tv After Words Marie Yovanovitch Lessons from the Edge CSPAN May 30, 2022 4:02pm-5:01pm EDT
appreciate you being here. >> thank you for having me. >> and on tv, the other interview program, afterwords, former united states ambassador to ukraine it marie yovanovitch reflection her career in u.s. russian relations in a congressional testimony during the first impeachment hearing the former president donald trump, and officer thoughts on the war in ukraine she's interviewed by new yorkers have minor susan and afterwards is a weekly interview program with relevant guest post interviewing top nonfiction authors about their latest work i am joined it to die by ambassador marie yovanovitch and of course there are lessons on the edge. [laughter] and myot name is susan glasser. and i'll be covering the many
ways a good place to start with marie yovanovitch because were clearly and in time with the murders and people he wants to slap a name and a picture on everything and they're very reluctant at that comes through that it is the public servant it another public gear and so let's start with that and you know, this is a ♪ ♪ conversation in a memoir about essentially not wanting to put e center of the story. >> it will thank you for having me here today it is a pleasure to talk with you. and is a challenge to write the book quite frankly and i am an introverted by nature, and i don't like to be the center of attention and so, i thought long and hard about what i really wanted to write a book about, i
received many many letters of support as did others who testified and inquiries a and people asked me about my life and about the challenges that i faced and they wanted to know more and so that maybe through a memoir, that i could share with the people the importance of diplomacy and why diplomacy is so important to our national security interest is a tool to promote. >> it is really interesting that you say this about diplomacy because to me that's in the more interesting aspect of your book is thate it is a case for diplomacy is also a portrait what it means to exist either in american official in the world today is complicated messy world after the collapse of the soviet union and o you first saw the unraveling in real time and now, with the consequences that we see in terms of war with
ukrainian and the return of the resurgence of avenue era of corrupt autocracies and reshaping it the world order and this is not have been front and center in washington conversation in american political conversations that for so longno and having written a biography of the secretary of state jim baker, and the writings about american diplomacy what it means or how it is conducted in modern era raw so you know, hardly the moment that we are in and see 'that most people here we are in a moment of american diplomacy no success. >> will i think that one thing to understand about diplomacy is everybody think they can do it right. [laughter] and because you know, i can talk to you and you can talk to me and we do this together but as with most professions, it is
more complicated and that is important to understand the culture and language so many different factors and how you get this and yes is done over time that i would say that right now actually we are witnessing the importance of diplomacy on scale with president biden sec. lincoln effort to keep this coalition of together and i think it is remarkable i think it is one of the reasons that vladimir putin underestimated he thought the west was kinda not bankrupt kind of set of democracies like the autocraciew would not have the will and skill to come together as a group and push back on russia and we have and so, i think shows you are there, the importance of diplomacy. >> all right so let's talk about putin and let's talk about his view that we were you know, no
better than a corrupt country eventually led him establish his influence here in his part of the world and we would not beio having this conversation today if you had not figured right in the middle of scandal probably helped to shape putin's attitude towards america and a lot of people wrestling right now with this question of thend trump administration how much i did or did not influence the events that we are seeing in full radio, with t reward afraid and you know you have a president who is higher about her putin long-standing not only call him strong leaderse literally praisd his plans to take over part of ukraine genius and as the troops rolling think we also have defenders of the former president saying that number put
in did not bomb kyiv with trump was in office and so you have some unique improvement hundred perspective to share with your book tells the story of course, the storyboard was the actual trump policy towards ukraine have often said the trump and ministration policy the president trump policy is a heavily to your. >> is probably as good of a description is any of is kind of confusing because the trump administration from the policy present official policy was actually pretty strong continuation of the obama policy that there was a good policy in terms of helping ukraine move forward it to become the kind of partner that would be best for the' united states so they wantd and develop their economy and approve the democracy.
