'Take Her Out': Leaked Recordings Capture Trump Discussing Amb. Yovanovitch
President Donald Trump expressed his desire for former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch’s ouster during an intimate gathering with key players in the Ukraine scandal, according to an audio recording reviewed by ABC News.
"Get rid of her!" a voice says, which appears to be that of the president. "Get her out tomorrow. I don't care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. Okay? Do it."
The recording took place during a dinner at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., on April 30, 2018, and both Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman were in attendance.
Parnas and Fruman are former associates of Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and assisted with Giuliani’s efforts to have Yovanovitch removed from her post in Ukraine — as well as Giuliani’s attempts to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden and his son.
Trump has said repeatedly that he does not know Parnas, particularly after the Soviet-born Florida businessman began releasing evidence of his role in the Ukraine scandal and pointing the finger at Trump as being in the loop.
ABC News reported that Parnas and Fruman appear to be telling Trump on the recording that Yovanovitch needs to go, claiming she had been bad mouthing the president.
"The biggest problem there, I think where we need to start is we gotta get rid of the ambassador. She's still left over from the Clinton administration," Parnas is heard telling Trump. "She's basically walking around telling everybody 'Wait, he's gonna get impeached, just wait."
ABC News notes that “Yovanovitch actually had served in the State Department since the Reagan administration.”
Just last week, Trump again denied knowing Parnas, saying: "I don't know Parnas other than I guess I had pictures taken, which I do with thousands of people, including people today that I didn't meet. But I just met him. I don't know him at all. Don't know what he's about, don't know where he comes from, know nothing about him. I can only tell you this thing is a big hoax."
Federal prosecutors in New York's Southern District now have custody of the recording, ABC News reported. Neither prosecutors nor the White House provided comment.