President Donald Trump apparently told his associates at a 2018 dinner to “get rid” of then-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, according to an ABC News review of a recording of that dinner.
“Get rid of her!” a voice that appears to be Trump can be heard saying on the recording, ABC reported on Friday. “Get her out tomorrow. I don’t care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. Okay? Do it.”
During the April 30, 2018, dinner at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, Trump can be heard making the comments after being told that Yovanovitch had been bad-mouthing him, ABC reported.
The report backs up claims made by Lev Parnas, an indicted associate of Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.
The Daily Beast reported Friday that Joseph Bondy, a lawyer for Parnas, said the recording was made by Igor Fruman, another associate of Giuliani’s. Bondy said Parnas “personally heard” the recording “last year, before he was arrested.”
“We have hoped that, to the extent this recording still existed, it would be released to Congress for use in the impeachment trial,” Bondy told The Daily Beast.
Later on Friday, Bondy told The New York Times that Parnas had located the recording and turned it over to the House Intelligence Committee. The committee’s chairman, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), is the Democrats’ lead manager in Trump’s impeachment trial.
Also this month, Yovanovitch called for an investigation into whether she was surveilled in Ukraine after the House Intelligence Committee released a collection of documents obtained from Parnas. Those documents included evidence that Yovanovitch was being tracked, including WhatsApp messages between Parnas and Connecticut congressional candidate Robert Hyde, who had received details about Yovanovitch’s location in Ukraine last March.
Trump publicly attacked Yovanovitch in November as she testified during the House impeachment hearings. Yovanovitch responded to Trump’s comments in real time and noted that she previously felt threatened by Trump.