Did former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch perjure herself during her appearance before the House impeachment inquiry? It sounds like political mudslinging — and yet, the evidence says that Yovanovitch definitely did something she says she didn’t.
According to Fox News, emails obtained by the network show Yovanovitch communicating with a congressional staffer in the days after the whistleblower complaint.
The report, published late Thursday, said Yovanovitch “communicated via her personal email account with a Democratic congressional staffer concerning a ‘quite delicate’ and ‘time-sensitive’ matter — just two days after the whistleblower complaint that kickstarted the inquiry was filed, and a month before the complaint became public.”
The reason this is important: In her testimony, Yovanovitch responded to a question from Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York by saying she’d never had contact with the staffer, Laura Carey.
Yovanovitch, who was fired by President Trump allegedly because she wouldn’t go along with his Ukraine policy, told Zeldin during her testimony that she had received an email from the staffer but had never responded to it.
So, even though Fox News “is told it is a breach of normal procedure for congressional staff to reach out to a current State Department employee at their personal email address for official business,” Carey mailed it anyway, apropos of nothing.
Yovanovitch said the email was a communication “from the Foreign Affairs Committee,” and “they wanted me to come in and talk about, I guess, the circumstances of my departure.”
— Lee Zeldin (@RepLeeZeldin) November 8, 2019
“I alerted the State Department,” she said, “because I’m still an employee, and so, matters are generally handled through the State Department.
“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?'”
End of story, right? Not exactly. Tucker Carlson of Fox News managed to get ahold of the email in which Carey talks about the “delicate/time sensitive” issues.
“I’d appreciate the chance to ground-truth a few pieces of information with you, some of which are delicate/time sensitive and thus, we want to make sure we get them right,” Carey wrote.
Here’s the important part: Yovanovitch had responded to the email in question, telling Carey she “would love to reconnect and look forward to chatting with you.”
“Could you let me know if you have any time this week or next to connect? Happy to come to a place of your choosing, or if easier, to speak by phone at either of the numbers below. I’m also around this weekend if meeting up over coffee works,” Carey responded on Aug. 15.
“Thanks for reaching out — and congratulations on your new job. I would love to reconnect and look forward to chatting with you. I have let EUR [Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs] know that you are interested in talking and they will be in touch with you shortly,” Yovanovitch said the same day.
Carey, Aug. 19: “Great — thanks for the response and I look forward to hearing from them. As mentioned, it would be ideal to connect this week… assuming this week is doable for you schedule-wise?”
Zeldin was not happy with the revelation.
“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,” he told Fox News.
“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,” Zeldin said. “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.”
It’s unclear whether Yovanovitch perjured herself. This could just be a case where she forgot about the email thread.
That said, all it took was a question from Zeldin, and Yovanovitch misled congressional investigators.
This also wouldn’t be so major if there wasn’t the subtext that Yovanovitch was working with Democrats in the run-up to impeachment and her testimony. Given that what she had to say was billed as “blockbuster” stuff, you would have thought she would have been more careful in the weeks leading up to her testimony. The timing and the misleading answer — whether it was done intentionally or not — give the impression that she was colluding with the Democrats on this.
Will this be prosecuted? Unlikely.
Should it be prosecuted? Absolutely.
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