FORMER US ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch told House of Representatives investigators on Monday of a chilling campaign led by Donald Trump to get her sacked, saying she had been warned to "watch her back".
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo offered a tortured response Thursday to questions about the sworn impeachment testimony of his former senior adviser Michael McKinley, who told investigators last month that he approached Pompeo three times with concerns about a campaign to undermine the US ambassador to Ukraine.
This comes as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo becomes increasingly involved in the inquiry. CBS News State Department and foreign affairs reporter Christina Ruffini joins CBSN to explain the latest developments.
But Ms Yovanovitch said she had been told by Ukrainian officials past year that Mr Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani was in touch with Ukraine's former top prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko "and that they had plans, and that they were going to, you know, do things, including to me".
Hale, for example, never responded to an email sent by former top Pompeo adviser Michael McKinley urging Pompeo to speak out in defense of Yovanovitch after the White House released a partial transcript of Trump's phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the officials said.
The transcripts have also made clear that Pompeo resisted multiple appeals to issue statements in support of Yovanovitch after she was ousted from her post under political pressure.
When Stephanopoulos asked directly whether he was asked to issue a statement of support, Pompeo declined to comment: "I'm not going to talk about private conversations that I had with my most trusted advisers".
"It shouldn't surprise anyone that in May when that took place, he didn't say a thing to me".
McKinley said in his testimony that he wanted a statement to underscore Yovanovitch's "professionalism and courage". "I just don't know much about her". He brought up the issue with Secretary Pompeo several times, he said, with no response. "Not once, George, did Ambassador McKinley say something to me during that entire time period".
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. Hale said that determination is what kept the department silent amid Giuliani's so-called smear campaign.
That isn't what McKinley testified, however, and Pompeo declined to answer other questions on the impeachment inquiry during his press conference with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.