When the original whistleblower complaint emerged in early September, there were few public details. All that was known from the exchanges going on between a Congress that wanted to see the complaint, as the law required, and a White House sitting on the complaint, as the law did not allow, was that it concerned Donald Trump and a ‘promise’ made to a foreign leader. But even then it was easy to guess that the site of this promise would be Ukraine. That location had been underlined, and underlined again, over and over since even before Trump took office. And if all the times Ukraine appeared in 2016, and 2017, and 2018 were not enough, by the start of May Rudy Giuliani was heavily engaged in pushing a series of stories to the media that were meant to sabotage Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and apply pressure to the incoming government.
One thing that became clear this week is that it was that action—attempting to knock a long-time State Department official out of office for the crime of being too professional and too honest—that really put radars on high alert, and likely earned Trump and Giuliani’s scheme far more attention than it would have garnered had Yovanovitch remained in place. Whether it was NSC official Fiona Hill, or literally anyone who had been at the State Department for more than a couple of years, the efforts to demean, disparage, and dismiss “Masha” Yovanovitch upset everyone.
It wasn’t just that the former ambassador was made former only because of a series of conspiracy theories and rumors that everyone inside the State Department knew were untrue, it was that official after official went to Mike Pompeo and others in an effort to get some pushback on the attempt to kneecap Yovanovitch. What they got instead was the epidemic spinelessness that seems to set in everywhere around Trump. That singular failure of plain old integrity, was a big part of what put butts in seats when it came to State Department officials choosing to ignore Pompeo and appear before the the impeachment inquiry.
And the early dismissal Yovanovitch through character assassination is just one of the dates now decorating a calendar that starts way before Trump’s July 25 phone call and extends right up until after the point the whistleblower complaint became public.