ABC News is reporting that it has reviewed a tape that “appears” to capture President Trump telling associates to fire then-U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
Lost in the mix, as the media makes a big deal out of the story, is that all ambassadors serve at the pleasure of the president and can be dismissed at any time without reason.
“Get rid of her!” a voice, said to be of Trump, says in the video. “Get her out tomorrow. I don’t care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. Okay? Do it.”
White House press secretary Stephanie Grishman was quick to respond to the media’s latest “bombshell” with a comment stating the obvious: “Every president in our history has had the right to place people who support his agenda and his policies within his Administration.”
JUST IN: White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham responds: “Every President in our history has had the right to place people who support his agenda and his policies within his Administration.” https://t.co/rz6X4alIIM https://t.co/wU2mmfWk91
— ABC News (@ABC) January 24, 2020
According to ABC News, Trump is speaking to a small group that included Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman — two indicted former business associates of the president’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
Citing sources in the know, the network said the recording was made by Fruman at an intimate April 30, 2018, dinner at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.
More From ABC News:
On the recording, it appears the two Giuliani associates are telling President Trump that the U.S. ambassador has been bad-mouthing him, which leads directly to the apparent remarks by the President. The recording was made by Fruman, according to sources familiar with the tape. The White House did not respond to an ABC News request for comment. […]
Parnas appears to say: “The biggest problem there, I think where we need to start is we gotta get rid of the ambassador. She’s still left over from the Clinton administration,” Parnas can be heard telling Trump. “She’s basically walking around telling everybody ‘Wait, he’s gonna get impeached, just wait.” (Yovanovitch actually had served in the State Department since the Reagan administration.)
If it’s true that Parnas and Fruman were there, it would appear to contradict Trump’s claim that he does not know Parnas.
House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., turned over new evidence to the House Judiciary Committee at the 11th hour, as the House was set to turn over to the Senate the articles of impeachment against Trump last week.
The new evidence includes text messages, notes and other documents obtained from Parnas.
In response to the development, Parnas releasing photos taken with the president.
“I don’t know him,” Trump told reporters last week at the Oval Office. “I don’t know Parnas other than I guess I had pictures taken, which I do with thousands of people.”
“I don’t know him at all,” he added. “Don’t know what he’s about. Don’t know where he comes from. Know nothing about him.”
Trump would add that Parnas is “probably trying to make a deal for himself.”
As ABC News reported, Parnas and Fruman were indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit campaign finance fraud, false statements to the Federal Election Commission and falsification of records as part of an alleged scheme to circumvent federal campaign finance laws against straw donations and foreign contributions.
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