A recently retired U.S. diplomat whose abrupt removal by President Donald Trump from her post as ambassador to Ukraine became a focus of the impeachment hearings is receiving an award for “excellence” in the conduct of diplomacy.
Marie Yovanovitch was expected to accept the Trainor Award from the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University in a ceremony Wednesday, making her first public appearance since testifying before Congress in the impeachment proceedings.
Past recipients have included former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo and former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
Yovanovitch was a highly regarded career foreign service officer when Rudy Giuliani, serving as Trump’s personal lawyer, led a campaign against her as he sought to push Ukrainian officials to help him in his reelection campaign.
Giuliani later said in a series of interviews that he forced her out of her post and provided the president with information that showed she impeded investigations that could have helped Trump.
Yovanovitch, who was removed from her post in May 2019 with no public explanation, testified to Congress that she had pressed the Ukrainian government to address long-standing U.S. concerns about corruption and described a “concerted campaign” against her based on “unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives.”
Trump publicly criticized her as she testified, saying on Twitter that “everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad.”
In a nearly 34-year career at the State Department, she received a series of promotions under both Republican and Democratic administrations, with positions that included ambassador to Kyrgyzstan and Armenia.
In a recent op-ed in The Washington Post she called it an honor to represent the United States as an immigrant to the country and defended her decision, and that of other senior officials, to speak up to Congress about what they saw as wrongdoing by the administration.
“When civil servants in the current administration saw senior officials taking actions they considered deeply wrong in regard to the nation of Ukraine, they refused to take part,” she wrote. “When Congress asked us to testify about those activities my colleagues and I did not hesitate, even in the face of administration efforts to silence us.”