Congressional investigators on Saturday learned additional details of the Trump administration's efforts to seek foreign election assistance from Ukraine.
"The diplomat, Philip T. Reeker, the acting assistant secretary of state in charge of European and Eurasian Affairs, testified privately that this spring he pressed both David Hale, the third-ranking State Department official, and T. Ulrich Brechbuhl, the counselor to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, for a public show of support for the ambassador, Marie L. Yovanovitch," The New York Times reported Saturday evening. "For months, he testified, she had been the target of false accusations by critics, including Rudolph W. Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, that she was disloyal to Mr. Trump."
The testimony occurred during a rare, Saturday deposition.
"Mr. Reeker also supported a subsequent unsuccessful effort by a senior State Department diplomat, Michael McKinley, to secure a public statement in support of Ms. Yovanovitch when details about her ouster became public this fall. Mr. McKinley told congressional investigators this month that he resigned as a senior adviser to Mr. Pompeo partly because the department’s leaders failed to defend Ms. Yovanovitch in the face of false accusations," The Times explained.
Reeker testified for more than eight hours.
"The unusual weekend interview indicated that a fast-moving inquiry could be accelerating as it enters its second month. House Democrats have so far scheduled four more depositions with potentially consequential witnesses in the coming week, and they may conduct more than one a day in an effort to clear the way for a more public-facing phase of the investigation by mid- to late November," the newspaper noted.
Details on the testimony were also revealed by The Washington Post.
"Reeker also testified that Ukrainian policy was being driven by Kurt Volker, the special envoy for the country who reported directly to Pompeo, and Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union and a close Trump ally," The Post reported. "Reeker also testified that he was aware of the involvement of Rudolph W. Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, in spreading baseless accusations about Yovanovitch, but he did not track Giuliani’s actions in Ukraine beyond that."