Yovanovitch retires from State Department: reports

Yovanovitch retires from State Department: reports
© Greg Nash

Former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie YovanovitchMarie YovanovitchGiuliani hires attorneys who defended Harvey Weinstein The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - Facebook upholds Trump ban; GOP leaders back Stefanik to replace Cheney Former Ukrainian prosecutor says he was fired for not investigating Hunter Biden: report MORE, who has been at the center of President TrumpDonald TrumpRealClearPolitics reporter says Freedom Caucus shows how much GOP changed under Trump Jake Ellzey defeats Trump-backed candidate in Texas House runoff DOJ declines to back Mo Brooks's defense against Swalwell's Capitol riot lawsuit 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 GiulianiDOJ declines to back Mo Brooks's defense against Swalwell's Capitol riot lawsuit Bob Dole: 'I'm a Trumper' but 'I'm sort of Trumped out' Ex-Trump adviser Barrack charged with secretly lobbying for UAE 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 PompeoMike PompeoNoem to travel to South Carolina for early voting event Poll: Trump leads 2024 GOP primary trailed by Pence, DeSantis Pence v. Biden on China: Competing but consistent visions 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 VolkerCNN obtains audio of 2019 Giuliani call linked to Ukraine meddling allegations GOP senators request details on Hunter Biden's travel for probe Yovanovitch retires from State Department: reports MORE, Secretary of State adviser Michael McKinley and ambassador Bill Taylor have also left their roles. 

Updated: 9:31 p.m.