Former Ukraine envoy testifies Trump pushed to oust her

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He said the eight hours he was there "went like a NY second".

Maloney called Yovanovitch a "very credible witness" and said there are other people with crucial information set to be interviewed soon.

Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of OH defended Yovanovitch's removal from Ukraine, saying the president is entitled to have the ambassador he wants. That former diplomat spoke on condition of anonymity to disclose the private conversation.

A rough transcript of the call released by the White House shows Mr Trump asked Mr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden, now a Democratic frontrunner for next year's White House election.

"She's going to go through some things", Trump added. "State Department leadership, with Congress, needs to take action now to defend this great institution, and its thousands of loyal and effective employees", she said.

The Democratic chairmen of the three House committees leading the probe discovered that the State Department on Thursday had directed Yovanovitch not to testify, they said in a statement.

Zelensky told the AP he was simply hoping that the call with Trump would lead to a visit by Trump to Ukraine, and that he was hoping to persuade Trump to change the White House's rhetoric regarding Ukraine.

The former ambassador, who since her removal has been on academic sabbatical at Georgetown University, went on to talk more generally about the crisis of morale at the state department.

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Yovanovitch said she anxious that the State Department had become "hollowed out" during the Trump administration and the harm she saw could encourage "bad actors" who see "how easy it is to use fiction and innuendo to manipulate our system" to the point where only the interests of "adversaries like Russia" will be served.

Yovanovitch's testimony comes days after the White House sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on October 8, telling the House that it won't participate in the "highly partisan and unconstitutional" inquiry, saying that it violated "fundamental fairness and constitutionally mandated due process".

The State Department traditionally relies on mutual legal assistance treaties, under which US and foreign officials agree to exchange evidence and information in criminal investigations.

In her statement to lawmakers, Yovanovitch said that "false narratives" had resulted from "an unfortunate alliance between Ukrainians who continue to operate within a corrupt system, and Americans who either did not understand that corrupt system, or who may have chosen, for their own purposes, to ignore it".

The former ambassador said she could only recall contact with Giuliani on three occasions, none of which had anything to do with the matters under investigation. She said Giuliani's associates "may well have believed that their personal financial ambitions were stymied by our anti-corruption policy in Ukraine". Law enforcement officials briefed on the matter told CNN that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and prosecutors in Manhattan are examining Giuliani's involvement in the broader flow of money that has become the focus of alleged violations that are at the center of the charges against Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman.

"To make matters worse, all of this occurred during an especially challenging time in bilateral relations with a newly elected Ukrainian president". "I want to express my appreciation for not just what a great champion she was for the rule of law in Ukraine, but also the respect she has for the rule of law here at home".

"Today, we see the State Department attacked and hollowed out from within", Ms Yovanovitch said. However, the memo notes there was no mention of security assistance or the threat of military funds being withdrawn in the phone call - the key argument used by Democrats to launch an impeachment inquiry. Trump lambastes the investigation daily and now contends it is illegitimate because the full House has not voted on it.

Giuliani does not deny pushing for Yovanovich's removal from Kyiv, but says that he did so at the behest of Trump, not of any foreign officials.

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