State Department official told to lie low after raising complaints about Giuliani
Posted October 15, 2019 7:26 p.m. EDT
CNN — State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent told lawmakers on Tuesday that he had been told by a supervisor to lie low after he raised complaints about Rudy Giuliani's efforts in Ukraine undermining US foreign policy, according to Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly, a senior member of the House Oversight Committee.
Kent was testifying behind closed doors on Tuesday before the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees as part of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump and US relations with Ukraine.
Connolly, a Virginia lawmaker, reported that Kent had said Giuliani's efforts in Ukraine going around the State Department "undermined 28 years of US efforts to try to promote the rule of law in Ukraine."
Kent testified that at a May meeting at the White House organized by acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, officials were told that three people would be in charge of Ukraine policy: then-Special Envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland and Energy Secretary Rick Perry.
Kent told lawmakers he was responsible for six countries, including Ukraine. After he was warned to lie low, he said, he took time off to attend his daughter's wedding and go hiking in Maine, according to Connolly. When he returned, he said, he focused on the other countries.
Kent was among the career officials who sought to shield then-US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch from the campaign of false allegations against her in March, according to internal emails turned over to Congress by State Department Inspector General Steve Linick in early October. Yovanovitch was removed from her post in May.
The White House's former top Russia adviser Fiona Hill had told the committees on Monday that former national security adviser John Bolton warned that Giuliani was like a "hand grenade."