George Kent has not been a particularly boldfaced name among impeachment inquiry witnesses thus far. But on Thursday, we received a transcript of his October testimony in the House impeachment investigation, and we can see why Democrats will have Kent as one of their first public witnesses Wednesday.

Kent is a very high-level State Department official, overseeing European and Eurasian affairs. Like Bill Taylor, the acting head of the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, he appears to have had a bird’s-eye view of how President Trump’s designated point people were trying to get Ukraine to investigate Democrats.

Kent paints the clearest picture yet of how all this got started: Trump’s personal lawyer joined with Ukrainians he described as “corrupt” to attack U.S. officials and eventually oust the U.S. ambassador, Marie Yovanovitch. Democratic impeachment investigators see her ouster as an effort by the White House to put in people much more wiling to do the president’s bidding in Ukraine.

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Read his testimony closely, and it seems like Kent thinks Trump is the one who got used, specifically to do this Ukrainian official’s bidding.

Here’s one paragraph from Kent’s 355-page testimony that is particularly illuminating. Let’s break it down.

Q: In your belief, in your understanding, in your experience, why was the Ambassador recalled?
A: Based on what I know, Yuriy Lutsenko, as prosecutor general, vowed revenge, and provided information to Rudy Giuliani in hopes that he would spread it and lead to her removal. I believe that was the rationale for Yuriy Lutsenko doing what he did. Separately, there are individuals that I mentioned before, including Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who started reaching out actively to undermine Ambassador Yovanovitch, starting in 2018 with a meeting with former Congressman Pete Sessions on May 9th, 2018, the same day he wrote a letter to Secretary Pompeo impugning Ambassador Yovanovitch’s loyalty and suggesting that she be removed. And others also in 2018 were engaged in an effort to undermine her standing by claiming that she was disloyal. So that’s the early roots of people following their own agendas and using her as an instrument to fulfill those agendas.

1. “Based on what I know, Yuriy Lutsenko, as prosecutor general, vowed revenge, and provided information to Rudy Giuliani in hopes that he would spread it and lead to her removal. I believe that was the rationale for Yuriy Lutsenko doing what he did.”

Yuriy Lutsenko is the former top prosecutor in Ukraine. Kent testifies elsewhere that when the United States installed Yovanovitch as ambassador in 2016, under the Obama administration, she and Kent pushed hard against the Ukrainian practice of intimidating and harassing “society activists, members of the media and political opponents” in Ukraine. Lutsenko isn’t the guy whom former vice president Joe Biden put pressure on to oust (that’s his predecessor, Victor Shokin), but Kent describes him as having similarly corrupt roots.

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Kent says Lutsenko “vowed revenge” for the targeting by Americans. His emissary: None other than the personal lawyer to Trump, Rudolph W. Giuliani.

Kent testifies that Giuliani willingly joined in targeting Yovanovitch with dirt Lutsenko gave him, stuff he said “was primarily non-truths and non-sequiturs.” Kent said Trump’s personal lawyer was all over Ukrainian media and conservative U.S. media on this: “As the news campaign, or campaign of slander against not only Ambassador Yovanovitch unfolded, he had a very high — a media [presence], so he was on TV, his Twitter feed ramped up and it was all focused on Ukraine.”

Kent accused Giuliani of “carrying on a campaign for several months full of lies and incorrect information about Ambassador Yovanovitch. … His assertions and allegations against former Ambassador Yovanovitch were without basis, untrue, period.”

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By this point, Giuliani wasn’t the only American attacking its ambassador. Someone allied with Lutsenko retweeted Donald Trump Jr., who attacked Yovanovitch. Trump himself brought her name up in the July phone call with Ukraine’s newly elected president, calling her “bad news” — even though she had been out of the job for months by that time.

The through-line here is that a former Ukrainian official indirectly had an in to the president of the United States, via Giuliani. In other words, it seems like Kent thinks Trump got used. (As The Washington Post’s Philip Bump reports, Lutsenko eventually backtracked on some of his own allegations about Yovanovitch and Biden.)

But why was Giuliani, a former mayor of New York City with no diplomatic experience and no official government title, involved at all in this? The next section of this paragraph gives us some clues.

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2. “Separately, there are individuals that I mentioned before, including Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who started reaching out actively to undermine Ambassador Yovanovitch, starting in 2018 with a meeting with former Congressman Pete Sessions on May 9th, 2018, the same day he wrote a letter to Secretary Pompeo impugning Ambassador Yovanovitch’s loyalty and suggesting that she be removed.”

Okay, so. Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman are business associates of Giuliani with roots in the former Soviet Union. They were indicted last month in the United States and accused of trying to donate to a congressman — that would be former Texas Republican Pete Sessions — to get Yovanovitch ousted.

The link here is that Giuliani’s business associates were part of this anti-Yovanovitch campaign, too, giving an intriguing entry point for why Giuliani was involved in Ukraine at all in the first place.

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3. “And others also in 2018 were engaged in an effort to undermine her standing by claiming that she was disloyal. So that’s the early roots of people following their own agendas and using her as an instrument to fulfill those agendas.”

Once again, according to Kent: A Ukrainian official who blamed Americans for him losing his job recruited an American close to the president to help him exact revenge. From there, Kent and others testify that Trump installed political appointees (the “three amigos”) to pressure Ukraine’s new government to investigate Democrats for Trump. And that’s how this all got started.

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