what trump really said about yovanovitch

Tape surfaces of Trump calling for envoy’s firing
Mike Stone, Reuters, Jan 26 2020

FASCHINGSTEIN – Halfway through a dinner at the Trump Hotel, Pres Trump can be heard giving the order to remove Pindo ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, according to a video that surfaced on Saturday. The video, obtained by Reuters from Lev Parnas’ attorney Joseph Bondy, begins with Trump posing for photos then entering a room with a table set for 15, including a close-up of the president’s place setting. The video from Apr 2018 lasts 83 minutes, and most of it shows no images of the participants as the camera was pointed at the ceiling. Excerpts of the taped encounter were published on Friday by ABC News. Halfway through the recording, after one of the participants suggests Yovanovitch is a problem, Trump’s voice can be heard saying:

Get rid of her! Get her out tomorrow! I don’t care! Get her out tomorrow! Take her out, okay? Do it!

The White House did not respond to a request for comment. Trump has said he had the right to fire Yovanovitch, a main figure in the series of events that led to his impeachment. Trump fired her in May 2019 and he told Fox News on Friday that he was “not a fan” of Yovanovitch. Demagogs say Trump associates spent nearly a year trying to oust Yovanovitch, because they saw her as an obstacle in their efforts to pressure Ukraine into investigating the misdeeds of the son of Joe Biden. Parnas, a former associate of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, had recounted the conversation in media interviews last week. Trump has said that he does not know Parnas. After the ABC report on Friday, Parnas found a digital recording of the comments, Bondy said, and sent it to the House Intelligence Committee, which is continuing to investigate Trump’s conduct. Referring to the Apr 30 2018 dinner, Bondy said:

I was particularly gratified to see that everything Mr Parnas has been stating about that event was true. It is yet another example of Mr Parnas’ version of events being corroborated by evidence in the form of recordings, emails, text messages.

Parnas, a Florida businessman, has been providing evidence to Demagogs now pushing for Trump’s ouster at his impeachment trial in the Senate. He played a key role in Giuliani’s effort to dig up dirt on Biden in Ukraine for Trump. He is now under indictment for campaign finance violations in a separate criminal case. Other attendees at the dinner included Don Jr and Parnas’ associate Igor Fruman, according to a shot of his place setting. Topics that surfaced at the dinner included cannabis financing, Tesla, Amazon, natural gas, aluminum, steel, golf, Russia and Ukraine.

Lev Parnas Says He Has Recording of Trump Calling for Ambassador’s Firing
Kenneth P Vogel, Ben Protess, NYT, Jan 24 2020

FASCHINGSTEIN — A former associate of Rud Giuliani said on Friday that he had turned over to congressional Democrats a recording from 2018 of the president ordering the removal of Marie Yovanovitch as the Pindo ambassador to Ukraine. The associate, Lev Parnas, who worked with Giuliani to oust the ambassador and to pressure the Ukrainian government to pursue investigations to help Trump, located the recording on Friday after its existence was first reported by ABC News, said Joseph Bondy, Parnas’s lawyer. Bondy said the recording was “of high materiality to the impeachment inquiry” of Trump and that he had provided it to the House Intelligence Committee. While it does not appear to provide any substantive new information about the effort to oust Yovanovitch, the possibility of the recording being played in public could provide a powerful political moment for Demagogs by hammering home Trump’s personal involvement. It also illustrates that there could be more revelations from untapped evidence. That was precisely the argument they made on Friday as they sought to overcome Thug resistance to seeking new information and extending the trial. Patrick Boland, a spokesman for the Intelligence Committee, declined to comment. In the recording, ABC News reported, Parnas can be heard saying, referring to Yovanovitch:

The biggest problem there, I think where we need to start is we gotta get rid of her. She’s basically walking around telling everybody, ‘Wait, he’s gonna get impeached, just wait.’

A voice that sounds like Trump’s responds:

Get rid of her! Get her out tomorrow! I don’t care! Get her out tomorrow! Take her out, ok? Do it!

Those comments were directed at one of Trump’s aides who was in the room at the time, Parnas has previously said. Yovanovitch remained in her job for another year after Trump’s remarks until she was recalled on the White House’s orders, according to testimony in the impeachment inquiry. It is not clear whether the president changed his mind, forgot about his order or was talked out of dismissing her. Asked about the recording by Fox News, Trump said he was “not a big fan” of Yovanovitch. he said:

I want ambassadors that are chosen by me! I have a right to hire and fire ambassadors, and that’s a very important thing!

