Tag Archives: envoy

Iranian missiles ‘will be dealt with’ if they get to Venezuela, Trump’s envoy for Iran and Venezuela says


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Biden names climate statesman John Kerry as climate envoy


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Chief Afghan peace envoy says US troops pulling out too soon


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Rights group, Afghan envoy want more probes into war crimes


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Successor to slain Iran general will be murdered if he kills Americans: U.S. envoy

Successor to slain Iran general will be murdered if he kills Americans: U.S. envoyThe successor to the Iranian commander killed in a U.S. drone strike would suffer the same fate if he followed a similar path by killing Americans, the U.S. special representative for Iran said, according to the Asharq al-Awsat newspaper.



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Pompeo breaks silence on alleged threats to envoy in Ukraine

Pompeo breaks silence on alleged threats to envoy in UkraineSecretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday broke nearly 72 hours of silence over alleged surveillance and threats to the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, saying he believed the allegations would prove to be wrong but that he had an obligation to evaluate and investigate the matter. In interviews with conservative radio hosts, Pompeo said he had no knowledge of the allegations until earlier this week when congressional Democrats released documents from an associate of President Donald Trump’s personal attorney suggesting that Marie Yovanovitch was being watched.



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Trump 'flouting his oath of office' by hosting Russian envoy and 'echoing Putin's propaganda', Democrats say

Trump 'flouting his oath of office' by hosting Russian envoy and 'echoing Putin's propaganda', Democrats sayPresident Donald Trump's decision to grant Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov an Oval Office meeting is yet another example of his abdication of his responsibilities, several Democratic politicians have told The Independent.Mr Lavrov arrived at the White House at about 2.15pm on Tuesday afternoon, entering the West Wing after telling reporters he was there to "say good afternoon to the president". The pair met behind closed doors and Mr Lavrov left after about an hour.



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Trump 'flouting his oath of office' by hosting Russian envoy and 'echoing Putin's propaganda', Democrats say

Trump 'flouting his oath of office' by hosting Russian envoy and 'echoing Putin's propaganda', Democrats sayPresident Donald Trump's decision to grant Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov an Oval Office meeting is yet another example of his abdication of his responsibilities, several Democratic politicians have told The Independent.Mr Lavrov arrived at the White House at about 2.15pm on Tuesday afternoon, entering the West Wing after telling reporters he was there to "say good afternoon to the president". The pair met behind closed doors and Mr Lavrov left after about an hour.



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Trump’s Russia Nominee Affirms Giuliani Helped Oust an Envoy

