The three committees leading Democrats' impeachment probe have released the first transcripts of closed-door interviews as part of their inquiry into President Donald Trump's dealings with Ukraine.
The panels released testimony from former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovich and Michael McKinley, a former senior adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Yovanovich was pushed out of her job in May on Trump's orders.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff says the panels are releasing the transcripts so "the American public will begin to see for themselves."
Republicans have called for the release of the transcripts as Democrats have held the initial interviews in private.
McKinley said he resigned over concerns about how Yovanovitch was treated, as well as “the emerging information on the engagement of our missions to procure negative political information for domestic purposes.”
McKinley testified that he had never seen efforts before in 37 years in the State Department to dig up dirt on a political opponent.
McKinley also proposed sending out a statement of support for Yovanovitch after the release of the call transcript.
“It shouldn’t be difficult to put out a short statement that’s not political, stating clearly that we respect the professionalism, the tenure of Ambassador Yovanovitch in the Ukraine,” McKinley said. Others in the State Department supported the idea, but Pompeo declined to do so.
McKinley said he told Pompeo “this situation isn’t acceptable” when he spoke with Pompeo about his resignation but Pompeo did not respond.
McKinley also discussed a memo alleging “intimidation and bullying” at the State Department and questions of accuracy about a letter Pompeo sent to Congress from Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent. McKinley said he forwarded the memo to others at the State Department.
The memo raised the question of whether the State Department had put “lies in statements,” McKinley said.
Yovanovitch, meanwhile, told House investigators that Ukrainian officials warned her in advance that Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and others were planning to "do things, including to me."
The former envoy also told investigators that she was not disloyal to the president.
"I have heard the allegation in the media that I supposedly told our embassy team to ignore the President's orders since he was going to be impeached," she said. "That allegation is false. I have never said such a thing to my embassy colleagues or anyone eIse."
Yovanovitch she said learned from Ukrainian officials last November or December that Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer, was in touch with Ukraine's former top prosecutor, Yuri Lutsenko, "and that they had plans, and that they were going to, you know, do things, including to me."
Yovanovitch was recalled from Kyiv early as Giuliani pressed Ukrainian officials to investigate baseless corruption allegations against Democrat Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who was involved with a gas company there.
The impeachment panels released testimony from Yovanovitch and Michael McKinley, a former senior adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Yovanovitch was pushed out of her job in May on Trump's orders.
This report contains material from The Associated Press and Bloomberg News.
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