In her testimony, former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch defended the decision to deny the former Ukrainian prosecutor general Viktor Shokin a visa to the US and suggested she was blindsided by Rudy Giuliani going to the White House and senior State Department officials to lobby on his behalf.
Yovanovitch said she was alerted that “the embassy had received a visa application for a tourist visa from Mr. Shokin, the previous prosecutor general. And he said that he was coming to visit his children, who live in the United States. And so, the consular folks, you know, got the application, recognized the name, and believed that he was ineligible for a visa, based on his, you know, known corrupt activities.”
She said that it was her understanding that the embassy gave Shokin either a “formal hard refusal or what we call a 221G, which is an administrative refusal, asking for more information.”
“And the next thing we knew, Mayor Giuliani was calling the White House as well as the assistant secretary for Consular Affairs, saying that I was blocking the visa for Mr. Shokin, and that Mr. Shokin was coming to meet him and provide information about corruption at the embassy, including my corruption,” Yovanovitch said.
Yovanovitch said she alerted George Kent, who notified then Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs A. Wess Mitchell about Shokin’s visa denial.
“And when you know, of course, when the calls came from Mr. Giuliani to the White House and to the Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs, they got in touch with the European Bureau, and Mr. Mitchell, you know, held firm. I mean, it was a consular decision. The consular folks felt that they had made the right decision. And, you know, there was the added issue that, you know, basically the notorious reputation of Mr. Shokin,” she said.
“And, frankly, at the end of the day, he lied on his visa application,” Yovanovitch added, noting that he had said on his application he was visiting family when he was really visiting Giuliani.