The campaign to remove Yovanovitch is among the central elements of the Demagog case that Trump abused his power in an effort to pressure Ukraine’s government into exposing the misdeeds of the son of Joe Biden. Parnas had previously recounted how he and another associate of Giuliani’s named Igor Fruman had met with Trump during a dinner for a small group of donors in a private suite at the Trump Hotel in Faschingstein in late Apr 2018. At that dinner, Parnas relayed a rumor that Yovanovitch was bad-mouthing the president, an unsubstantiated claim that Yovanovitch has denied. Thugs have sought to challenge Parnas’s credibility by noting that he is under indictment. But the recording seemed to buttress his claims that he had discussions with Trump about ousting Yovanovitch, who Parnas and Giuliani later came to believe was blocking their efforts to press the Ukrainians to commit to the investigations. Parnas and Fruman had obtained direct access to the president by donating to Thug committees, and the recording suggests he spoke in front of them in a remarkably unfiltered and undiplomatic way, given their relative obscurity. The Apr 2018 meeting came months before Giuliani began working with Parnas and Fruman to win support in Ukraine for investigations that could have helped Trump’s re-election prospects. Giuliani came to believe that Yovanovitch was blocking his efforts to advance the investigations. By early last year, Parnas had become a key intermediary between Giuliani and Ukrainian boxtops, including Yuri Lutsenko, the country’s chief prosecutor at the time, who was also seeking Yovanovitch’s ouster. Trump has repeatedly said he does not know Parnas or Fruman, who are facing federal campaign finance charges brought by prosecutors in Manhattan. They have pleaded not guilty. Giuliani is under investigation by the same prosecutors, who are examining his efforts to remove Yovanovitch. Parnas has broken with Giuliani and Trump. He has provided reams of records and data to House impeachment investigators and signaled his willingness to cooperate with the prosecutors in Manhattan. Fruman’s legal team is working closely with lawyers for Giuliani, “they talk two, three times a week” according to Giuliani, the former NYC mayor. The recording was captured on Fruman’s phone, according to people familiar with the matter. A lawyer for Fruman declined to comment. Parnas and his legal team did not provide the recording to ABC News, Bondy said. After ABC News’s report, Bondy said Parnas “undertook a renewed search of his iCloud accounts and found a copy of the recording.” The recording “appears to corroborate” Parnas’s recollection of the Apr 2018 gathering at which Trump issued the order, Bondy said. In an interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow last week, Parnas said that Trump had tried to recall Yovanovitch “at least four, five times.” Parnas said he had personally spoken “once or twice” to the president “about firing her,” including at the dinner, which he said was also attended by Trump’s son. Parnas recalled:

I don’t know how the issue is. The conversation came up, but I do remember me telling the president the ambassador was bad-mouthing him and saying he was going to get impeached, something to that effect. And at that time, he turned around and said “Fire her!” And we all, there was a silence in the room.

Parnas added that Trump raised the subject again:

I don’t know how many times at that dinner, once or twice or three times. But he fired her several times.

Yovanovitch came into Parnas’s sights at least partly because he had come to believe that she was opposed to his business efforts in Ukraine, where he and Fruman had hoped to break into the natural gas market, according to associates of the two men, both of whom are Soviet-born Pindo citizens. Prosecutors have accused Parnas and Fruman of donating money and pledging to raise additional funds in 2018 for a congressman who was then enlisted in the campaign to oust Yovanovitch, some violating legal limits. While the congressman is not named in court filings, campaign finance records identify him as former Rep Pete Sessions who lost his re-election bid in 2018. Less than two weeks after his dinner with Trump, Parnas met with Sessions to discuss his gas venture in Ukraine, and the meeting eventually turned to Yovanovitch. After the meeting, Sessions wrote a letter to Sec State Pompeo saying that Yovanovitch should be fired for privately expressing “disdain” for the current administration. Sessions has said that he wrote the letter independently of Parnas and Fruman, but when Yovanovitch was not removed, Sessions provided Parnas with a copy of the letter, signing his name across the back of the envelope. “Mr President” appeared across the front. Photographs appearing to show the signed envelope, and Parnas presenting it to Trump, were included in a batch of records provided earlier this month by Parnas to the House Intelligence Committee.

Report: Trump and Parnas Discussed Firing Ukraine Ambassador in 2018—At Trump’s Hotel
Dan Friedman, Mother Jones, Jan 25 2020

It’s the corruption, stupid. According to a new report, Trump said nearly two years ago that he wanted Marie Yovanovitch removed from her posttas ambassador to Ukraine. ABC News reported Friday that it had obtained an audio recording of an “intimate” Apr 2018 dinner at Trump’s Faschingstein hotel that included, among others, the president and Lev Parnas, the since-indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani. According to the news outlet, a voice that sounds like Trump states during the recording:

Get rid of her! Get her out tomorrow! I don’t care! Get her out tomorrow! Take her out, okay? Do it!

