GOP On Ukraine Ambassador's House Testimony: CRUSHED IT! (Their Testicles.)

Watching the Republicans HURR DURR their way through Marie Yovanovitch's House testimony is hilarious. But at the same time, it's really not funny at all. This career public servant gave 33 years of her life to the United States foreign service, only to be kicked to the curb when the Russians put a conspiracy-loving idiot in the White House. And now the GOP is going to smear Yovanovitch and pretend that the anti-corruption reformers we supported in Ukraine were actually the bad guys, so as to better launder the reputation of the corrupt crooks who were feeding Trump lies that led him to try to extort the Ukrainian president. It's a fucking disgrace.

Rep. Jim Jordan got the party started by whining for the record about Nancy Pelosi and her fake impeachment hearings which is NO FAIR because of some lies he just made up about precedent. Then Rep. Lee Zeldin bitched that HPSCI Chair Adam Schiff isn't head of Foreign Affairs, so how come he gets to interview a State Department witness, HUH HUH HUH? Then they bitched for 20 minutes about the Washington Post getting a copy of Yovanovitch's opening statement. And it only went downhill from there.

But Democrats managed to elicit a comprehensive account of the ambassador's slow realization that Rudy Giuliani and his Chucklefuck buddies were gunning for her through a backchannel that took precedence over official State Department policy in Ukraine. Yovanovitch's first inkling that something was amiss came from her contacts in the Ukrainian government, who called to say, Hey, who is it that actually speaks for the US government, and also YOU IN DANGER, GIRL!

Q: When did you first become aware that Rudy Giuliani had an interest jn or was communicating with anyone in Ukraine?

YOVANOVITCH: Probably around November, December timeframe of 2018.

Q: And describe those circumstances when you first learned about it.

YOVANOVITCH: Basically, it was people in the Ukrainian government who said that Mr. Lutsenko, the former prosecutor general, was in communication with Mayor Giuliani, and that they had plans, and that they were go'ing to, you know, do things, including to me.

Lutskenko was the prosecutor general under former Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko. Lutsenko was less corrupt than Viktor Shokin, the prosecutor forced out in 2016 by a coalition of European and American governments led by Joe Biden. But Lutsenko was still pretty corrupt, so when he demanded meetings with high US officials and refusing to tell embassy staff what he wanted to talk about, Yovanovitch started to get nervous.

By February of 2019, the picture was coming into focus.

Q: Did you ever have any conversations after November, December 2018, with Ukrainian officials about Mr. Giuliani up until the time that you left in May?

YOVANOVITCH: I think perhaps in the February time period I did, where one of the senior Ukrainian officials was very concerned, and told me I really needed to watch my back.

Q: Describe that conversation.

YOVANOVITCH: Well, I mean, he basically said, and went into some detail, that there were two individuals from Florida, Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman, who were working with Mayor Giuliani, and that they had set up the meetings for Mr. Giuliani with Mr. Lutsenko. And that they were interested in having a different ambassador at post, I guess for because they wanted to have business dealings in Ukraine, or additional business dealings.

Interestingly, Yovanovitch suggests that Lutsenko was cultivating Giuliani because of Ukraine's own internal politics. Sitting president Poroshenko was sinking like a stone in the polls, and Lutsenko hoped to get Trump's endorsement and pull out a win. Perhaps that was the goal on March 20 when he gave the infamous interview with disgraced reporter John Solomon alleging that Yovanovitch had given him a list of untouchable people that Ukraine was forbidden to prosecute. He later retracted the claim, and yet Republicans spent much of their time trying to entrap Yovanovitch into somehow confirming that it was true.

Here's Rep. Mark Meadows, trying to distort an event where the Ukrainian government tried to justify detaining an anti-corruption protester and turn it into Marie Yovanovitch's personal DO NOT PROSECUTE list:

MEADOWS: So you don' t recall weighing in with regards to that individual in any --

YOVANOVITCH: I don't think he was ever arrested or charged with anything.

