Lev Parnas, an indicted associate of Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, claimed that President Trump unsuccessfully tried to fire former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch multiple times before finally ousting her.
Parnas told MSNBC that Trump tried to fire Yovanovitch “four or five times” before she was ousted.
"The president kept firing her, and she wouldn't leave," Parnas said. “I mean, that was becoming comical because I couldn’t understand: You’re the president.”
“So that’s where I think the smear campaign started coming about,” he explained. “I think it was like a boost to them to help him if the media started, like, egging him on that there was really something there, he’d just tweet and fire her.”
Trump aides refused to fire her:
"He fired her when he gave an order to Mike Pompeo once which he didn't do — Secretary Pompeo didn't fire her," Parnas told CNN. "Then Rudy came back and he told him, go speak to Pompeo. Rudy went to speak to Pompeo. They got into it. Then they had another meeting at the White House where he told Bolton to fire her. Bolton didn't want to fire her."
Yovanovitch may have been surveilled:
Text messages involving Parnas released by the House Intelligence Committee suggested that Robert Hyde, a Trump donor, may have had Yovanovitch under “physical surveillance,” Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said.
Ukrainian authorities announced on Thursday that they launched a criminal investigation into the matter.
Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it asked the FBI to help investigated "possible illegal surveillance" of Yovanovitch and whether "her electronic gadgets were interfered by the private persons at the request of the US citizens.”
"Ukraine's position is not to interfere in the domestic affairs of the United States of America. However, the published references cited by the Washington Post contain a possible violation of the law of Ukraine and the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which protects the rights of a diplomat on the territory of the foreign country," the agency said in a statement. "Ukraine cannot ignore such illegal activities on the territory of its own state."