As she did behind closed doors, Yovanovitch can, in a number of respects, complete the picture of a U.S. foreign policy hijacked by Trumpian bag men.
First, she can describe the smear campaign conducted against her by Trump lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani and his sidekicks, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who were out to get her, apparently, because she was an impediment to the schemes of Giuliani and former Ukrainian prosecutor Yuri Lutsenko. (Yovanovitch, for example, blocked a meeting Lutsenko wanted to have meetings with the Justice Department and/or FBI.) The New York Times explains, “The men, she came to realize, shared an interest in investigating former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter Biden, as well as other Democrats, and believed the ambassador stood in the way.”
They were able to prevail upon Trump to fire her, a move her superiors at the State Department — including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — did not stop. Since she could not have been fired without the consent and direction of the president, her story is one way of putting Trump in the middle of the scheming to get Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.
Second, she can discuss the effort to threaten or at least scare her. As she describes the call summoning her home, Yovanovitch recalls the Foreign Service’s director general, Carol Perez, telling Yovanovitch that she had “concerns for her.” Later, during the now-infamous July 25 call to Zelensky, Trump said that "the former ambassador from the United States, the woman, was bad news, and the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news, so I just want to let you know that.” He later added: ‘Well, she’s going to go through some things.’ ” Yovanovitch understandably felt threatened, wondering whether the FBI, for example, might be investigating her. This is a world of thuggery, driven by personal ambition and politics not having anything to do with U.S. national security.
Third, she can also testify that Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov “thought it was very dangerous that Ukraine . . . [would] start kind of getting into U.S. domestic politics.” This occurred in February, and showed that Ukraine was already feeling pressure to accede to the Trump-Giuliani investigation into the Bidens.
Finally, she can underscore, as she did in her opening statement behind closed doors, that “combating Russian efforts to destabilize Ukraine [has] anchored our policy” for years. She can also articulate that problems arise when “private interests circumvent professional diplomats for their own gain, not for the public good.” In other words, what she can describe is Trump, the reelection candidate, and his buddies overriding the national interest that Trump is sworn to protect. It is the very definition of corruption.
Yovanovitch was recalled in April, so she cannot discuss many of the events current acting ambassador William B. Taylor, Jr. and State Department official George Kent described leading up to and following the July 25 call. What she adds is a personal account of the menacing, thuggish conduct of Trump and his cronies, conduct not remotely appropriate for any president.