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Former State adviser says Pompeo was silent on Yovanovitch ouster

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Former State Department senior adviser Michael McKinley testified Wednesday that he repeatedly asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for a show of support for the ousted US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch — but was greeted with silence from the secretary of state, according to two sources with knowledge of his testimony.

That decision to not offer Yovanovitch support was a key reason McKinley decided to resign his job last week, the sources said.

McKinely testified Wednesday before the three committees leading the impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump, which are probing Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, as well as the President’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s efforts in campaign that included pushing for Yovanovitch’s ouster.

In addition to the treatment of Yovanovitch, McKinley cited two additional reasons that drove his decision to leave, according to one of the sources. One was the transcript of the July 25 call between Trump and Zelensky — where Trump asked Zelensky to investigate the Bidens and badmouthed Yovanovitch — and the other was the unaddressed leadership issues documented in a damning State Department inspector general report released in August.

Much of McKinley’s testimony focused on internal dynamics at the State Department, which previous witnesses have told lawmakers were upended by Giuliani’s efforts to go around normal channels in Ukraine to target Yovanovitch and push for Ukraine to open an investigation into Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

McKinley testified that while Pompeo helped restore morale at the department after then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson gutted the department, he was disappointed that Pompeo did not stand up for a respected professional like Yovanovitch.

McKinley did not know the reasons why Pompeo was silent, according to sources with knowledge of his testimony so far. He said Pompeo listened to the concerns but didn’t explain his thinking.

McKinley also testified about lacking knowledge about what Giuliani was up to and said he didn’t have contact with Giuliani.

Three sources say that McKinley did not turn over documents to the committee but gave those documents to the State Department, which has not turned them over to the House. That was also the case with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent, who testified before the committees on Tuesday. The State Department has also not responded to a subpoena demanding documents related to Ukraine.

This story has been updated with additional developments Wednesday.

Article Topic Follows: Politics

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