Calls to remove former President Barack Obama's U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, have intensified over the last week as a scandal in Ukraine surrounding the 2016 U.S. presidential election has started to gain more attention.
Yovanovitch, who began serving in the role in 2016 after she was nominated by Obama, has reportedly undermined the Trump administration in Ukraine.
In a Wednesday interview on Fox News' "Hannity," former federal prosecutor Joe diGenova said that Yovanovitch needed to be removed from her position due to her actions under the Trump administration.
"The current United States ambassador Marie Yovanovitch has bad mouthed the President of the United States to Ukrainian officials and has told them not to listen or worry about Trump policy because he’s going to be impeached," diGenova said.
On Friday, Fox News' Laura Ingraham revealed a letter that former Congressman Pete Sessions sent to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in May 2018 which asked that Yovanovitch be removed from her position.
"I wanted to bring to your attention an interaction that I recently had with individuals regarding the current U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine," Sessions' letter began. "I have received notice of concrete evidence from close companions that Ambassador Yovanovitch has spoken privately and repeatedly about her disdain for the current Administration in a way that might call for the expulsion of Ms. Yovanovitch as U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine immediately."
"I kindly ask you consider terminating her ambassadorship and find a replacement as soon as possible," Sessions added.
A source close to the White House who is familiar with the matter told The Daily Wire: "President Trump has been trying to remove this Obama holdover from her role in Ukraine for over a year now. He has called for her removal on several occasions, yet she still remains...So the question is, who in his Administration has flaunted his requests and why are they protecting an anti-Trump, Obama flunkey?"
Calls for Yovanovitch's removal are likely to intensify after Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko told The Hill last week that he has launched an investigation into members of the Ukrainian government who allegedly plotted to boost Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election.
The Hill reported: "Lutsenko is probing a claim from a member of the Ukrainian parliament that the director of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), Artem Sytnyk, attempted to the benefit of the 2016 U.S. presidential election on behalf of Hillary Clinton."
"According to the member of parliament of Ukraine, he got the court decision that the NABU official conducted an illegal intrusion into the American election campaign," Lutsenko said. "It means that we think Mr. Sytnyk, the NABU director, officially talked about criminal investigation with Mr. [Paul] Manafort, and at the same time, Mr. Sytnyk stressed that in such a way, he wanted to assist the campaign of Ms. Clinton."
Politico broke the story in a January 2017 report titled: "Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump backfire." Politico reported:
Ukrainian government officials tried to help Hillary Clinton and undermine Trump by publicly questioning his fitness for office. They also disseminated documents implicating a top Trump aide in corruption and suggested they were investigating the matter, only to back away after the election. And they helped Clinton’s allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers, a Politico investigation found.
A Ukrainian-American operative who was consulting for the Democratic National Committee met with top officials in the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington in an effort to expose ties between Trump, top campaign aide Paul Manafort and Russia, according to people with direct knowledge of the situation.
Lutsenko made damning accusations against Yovanovitch in a separate report from The Hill, saying that Yovanovitch gave him a list of people to not prosecute during their first meeting.
"Unfortunately, from the first meeting with the U.S. ambassador in Kiev, [Yovanovitch] gave me a list of people whom we should not prosecute," Lutsenko said. "My response of that is it is inadmissible. Nobody in this country, neither our president nor our parliament nor our ambassador, will stop me from prosecuting whether there is a crime."