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Trump Pushes Back on Leaked Tape: Asserts 'Right To Hire and Fire Ambassadors'


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 January 25, 2020


President Donald Trump on Friday denied he ordered his staff to “get rid of" the former U.S ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, while also asserting, “I have a right to hire and fire ambassadors.

In an interview with Fox News on the sidelines of the March For Life pro-life rally in Washington, D.C., airing on “The Ingraham Angle,” Trump insisted, “I wouldn’t have said that,” though he didn’t deny he wanted her fired.

In the tape, as reported by ABC News, Lev Parnas, an associate of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, reportedly is heard saying: "The biggest problem there, I think where we need to start is we gotta get rid of the ambassador. She's still left over from the Clinton administration. ... She's basically walking around telling everybody, 'Wait, he's gonna get impeached, just wait."

"Get rid of her!” says the voice that appears to belong to Trump. "Get her out tomorrow. I don't care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. OK? Do it."

Trump, in his interview, said he wouldn't have spoken directly to Parnas at the private dinner at the Trump International Hotel in Washington on April 30, 2018, where the audio conversation reportedly took place.

"I probably would've told Rudy or somebody (around me),” he said. “But I have every right. I want ambassadors that are chosen by me. I have a right to hire and fire ambassadors and that is a very important thing."

Trump asserted Yovanovich was disliked by the Ukraine president as well — and repeated his outrage that a presidential portrait was not hung up in the embassy immediately.

“He didn't like her.

... I will tell you right now, I feel strongly that this is somebody who probably shouldn't be with us,” he said. “She wasn't popular even in the country and the new president who ran on

Pressed by Fox News’ Raymond Arroyo about whether Parnas "might've been at a table you were at, a function,” Trump responded, “Sure.”

"Sure, but you have to understand I see thousands of people,” he said. “I just left Florida where I was shaking hands, taking pictures with hundreds and hundreds of people in one night.”