Envoy shows up to testify despite Trump's opposition

Marie Yovanovitch

On Friday, Marie Yovanovitch, the former USA ambassador to Ukraine who was recalled from her post in May, was at the Capitol for a scheduled closed-door deposition in front of three House committees involved in the impeachment inquiry.

White House officials said the president and the administration will not cooperate with the impeachment inquiry, calling it an illegitimate effort to overturn the 2016 election results.

Sondland's decision to testify marks a 180-degree shift from earlier this week, when he declined to do so.

On Tuesday House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairmen Adam B. Schiff, California Democrat, said those documents are "highly relevant" to the impeachment inquiry.

House Democrats launched an impeachment inquiry to investigate Trump after a US intelligence official filed a whistleblower's complaint about a July 25 call between the USA president and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Ms. Yovanovitch, who has served in three different posts as ambassador, a three-time ambassador, earlier this year became a target of Mr. Trump's allies including Mr. Giuliani, who accused her of obstructing the president's efforts to have Kyiv investigate Mr. Biden and sought to have her removed.

The pair, Ukraine-born Lev Parnas and Belarus-born Igor Fruman, were arrested at an airport outside Washington carrying one-way tickets to Vienna.

Yovanovitch was to speak to the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight and Reform committees behind closed doors Friday.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing and called the inquiry "the greatest scam in the history of American politics".

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The State Department blocked Sondland from appearing before three House panels last week as the White House informed Democratic leaders they had no intention of cooperating with the impeachment inquiry.

She was born in Montreal to Russian parents, her family moving to the US a few years later.

Even one hour before her scheduled testimony it was not clear if Yovanovitch would appear or be blocked by the administration.

Yovanovitch was still expected to appear as of late Thursday, a House aide said.

Yovanovitch was recalled from her post in May and is now a State Department fellow at Georgetown University.

Yovanovitch has always known that the role of diplomat "wasn't about her" but about "serving American national interests and supporting the people around her", said Nancy McEldowney, a former USA ambassador to Bulgaria who now directs a Foreign Service program at Georgetown. According to the indictment, the two Florida businessmen pressured former Texas Republican Congressmember Pete Sessions to push for the ouster of the USA ambassador to Ukraine, while simultaneously funding his campaign.

Trump referred to Yovanovitch as as "bad news" to Zelensky in the White House account of the conversation released last month.

Two associates of Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani have been arrested and charged with campaign finance violations.

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