'Get rid of her!': Recording reportedly shows Trump fuming about fired ambassador

'Get rid of her!': Recording reportedly shows Trump fuming about fired ambassador
President Donald J. Trump participates in a bilateral meeting with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison Friday, Sept. 20, 2019, to the Oval Office of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

A recording made at Donald Trump’s Washington hotel on April 30, 2019, shows Trump ranting to a small group—a group that includes Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman—about the need to immediately get U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch out of the way in Ukraine. The recording not only is more evidence that Trump’s claims that he did not know Parnas were a blatant lie, but also appears to catch him red-handed participating in Rudy Giuliani’s smear of the respected ambassador—or worse.

The recording captures a moment at which Giuliani associate Parnas lies to Trump with claims that Yovanovitch has been saying bad things about him in Ukraine. Trump immediately explodes in a way that seems to support the idea that Trump wanted Yovanovitch out of her job, as well as the idea that she was under a serious threat of personal harm

The recording, obtained by ABC News, has Parnas telling Trump that Yovanovitch is “the biggest problem” for the scheme that Giuliani and Trump had been pushing in Ukraine. According to Parnas, the ambassador was “left over from the Clinton administration” and was telling everyone that they could just wait out Trump’s demands because “he's gonna get impeached, just wait."

Trump immediately boils over. "Get rid of her!" he shouts in reply. "Get her out tomorrow. I don't care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. Okay? Do it."

The recording of Trump ordering Parnas to “take her out” comes on the heels of emails that showed that Giuliani, Parnas, and GOP House candidate Robert Hyde were coordinating to stalk Ambassador Yovanovitch and make regular reports on her location and security. In a March exchange, Parnas told Hyde that Yovanovitch was an issue in Ukraine, and Hyde replied, “Can't believe Trumo [sic] hasn't fired this bitch. I'll get right in that." Within two days, Hyde began sending Parnas updates on Yovanovitch’s location and supposed level of security.

Just days before the meeting caught in the recording, Yovanovitch received a message informing her that she was at risk and should “return to Washington on the next flight.” In fact, Yovanovitch was already in Washington on the day that Parnas and Fruman met with Trump and received the “Take her out” order.

The official State Department announcement of Yovanovitch’s removal came on May 7, with May 30 the last day of her official assignment. In his July 25 phone call to the Ukrainian president, Trump was still railing about Yovanovitch, calling her “bad news” and saying she “is going to go through some thing.”

This new recording appears to show that Trump was deeply involved in the scheme to remove Yovanovitch—and aware that she was regarded as an obstacle to Giuliani’s efforts to secure the announcements that Trump wanted. It also includes language that is clearly threatening.

The recording itself has not yet been made available. Stay tuned.

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