Before former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was recalled from Kyiv last May, President Trump "fired her probably ... at least four, five times," Lev Parnas told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow in an interview that aired Thursday.
Parnas, the indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani, said on one occasion, he told Trump that Yovanovitch was "badmouthing him, and saying he was going to get impeached. Something to that effect. And at that point, he turned around to John DeStefano, who was his aide at the time, and said, 'Fire her.' And we all, there was silence in the room."
DeStefano allegedly told Trump that Yovaonvitch couldn't be removed because Mike Pompeo had not yet been confirmed as secretary of state. "I don't know how many times at that dinner, once or twice, three times, but he fired her several times at that dinner," Parnas said. At one point, Parnas claims, Trump "had a breakdown" and screamed, "Fire her!" at another assistant. Every time he directed the State Department to fire Yovanovitch, Parnas said, the order was refused.
Yovanovitch testified before lawmakers last fall that Giuliani was behind a smear campaign against her, and Giuliani admitted in December that Yovanovitch was standing in the way of Ukraine announcing investigations Trump wanted into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. The articles of impeachment against Trump accuse him of withholding military aid to Ukraine in order to get the country to announce the investigations, and on Thursday, the U.S. Government Accountability Office said it found that the Trump administration broke the law by freezing the aid.