Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani under investigation for lobbying violations

Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani under investigation for lobbying violations

Multiple people familiar with her and her actions in Ukraine told Buzzfeed News that they had never heard her say derogatory things about Donald Trump.

The nature and timing of the previously undisclosed discussions with National Security Council legal adviser John Eisenberg indicate that officials were delivering warnings through official White House channels earlier than previously understood - including before the call that precipitated a whistleblower complaint and the impeachment inquiry of the president.

But Zelenskiy insisted he's not Trump's puppet and his moves appeared to be an attempt to put an end to questions dogging the Ukrainian president since details of his July 25 call with Trump emerged.

Yovanovitch testified today despite the stated policy of the White House that State Department officials should not cooperate with the House impeachment inquiry and not show up to testify.

What did the ambassador say?

"He said that the president had lost confidence in me and no longer wished me to serve as his ambassador", Ms Yovanovitch said.

"To make matters worse, all of this occurred during an especially challenging time in bilateral relations with a newly elected Ukrainian president".

Most of the questions at Thursday's unusual media event related to the Russian Federation conflict or Ukraine's economic troubles.

"Equally fictitious ... I have never said such a thing, to my Embassy colleagues or to anyone else", she said.

She said she had "only minimal contacts" with him - only three that she could recall and none of their interactions had related to the investigation.

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Testifying in defiance of President Donald Trump's ban, former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch told House impeachment investigators on Friday that Trump himself had pressured the State Department to oust her from her post and get her out of the country.

Mr Zelensky also said he does not believe US-Ukraine relations will be affected by the inquiry into the call.

Who is Marie Yovanovitch and why is she testifying?

Yovanivitch, who was sworn in as ambassador to Ukraine in August 2016, had served in ambassadorships under three administrations.

Yovanovitch appeared for her expected closed-door deposition before the House Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs Committees as part of their investigations into Trump's efforts to persuade Ukraine's new government to commit publicly to investigate corruption and the president's political opponents. "And if possible, we ask you not to influence elections in a free Ukraine".

Two Florida businessmen tied to Giuliani were arrested on October 10 and are facing federal charges of campaign finance violations.

House Democrats have demanded to hear from four other state department officials: Ukraine Special Envoy Kurt Volker, Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent, and Counselor T Ulrich Brechbuhl.

Trump's former top Russian Federation advisor Fiona Hill is scheduled to appear on Monday and Gordon Sondland, that ambassador Trump blocked from talking to Congress earlier this week, says he'll testify next week. On Friday morning, however, Sondland's lawyer issued a statement saying Sondland would appear after all on October 17. "But we are concerned that Schiff is putting her a precarious position by having her testify in secret without State Department lawyers be present".

According to the report, Giuliani said federal prosecutors had "no grounds" to charge him with foreign lobbying disclosure violations because "he said he was acting on behalf of Trump, not the Ukrainian prosecutor, Yuriy Lutsenko, when he collected the information on Yovanovitch and the others and relayed it to the American government and the news media".

The impeachment inquiry focuses on a July 25 phone call in which Trump pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate a leading rival seeking to face Trump in the 2020 presidential election, former Democratic Vice President Joe Biden, and Biden's businessman son Hunter Biden.

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