Digital Access

Digital Access
Access theherald-news.com and all Shaw Media Illinois content from all your digital devices and receive breaking news and updates from around the area.

Home Delivery

Home Delivery
Local news, sports, business, classified and more! News you can use every day.

Text Alerts

Text Alerts
Choose your news! Select the text alerts you want to receive: breaking news, weather, and more.

Email Newsletters

Email Newsletters
Have our latest news, sports and obituaries emailed directly to you Monday through Friday so you can keep up with what's happening in the area.
Nation/World

AP sources: State Dept. worried about defending ambassador

U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale speaks Jan. 14 after meeting with Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri, in Beirut, Lebanon. Hale, the State Department's third-ranking official, is expected to tell Congress that political considerations were behind the agency's refusal to deliver a robust defense of the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine when she was recalled early at President Donald Trump's demand.
U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale speaks Jan. 14 after meeting with Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri, in Beirut, Lebanon. Hale, the State Department's third-ranking official, is expected to tell Congress that political considerations were behind the agency's refusal to deliver a robust defense of the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine when she was recalled early at President Donald Trump's demand.

WASHINGTON – The State Department’s third-ranking official is expected to tell Congress that political considerations were behind the agency’s refusal to deliver a robust defense of the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.

People familiar with the matter say the highest-ranking career diplomat in the foreign service, David Hale, plans to tell congressional impeachment investigators on Wednesday that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other senior officials determined that defending Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch would hurt the effort to free up U.S. military assistance to Ukraine.

Hale will also say that the State Department worried about the reaction from Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, also one of the strongest advocates for removing the ambassador.

Yovanovitch, who was removed from her posting in May, has already appeared before investigators in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. She detailed efforts by Giuliani and other Trump allies to push her out of Ukraine, testifying that a senior Ukrainian official told her that “I really needed to watch my back.”

Hale is expected to shed more light on why the State Department did not step up to defend its top envoy in Kyiv. According to the people familiar with the matter, he will say he tried to distance himself and the department from the matter by removing himself from email chains about Yovanovitch.

Hale, for example, never responded to an email sent by former top Pompeo adviser Michael McKinley urging Pompeo to speak out in defense of Yovanovitch after the White House released a partial transcript of the Trump-Zelenskiy phone call, the officials said.

One official said Hale had “tried to take himself out of the loop on Ukraine.” But another official said Hale would defend Pompeo’s actions as “politically smart” for the State Department and its employees in the long run.

The people familiar with the matter were not authorized to discuss Hale’s appearance publicly and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Hale, a fluent Arabic speaker who joined the foreign service in 1984, is the highest-ranking career official in the U.S. diplomatic corps. He has served as ambassador to Lebanon, Pakistan and Jordan as well as in posts in Tunisia, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

Loading more