A senior State Department official, George Kent, told impeachment investigators that President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani carried out a “campaign of lies” to smear U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch before she was abruptly recalled from her post in May. That’s according to a full transcript of Kent’s closed-door testimony released Thursday. Kent is slated to testify next Wednesday on the first day of televised hearings in the impeachment inquiry into whether President Trump withheld military aid from Ukraine in order to pressure the Ukrainian president to investigate Trump’s political rival Joe Biden and his son.
The New York Times reports Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was prepared to bow to Trump’s demands and was planning to announce the investigations in an interview with CNN on September 13. But only days before the scheduled interview, the Trump administration released the $400 million aid, after news about the freeze leaked, sparing the Ukrainian president from having to announce the investigation.