Trump’s Russia Nominee Affirms Giuliani Helped Oust an Envoy(Bloomberg) — Donald Trump’s nominee for U.S. ambassador to Russia confirmed the assertion from a former diplomat in Ukraine that she was removed after concerted pressure by the president and his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.John Sullivan, who’s currently deputy secretary of state, testified Wednesday that he told U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch that she was being recalled. That followed a campaign by Giuliani who singled her out for what he deemed an anti-Trump agenda.Asked why he instructed Yovanovitch to come home from Ukraine, Sullivan told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at his confirmation hearing that it was because he was informed the president had lost confidence in her. “When the president loses confidence in the ambassador, right or wrong, the ambassador needs to come home,” he said.But Sullivan also said that he learned that Giuliani had pushed for Yovanovitch’s removal and that Secretary of State Michael Pompeo had initially resisted the president’s call to oust her.Democrats on the Senate panel used Sullivan’s confirmation hearing to pursue allegations at the heart of the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry — that Trump held up U.S. military aid and a promised White House meeting to extract a pledge from Ukraine’s new president to investigate Democrat Joe Biden and his son Hunter as well as a conspiracy theory that Ukraine and Democrats, not Russia favoring Trump, interfered in the 2016 election.“Ukrainians died because of this delay and died at the hands of Russian forces,” Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, the committee’s top Democrat, said at the hearing. He said his support for Sullivan depends on whether he thinks success “is fulfilling President Trump’s pro-Kremlin vision.”Yovanovitch told House impeachment investigators earlier in October that Sullivan informed her that “there had been a concerted campaign against me, and that the Department had been under pressure from the president to remove me since the Summer of 2018.“He also said that I had done nothing wrong and that this was not like other situations where he had recalled ambassadors for cause,” she testified, according to her opening statement, which was made public.Under questioning from Democratic Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Sullivan said “I’m not aware” of any other instance when a U.S. president has asked a foreign power to investigate a U.S. citizen like the Bidens.Sullivan acknowledged that “investigating a political rival as opposed to encouraging political reform” would be “inconsistent with our values.”Sullivan made no reference to the impeachment inquiry in his opening remarks but pledged that if he’s confirmed as ambassador he’d balance opportunities to work with Russia against vigilance toward its “malign actions.”“I will be relentless in opposing Russian efforts to interfere in U.S. elections, to violate the sovereignty of Ukraine and Georgia, and to engage in the malign behavior that has reduced our relationship to such a low level of trust,” he said in the statement.Sullivan also distanced the State Department leadership from Giuliani’s claim that his work on Ukraine was done at the department’s request, suggesting it was part of a parallel process that Sullivan and Pompeo weren’t engaged on.In a Sept. 26 interview on Fox News, Giuliani criticized a whistle-blower’s allegations that he was operating on his own, saying, “I went to meet Mr. Zelenskiy’s aide at the request of the State Department. Fifteen memos make that clear.”Instead, Sullivan said Giuliani was likely referring to communications about Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy with Kurt Volker, the U.S. special representative for Ukraine negotiations.‘Not Aware’Sullivan, asked if he helped direct Giuliani’s efforts on Ukraine issues, replied, “I did not, and I’m not aware that the secretary did either.”Sullivan was mentioned by name in Yovanovitch’s opening statement to the impeachment inquiry earlier this month. Yovanovitch said Sullivan broke the news that she was being recalled from her post early even though her original term wasn’t up for a couple of months and had been extended through 2020 shortly before.The impeachment connection, and Sullivan’s current position as Pompeo’s top deputy, resulted in a contentious hearing where Sullivan’s qualifications for the job were overshadowed.The committee’s Republican chairman, Senator Jim Risch of Idaho, has refused to hold any hearings linked to Ukraine or allegations of impeachable offenses by the president. It will also be the first Russia-related hearing in the committee in more than two years.Risch said at Wednesday’s hearing that “it’s almost impossible” to discuss Ukraine “without talking about the corruption in the country.” He suggested a president shouldn’t have to “look the other way” if a political opponent is involved in the corruption, as Trump asserts Biden’s son was by serving on the board of a gas company in Ukraine.In the Democratic-controlled House, the impeachment inquiry continues to take witness testimony behind closed doors as the full chamber prepares for a Thursday vote on an impeachment resolution.The role of ambassador in Moscow is a largely thankless one in an administration whose policy toward Russia has been highly contradictory. Trump has repeatedly pledged to improve ties — and in a summit in Helsinki, Finland last year appeared to back Russian President Vladimir Putin’s vow that he didn’t interfere with the 2016 election despite the assessment of the U.S. intelligence community that he did.Twelve Russian intelligence agents were indicted as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, and the U.S. slapped numerous sanctions and visa restrictions on Russia over its role in the election interference, as well as a nerve-agent attack on a former spy in the U.K.Sullivan has led committees on counterterrorism and strategic security. Yet even an initiative to ease what both the U.S. and Russia call “minor irritants” has failed to produce any gains.Sullivan briefly held the role of acting secretary of state from the time Trump fired Rex Tillerson in March 2018 until the Senate confirmed Pompeo a month later. His nomination for Russia ambassador has the backing of numerous high-ranking national security officials including former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley.“We believe he is the right person at the right time for what is always a very critical post, but perhaps never more critical as now,” the group wrote in the letter, which was obtained by Bloomberg News.Sullivan would replace Jon Huntsman, a former governor of Utah and ambassador to China, who left Moscow earlier in October. He will have support from at least one Democrat on the Committee, Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland, who was among those introducing him at the hearing.“He has served our nation well in public service,” Cardin said. “John Sullivan to me is a straight shooter.”(Updates to add Sullivan response to Giuliani-Ukraine questions from 13th paragraph)\–With assistance from Billy House.To contact the reporters on this story: Daniel Flatley in Washington at dflatley1@bloomberg.net;Jennifer Jacobs in Washington at jjacobs68@bloomberg.net;Nick Wadhams in Washington at nwadhams@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Kevin Whitelaw at kwhitelaw@bloomberg.net, Larry Liebert, Bill FariesFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



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Official Tells Impeachment Probe He Wanted Pompeo to Back Envoy

