Trump says fired envoy refused to hang his picture

Source BBC

President Donald Trump has pilloried an envoy who testified in the impeachment inquiry, claiming she refused to hang his photo in the US embassy in Ukraine.

Mr Trump told Fox News’ morning show former ambassador Marie Yovanovitch “didn’t want to hang my picture in the embassy” in Kyiv.

The president did not offer further details about the matter.

Ms Yovanovitch testified last week that she was fired over “false claims” by people with “questionable motives”.

She was one of 12 witnesses to testify over the last fortnight in the impeachment inquiry, which may seek to remove the president from office for alleged corruption.

What did Trump say on Fox?

In a phone call to Fox and Friends on Friday morning, Mr Trump said he had heard “bad things” about Ms Yovanovitch.

“This ambassador, who everybody says was so wonderful,” Mr Trump said, “she wouldn’t hang my picture in the embassy.

“She’s in charge of the embassy, it took, like, a year and a half, two years.”

Mr Trump added: “She said bad things about me, she wouldn’t defend me, and I have the right to change the ambassador.

“The standard is you put the president of the United States’ picture in the embassy,” he continued. “This was not an angel, this woman, OK?”

It was not the first time the Republican president has attacked Ms Yovanovitch.

He lambasted her in a tweet while she was testifying last Friday – a move that Democrats argued amounted to witness intimidation.

Why was Marie Yovanovitch fired?

The 33-year veteran of the foreign service was recalled as the American ambassador to Kyiv in May for reasons that remain murky.

She testified that her anti-corruption efforts had incurred the ire of influential Ukrainians who sought to remove her.

Ms Yovanovitch said she was shocked that her enemies appeared to find allies in the Trump administration, including the president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

The former envoy’s supporters say she was also smeared by US conservative media voices.

In her testimony, Ms Yovanovitch said the allegation she was disloyal to Mr Trump was false.

Why is Congress investigating Trump?

At the heart of the impeachment inquiry is a phone call on 25 July this year between Mr Trump and Ukraine’s president.

On the call, Mr Trump urged his counterpart to investigate unsubstantiated corruption allegations against Democratic White House contender Joe Biden and claims of 2016 election meddling by Ukraine.

Mr Trump’s critics say this alleged political pressure on a vulnerable US ally amounted to abuse of power.

What else did Trump say on Fox?

The president spent a significant portion of Friday’s television interview discussing a conspiracy theory that it was Ukraine – not Russia – meddling in the US 2016 presidential election.

These claims were branded “a fictional narrative” by one of Thursday’s impeachment witnesses, former White House intelligence official and Russia expert Fiona Hill.

She warned elected officials not to promote “politically driven falsehoods” that seek to cast doubt on Russia’s alleged interference in US elections.

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