Video ‘shows Trump calling for Ukraine ambassador to be fired’
Video has emerged which appears to show Donald Trump ordering the dismissal of the US ambassador to Ukraine in 2018 – a year before she was fired.
In the footage, obtained by Reuters, Mr Trump can be heard saying “Get rid of her! Get her out tomorrow” – referring to former ambassador Marie Yovanovitch during a dinner at the Trump Hotel in April 2018.
He adds: “I don’t care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. Ok? Do it.”
The 83-minute video, which was first reported by ABC News, was reportedly released to the media by a lawyer for Lev Parnas, an associate of Mr Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
It comes after the Democrat leading the impeachment case against Mr Trump described a tweet sent by the US president as a threat against him.
Mr Trump has been accused of abusing his power by pressuring Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden, a potential opponent in the presidential election this year, and then trying to obstruct an investigation by Congress.
Democrats have claimed the president’s associates, including Mr Parnas, spent a year trying to oust Ms Yovanovitch because she was seen as an obstacle to their efforts to pressure Ukraine.
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She was fired in May 2019 and Mr Trump had made it clear he was “not a fan”.
Mr Trump has said he had the right to dismiss Ms Yovanovitch, but she has claimed the decision was based on “unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives”.
Mr Parnas has recounted the dinner from which the video footage appears to have been recorded. He has been providing evidence for the Democrats’ investigation into the president.
The Democrats have released documents which reportedly show Mr Giuliani worked with Mr Parnas to pressure Ukraine into investigating Mr Biden, and tried to force out Ms Yovanovitch.
The White House has not responded to the video footage.
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On Sunday, Mr Trump sent a tweet in which he said that Democrat Representative Adam Schiff has “not paid the price, yet” for his actions in the impeachment case.
He wrote: “Shifty Adam Schiff is a CORRUPT POLITICIAN, and probably a very sick man. He has not paid the price, yet, for what he has done to our Country!”
Responding to whether he felt the tweet was a threat, Mr Schiff told NBC’s Meet The Press: “I think it’s intended to be.”
On Saturday, lawyers for the president began their defence in his impeachment trial. They have argued he did nothing wrong in his dealings with Ukraine.
Impeachment proceedings will resume on Monday.