Sources are saying Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has become frustrated by the loss of some top officials and regrets his failure to defend the former ambassador to the Ukraine from a smear campaign.
One source said Pompeo failed to get involved because he was afraid of upending U.S.-Ukraine policy and be pushed out of the administration like former national security adviser John Bolton, reported CNN.
A handful of former U.S. ambassadors to Ukraine urged State Department officials in a letter this spring to defend Yovanovitch, and one of Pompeo's closest senior officials, Counselor Ulrich Brechbuhl, said the message had been received and would be considered.
But the secretary of state did nothing, and Yovanovitch was recalled two months later on Trump's orders.
Pompeo got a packet of information in March from Trump attorney Rudy Guiliani that contained unfounded claims against Yovanovitch, along with Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.
Giuliani has said Pompeo spoke to him about the packet and said the information would be passed along for investigation, but it's not clear whether Pompeo shared the information with the Department of Justice.
Brechbuhl gave the packet to the State Department's inspector general.
CNN's sources said Pompeo felt victimized by criticism after the departures of Kurt Volker, former special representative to Ukraine, and senior adviser Michael McKinley, who each have testified before Congress.
"He has been very disappointed," said one source who spoke to Pompeo. "He feels that with these departures, the actual good work on Ukraine policy has come to a halt."