House impeachment investigators on Thursday released a transcript of the testimony of George P. Kent, a senior State Department official in charge of Ukraine policy. Mr. Kent’s said in his deposition that he was all but cut out of decisions regarding the country after a May meeting organized by Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff.
Kent accused Giuliani of a ‘campaign of lies’ against Yovanovitch, the ambassador to Ukraine.
Kent transcript, Page 131: “Mr. Giuliani, at that point, had been carrying on a campaign for several months full of lies and incorrect information about Ambassador Yovanovitch, so this was a continuation of his campaign of lies.”
In his testimony to investigators, Mr. Kent expressed deep anger about the removal of Marie L. Yovanovitch, the ambassador to Ukraine. He repeatedly accused Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, of mounting a successful campaign that smeared her as disloyal to President Trump to have her removed, later saying that Mr. Giuliani’s “assertions and allegations against former Ambassador Yovanovitch were without basis, untrue, period.”
Like other officials, Mr. Kent pressed unsuccessfully for the State Department to publicly defend Yovanovitch.
Kent transcript, Page 66: “Particularly after there were tweets by members of the Presidential family, it was clearly a crisis for Ambassador Yovanovitch and a crisis that was threatening to consume the relationship. So our recommendation to our superiors was that there should be a clear statement of support for Ambassador Yovanovitch.”
Attacks on Ms. Yovanovitch by Mr. Giuliani — and his allies in Ukraine and the United States — mark the beginning of the story Democratic investigators seek to tell the public. Mr. Kent’s testimony makes clear that he and other State Department officials responsible for the United States-Ukraine relationship were deeply alarmed by the smears, and they believed that unsubstantiated accusations Ms. Yovanovitch’s disloyalty could undermine the relationship between the two countries and ultimately create a vacuum for bad actors.
Despite their concerns, requests from the American Embassy in Kiev and Mr. Kent’s bureau at the State Department were declined, he said. He watched in growing exasperation as what had begun as a fringe campaign against Ms. Yovanovitch moved into Mr. Trump’s inner circle and eventually led the president to order her recall to the United States this spring.
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