Asked whether she felt threatened reading the passage, Ms. Yovanovitch replied, “Yes.” And pressed on whether she felt she might be retaliated against, she said, “I just simply don’t know what this could mean, but it does not leave me in a comfortable position.”
At the White House, Mr. Trump defended his treatment of the former ambassador even as he tried to deflect blame.
“I really don’t know her,” he told reporters of Ms. Yovanovitch. “But if you look at the transcripts, the president of Ukraine was not a fan of hers either.”
Ms. Yovanovitch told Democrats and Republicans last month during her deposition that she believed she was the victim of a conservative smear campaign “by people with clearly questionable motives” who sought, under false pretenses, to get rid of her. The newly released transcript showed that she also detailed for impeachment investigators what she knew of attempts by Mr. Giuliani and his allies to work with the former Ukrainian prosecutor general to “do things, including to me.”
In an October interview with Democrats and Republicans, Ms. Yovanovitch testified that she first learned from Ukrainian, not American, officials late last year of Mr. Giuliani’s efforts. The men, she came to realize, shared an interest in investigating former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter Biden, as well as other Democrats, and believed the ambassador stood in the way.
Mr. McKinley told investigators in his own interview about how he pressed top State Department officials, including Mr. Pompeo, to issue a statement publicly supporting Ms. Yovanovitch as she was being publicly disparaged by Republicans this fall. They did not take action.
And Ms. Yovanovitch recounted how colleagues sought to insulate her in ways that would appeal to the president’s unique proclivities, once telling her that Mr. Pompeo or someone around him planned to call Sean Hannity, the Fox News anchor with whom the president is exceedingly close, to ask him to stop bashing her on his broadcast. On another occasion, Gordon D. Sondland, the United States ambassador to the European Union, advised Ms. Yovanovitch to “go big or go home,” and to tweet something flattering about Mr. Trump to get back in his good graces.