and security of course we had a strong and robust relationship with ukraine particular after 2014, on the revolution of dignity russian actions internally grabbed - illegally and contact denise and so the trump administration continue the strong policy and one way he actually strengthened it which is there have been someba discretion over the obama administration and the javelin and that missile to ukraine and the obama administration to do that but trump kathy and 2017, his first year in the presidency, he did agree to do that in the course famously comingld he fell hundred and hon
the infamous phone call what he asked jorge faber in exchange for my personal political favor. >> celeste backup a little bit because you're already in donbass and you're already in kyiv you're seeing the situation is a big fight inside of the obama administration new must'vn aware about the back-and-forth ander really it was obama personally against the council of his defense secretary and even ultimately a secretary of state john perry, did not want to have this escalatory with putin but he also clearly had putin's number at this point time read so the ukrainians are looking very anxiously trump, so that they thought that while the trump ministration - they were kind of panicked when trump came into office and the president at the time is in ukraine and there looking at them president of the
united states is that he wants to have a good relationship with russia said that putin is a better leader even in our own american leader and it is of conversation with from push something into office is even going to list of the sanctions on ukraine sorry on russia because of the illegal annotation and really the threab was at the beginning tells about how anxiously this was when trump payment to have a. >> ukrainians given everything that you've just outlined inen some of the comments that he had made with the candidate with regard they were really russian and etc. they were worried about the policy ago but you know in the beginning of every administration, it is chaos no matter how well prepared the incoming ministration is everything is coming out to have once knew often don't have key
people in place to help move things slower and this y is tru, i consider ways for the trump administration work was largely people who had not been in government or not been a government recently or perhaps without the most skilled. so there was a lot of chaos but there was a lot of risk for a while. >> is a preloaded to actually one time that directly had many donald trump and i find this to be a fascinating story because it didn't really know about until original can i think they could read the prologue fortunately right that this moment that were having with door because when did you hear directly the mouth of the president of the united states. >> itself donald trump which was national security advisor and there was it discussion about
donbass they requested a javelin military assistance security can president trump in response looked at the national security advisor and said we have troops there pretty we have troops in east so absolutely everybody was absolutely deadpan to like expecting a surprise said that we have troops in the far west on the polish border where we are trained soldiers and for me, this was like one of those moments and i thought will help is it that the president of the united states sees the commander in chief and how is it that he does not know where his troops are does he not know that the emissary and the other side is russia. so he was really remarkable
because this is the man is making decisions not only on policies but other issues supported since issues of the united states. >> must've been absolutely mind blowing for you because your day and night in this reality that the president of a country was literally fighting and you know, it is me about the leaders of these countries who go in and actually a little bit after the meeting they plan to trump and bohe confuses the baltics and te ball they realize that when he started to talk about world war i surgeons meeting the other thing that he says that it's this little echo ofig the scandl that would later erect because he talks about his view of the country of ukraine in front of ukraine's president and he said, something like it's atr correctd mocountry. >> i think most corrupt country in the world and i believe so
and he kind of pushed back. and of course, for the president's allegation that he heard that from a friend of his. [laughter] and you know they did a pretty good job of pushing it back and one of the things that avoid to be fair is that they have reason we talk about ukraine anticorruption is it 2014, when ukrainians were angry that there pro 2013 in the 2014, that the probepr russia president, had turned his back on the association it with europe which they wanted the ukrainians one of the economic benefits of that so theyn were angry when on the streets and hundreds of thousands without of the streets of the eventually pushed kelly child of the country but you
know, the name of the revolution of dignity and what that means is rule of law and i want to be treated with dignity and will be treated the same way as the president is treated under the law and you know i'm a pauper president for all guard small business owner, the law should be equal s for everybody and we want to stop paying bribes in order to be treated well that was the essence of that unit people to vote really. so the incoming administration, and in the beginning, they were quite good in fighting corruption because they had no other choice and was a very open discussion many initiatives taken place in the u.s. and other countries and the international financial institutions were all helping the ukrainians because he thought that was good for them but also good for us because