MEADOWS: I didn't say that. I said did you weigh in in terms of putting guardrails in terms of --


MEADOWS: -- the treatment of that particular individual with anyone from the embassy?

YOVANOVITCH: And can I -- and I would also say, we don't put guardrails on individuals.

MEADOWS: 0kay. Well , let ' s change the words , because those are my words. So obviously you' re saying we're looking at it at it a little differently. And obviously with regards to the one individual, you did say you felt like they were getting a bum deal. Is that correct?

Y0VAN0VITCH: Yeah. I think what we try to do is to talk about the principles that should govern the way, you know, whether it's law enforcement or other things are conducted, but we don't say yea or nay.

So what really happened?

YOVANOVITCH: So you're saying that I weighed in. What was actually happening is that on this particular case with Mr. Shabunin, the presidential administration was weighing in with me and with us at the embassy, because they felt that we had influence with Mr. Shabunin and to see whether he could, you know, curtaiI his criticism, shall we say, of Mr . Poroshenko and events in Ukraine. And then when there was this incident, which I don't recall very well, they raised that and said, you know, you see clearly he's a bad apple -- my words now, not theirs. And, you know, again, I said, well, you know, I mean, obviously you have processes, but they need to be according to the principles that we've been talking about for all this time.

Which is exactly what she was supposed to be doing. Except after the March 20 interview, all hell broke loose on rightwing media with Donald Trump Jr. shittweeting about her and the rest of the wingnutosphere going into major attack mode, and it got a lot harder for Yovanovitch to do her damn job. Luckily, she had EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland to advise her.

Q: And what did Mr. Sondland say when you talked to him about this topic?

YOVANOVITCH: He hadn't been aware of it, that the story had shifted, and he said, you know, you need to go big or go home. You need to, you know, tweet out there that you support the president, and that all these are lies and everything else. And, you know, so, you know, I mean, obviously, that was advice. It was advice that I did not see how I could implement in my role as an ambassador, and as a Foreign Service officer.

That's right, Sondland told her to get on Twitter and kiss Trump's ass. Prolly 'cause she didn't have a spare million to donate to a Trump PAC to show her love for the Dear Leader.

Yovanovitch got no support at the State Department either. The best she could get from her superiors was a vague promise that "the Secretary or perhaps somebody around him was going to place a call to Mr. Hannity on FOX News to say, you know, what is going on? I mean, do you have proof of these kinds of allegations or not? And if you have proof, you know, telI me, and if not, stop." That's right, the Secretary of State was going to go hat in hand and ask prettyplease if Fox could stop spreading lies about the US Ambassador, if it's not too much trouble.

Despite the fact that everyone agreed she was doing a good job, no statement of support would be coming from her employer of 33 years, since "it could be undermined" at any moment by a presidential tweet.

Then the Gippers got back to the mike to ask some more questions about insane rightwing conspiracy theories. What the hell is CrowdTangle, you are wondering? Is that yet another wingnut conspiracy angle we're going to have to keep track of? Why, yes it is! Put us out of our misery, Daily Beast:

For the past week, Trump ally and Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton and a chorus of conservative media voices have been fuming over a supposed "enemies list" compiled by the State Department and filled with right-wing Twitter characters. But it turns out that the supposed list, if it existed at all, was just a run-of-the-mill social media search on widely available web analytics tool CrowdTangle.

Last week, Fitton started claiming that he had reason to believe that former United States ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch had "unlawfully monitored" a host of pro-Trump media personalities. Fitton claimed Yovanovitch had requested monitoring of an "enemies list" through "social media and other means," only to be rebuffed because her request was "illegal."

Oh, FFS! Someone on Marie Yovanovitch's staff used a widely available commercial tool to find out what the wingers were saying about her, and now a lawyer paid for with your tax dollars is trying to launder it into some kind of dastardly enemies list. Then it got even stupider when Pennsylvania Republican Scott Perry moseyed up to the mike to ask about whether she was nefariously monitoring their social media, by having someone look at it once in a while.

