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National Govt & Politics
Ukraine officials told U.S. Ambassador that Giuliani wanted her out
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Ukraine officials told U.S. Ambassador that Giuliani wanted her out

Ukraine officials told U.S. Ambassador that Giuliani wanted her out

Ukraine officials told U.S. Ambassador that Giuliani wanted her out

The first transcripts released on Monday from closed door impeachment depositions in Congress show the former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine was tipped off by Ukrainian government officials about the behind the scenes activities of President Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, as Marie Yovanovitch said Giuliani's goal was to have her ousted from her diplomatic post.

"I do not know Mr. Giuliani's motives for attacking me," Yovanovitch told investigators on October 11, as the former Ambassador said she first learned Giuliani was up to something in Ukraine in late 2018.

"I really wasn't sure what exactly was going on," she added, as Yovanovitch detailed how she was puzzled and alarmed by public criticism from Donald Trump, Jr., and even Fox News talk host Sean Hannity.

"(O)ne of the senior Ukrainian officials was very concerned, and told me I really needed to watch my back," the former ambassador added.

"I understand, everyone understands, that I served at the pleasure of the President, I was nevertheless incredulous that the U.S. Government chose to remove an ambassador based, as far as I can tell, on unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives," she said.

The two men from Florida named by the Ambassador - Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman - were arrested as they attempted to leave the United States in October, and subsequently charged with campaign finance violations.

Asked about criticism featured in the rough transcript of the phone call between President Trump and the Ukraine leader, Yovanovitch said she was worried by what she read in that White House document - as the President called her 'bad news.'

"I hate to be repetitive, but I was shocked," the Ambassador testified, as investigators pointed out where Mr. Trump said she was 'going to go through some things.'

"Did you feel threatened?" Yovanovitch was asked.

"Yes," she replied.

The full transcript of testimony from Yovanovitch is here.

The other transcript released on Monday came from Michael McKinley, who recently resigned as a top aide to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Two more transcripts will be released on Tuesday, from the former special U.S. envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker, and from the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland.

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  • A Virginia woman pleaded guilty Monday to killing her former boyfriend’s 10-month-old puppy by hanging it from a tree with an extension cord. Yasmine Monae Burton, 22, of Powhatan County, entered a guilty plea to torturing an animal causing its death, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. Burton was accused in the Nov. 20 killing of Choppo, a tan and white pit bull puppy that was found hanging in the woods near Burton’s home, the newspaper reported. Burton was arrested two days later, according to Powhatan County court records. An accompanying charge of grand larceny against Burton was dropped, according to Powhatan Deputy Commonwealth Attorney Robert Cerullo. Burton had been accused of taking the animal from her former boyfriend’s home in Dinwiddie County, but Cerullo said he had not heard from the dog’s owner since Burton’s preliminary hearing in December, the Times-Dispatch reported. Burton, who will be sentenced Oct. 22, could face up to five years in prison, according to Powhatan County court records. Burton faces up to five years in prison when she is sentenced Oct. 22. Although she initially denied hurting the animal, Burton admitted in a subsequent interview that she killed Choppo, “to get back at my boyfriend,” the Times-Dispatch reported. “She indicated that she was upset with her boyfriend because he ‘beat me’ and ‘got me hooked on meth,’” Cerullo told the court.
  • A female detective in Alabama died early Monday morning in what authorities are saying was a domestic disturbance involving her ex-boyfriend, from whom she had previously sought protection.  Montgomery police Detective Tanisha Pughsley, 27, was pronounced dead at the scene in the 6700 block of Overview Drive, according to city officials. Pughsley, who was off-duty at the time, had been with the police department since 2016. Brandon Deshawn Webster, 24, has been charged with capital murder, capital murder during the course of a burglary and attempted murder, Montgomery County Detention Center records show. He is being held without bond on the murder charges. His bail on the attempted murder charge was set at $150,000. According to AL.com, the attempted murder charge stems from several shots Webster fired at Jeremy Terrell Walker. Webster was no longer at the scene when police and paramedics arrived but was quickly identified as a suspect, AL.com reported. He was later taken into custody by the U.S. Marshals Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force. “Our entire community today mourns the death of one of our own, Tanisha Pughsley,” Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed said in a statement. “Detective Pughsley answered the call to serve, defend and protect our city. We stand today with her family, friends, colleagues and all who loved her, praying for comfort, peace and healing during this tragic time.” Reed ordered that all city flags be lowered to half-staff in honor of Pughsley. Black mourning wreaths were also placed on the doors to the police department. Pughsley was a graduate of Alabama State University in Montgomery. Lloria James, chief deputy district attorney for Montgomery County, told the Montgomery Advertiser that Webster’s capital murder charge has the added enhancement of the alleged crime having taken place while a court-ordered protective order was in place. Court records obtained by the Advertiser showed that Pughsley filed for a protective order May 22, citing a physical assault that occurred two days prior. The detective wrote that Webster had hit her twice in the head while she was holding an infant, whom AL.com identified as Pughsley’s 5-month-old godchild. “His actions caused me to drop the infant,” Pughsley wrote, according to the newspaper. “Although Brandon has moved out of the residence, he continues to unexpectedly show up and physically assault me. He sends threatening text messages and once he is blocked, he continues to call my phone private.” Pughsley wrote that Webster had stolen from her, stalked her and threatened her. Her final request on the application was that he be forced to surrender any firearms in his possession. The protective order was granted – but without that caveat, the Advertiser reported. The order was to remain in effect until December.
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