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Yovanovitch Shoots Down Congressman's Odd Theory

Did somebody pay diplomat George Kent to praise fellow diplomat Marie Yovanovitch?
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 15, 2019 1:40 PM CST
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Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Nov. 15, 2019.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

(Newser) – In his questioning of Marie Yovanovitch during Friday's impeachment hearing, GOP Rep. Mike Conaway seemed to perplex the former ambassador with one of his queries. It happened after he referred to the testimony of diplomat George Kent earlier in the week:

  • Conaway: Kent "made some exemplary statements about you, really glowing," said Conaway, per CNN. "All of us would like to be the recipient of something that worthy, and I believe you are as well. Any reason on Earth that you can think of that George Kent would be saying that because of some reason other than the fact he believes it in his heart of hearts?"
  • Yovanovitch: "Like, like what?"
  • Conaway: "Well, I mean like somebody paid him to do it?"
  • Yovanovitch: "No, absolutely not."

Politico has video of the exchange and says Yovanovitch was "stunned" by it. Some other notable moments:

  • "Are you a never Trumper?" asked Democratic Rep. Terri Sewell, per the Wall Street Journal. "No," responded Yovanovitch, noting that she has served under four Republican presidents.
  • Another response from Yovanovitch, who was ousted from her post as ambassador to Ukraine: "What I'd like to say is, while I obviously don't dispute that the President has the right to withdraw an ambassador at any time for any reason, but what I do wonder is why it was necessary to smear my reputation also?"
  • GOP Rep. Jim Jordan mentioned criticism by Ukrainian officials in 2016 of then-candidate Donald Trump in 2016. "No one did anything,” Jordan told Yovanovitch, per the Washington Post. So “you see why maybe, maybe the president was a little concerned about what went on in Ukraine." But the former ambassador responded: "I can’t speak for the president on this. … From my point of view, that doesn’t create a Ukrainian government strategy to interfere in our election. ... It doesn’t necessarily constitute interference."

(Read more Trump impeachment stories.)

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