Ex-ambassador claims Trump wanted her out
Defying US President Donald Trump's ban on co-operation with the impeachment inquiry, former US ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch told lawmakers last night that Mr Trump himself had pressured the US State Department to oust her from her position.
Ms Yovanovitch said in an opening statement that she was "abruptly" recalled in May and told the president had lost confidence in her.
She said that she was told by an official that there was a "concerted campaign against me".
And she said Mr Trump had pressured officials to remove her for almost a year.
"Although I understand that I served at the pleasure of the president, I was nevertheless incredulous that the US government chose to remove an ambassador based, as best as I can tell, on unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives," Ms Yovanovitch wrote in the statement.
She appeared on Capitol Hill yesterday for a deposition in the Democrats' impeachment inquiry, accepting lawmakers' invitation to testify despite Mr Trump's declaration that no one in his administration would co-operate with the probe.
The Democrats are investigating Mr Trump's dealings with the Ukrainian president.
Mr Trump said earlier this week that he would block all officials from testifying.