The former US ambassador to Ukraine used her personal email account to message a Democratic staffer over a ‘delicate issue’ a month before the whistleblower complaint was made public, according to Fox News.
Marie Yovanovitch testified under oath she had not replied to Democratic congressional staffer Laura Carey.
Three-time ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, who was abruptly recalled from Kiev in May, gave a closed-door deposition on October 11 to three congressional committees investigating whether there were grounds to impeach Trump.
She is a key witness in House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry which began on September 24 after a whistleblower’s allegations that Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate unsubstantiated corruption charges against Democratic political rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
Carey’s emails and Yovanovitch’s reported replies will raise questions of who knew about the whistleblower complaint before it was made public and which Democrats were warned of its contents. It will also lead to question on whether Yovanovitch committed perjury.
Yovanovitch is said to have replied to Carey regarding the ‘time-sensitive’ issue two days after the whistleblower filed their complaint over Trump’s infamous call with the Ukrainian president.
That despite telling Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin: ‘I alerted the State Department, because I’m still an employee, and so, matters are generally handled through the State Department.’
Yovanovitch added: ‘So, she emailed me. I alerted the State Department and, you know, asked them to handle the correspondence. And, she emailed me again and said, you know, who should I be in touch with?
‘I didn’t respond to that email, because I had already transferred everything to the State Department and I figured they would be in touch, and they were.’
But Fox News reports she did reply, writing she ‘would love to reconnect and look forward to chatting with you’.
Zeldin told the network: ‘I would highly suspect that this Democratic staffer’s work was connected in some way to the whistleblower’s effort, which has evolved into this impeachment charade.
‘We do know that the whistleblower was in contact with [House Intelligence Committee Chairman] Adam Schiff’s team before the whistleblower had even hired an attorney or filed a whistleblower complaint even though Schiff had lied to the public originally claiming that there was no contact.
‘Additionally, while the contents of the email from this staffer to Ambassador Yovanovitch clearly state what the conversation would be regarding, Yovanovitch, when I asked her specifically what the staffer was looking to speak about, did not provide these details.
‘I specifically asked her whether the Democratic staffer was responded to by Yovanovitch or the State Department.
‘It is greatly concerning that Ambassador Yovanovitch didn’t answer my question as honestly as she should have, especially while under oath.’
A Democratic House Foreign Affairs Committee spokesperson said the correspondence was ‘to hear from an ambassador whose assignment was cut short under unusual circumstances’.
They argue the ‘outreach was part of monthslong efforts that culminated in the September 9 launch of an investigation into these events’.
Trump has denied wrongdoing and defended his request to Zelensky in a July 25 phone call, which Democrats say is evidence Trump pushed a vulnerable foreign ally to dig up dirt on a rival for his own political benefit.
Former vice president Biden is a leading contender for the right to face Trump in the November 2020 presidential election.
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Source: Daily Mail