Former G.O.P. Lawmaker Pressed for Ambassador’s Ouster, Diplomat Says
Robert Livingston, a former Republican congressman turned lobbyist, repeatedly told a Foreign Service officer assigned to the White House that the American ambassador to Ukraine should be fired because of her association with Democrats, the officer told impeachment investigators on Wednesday.
The officer, Catherine M. Croft, testified that she “documented” multiple calls from Mr. Livingston about the ambassador, Marie L. Yovanovitch, while she was working at the National Security Council from mid-2017 to mid-2018. She said that she informed two other officials — Fiona Hill, then the senior director for Europe and Russia at the council, and George P. Kent, a Ukraine expert at the State Department — about them at the time.
“He characterized Ambassador Yovanovitch as an ‘Obama holdover’ and associated with George Soros,” she said, referring to the billionaire liberal philanthropist, according to a copy of Ms. Croft’s opening statement reviewed by The New York Times. “It was not clear to me at the time — or now — at whose direction or at whose expense Mr. Livingston was seeking the removal of Ambassador Yovanovitch.”
The testimony adds to a timeline of known attacks on Ms. Yovanovitch by conservatives questioning her loyalty to President Trump. It is not clear if Mr. Livingston’s work, or those financing it, were in any way connected to efforts by two Americans with business interests in Ukraine who wanted her gone and, later, by Mr. Trump’s private lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani. Nor did Ms. Croft have anything to say about whom else Mr. Livingston spoke with.
READ THE STATEMENT
Catherine M. Croft’s opening statement to House impeachment investigators.