Democratic lawmaker: Ex-Ukraine ambassador gave 'emotional account of presidential abuse of power'

Democratic lawmaker: Ex-Ukraine ambassador gave 'emotional account of presidential abuse of power'
© Greg Nash

Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (N.Y.) said Friday that former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was a “very credible witness” who gave a “gripping and emotional account of presidential abuse of power” while testifying on Capitol Hill.

“I’m constrained about what I can tell you about the substance of her testimony, but what I want people to know is that Ambassador Yovanovitch gave a gripping and emotional account of presidential abuse of power,” Maloney told CNN's Wolf Blitzer.

He added, “This is a good person who served for more than 30 years in the foreign service, who was thrown to the wolves by Mr. [Rudy] Giuliani, who was representing the financial interest of his now-indicted associates, and by President TrumpDonald John TrumpPelosi arrives in Jordan with bipartisan congressional delegation Trump says his Doral resort will no longer host G-7 after backlash CNN's Anderson Cooper mocks WH press secretary over Fox News interview MORE, who was advancing his political interests in trying to get an investigation started in Ukraine of the Bidens. She gave very compelling and very convincing testimony, and we owe her a great debt of gratitude.”

When asked about concerns that Yovanovitch could face retribution for testifying after the State Department instructed her not to appear, Maloney said the administration should “leave her alone.”

ADVERTISEMENT

“She is trying to do her job, as she has always done, and her duty as a patriotic person who served the country well,” he said. “She’s telling the truth, she’s credible and she should not be penalized for that.”

In her closed-door testimony as part of the House impeachment inquiry, Yovanovitch told Congress that she lost her job due to “unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives” after being dismissed as envoy to Ukraine in May.

In her opening statement, she said Trump pressured the State Department to remove her although her superiors believed she had "done nothing wrong."

"Although I understand that I served at the pleasure of the President, I was nevertheless incredulous that the U.S. government chose to remove an Ambassador based, as best as I can tell, on unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives," she said.

Yovanovitch added in her opening statement that she was told Trump had "lost confidence in me and no longer wished me to serve as his ambassador." 

Maloney said after her testimony that "it is clear to me that she was fired because she was a thorn in the side of those who sought to use the Ukrainian government for their own political and financial gain — and that includes President Trump."