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Trump claims Marie Yovanovitch refused to hang his portrait

CBS News logo CBS News 11/23/2019 Melissa Quinn
Marie L. Yovanovitch wearing a suit and tie: Trump Impeachment © Jacquelyn Martin / AP Trump Impeachment

President Trump attacked former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch on Friday, saying she was "not an angel" and claiming she refused to hang his framed photograph in the embassy in Kiev for at least a year.

"This ambassador that everybody says was so wonderful, she wouldn't hang my picture in the embassy," Mr. Trump told "Fox and Friends" in an interview. "She wouldn't hang it."

A member of Yovanovitch's legal team said the embassy hung photos of Mr. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and the secretary of state "as soon as they arrived from Washington, D.C." The embassy in Kiev did not return a request for comment.

The president said he had heard "bad things" about Yovanovitch, who was appointed by President Obama in 2016, and claimed she was disliked by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who was elected in May.

"This was not an angel, this woman, OK?" Mr. Trump said. "There were a lot of things that she did that I didn't like."

Mr. Trump and Zelensky discussed Yovanovitch during the July 25 phone call that launched House Democrats' impeachment inquiry into the president. During the call, Mr. Trump called Yovanovitch "bad news." 

Three House committees are examining whether the president withheld military aid to Ukraine to push Zelensky to announce investigations of Mr. Trump's political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.

Yovanovitch was abruptly recalled from her post earlier this year, following what she described as a smear campaign led by Rudy Giuliani, Mr. Trump's personal attorney, and "foreign corrupt interests in Ukraine."

A 33-year veteran diplomat, Yovanovitch testified before the House Intelligence Committee last week about her removal and the attacks on her. During her appearance, Mr. Trump tweeted insults at the former ambassador, alleging "everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad."

Mr. Trump told "Fox and Friends" he questioned why House Republicans were being "nice" to Yovanovitch during her testimony.

"I said 'why are you being so kind?' 'Well, sir, she's a woman. We have to be nice,'" the president claimed. "She's very tough."

While Mr. Trump claimed Yovanovitch refused to hang his portrait, the Washington Post reported in September 2017 federal buildings around the world, including U.S. embassies, were missing pictures of him and Pence because they hadn't yet decided when to sit for the photos.

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