President Donald Trump reportedly ordered the ouster of the Ukraine ambassador after complaints, including from Rudy Giuliani, that she was blocking efforts to investigate Joe Biden and bad-mouthing Trump.
The recall of Marie Yovanovitch in May is a key point in the House impeachment inquiry. A whistleblower complaint by a CIA officer alleges Trump solicited foreign interference in the 2020 elections by pressing Ukraine's president to pursue investigations, including of Biden.
The complaint cites Yovanovitch's removal as one of a series of events that paved the way for what the whistleblower alleges was Trump's abuse of power.
The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources, reported State Department officials were told Yovanovitch's ouster was a priority for the president and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo supported the move.
Meanwhile, Giuliani told the Journal in the lead-up to her removal, he reminded Trump about rumblings from Trump supporters she had shown an anti-Trump bias in private conversations. He added, when he mentioned the ambassador to Trump this spring, he remembered he had a problem with her earlier and "thought she had been dismissed," the Journal reported.
Giuliani said he gave Pompeo a nine-page document dated March 28 that included a detailed timeline of the Bidens' dealings in Ukraine and allegations of impropriety against Yovanovitch.
"The reason I gave the information to the secretary was I believed that he should know that the president's orders to fire her were being blocked by the State Department," he told the Journal.
Yovanovitch is set to testify before House lawmakers Oct. 11.
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