KEY POINTS

  • In an audio recording, Trump is heard calling for Yovanovitch to be fired
  • Trump heard saying "take her out" and "get rid of her"
  • Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman were allegedly in attendence

In a development which could have major implications for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, he can be heard in a new audio recording ordering his associates to “get rid of her,” referring to former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

ABC News recently got its hands on an audio recording allegedly made by Igor Fruman during a small meeting in 2018; Lev Parnas was also in attendance. Both men were associates of Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, and are currently under federal indictment for funneling foreign money into the United States in order to influence policy on Ukraine.

At the meeting, the two men can be heard telling Trump that Yovanovitch had been talking ill of him.

“The biggest problem there, I think where we need to start is we gotta get rid of the ambassador … She's basically walking around telling everybody 'Wait, he's gonna get impeached, just wait,’” Parnas said.

In response, a voice that appears to be Trump’s can be heard saying, “Get rid of her! Get her out tomorrow. I don't care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. Okay? Do it.”

This audio recording serves as a major blow to Trump’s continued insistence that he knows neither Parnas or Fruman. Recently, Parnas has become more outspoken, claiming that Trump and everyone on his team were fully aware of the various ways the Ukrainian government was being persuaded to investigate the Bidens.

Parnas recently described the meeting heard in the recording in an interview with MSNBC. He said that after Trump ordered Yovanovitch to be dismissed, “there was a silence in the room.” The then deputy chief of staff, John DeStefano, tried to tell Trump that they needed to wait until Mike Pompeo had been confirmed as secretary of state, despite Pompeo having been sworn in several days prior.

Documents sourced from Parnas have also been released to the public, apparently reinforcing these allegations. Included among them are text messages sent between Parnas and Robert Hyde, a Trump supporter and unsuccessful Republican congressional candidate, showing that Hyde had people following Yovanovitch in Kiev.

In one exchange, Hyde told Parnas, “They are willing to help [with Yovanovitch] if we/you would like a price … Guess you can do anything in the [sic] Ukraine with what I was told.”

These documents have since motivated investigations by the U.S. State Department and authorities in Ukraine.

Former US ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch told Congress she was subjected to a smear campaign orchestrated by Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani Former US ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch told Congress she was subjected to a smear campaign orchestrated by Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani Photo: AFP / SAUL LOEB