they would be a better partner than ukraine hand so that's what we talk about ukraine corruption because ukrainian people wanted to put an end to corruption. >> and yet amazingly enough, yom had trump his campaign chairman it had been literally the preserve area behind the probe russian leader who had been forced out int the revolution that might've given you a lot of thought and almost incredible as investor. >> well yeah, i actually arrived after and i had to resign and so, fortunately, i didn't have to confront the issue directly. >> but it's a context what than what happens next is okay this flash forward to, the reason we are here to your memoir is not prohibited in that prologue meeting in the spring of 2017,
but the event that unfolded the following summer and then exploded and police close in your world and spring of 2019 and the story you recount here although you have to go backwards because there is the impeachment the rings now to the public it in you and your own view learn a lot and the fall 2019 really causes you to as many things, the crises and clarify and scandals clarify wars that we know seeing the clarify and for you if you like you write the story as a series of shocking clarifying moments andom so tells with some of thee moments work you know, as they unfold for you and what was the big time you realized this is just awesome crazy rumor and they are hard for me. >> summer number of moments and
you'll people are always surprised when i tell them only 70 down any entrance that this is what is happening because everybody have a little piece of it and of course rudy giuliani was not sharing with me what he was doing it so it is almost like there were these things out there people coming into me and saying did you know that rudy giuliani had established his relationship with a corrupt prosecutors who did not like me and did you know this and you know that and i would go back to washington i would say hey, fyi, this is what i heard today and he was i don't worry pretty and i was calling the state department and official washington and this is all happening around president trumd her but not by you know civil servants people like the on the
hill but they had a deeper issue i would say and they were i think, they were planning how to get dirt basically divided and i was a sense that maybe i would notfu be helpful in that effortf i saw things going wrong. >> but you didn't know about some of these issues but by the time it becomes public here in washington and you have other talking about you and laura ingram in the president's son jr. and that is when i really realized that it is a small community here in p washington d russia and ukraine and thank you have known and have been here for many years since we served in moscow had it didn't really
break through but it was really one of these like there is these parallels universes now in washingtonhe and so the kind of conspiracy theories that is on fox does not necessarily breakthrough to a broad audience that all off a sudden, was not like for you sitting at the embassy. >> it was raising so i think that my problem was - but once the articles e-mail on the hill and then rapidly after that it was oliver "fox news" the president of the united states a himself actually retreated one of the stories later on in donald trump jr tweeted somethingin to marie yovanovitch affect and once it hit the hill, i started to realize that my problem was in washington and so i cast about looking for people to help actually to be a congressional delegationan in tn and they were great, they would
tell me this with all the ukrainians but that was not where my problem was, problem was in washington and they would not - that's very interesting and very relevant to this moment of crisis because of americans might be a little confused kind of a bipartisan support and i feel like it is partisanship that is just sitting below the surface and is likely to resurface. >> will not because we have had a long running bipartisan consensus ever since independence in 1991 were really sing, now and hope this is an important momentah ukraine and also an important u moment for s we need to pass this test in terms of our resolve it because vladimir putin doesn't have discretion about ukraine about a also think he undermines international order but we have all benefited from the last 75
>> you talk about thekr bipartin the big think that we learn from the impeachment and we can walk through is that to get to the end of the story first, about the order and everything will publican member of congress except for mitt romney, everything one including the critic of former president trump everything one of them did not vote to find anything wrong with president trump holding military aid for ukraine hostage. so there is a lot of partisanship. >> you are absolutely right and i guess like to think about that is less about showing support or not for ukraine and more about the protecting their parties presidents in this course aspect of this moment which isve also worrisome. >> als' okay, i didn't mean to
interject in the story here but it's really amazing this is about march y of 2019, you reale this washington problem and you go to one of trump's ambassadors and one of his political appointees ago you give a million bucks at hotel owner from portland, oregon, because some ambassadors and foreign service officers like you and then some are just donors who do not have any experience pretty and later emerges as a public figure you went to him and this is very interesting and you also heard from some his superiors what he did he tell you to do. >> he basically said you know the present if you don't know him, after just one meeting, you know what he's like and what he likes n and so we need to suite out that you know that you love the president and need to really make a strong and my advice is to go big or go home and you