Official Tells Impeachment Probe He Wanted Pompeo to Back Envoy(Bloomberg) — The State Department’s top diplomat for Europe told impeachment investigators Saturday he was disappointed Secretary of State Michael Pompeo didn’t back the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine when she was targeted in a smear campaign by President Donald Trump and his associates, a person familiar with his testimony said.Speaking for more than eight hours in a rare Saturday session, Philip Reeker, the acting assistant secretary for Europe, said he pushed department leadership to make a statement of support for Marie Yovanovitch to counter the push to get her recalled, led by Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.Giuliani had worked for months to have Yovanovitch removed, believing she was opposed to the president. She was recalled in May 2019.Reeker, who took the job in March, testified that he was disturbed by what was happening to Yovanovitch and opposed what Giuliani was doing at the time, the person said.The release of a rough transcript from a July 25 call showed Trump denigrating Yovanovitch to Ukraine’s president.Yovanovitch testified Oct. 11 that she was ousted after a “concerted campaign” by Trump and his allies, including Giuliani.In his testimony, Reeker said he was largely cut out from the policy process on Ukraine because it was already dominated by Giuliani as well as Kurt Volker, the U.S. envoy for the country’s conflict with Russia, and U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland. Reeker said he was unaware at the time whether Trump was demanding an investigation into the Biden family or the 2016 election in exchange for military aid.“He is corroborating previous witnesses and their testimony,“ Representative Stephen Lynch, a Massachusetts Democrat, told reporters outside the hearing room Saturday. “I think it is fair to say it’s a much richer reservoir of information than we originally expected.”Smear CampaignRepresentative Scott Perry, a Republican from Pennsylvania, called Reeker “credible” but said there were no “earth-shattering” revelations.“The accusations against the president aren’t being corroborated in any of this witness testimony, and today in my opinion is not different,” Perry said.Since the disclosure of a whistle-blower’s complaint last month, Trump, his aides and a White House memo have publicly confirmed many of the allegations. Republicans have largely complained about process and avoided questions about whether the president’s conduct is impeachable.The inquiry is focused almost entirely on the question of whether Trump and a handful of close advisers put pressure on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to conduct investigations of Trump’s political rivals, including by holding up U.S. military assistance.Internal emails disclosed to lawmakers by the State Department’s inspector general on Oct. 2 show that Reeker was notified of a campaign to smear Yovanovitch as a liberal opponent of Trump, a notion he said at the time was “without merit or validation.”Reeker’s testimony was originally scheduled for earlier this week before the House committees on Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight. A career foreign service officer who served in both Republican and Democratic administrations, he has been in his current post since March.The State Department sent Reeker a letter late Friday directing him to not appear, which prompted a subpoena from the House panels to give him legal cover to testify, according to copy of the letter obtained by Bloomberg News. The congressional committees have issued similar so-called friendly subpoenas for other executive branch employees who were told to not participate in the inquiry.“Lots of Americans are asking themselves why does the White House keep trying to blockade witnesses, why does the White House keep on trying to prevent documents from going to Congress,” Representative Jamie Raskin, a Maryland Democrat, said Saturday. “What exactly are they hiding?”Trump and his Republican allies have continued to criticize Democrats for taking testimony in closed-door sessions, though Republican members of the three committees all have taken part in questioning witnesses.Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff said Saturday that the committees are “making rapid progress.”“We are trying to work expeditiously, but we’re trying to be methodical in our work,” Schiff said.GOP DemonstrationThis week, a group of Republicans, including some who are on one of the committees conducting the inquiry, stormed the secure areas where the witness interviews are being conducted to stage a sit-in. The move delayed the interview of a Pentagon official for about five hours.Their complaints extended to scheduling Reeker’s appearance for Saturday.“Chairman Schiff has chosen to conduct his inquiry behind closed doors with only a limited number of members present, allowing selective leaks of cherry-picked information to paint misleading public narratives,” Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, the ranking Republican on the Oversight committee, wrote in a letter to Reeker on Wednesday, referring to Schiff. “For these reasons, we were surprised and disappointed that you had agreed to appear for a deposition on Saturday.”The schedule for next week includes testimony from former Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Charles Kupperman on Monday, and Timothy Morrison, a special assistant to the president, on Thursday.But on Friday, Kupperman asked a federal judge whether he must appear. He said in court papers that he faces “irreconcilable commands” — a subpoena from House Democrats requiring him to cooperate and an order from the White House not to testify.His lawyer, Charles Cooper, said in a statement late Friday night that Trump “has asserted that Dr. Kupperman, as a close personal adviser to the president, is immune from Congressional process, and has instructed Dr. Kupperman not to appear and testify in response to the House’s subpoena.”Kupperman, Cooper added, “cannot satisfy the competing and irreconcilable demands of both the legislative and executive branches, and there is no controlling judicial authority definitively establishing which branch’s command should prevail.”The House committee leaders dismissed that argument in a letter Saturday, saying the lawsuit is “lacking in legal merit and apparently coordinated with the White House.” They warned that failure to appear for his deposition “will constitute evidence that may be used against him in a contempt proceeding.”On Friday, the committee chairmen also sent subpoenas to Michael Duffey, the Office of Management and Budget’s associate director for national security programs, to testify Nov. 5 and to acting Budget Director Russell Vought to testify on Nov. 6. Vought had previously tweeted that the two wouldn’t testify voluntarily.Department of State Counselor T. Ulrich Brechbuhl was subpoenaed to appear at a deposition on Nov. 6.(Updates to add length of hearing and lawmaker comments beginning in the second paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Erik Wasson in Washington at ewasson@bloomberg.net;Billy House in Washington at bhouse5@bloomberg.net;Nick Wadhams in Washington at nwadhams@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at jsobczyk@bloomberg.net, Anna Edgerton, Steve GeimannFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



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