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White House accidentally sends Ukraine talking points to Democrats again

The Hill logo The Hill 10/11/2019 Mike Lillis and Juliegrace Brufke
Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: White House accidentally sends Ukraine talking points to Democrats again © Getty White House accidentally sends Ukraine talking points to Democrats again

The White House accidentally sent Democrats a list of talking points related to ex-Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch's Friday House deposition, two sources with knowledge of the email told The Hill, the second time in a month the administration has sent its Ukraine talking points to Democrats.

The email included guidance for Republicans seeking to defend the president from potentially damaging witness testimony from an ambassador who was removed from her post in May under controversial circumstances.

In copies of the guidance shared with The Hill, The White House encouraged Republicans to adopt a series of messages designed to turn the tables back on Democrats, including attacks on House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff's (D-Calif.) handling of the probe.

Yovanovitch told House lawmakers that she was removed after "a concerted campaign against" her from President Trump and his allies.

She also said in her opening statement that the State Department had "been under pressure from the president to remove me since the summer of 2018."

Yovanovitch's ouster came two months before Trump's July 25 phone call with the Ukrainian president - now at the center of Democrats' impeachment inquiry - in which Trump asked Kiev to open an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading 2020 presidential candidate.

"We are not concerned with any information Yovanovitch might share, because the President did nothing wrong," the White House email meant for Republicans said. "But we are concerned that Schiff is putting her a precarious position by having her testify in secret without State Department lawyers be present."

"It raises serious questions about why Schiff is willing to put career officials in such risky situations while bullying them with legally unfounded threats of obstruction charges," the email continued.

It added that Schiff "is willing to ride roughshod over fair process and to use career officials to further a baseless political objective."

The email marks the second time the White House has unintentionally sent talking points to Democrats in recent weeks, after an administration official inadvertently emailed them suggested rhetoric defending the July 25 phone call.

The White House did not immediately respond to The Hill's request for comment.

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