know about that as a foreign service officer and we are nonpartisan and that does not mean that you don't get to have your own private and personal belief, but we were for the government and we do work for the president but weree nonpartisan for the president like somebody might be a political appointee from a presidents party and this really ported for the continuity. we are a democracy and people elect the president now present these to feel confident that was a policy assent after all of the debate i and something goes into that policy, after allha of that happening, it is team from the state department and every other agency washington law and implement policy that's really important and clearly somethingt out fell away you talking of the
calmness of underlying this and so forth but that is actually very far from the truth about certainly about the state department and he felt that if i you know kind of unprovoked and certified out as like that the people would really wonder whether i have lost it and i just feel wrong. >> right you're not a there is a personal agent of the present coherent there is an agent it of a national - new heard that even in writings. one of your colleagues at think was a prize when you talked about the crises and david hale in theme number three and at the time he was a career officer and yet he seemed to be embracing it is notion that you should push to follow the president your loyalties to and not to - >> and that is how interested
sort of widely but i'm sure not what he was thinking in his mind when he recommended that i had asked david state department whether they could release a statement of the state supported me because i could see that if the department pompeo himself didn't come to my defense robustly, that i would have to leave because when she other president presidents family puddings about like that, ukrainians would be understandable if they didn't want me representing the president and the policy but was a saturday talk to pompeo about it on monday in the end there was no sport and then i did say something but i i just could not read what i think they wanted and again is a question of why
is she doing this and so what i did because presidential election in ukraine coming up within a week of my dark about the importance of democracy and the importance of our institution and so forth and whether that night and working to implement presence policies. >> you never heard from mike pompeo from this whole time. >> you never see in your another in many people. >> i listen to the interview date of my good friend ncr and she played the snippet from her famous interview with mark and mike pompeo pretty and reminding him that he would not defend yod this is all at a time when he stopped his own statements to the department on how we shoulde and you know, there is the final
statement, absolutely no and nothing wrong with it and embrace probably every single one of the principles with integrity and colleagues and things like that but he managed to violate this one of them. >> and that again, clarifying think that i think it's an interesting and important part of the story that you tell the book, the institutions of that you serve in places like somalia and russia and ukraine in this institution you serve for 32 years is under assault and repeated date and you unwittingly become a tough, not just one that ultimately expose your own career about the institution reveals that we points in the institution and you know i am curious in the later accounts like john bolton and others in theac testimony, shows that in the spring, pompeo
was probably pulling off donald trump for quitete some time in terms but in the end, both bolton and - directly orders by the president of the united states and that's an interesting question, are they in the end, as far as you are concerned his enablers or is it just a story about inner history the president has enormous power he can only resist for so long. .. licit but resisting or not you know, i'm i just this is the big question. i know but i'd love to know your answer because it was your life. it was your grade. well, i i think that's a good question. and i think it's a question that everybody who works in government has to ask themselves at some point because you're not gonna love every policy of an administration. and so how how are you going to deal with that?
so for example, the second war in iraq? i i thought that was wrong and >> not that anybody was pushing for me to go to iraq but i tried to stay out of the mainstream. i think everybody has to find their own path to that. with regards to pompeo and bolton i think it was both. i think that probably he did do some good things as well. we will see. i think there's still many e more books including your own that are going to come out about the trump administration and we will continue to find out a lot . >> certainly we can talk about now it's interesting because it has taken on i think a different light now
ethat we see this incredible war that has broken out between russia and ukraine. a war that tragically american diplomacy and assistance to ukraine was not only not able to prevent but there's an interesting set of questions about what things like trump ukraine scandal had to do with enabling the war inthe first place . so let's talk about that. this is an incredible trauma you've already have of being withdrawn as ambassador, middle of the night phone call i'm sure people remember this aparticular story and your summons back to washington . the leader should never have had the courage to look you in the eye and say you never heard from mike pompeo and is the head of the foreign service which basically gives you the hookand they tell you
you did nothing wrong . >> this is deputy secretary o'sullivan when i got on the next plane to washington, deputy secretary o'sullivan called me and and ... >> now our ambassador to moscow interestingly. >> so he was the one that got handed that assignment of firing me officially which he did . >> but he also told you you didn't do anything wrong. >> he did and i was so angry. sometimes when i'm angry it's expressed through all these fears and i was ... was probably an unpleasant dconversation for him, it certainly was for me in terms of how can you bedoing this if i haven't done anything wrong ? >> and he didn't give you a t good answer.
