President Donald Trump responded to an ABC News report claiming that he had told a group that he wanted former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch removed from office.
“Get rid of her,” Trump allegedly said in a conversation. “Get her out tomorrow. I dont care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. OK? Do it.” The report claimed he made the comment to lawyer Rudy Giulianis business associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who were both indicted in New York.
When he was asked about the alleged recording and the context by Fox News, Trump said that he wouldnt have made the statement.
“Well, I wouldnt have been saying that,” Trump told Fox. “I probably would have said if it was Rudy there or somebody. But I make no bones about it. I wont have ambassadors, I have every right. I want ambassadors that are chosen by me.”
Trump also pushed back against an allegation that he relied on Parnas to oust Yovanovitch. Trump has stated often that he does not know either Parnas or Fruman.
“No, no, but I have a lot of people and hes somebody that I guess, based on pictures that I see, goes to fundraisers,” Trump said of Parnas. “But I am not a fan of that ambassador.”
White House counsel Kellyanne Conway said Trump and any other president has the right to hire and fire any ambassador or staff member.
Trump “can have whichever staff to serve at his pleasure” as an ambassador or staffer, Conway told reporters. “How that … is a high crime or misdemeanor” or “impeachable offense” coming “eight months before the next election is a puzzle to me,” she said.