Day 2: Impeachment hearings focus on ex-Ambassador to Ukraine

After hearing testimony earlier this week from two State Department officials about an 'irregular' diplomatic channel in Ukraine led by President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, the House Intelligence Committee will hear from the former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, who was the target of a campaign led by Giuliani in March of 2018, which led to her replacement.

In her closed door testimony to impeachment investigators, veteran U.S. diplomat Marie Yovanovitch joined in pointing a finger of blame at Giuliani for leading what one State Department official called a 'campaign of slander' against the Ambassador.

"I do not know Mr. Giuliani's motives for attacking me," Yovanovitch said in her deposition.

Not a household name by any stretch of the imagination, the veteran diplomat suddenly found herself the subject of attacks on Fox News and in conservative media circles starting on March 20, 2019.

An article by John Solomon was quickly followed by a tweet by President Trump, segments on Fox News, questions about Hunter Biden, George Soros and more - all in a short four day rush.

All of it came just a few days after Yovanovitch had agreed to a State Department request for her to stay on as the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine through 2020.

As Ambassador Yovanovitch repeatedly told investigators last month, she still has no idea why President Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani had targeted her, accusing her of corruption, and working against President Trump - what colleagues called a 'campaign of slander' against her which had no truth.

"That allegation is false," she testified of charges that she told U.S. embassy personnel to ignore orders from President Trump.

"Honestly, it's a mystery to me,” Yovanovitch said of why Rudy Giuliani was drumming up opposition to her inside Ukraine - and back at the White House.

"Well, clearly, they didn't want me in Ukraine anymore," Yovanovitch told impeachment investigators, as she was removed by President Trump soon after.

What did Yovanovitch do wrong? There is no clear answer.

In reviewing press releases, news stories, and social media posts from 2017 and 2018, absolutely nothing jumps out about the Ambassador's actions under President Trump.

In Ukraine, she spoke at events with dry titles like "Economic Opportunities for people affected by Conflict in Ukraine," made visits and speeches to places like the Ukrainian Catholic University, and spoke about innovation by businesses in Ukraine.

But starting in March 2019, everything changed once the John Solomon article was published.

She gets her chance on Friday in the impeachment hearings to speak in public for the first time about what happened.

About the Author