If viewers liked what they saw on Wednesday’s first exciting episode of Schiff: NCIS, they’ll love the follow-up. Today the House Intelligence Committee will take public testimony from former ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, who got removed from her job early after a concerted effort to oust her by Rudy Giuliani and his allies. We can expect to hear similar testimony from Yovanovitch as was given by George Kent and William Taylor about their unhappiness with the policies being pursued, and we can expect the same gaps in Adam Schiff’s case as well:
Yovanovitch, a 30-year veteran of the diplomatic corps, had already been ousted by the time Trump spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25. But the circumstances surrounding her departure in May have been a focal point for House impeachment investigators as they seek evidence that Trump abused his office to extract political benefit from a foreign ally — and steamrolled anyone who might thwart him.
“[Yovanovitch] was kneecapped by the grimy political and financial interests of the president and Mr. Giuliani,” Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said in an interview.
Maloney added that Yovanovitch was a witness to the early efforts by Giuliani “and saw this develop in real time.”
Democrats are seeking to portray Yovanovitch as a victim of Trump and Giuliani’s effort, which she said ran counter to the anti-corruption efforts she and the rest of the State Department were advocating.
It does seem pretty clear that Yovanovitch got caught in a political vise, and she had already been all but bypassed on Ukraine anyway by the “Three Amigos.” Trump recalled her with three months left on her tour, a decision fully within his authority, but this is less about her removal than it is about her testimony regarding what she saw before it. Unfortunately for Schiff, that’s a dry hole when it comes to his theory of an impeachable act.