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Maloney Questions Former U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch In Impeachment Open Hearings

Nov 15, 2019
Press Release

Maloney Questions Former U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch In Impeachment Open Hearings

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) questioned Marie Yovanovitch, former United States Ambassador to Ukraine. Ambassador Yovanovitch is the third witness to testify before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence for the committee’s public hearings on the impeachment inquiry.

A clip of Rep. Maloney’s line of questioning and a full transcript is below:

Watch the video here

 

TRANSCRIPT:

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney: Ambassador Yovanovitch, thank you for being here it's been a long day. You know the first time we met it wasn't clear – and so I just want to start with a quick comment, but your testimony in this inquiry broke the dam. You were the first one through that stone wall that the President was trying to set up, and I just want to thank you for that because others have followed your example, and there's an old expression that first person through the wall gets a little bit bloody and I think you must understand that expression, in any way – but thank you.

Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch: Thank you.

Rep. Maloney: I want to ask you about the day you were let go. And I know this is a painful series of events, so forgive me, but I think it's very important. It's April 24th, and you told us a few things that really stuck with me. You said you were at the Embassy in Ukraine. You were honoring a Ukrainian woman. An anti-corruption activist. I believe her name is Kateryna Handziuk?

Amb. Yovanovitch: Yes - that's correct. I was at my house.

Rep: Maloney: At your house – excuse me. And you were giving her the “Woman of Courage Award” I believe?

Amb. Yovanovitch: Yes -  Embassy Kiev's “Women of Courage Award”.

Rep. Maloney: Right. And – of course - that's the day you get a call from Carol Perez, senior member of the Foreign Service. Did you know Carol Perez?

Amb. Yovanovitch: Yes.

Rep. Maloney: You're both senior women in the Foreign Service. Had you had an opportunity to meet her before?

Amb. Yovanovitch: Yes.

Rep. Maloney: And she says “there's trouble coming, want to give you a heads up.” (Correct me if I get this wrong) “And I don't know a lot, but it's coming from the White House - I'll call you later.”

Amb. Yovanovitch: Yeah that's sums it up.

Rep. Maloney: But you're literally that evening honoring this anti-corruption activist. Is that right?

Amb. Yovanovitch: Yes.

Rep. Maloney: And not just any woman but a woman who was – you said – horribly attacked and killed for her efforts. And she wasn't just killed. You said I believe that someone threw acid on her?

Amb. Yovanovitch: That's correct.

Rep. Maloney: And I went and I checked during the break, and it turns out she was horribly injured, and it took four months for her to die. Is that right?

Amb. Yovanovitch: A very painful death.

Rep. Maloney: Why would somebody attack her with acid? There are easier ways to kill people. Why do you think they did it with acid?

Amb. Yovanovitch: Well I think they wanted her out of the way, but I think the message was: this could happen to you too if you continue her work.

Rep. Maloney: That's what happens when you go up against corrupt people in Ukraine.

Amb. Yovanovitch: It is something that can happen. I mean there are other ways of sidelining people.

Rep. Maloney: You remember speaking at that event?

Amb. Yovanovitch: I do.

Rep. Maloney: I went and looked at what you said. You said “Kataryna paid the ultimate price for her fearlessness in fighting against corruption and for her determined efforts to build a democratic Ukraine.” Do you remember saying that?

Amb. Yovanovitch: Yes.

Rep. Maloney: And then your phone rings, and you hear there's trouble up the street and Carol Perez called you back later that night, right?

Amb. Yovanovitch: Yes.

Rep. Maloney: it was 1:00 a.m. I believe.

Amb. Yovanovitch: Yes.

Rep. Maloney: Were you sleeping?

Amb. Yovanovitch: No.

Rep. Maloney: You'd stayed up to get the phone call?

Amb. Yovanovitch: Yes.

Rep. Maloney: And that's when she says two things I believe that really stuck with me. She said: “We're worried about your security.”

Amb. Yovanovitch: Yes.

Rep. Maloney: You've just been honoring a woman who was killed for fighting for anti-corruption efforts, and she says "You’ve got to get on the next plane." Was she speaking euphemistically, get on the next plane - you know when you get time - or did she mean literally the next plane?

Amb. Yovanovitch: I think she meant, you know, as soon as possible. But, pretty much, it was the next plane.

Rep. Maloney: And that's a pretty good flight back from Kiev to Washington, and you're on your way to meet with Deputy Secretary Sullivan?

Amb. Yovanovitch: Yes.

Rep. Maloney: And he says to you two things: He says there was a concerted effort against you, and he says you've done nothing wrong. And what I'm fascinated about, is when he says you'd done nothing wrong, what did you expect the United States government would do next?

Amb. Yovanovitch: It was pretty clear that a decision had been made by the President, implemented by the State Department that I had to leave Ukraine, but I'd hoped that there would be more public support.

Rep. Maloney: Did you expect them to have your back?

Amb. Yovanovitch: Yes.

Rep. Maloney: And were you surprised when you found out they weren't going to?

Amb. Yovanovitch: Not at that point anymore.

Rep. Maloney: Why?

Amb. Yovanovitch: Because over the last several months that had not been the case.

Rep. Maloney: Ma'am, in your opening statement you said, “How could our system fail like this? How is it that foreign corrupt interests could manipulate our government? How could our system fail like this? How is it that foreign corrupt interests could manipulate our government?” I want you to know ma'am that that is the very question we are determined to get an answer for, and I want to thank you on behalf of your country for your service, and with our work in answering that question. I yield back Mr. Chairman.

Amb. Yovanovitch: Thank you.

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