White House Accidentally Sends Talking Points on Ex-Ukraine Ambassador Yovanovitch to House Democrats: Report

October 12, 2019 Updated: October 12, 2019

The White House has accidentally sent talking points related to former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch’s deposition to House Democrats for the second time within a month.

The memo is meant to provide guidance to Republicans for their responses to any potentially damaging information coming out of Yovanovitch’s testimony on Friday. A copy of the document, obtained by numerous media outlets, is currently circulating online.

Similarly, The Hill confirmed that the email was sent unintentionally, citing two anonymous sources with knowledge of the emails.

“We are not concerned with any information Yovanovitch might share, because the president did nothing wrong. But we are concerned that [Adam] Schiff is putting her in a precarious position by having her testify in secret without State Department lawyers present,” one of the points in the memo states.

“Only State Department lawyers would be able to provide Yovanovitch with the correct counsel on what is classified or privileged and without that counsel there is serious danger that she could breach her obligations as a current employee not to reveal such information without authorization,” the memo continues.

“It raises serious questions about why Schiff is willing to put career officials in such risky situations while bullying them with legally unfounded threats of obstruction charges,” it added.

Yovanovitch, who was recalled from Ukraine to the United States in May, was being questioned by members of the Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, and Oversight and Reform Committees as part of the chamber’s impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump over his phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

During her opening statement obtained by The Associated Press, Yovanovitch told lawmakers that she was removed based on “unfounded and false claims” made against her and pressure from the president on the State Department, while citing a conversation she had with Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan. According to Yovanovitch, Sullivan said the president no longer wished for her to be his ambassador because he had lost confidence in her.

Yovanovitch was the subject of a number of accusations earlier this year made by then-Ukraine Prosecutor-General Yuriy Lutsenko to The Hill. Lutsenko accused the Obama-era U.S. Embassy in Kiev of interfering with his ability to prosecute corruption cases. Lutsenko claimed to have received from Ambassador Yovanovitch a list of people whose prosecution the Ukrainians were advised not to pursue.

The State Department issued a statement at the time that called Lutsenko’s claim about the do-not-prosecute “an outright fabrication.” Lutsenko later retracted his accusations about the list.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who is now Trump’s personal lawyer, has alleged Yovanovitch blocked efforts to persuade Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Yovanovitch took the opportunity to deny the accusations during her testimony on Friday. She said she had not spoken to Hunter Biden and had only spoken to Joe Biden several times over the course of many years in government. She said during that time neither he or the previous administration raised the issue of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma or Hunter Biden.

Meanwhile, Yovanovitch was mentioned in the call between Trump and Zelensky, where Trump described her as “bad news.” Zelensky agreed with Trump during the call, saying: “It was great that you were the first one who told me that she was a bad ambassador because I agree with you 100 percent. Her attitude towards me was far from the best as she admired the previous president and was on his side. She would not accept me as a new president well enough.”

This is the second time the White House has mistakenly sent their talking points to political opponents amid the Democrat-led impeachment inquiry. On Sept. 25, several Democratic congress members said they received an email from the White House containing talking points about the chamber’s impeachment probe.

Follow Janita on Twitter: @janitakan
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