On the tape, the voice that appears to be Trump can be heard saying of Yovanovitch, “Get rid of her! Get her out tomorrow. I don’t care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. OK? Do it.”
The report goes on to cite sources who say the recording was made by Igor Fruman during an intimate dinner in 2018 at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. Both Fruman and Lev Parnas were indicted for campaign-finance violations in October 2019 and are former associates of Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.
The tape also captures the point at which the president may have been triggered to fire Yovanovitch, according to ABC News. Parnas appears to say: “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.”
Parnas goes on to tell Trump, “She’s basically walking around telling everybody, ‘Wait, he’s gonna get impeached, just wait.’ “
The recording seems to confirm Parnas’ accounting of the event, as he explained in an interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow earlier this month. And, importantly, it also seems to contradict the president’s claim that he does not know who Parnas is.
— Peter (@Petervideo23) January 24, 2020
Last week, Trump said of Parnas, “I don’t know him. I don’t know Parnas other than, I guess, I had pictures taken, which I do with thousands of people.… I don’t know him at all. Don’t know what he’s about, don’t know where he comes from, know nothing about him. I can only tell you this thing is a big hoax.”
Although a president has the prerogative to choose and remove ambassadors to his liking, in Yovanovitch’s case, the motives behind her ouster were allegedly based on getting her out of the way so Giuliani and his cronies could pressure the Ukrainian government into announcing an investigation into Joe Biden, based on false claims. That’s the case the Democrats are making during impeachment. ABC News also reported that federal prosecutors in New York are in possession of a copy of the tape.
Rep. Adam Schiff, one of the Democrats’ impeachment managers, spoke with reporters on Friday in reaction to news of the tape, saying, “If the president at the urging of Giuliani, or Parnas, or Fruman, if this is additional evidence of his involvement and that effort to smear her, it would certainly corroborate much of what we’ve heard.”