Marie Yovanovitch: 'It Is The American Way To Speak Up About Wrongdoing'

In a new op-ed, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who spoke up about President Donald Trump said "we need to fight for our democracy."

Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who testified against President Donald Trump in the House impeachment inquiry, is hopeful that Americans “will persist and we will prevail,” she wrote in a Washington Post op-ed published Thursday, after announcing her retirement from her decadeslong diplomatic career.

Yovanovitch testified that she was the target of a bad-faith smear campaign by Trump and his allies, who wanted to “get rid of her,” and eventually ousted her.

Trump issued threats against her on a July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, an incident central to the congressional inquiry against Trump. On the call, Trump asked Ukraine’s government to investigate former vice president and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden — effectively asking a foreign government to intervene in a U.S. election.

In November, Yovanovitch and several other career U.S. officials testified before the House Intelligence Committee in the impeachment proceedings against Trump. She did it, she wrote, “because it is the American way to speak up about wrongdoing.”

Her op-ed continued:

I have seen dictatorships around the world, where blind obedience is the norm and truth-tellers are threatened with punishment or death. We must not allow the United States to become a country where standing up to our government is a dangerous act. It has been shocking to experience the storm of criticism, lies and malicious conspiracies that have preceded and followed my public testimony, but I have no regrets. I did — we did — what our conscience called us to do. We did what the gift of U.S. citizenship requires us to do.

Yovanovitch implored Americans to do their part to preserve essential freedoms and stand up against wrongdoing.

“Unfortunately, the last year has shown that we need to fight for our democracy,” she wrote. “‘Freedom is not free’ is a pithy phrase that usually refers to the sacrifices of our military against external threats. It turns out that same slogan can be applied to challenges which are closer to home.”

On Wednesday, Republicans in the Senate acquitted Trump on the two articles of impeachment, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, on a largely party-line vote. Only one Republican, Sen. Mitt Romney (Utah), joined the Democratic minority in voting to convict Trump on the abuse of power charge.