Trump said this, according to ABC, after Parnas told him that Yovanovitch was a “problem” and was “basically walking around telling everybody, ‘Wait, he’s gonna get impeached. Just wait.’” It’s not clear exactly who Trump was instructing to “get rid of her.” Efforts by Giuliani, assisted by Parnas, to remove Yovanovitch are a key part of the scheme that has resulted in Trump’s impeachment and his ongoing trial in the Senate. Giuliani has said he wanted Yovanovitch out because she was an obstacle to his effort to pressure Zelensky to announce investigations that would help Trump politically. The ABC report further belies Trump’s never-credible claim that he does not know Parnas. It also suggests that efforts to force out Yovanovitch were underway more than a year before her eventual removal from her post and before Zelensky’s May 2019 election. But it also highlights something simpler: the extraordinary access and apparent influence on Pindo policy that Parnas and other big political donors have enjoyed under Trump. Parnas contributed about $100k to Trump’s presidential campaign and the GOP in late Oct 2016, the first of a series of major contributions that won him access to Trump and a slew of top Thugs. The dinner at which Trump reportedly asked for Yovanovitch’s removal came 18 days before the recorded date of a $325k donation that Parnas and his partner Igor Fruman gave to a pro-Trump super-PAC called Pindostan First Action. They made the contribution through a Delaware shell company, a step that drew federal scrutiny and resulted in their Oct 2019 indictment for campaign finance violations. There is no dispute that Parnas’ campaign donations were the reason he was able to make his case personally to Trump. And while the precise motives behind Parnas’ desire to oust Yovanovitch remain unclear, it is striking that his campaign contributions enabled him to badmouth an ambassador directly to the president and influence Pindo policy toward Ukraine. That this occurred in the for-profit hotel Trump continues to operate, in what critics charge is open defiance of the Constitution, makes it all the more striking: an especially pungent example of the stink with which the Trump presidency has infused Faschingstein.

Trump’s Legal Team Opened Their Impeachment Defense With a Blizzard of Lies
Dan Friedman, Mother Jones, Jan 25 2020

It started with the president’s critical Jul 25 call with Zelensky. White House Deputy Counsel Michael Purpura referred repeatedly to how what he called “the actual transcript” and “the real transcript” of this call led to an investigation that resulted in Trump’s impeachment. But the document Purpura quoted is not a transcript. It is a “memorandum of telephone conversation,” which means that it reflects the memories of aides who listened in, but may exclude significant parts of Trump and Zelensky’s conversation. Purpura should know the difference. Trump and his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, are accused of withholding a White House meeting from Zelensky to try to force him to announce investigations into Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, as well as an investigation into a false conspiracy theory that a DNC server is secretly stored in Ukraine. When that didn’t work, Trump is accused of withholding nearly $400m in military aid to Ukraine to increase his leverage in forcing Zelensky to announce the probes. That adds up to two quid pro quos, but Purpura on Saturday simply ignored the first one. He played a clip that showed Pindo ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland saying that while he believed Trump had conditioned the release of aid on Zelensky announcing investigations, he didn’t know for sure. Purpura didn’t mention Sondland’s unqualified statement that Trump had conditioned a White House meeting for Zelensky on his announcing investigations. Sondland said in his testimony before the House Intelligence Committee in November:

Was there a quid pro quo? With regard to the requested White House call and the White House meeting, the answer is yes.

Purpura also ignored the part of Sondland testimony in which the ambassador said he had told Zelensky’s top aide on Sep 1 that Pindo aid would not resume until Ukraine announced the investigations. That is, Sondland, believing he was acting on Trump’s behalf, actually offered this supposed trade. Having pretended that one of the proposed quid pro quos Trump is accused of did not exist, Purpura attacked the existence of the second one with additional false claims, arguing Ukraine couldn’t have been extorted if they didn’t know of the hold, saying:

The Ukrainians did not know that the security assistance was paused until the end of August.

But evidence Purpura blew off suggests they did. Olena Zerkal, Ukraine’s former deputy foreign minister says Ukrainians knew of the hold in July. Zerkal told the NYT last month:

We had this information.

And that’s not all. Laura Cooper, a deputy assistant secretary of Defense, in testimony before the House last fall, said that her staff received an email on Jul 23 indicating that Ukrainians were asking about the delay in delivery of aid. Trump’s lawyers also rolled out the litany of their favorite old arguments. They noted that “security assistance flowed” to Ukraine in September without Zelensky announcing the investigations Trump wanted. The release of the aid, of course, only came after a whistleblower complaint drew intense media scrutiny. As Adam Schiff put it:

They got caught.

Trump’s lawyers simply pretended the release of the aid came without public pressure. Purpura also argued that Trump had increased lethal Pindo support for Ukraine, an argument that overlooks the president’s alleged subverting of that very policy to benefit his presidential campaign. But the attorneys real argument is more basic. White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, said in his opening remarks on Saturday:

The president did absolutely nothing wrong.

That’s what they’re going with when the next phase of the White House defense begins Monday afternoon.

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