'Take her out': Reported tape suggests Trump demanded ambassador's firing

A voice that appears to be Trump's is heard on the recording saying, "Get rid of her! Get her out tomorrow. I don't care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out."
By Steve Benen

Rachel sat down last week with Lev Parnas, one of Rudy Giuliani's controversial associates who helped execute Donald Trump's Ukraine scheme, and his claims related to U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch were among the most provocative.

According to Parnas, Yovanovitch's anti-corruption efforts made her a target -- she stood in the way of assorted schemes -- and by his telling, the American president specifically took steps to force her from her post in Kyiv. In fact, Parnas specifically referenced an "intimate dinner" at Trump's hotel at which the president ordered Yovanovitch's firing.

It's against this backdrop that ABC News ran this striking report this morning.

A recording reviewed by ABC News appears to capture President Donald Trump telling associates he wanted the then-U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch fired while speaking at a small gathering that included Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman -- two former business associates of Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani who have since been indicted in New York.

The recording appears to contradict statements by President Trump and support the narrative that has been offered by Parnas during broadcast interviews in recent days. Sources familiar with the recording said the recording was made during an intimate April 30, 2018, dinner at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.

According to ABC News' report, which has not been independently verified by MSNBC or NBC News, a voice that appears to be the president's is heard on the recording saying, "Get rid of her! Get her out tomorrow. I don't care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. Okay? Do it."

The report added that a copy of the recording "is now in the custody of federal prosecutors in New York's Southern District."

If the ABC News report is accurate, it would bolster Parnas' version of events, despite the recent efforts of some Republicans who argued that he's an unreliable witness.

What's more, it would also reinforce suspicions that Trump and Parnas were close associates, despite the president's repeated claims that he does not know Parnas.

And, of course, if the recording is accurate and legitimate, it would directly implicate the president in efforts to oust a U.S. ambassador who stood in the way of corruption in Ukraine.

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