Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch claims the Trump administration has made the public question the truth.
She made her comments in The Washington Post on Thursday – less than 12 hours after the Senate impeachment trial ended with President Donald Trump being acquitted.
Yovanovitch, who had been recalled from her post last year, criticized the administration without ever mentioning the president by name.
"This administration, through acts of omission and commission, has undermined our democratic institutions, making the public question the truth," she said.
"Unfortunately, the last year has shown that we need to fight for our democracy. 'Freedom is not free' is a pithy phrase that usually refers to the sacrifices of our military against external threats. It turns out that same slogan can be applied to challenges which are closer to home."
She urged Americans to "stand up for our values, defend our institutions, participate in civil society, and support a free press."
Yovanovitch added: "I had always thought that our institutions would forever protect us against individual transgressors. But it turns out that our institutions need us as much as we need them; they need the American people to protect them or they will be hollowed out over time, unable to serve and protect our country."
While calling the events of last year "deeply disturbing," she said: "Like my parents before me, I remain optimistic about our future."
And she added: "We will endure, we will persist, and we will prevail."
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