Did You Know This About Marie Yovanovitch?
Dov Fischer
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One, she was appointed ambassador to Ukraine by Obama in May 2016, six months before his presidency ended.

2. From 2008 to 2011, she was Bush’s and Obama’s ambassador to Armenia. George W. Bush removed Yovanovitch’s predecessor, Ambassador John Evans, from the Armenia post after he rightly called the Turkish Holocaust of Armenians a “genocide.” Bush then nominated Richard Hoagland to be U.S. ambassador to Armenia, but he refused to acknowledge the Turkish Holocaust as “genocide,” so the Senate rejected him. Yovanovitch was the next nominee for the post, and she got the message not to call it “genocide” but to fudge it enough to placate Armenian Americans, so she played along and refused to call the Medz Yeghern — the Turkish Holocaust of 1.5 million Armenians between 1915–23 — a “genocide.” In the words of Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), reported by the Associated Press on June 19, 2008, when he questioned her during hearings on her nomination,

It is a shame that career foreign service officers have to be brought before the [Senate Foreign Relations] Committee and find difficulty in acknowledging historical facts, and find difficulty in acknowledging the realities of what has been internationally recognized.… And it is amazing to me that we can talk about millions, a million and a half human beings who were slaughtered, we can talk about those who were raped, we can talk about those who were forcibly pushed out of their country, and we can have presidential acknowledgements of that, but then we cannot call it what it is.

The Associated Press headlined its story “Nominee Refuses to Call Killings Genocide.”

3. After the hearings on Yovanovitch, the Los Angeles Times reported the executive director of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), Aram Hamparian, stated, “We were troubled by Ambassador Yovanovitch’s refusal to offer any meaningful rationale for the Administration’s ongoing complicity in Turkey’s denials, other than her tacit admission that the United States has apparently allowed a foreign nation to impose a gag rule on America’s right to speak truthfully about the Armenian genocide.”

4. Because Armenian Americans were so upset with Yovanovitch’s testimony and because Senate Democrats on the Foreign Relations Committee, including Sen. Barack Obama, felt comfortable criticizing the Bush administration’s refusal to use the word “genocide” to describe the Medz Yeghern, Yovanovitch’s nomination was delayed while she was forced to respond in writing to a series of written questions from the senators. Her responses further disgusted Armenian Americans. “We remain troubled by Ambassador Yovanovitch’s evasive answers, her outright non-responses, and her refusal, in her replies to Senator Obama and other Senators, to offer anything approaching a reasonable or factually supportable explanation of the reasons behind Administration’s misguided policy on the Armenian Genocide,” Hamparian said. “This being said, it appears as though Ambassador Yovanovitch and her colleagues have learned from the disastrous Hoagland experience and are coming to understand that the U.S. Senate will not accept — and the Armenian American community will never allow — an Ambassador to Armenia who denies the Armenian Genocide.”

5. On October 2, 2008, towards the end of President George W. Bush’s tenure, she was asked while she was U.S. ambassador to Armenia what she would do if the newly elected president would change foreign policy, such as formally calling the Turkish Holocaust of Armenians a “genocide” even though she refused to do so.  The ARMINFO News Agency reported,

“[An] Ambassador serves his president and may be recalled anytime and for any reason,” newly appointed U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Marie L. Yovanovitch said in response to [an] ArmInfo question [as to whether] her personal stand on [the] Armenian Genocide will allow her further [to] work at the US Department of State if the new leadership of the White House recognizes Genocide.

“The decision to recall [an] Ambassador fully depends on the president,” the American diplomat said avoiding a direct answer to the question. To recall, the former Ambassador John Evans was recalled from Armenia in 2006 for his statements on recognition of [the] Armenian Genocide.

6. Read No. 5 again: “[An] Ambassador serves his president and may be recalled anytime and for any reason…. The decision to recall [an] Ambassador fully depends on the president.” The words of Marie Yovanovitch.

7. It was reported in December 2013 by Harut Sassounian, publisher of the California Courier, that WikiLeaks uncovered a confidential report by Yovanovitch titled “Experience Engaging Diaspora Communities — Armenia.” In it she criticized the Armenian Diaspora for not supporting “the promotion of democracy, electoral reform, and civil society development in Armenia.” She critiqued that Armenian-American groups “pay close attention to Armenia’s foreign policy decisions and are quick to mobilize their supporters against the Armenian government if the Diaspora groups believe the government is not acting in Armenia’s best interests. Many groups oppose the government’s regional reconciliation efforts on the grounds that such reconciliation does not include resolution of the simmering conflict in Nagorno-Karabagh or recognition that the Ottoman Empire engaged in genocide in 1915.”

8. On the Sean Hannity show of March 20, 2019, former U.S. Attorney Joe diGenova told his host,

But, Sean, here’s the thing that’s really changing, now we know that there [sic] not was there a Russian collusion through Fusion GPS and through the MI-6 guy and all of that. But now, we know that Ukrainian officials deeply involved in trying to help Hillary Clinton through this and we also now know that the current United States ambassador, Marie Yovanovitch, has badmouth[ed] the president of the United States to Ukrainian officials and has told them not to listen or worry about Trump policy because he is going to be impeached. This woman needs to be called home to the United States for consultation.

