Irregular diplomacy channels may be at work in other countries: Ex-US diplomat

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Published: November 16, 2019 8:57:34 AM

In response, he said he could not rule it out. Ambassador Yovanovitch, I ask you, and I assume that you can't rule it out either, correct?” Krishnamoorthi said.

Krishnamoorthi had asked similar questions to William Taylor, the acting ambassador to Ukraine during the first public hearing on impeachment on Wednesday.

It is possible that irregular channels of diplomacy may be at work in other countries, a former US Ambassador to Ukraine told lawmakers on Friday. “I think it (irregular channels of diplomacy) is a possibility,” Marie Yovanovitch, former US Ambassador to Ukraine, said in response to a question from Indian American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi during her testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence as part of the House-initiated impeachment hearing against President Donald Trump.

Krishnamoorthi had asked similar questions to William Taylor, the acting ambassador to Ukraine during the first public hearing on impeachment on Wednesday. “He (Taylor) said that there were channels of diplomacy at work in Ukraine circumventing normal diplomatic channels and threatening American interests in favour of private interest,” Krishnamoorthi said.

The Democratic lawmaker from Illinois is the first ever Indian American member of the powerful House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. As a member of the powerful Congressional Committee, Krishnamoorthi is playing a key role in the impeachment proceedings against Trump. “I asked him the question if he can rule out the possibility that these irregular channels of diplomacy are being used in other countries where we conduct foreign policy.

In response, he said he could not rule it out. Ambassador Yovanovitch, I ask you, and I assume that you can’t rule it out either, correct?” Krishnamoorthi said. “I can’t, but I would also add I have no knowledge of that,” Yovanovitch responded. “I understand. Are you concerned that these irregular channels of diplomacy may be at work elsewhere?” asked the Indian American lawmaker. “I think it’s a possibility,” she answered. “You testified that it was a dangerous precedent that private interests and people who don’t like particular ambassador could combine to replace that ambassador. Are you concerned that other ambassadors may suffer the same fate as you?” Krishnamoorthi asked. “Yes,” she replied.

In the first public hearing on Wednesday, Taylor told lawmakers that he had “encountered an irregular, informal channel of US policymaking” with respect to Ukraine. “Unaccountable to Congress, a channel that included then Special Envoy Kurt Volker, US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and, as I subsequently learned, Mr (Rudy) Giuliani,” he said. “Ambassador Taylor, can you rule out the possibility that these irregular channels of diplomacy are being used in other countries where we conduct foreign policy?” Krishnamoorthi asked in the first hearing. “I’ve not heard of any other separate channel that has this kind of influence, that is the Giuliani kind of guidance,” Taylor said. “But you can’t rule it out, right?” Krishnamoorthi asked. “No, sir,” Taylor said in response.

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