PERRY: I'm just going to, if you don't mind, I'll going to ask you a list of names. You can say, I don't know, no, yes, but I want to go through the list of names. So you said, " I don' t know" to Donald Trump Jr ., right?


PERRY: Laura Ingraham.

YOVANOVITCH: I don't know.

PERRY: Sean Hannity.

YOVANOVITCH: I don't know.

PERRY: Michael McFaul.

YOVANOVITCH: I don't know.

PERRY: Dan Bongino.

YOVANOVITCH: I don't know.

PERRY: Ryan Saavedra.

YOVANOVITCH: I don't know.

PERRY: Rudy GiuIiani.

YOVANOVITCH: Don't know.

PERRY: Sebastian Gorka.

YOVANOVITCH: Don't know.

PERRY: John Solomon. I'm getting to the end.

YOVANOVITCH: Okay. Don't know.

PERRY: Lou Dobbs.

YOVANOVITCH: No, I don't know.

PERRY: Pam Gellar.


PERRY: Pam Gellar.


PERRY: Sara Carter.

YOVANOVITCH: No. I mean, I don't know.

What a fine use of committee time. Truly, Pennsylvania must be proud!

There was so, so much more stupid. Jim Jordan did his regular stand-up routine where he leans across the desk and shouts HEY, DIDN'T YOU THINK [insert bog standard thing] WAS SUSPICIOUS? I JUST CAN'T UNDERSTAND WHY YOU WEREN'T MORE UP IN ARMS ABOUT [standard operating procedure]?

There was Clinton Connect the Dots On Crack:

MR. PERRY: Okay, ma' am. Moving on. Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk, I think I'm hoping you're aware, so I'm going to ask you a couple questions. I think he's a donor to the Clinton Foundation and the Atlantic Council. Also Mr. Pinchuk and Burisma helped fund the Atlantic Council. And the Atlantic Council, I don't know whether you're aware, but I'm asking to ask you if you are, released a report regarding their assertion of Shokin's corruption. Are you aware of that?

YOVANOVITCH: No, but it' s in line with the kind of work that they do.

PERRY: Okay. And that, like I said, Victor Pinchuk and Burisma both helped to fund the Atlantic Council and maybe even some of the Burisma members are on the board of the Atlantic Council. Once they released that report, shortly thereafter, Shokin got fired, and then very shortly thereafter Burisma went to the new prosecutor general and asked for a reset. Does that and I know that earlier you kind of implied that you didn't want to get involved or didn't see it as your position to get involved in the politics, the elections, et cetera, of kind of either country in some way, the United States of America or Ukraine, but because of some of the relationships there, are you do you know who Victor Pinchuk is? Do you have a relationship with him?

And there were insinuations that conversations she had with her colleagues about Ukraine after leaving the post were somehow leaks of classified information!!!!1!!!

Also, too, Lee Zeldin is dumb as a doornail.

ZELDIN: Did you know this person?


ZELDIN: And how did where did you know that person from?

YOVANOVITCH: She had previously worked at the State Department.

ZELDIN: And how do you know that person at the State Department?

YOVANOVITCH: Because she worked at the State Department.

But it's all bullshit. The plain fact is that on March 5, the State Department asked Yovanovitch to extend her stay another year. After the Solomon article, they rescinded the offer and planned to remove her after the embassy's July 4 celebration. At 1 a.m. on April 25, Ambassador Carol Perez called Yovanovitch and told her to get on the next flight home for her own "security." Which she later found out meant that if she didn't get the hell out of there, they couldn't stop Donald Trump from tweeting about her and directing a dangerous rightwing trollstorm her way. And when she got home, neither Mike Pompeo nor his deputy Ulrich Brechbuhl would even agree to meet with her to explain what had happened. Which might account for the fact that so many State Department witnesses have defied their orders not to testify.


[Yovanovitch Transcript]

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.


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