(Remember: Volodymyr Zelensky was not even elected Ukraine’s president until April 21, 2019. Yovanovitch was called home two weeks later, on May 6. The so-called “whistleblower phone call” was July 25, 2019.)

9. Two days later, on the Laura Ingraham show of March 22, Ingraham expressed surprise that Marie Yovanovitch, an Obama holdover with known anti-Trump biases, still had not been removed as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, even after Rep. Pete Sessions had sent an urgent letter to Mike Pompeo to do so in May 2018. Joe diGenova, her guest that night, reiterated,

No, they didn’t. And, in fact, Laura, you mentioned that Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, contrary to what a lot of people thought, was still in her job. I learned this evening that the president has ordered her dismissal from her post as the United States Ambassador to Ukraine as a result of her activities there, which were complained of by Congressman Sessions. She is known and reported by people there to have badmouthed the president of United States, Donald Trump, to have told Ukrainians not to listen to him or obey his policy because he was going to be impeached. And finally her activities have caught up with her.

10. In a Washington Times account on April 18, 2019, Edward Lozansky likewise wrote of “U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch’s bad-mouthing of the president to Ukrainian officials.”

11. On May 13, 2019, the publication New Europe reported on Yovanovitch having been recalled. In describing why she might have been recalled, they wrote inter alia: “[Yovanovitch] did, however, have a somewhat contentious tenure in Kyiv, both with the Ukrainian government and with the community of Americans and Ukrainians involved in building closer ties between the two countries.”

12. In the whistleblower phone call of July 25, 2019, President Zelensky said this to President Trump about Marie Yovanovitch:

[W]ith regard to the ambassador [of] the United States [to] Ukraine, as far as I recall her name was Ivanovich [sic]. It was great that you were the first one who told me that she was a bad ambassador because I agree with you 100 percent. Her attitude towards me was far from the best, as she admired the previous president, and she was on his side. She would not accept me as a new president well enough.

Did you know all this about Marie Yovanovitch? Now connect the dots. So we have a long-serving State Department insider who understood the diplomacy game enough to obstinately refuse labeling the Medz Yeghern genocide as a “genocide,” was appointed by Obama to the Ukraine post, and somehow gained a reputation there as badmouthing the new president, Donald Trump. She understood the rules of the game: “[An] Ambassador serves his president and may be recalled anytime and for any reason…. The decision to recall [an] Ambassador fully depends on the president.”

She never was appointed to a lifetime job like a federal judgeship. President Trump had campaigned on a promise to fire Deep State and similar government staffers who have managed over the years to become an unelected policy-setting entity unto themselves. Rep. Pete Sessions had asked the president to oust her. Two weeks after Zelensky’s election and 10 weeks before the whistleblower phone call, people in President Trump’s circles and supporters of his vision were asking publicly that she be removed. And she was removed, just as President Bush earlier had removed a thoroughly qualified ambassador to Armenia, John Evans, for being a person of conscience — thereby creating the very vacancy into which the opportunistic Yovanovitch eagerly entered. Along the way, she got on the wrong side of newly elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, a fundamentally decent guy according to all accounts, and also had a “somewhat contentious tenure in Kyiv, both with the Ukrainian government and with the community of Americans and Ukrainians involved in building closer ties between the two countries.”

Where is the controversy? She had to be replaced, just as the United Kingdom replaced their American ambassador, Nigel Kim Darroch a.k.a. Baron Darroch of Kew, after diplomatic cables were leaked revealing his disrespect for the American president. That is how it goes. How long ago was the Guardian headlining a story “US diplomats cry foul as Obama donors take over top embassy jobs”? (The subheading was “Former ambassador likens practice to ‘selling of public office’ as figures show average amount of cash raised is $1.8m per post.”)

And now Yovanovitch wants to tug at our emotions by breaking down in tears?

Adam Schiff is presenting Yovanovitch to the American people as a star witness — as his star-chamber witness. The same Adam Schiff was elected to represent the congressional district that proudly boasts the largest Armenian-American population of any district in America. We may wonder whether, amid her tears, Yovanovitch finally will find a way to mouth the word “genocide” for Schiff’s 70,000 Armenian-American constituents — assuming he even remembers or cares who they are.

Dov Fischer
Dov Fischer
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Rabbi Dov Fischer, Esq., a high-stakes litigation attorney of more than twenty-five years and an adjunct professor of law of more than fifteen years, is rabbi of Young Israel of Orange County, California. His legal career has included serving as Chief Articles Editor of UCLA Law Review, clerking for the Hon. Danny J. Boggs in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and then litigating at three of America’s most prominent law firms: JonesDay, Akin Gump, and Baker & Hostetler. In his rabbinical career, Rabbi Fischer has served several terms on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America, is Senior Rabbinic Fellow at the Coalition for Jewish Values, has been Vice President of Zionist Organization of America, and has served on regional boards of the American Jewish Committee, B’nai Brith Hillel, and several others. His writings on contemporary political issues have appeared over the years in the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Jerusalem Post, National Review, American Greatness, The Weekly Standard, and in Jewish media in American and in Israel. A winner of an American Jurisprudence Award in Professional Legal Ethics, Rabbi Fischer also is the author of two books, including General Sharon’s War Against Time Magazine, which covered the Israeli General’s 1980s landmark libel suit.
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