Marie Yovanovitch Hearing: What to Expect From Her Impeachment Inquiry Testimony

As Democrats enter the second day of public impeachment hearings, Marie L. Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine, will testify publicly on Friday about the campaign by the president’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani that led to her ouster and her shock and anger about the effort to get her fired.

Who: Marie L. Yovanovitch, the former United States ambassador to Ukraine, will appear as the sole witness.

What: The House Intelligence Committee, led by its chairman, Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, continues to examine the case for impeaching President Trump.

When and Where: The proceedings start at 9 a.m. Eastern in the vaulted, columned chambers of the Ways and Means Committee. We expect the hearing to last several hours.

How to Watch: The New York Times will stream the testimony live, and a team of reporters in Washington will provide real-time context and analysis of the events on Capitol Hill. Follow along at nytimes.com, starting a few minutes before 9.

The former ambassador will deliver what Democrats hope will be moving testimony as she recounts her abrupt ouster after a relentless smear campaign by Mr. Giuliani.

Ms. Yovanovitch, who goes by the nickname Masha, has already described how Mr. Giuliani and Trump allies accused her of undermining the president during the 2016 election, something she calls a scurrilous lie. In Ms. Yovanovitch’s telling, Mr. Giuliani saw her as an impediment to his agenda, which included pushing Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden, the younger son of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

An immigrant and a diplomat with more than 30 years of service, Ms. Yovanovitch was told to “get on the next plane,” a move she has said was based on “unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives.” Democrats expect her to describe the personal trauma she endured as the administration’s traditional diplomatic establishment in Ukraine collided with a rogue foreign policy operation run by Mr. Giuliani.

  • Mr. Trump repeatedly pressured President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to investigate people and issues of political concern to Mr. Trump, including the former vice president. Here’s a timeline of events since January.

  • A C.I.A. officer who was once detailed to the White House filed a whistle-blower complaint on Mr. Trump’s interactions with Mr. Zelensky. Read the complaint.

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transcript

Who Are the Main Characters in the Whistle-Blower’s Complaint?

President Trump’s personal lawyer. The prosecutor general of Ukraine. Joe Biden’s son. These are just some of the names mentioned in the whistle-blower’s complaint. What were their roles? We break it down.

Congressman: “Sir, let me repeat my question: Did you ever speak to the president about this complaint?” Congress is investigating allegations that President Trump pushed a foreign government to dig up dirt on his Democratic rivals. “It’s just a Democrat witch hunt. Here we go again.” At the heart of an impeachment inquiry is a nine-page whistle-blower complaint that names over two dozen people. Not counting the president himself, these are the people that appear the most: First, Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph Giuliani. According to documents and interviews, Giuliani has been involved in shadowy diplomacy on behalf of the president’s interests. He encouraged Ukrainian officials to investigate the Biden family’s activities in the country, plus other avenues that could benefit Trump like whether the Ukrainians intentionally helped the Democrats during the 2016 election. It was an agenda he also pushed on TV. “So you did ask Ukraine to look into Joe Biden.” “Of course I did!” A person Giuliani worked with, Yuriy Lutsenko, Ukraine’s former prosecutor general. He pushed for investigations that would also benefit Giuliani and Trump. Lutsenko also discussed conspiracy theories about the Bidens in the U.S. media. But he later walked back his allegations, saying there was no evidence of wrongdoing by the Bidens. This is where Hunter Biden comes in, the former vice president’s son. He served on the board of a Ukrainian energy company run by this guy, who’s had some issues with the law. While Biden was in office, he along with others, called for the dismissal of Lutsenko’s predecessor, a prosecutor named Viktor Shokin, whose office was overseeing investigations into the company that Hunter Biden was involved with. Shokin was later voted out by the Ukrainian government. Lutsenko replaced him, but was widely criticized for corruption himself. When a new president took office in May, Volodymyr Zelensky, Zelensky said that he’d replace Lutsenko. Giuliani and Trump? Not happy. They viewed Lutsenko as their ally. During a July 25 call between Trump and the new Ukrainian president, Trump defended him, saying, “I heard you had a prosecutor who is very good and he was shut down and that’s really unfair.” In that phone call, Trump also allegedly asked his counterpart to continue the investigation into Joe Biden, who is his main rival in the 2020 election. Zelensky has publicly denied feeling pressured by Trump. “In other words, no pressure.” And then finally, Attorney General William Barr, who also came up in the July 25 call. In the reconstructed transcript, Trump repeatedly suggested that Zelensky’s administration could work with Barr and Giuliani to investigate the Bidens and other matters of political interest to Trump. Since the whistle-blower complaint was made public, Democrats have criticized Barr for dismissing allegations that Trump had violated campaign finance laws during his call with Zelensky and not passing along the complaint to Congress. House Democrats have now subpoenaed several people mentioned in the complaint, as an impeachment inquiry into the president’s conduct continues.

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President Trump’s personal lawyer. The prosecutor general of Ukraine. Joe Biden’s son. These are just some of the names mentioned in the whistle-blower’s complaint. What were their roles? We break it down.CreditCredit…Illustration by The New York Times

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