Former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch confirmed in her opening statement on Friday she has no firsthand knowledge of President Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The phone call is at the center of the complaint filed by the whistleblower, which started the impeachment inquiry.
Yovanovitch added she does not have firsthand knowledge of the delay or the discussion surrounding the delay in military aid to Ukraine.
Yovanovitch was removed from her post before Trump's phone call with Zelensky. She said Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer, had started a "smear campaign" against her that eventually led to her removal.
"I arrived in Ukraine on August 22nd, 2016, and left Ukraine permanently on May 20th, 2019. There are a number of events you are investigating to which I cannot bring any firsthand knowledge," Yovanovitch said.
"The events that predated my Ukraine service include, the release of the so-called black ledger and Mr. [Paul] Manafort’s subsequent resignation from President Trump’s campaign and the departure from office of former Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin. And several other events occurred after I returned from the Ukraine. These include President Trump’s July 25th, 2019 call with President Zelensky. The discussions surrounding that phone call and any discussions surrounding the delay of security assistance to Ukraine in the summer of 2019," she continued.
Just as the impeachment inquiry hearing started, the White House released the memo of Trump's first phone call with Zelensky in April. In the call, which took place after Zelensky's election victory, Trump invited him to visit the White House at some point.