State Dept anxious about defending former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine

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Former ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and former top Pompeo adviser Michael McKinley testified that they were upset about "bullying" of career officials at the hands of politically appointed State Department staff.

McKinley testified that he repeatedly pushed the State Department to release a statement in September supporting the ousted ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanitch, who was recalled after a smear campaign against her led by Rudy Giuliani and others.

Yovanovitch, who was removed from her posting in May, has already appeared before investigators in the impeachment inquiry into Trump.

Hale, a fluent Arabic speaker who joined the foreign service in 1984, has served as ambassador to Lebanon, Pakistan and Jordan and in posts in Tunisia, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. The former prosecutor-general later walked back those claims.

"When the transcript was released and, frankly, the information that just poured out every day from the media ... it became clear to me that State Department officials, if not the State Department itself, were being drawn again into the domestic political arena in some way", he said.

On seeing the transcript of the call, Ms Yovanovitch said she was "surprised and dismayed" to hear that Mr Trump had described her as "bad news".

Grace Millane murder trial: Jury to watch CCTV footage
But the Tinder date - who has pleaded not guilty - insists that Millane died by accident when they engaged in rough sex. The court has heard Ms Millane's body was carried out of the apartment in a large suitcase the following day.

Three senior diplomats are scheduled to testify in public before Congress next week, bringing renewed attention to his leadership as America's top diplomat as the USA juggles several major foreign policy challenges.

That seemed to contradict what Pompeo told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" on October 20.

Pompeo portrays the inquiry, which centers on President Donald Trump's attempt to link USA military aid to Ukraine to a corruption probe of a political rival, as unworthy of his attention.

She said she was told Mr Lutsenko "was looking to hurt me in the U.S.". "Not once, George, did Ambassador McKinley say something to me during that entire time period".

"I clearly follow this a lot less than you do", Pompeo told reporters when asked about it the issue this week while on a visit to Germany.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, right, address a joint press conference in Leipzig, eastern Germany, on November 7, 2019.

"It's not surprising that when Ambassador Yovanovitch returned to the United States that he didn't raise that issue with me", the Secretary of State said.

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