Ukraine as well as her ouster from her ambassador position. She was removed from her position in May 2019 after she insisted that Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiVoters split on whether Trump, Biden will win first debate: poll The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by JobsOhio - Trump's tax return bombshell Trump says Christie, Giuliani assisting debate prep MORE's requests for investigations of the Biden family by Kyiv go through official channels.

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She testified that she was pushed out of her role by Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer, and his associates, alleging they were behind what she says are false attacks that influenced Trump's decision to have her removed. 

Giuliani has denied any wrongdoing, but admitted to telling Trump that Yovanovitch was blocking Biden investigations.

He said in an interview that he did not recommend Trump or Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoPompeo blasts media coverage of Trump foreign policy The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by JobsOhio - Trump's tax return bombshell US says it will leave Baghdad embassy if Iraq doesn't rein in attacks: report MORE remove Yovanovitch.

“I just gave them the facts,” he said. “I mean, did I think she should be recalled? I thought she should have been fired."

However, evidence later released by the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight and Reform committees appeared to back up Yovanovitch's claims and further showed she was possibly being surveilled by Giuliani's associates. Communications between indicted Giuliani associate Lev Parnas and Connecticut congressional candidate Robert Hyde, for example, hinted that the ambassador was being watched.

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That evidence has since sparked an investigation by the State Department.

Recently released audio recordings also appear to capture Trump and Giuliani associates discussing the ambassador's removal.

Her role at the center of impeachment was tough on Yovanovitch, who said she was personally having a "difficult time".

"It's been a difficult time. I mean, I'm a private person. I don't want to put all that out there, but it's been a very, very difficult time because the president does have the right to have his own or her own ambassador in every country in the world," she said while testifying before Congress in November.

"There's a question as to why the kind of campaign to get me out of Ukraine happened, because all the president has to do is say he wants a different ambassador and in my line of work ... all we have is our reputation and so this has been a very painful period," she added.

Yovanovitch is now the fourth State Department official to depart their role after being tied to impeachment. U.S. Special Representative to Ukraine Kurt VolkerKurt VolkerGOP senators request details on Hunter Biden's travel for probe Yovanovitch retires from State Department: reports Live coverage: Senators enter second day of questions in impeachment trial MORE, Secretary of State adviser Michael McKinley and ambassador Bill Taylor have also left their roles. 

Updated: 9:31 p.m.