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Pompeo to investigate charges of surveillance against Yovanovitch

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday said he will investigate allegations that former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was under surveillance by private American citizens intent on her removal from Kyiv and possibly threatening harm.

The secretary’s remarks, made in an interview with the Tony Katz Today radio program, mark his first public comments nearly two days since bombshell revelations emerged that an associate of Rudy Giuliani was discussing tracking the ambassador’s movements as part of a larger campaign to secure her removal.

“We will do everything we need to do to evaluate whether there was something that took place there,” Pompeo said in the interview.

“I suspect that much of what’s been reported will ultimately prove wrong, but our obligation, my obligation as secretary of State, is to make sure that we evaluate, investigate. Any time there is someone who posits that there may have been a risk to one of our officers, we’ll obviously do that.”

Pompeo has come under harsh criticism from congressional Democrats and State Department officials for failing to speak out in defense of Yovanovitch, whose removal from her post in Kyiv in May is a central piece of the impeachment allegations against President Trump. 

 
House investigators this week released new documents illustrating the larger effort to remove Yovanovitch from her post, including text message conversations between Lev Parnas, an associate of Giuliani, and Robert Hyde, a former Marine, Trump campaign donor and Connecticut congressional candidate.

Parnas told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that the only motivation to remove Yovanovitch was to make it easier to pressure the Ukrainian president, and that he worked at the direction of Giuliani who in turn kept the president updated on their efforts. The effort was focused on getting Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

The president “knew exactly what was going on,” Parnas said in the interview.

In text messages that Hyde sent to Parnas, the former Marine alludes to having inside connections close to the ambassador and suggests he has her under physical surveillance.

Both Parnas and Hyde have since downplayed the exchanges, with Parnas saying he doesn’t believe Hyde had the capacity to track the ambassador and Hyde rejecting that he had eyes on Yovanovitch. 

 

The president was impeached last month on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, for blocking witnesses and documents related to House Democrats’ investigation. A Senate trial to decide whether the president should be removed from office will take place next week.

Tags Donald Trump Impeachment Joe Biden Marie Yovanovitch Mike Pompeo Rachel Maddow Rudy Giuliani Ukraine US ambassador

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