>> what they said is they wanted to protect me. but that what they wanted to protect me from was being fired by to and actually i own you leading up to that moment was themselves in protecting the president because even though ambassador, that was an exalted title. you and i both know we are not very senior in administration and donald trump had fired me by to everybody would have wondered what was going on. it was diplomatic non-practice anyway but that would have sealed thedeal . >> it would have been a public scandal earlier and would have called attention to what the administration was doing in a certain way so it was self protective. i was interested in reading your account of that tmeeting and in general the ordeals that follow from that. you describe yourself as a world traveler.
>> it seems to me there is a gendered element to this that it took you a while to fight your way back to righteous anger and anybody is entitled to righteous anger it was you but that mix of light have i done something wrong, are they going to ruin me. and i think explaining to people a bit about the fear that you felt in that moment when powerful people and forces that you don't understand including the president is out to get you. that's the part that seems mi like you and i might understand it from the former soviet union or russia but that seems so revelatory to me to extend understand trump used fear to take over the republican party and a large swath of washington. >> just speaking about myself you described it well. i didn't know what was going to happen next because in my world if you pull an ambassador out of the
eoadministration and there was a spot that i was correct people close to the president consequences follow in the i normal world. there would be an investigation. perhaps charges would be filed. i wondered whether as an additional president can be quite petty sometimes.i wondered whether they would try to take away my pension because at that point i was thinking about retiring. i wondered whether i would be able to get a job anywhere because there was a this little cloud over me and on the one hand i knew i had done nothing wrong and on the other hand i'm thinking could i have done something wrong? that self-doubt of all my god. maybe i'm not understanding this all properly. that was in the spring of 2019 and fast-forward to the perfect call. >> is the week of september. >> that's when i heard or when i saw the transcript
where the president of the united states says she's going to go through some things and i thought what more could there be, he's already pulled me out and around that time, the inspector general of the state department starts marching up to the committee that we're starting this impeachment inquiry with the rudy giuliani file which was all about me and the bidens and this thatand the other thing . >> there's research that he has sent to the secretary of state himself.t >> and everybody has already recounted it but all of a sudden when getting to the boiling point in september, the inspector general decides that he would share this with the committee and i thought what does this mean. if he actually look at the files they are laughable but i was not laughing. because hei wasn't sure . >> and there's also this moment where trump is speaking at the un general
assembly in a press conference right after the phone call is released with the newly elected president zielinski and in hindsight, now lindsay has become this world famous figure and of courage but he wasn't standing up to donald trumpin that press conference . he was so uncomfortable. some people have described it as a hostage video. it was obvious he was being stuck up by the president and he's trying not to alienate this superpower that obviously needs in this fight but he goes along with trump. he also has said i think you said he's about ambassador, did he ever get any clarification from the ukrainians about that ? >> all i got was the administration said this is in the last month or so we be happy to have you back.
i think that what was going on, we need to remember that ukraine is a smaller country at war with russia because russia has stolen crimea and invaded this country in the don boston and in that war even though it was making headlines in the united states, every week a couple of russian ukrainian soldiers , sometimes civilians would die. it was a hot war ineurope even before 2022 . and so we are in the most staunch part across the board whether it comes to economic assistance and certainly security. so is mission both the phone call and in that september meeting was to kind of try to solidify that relationship and get the security assistance thatdonald trump was dangling .
so that's the context for where zelensky is and a year ago he been a comedian and all of a sudden he's on the biggest stage of the world with the most powerful man in the world who is pulling them up so when we look at what zelensky did in terms of trump, i think we also need to look at some of the western allies. who did exactly the same thing and you need to look at people in the united states who also cater to the president. so perhaps not so surprising that once we follow that vein. >> not at all. but this man's presidencyme literally begins . people may not remember your book bpoints out you left your post the day of this inauguration with the entire beginning of his presidency overshadowed by this effort
of donald trump to blackmail him. and now his presidency is exploding several years later in the biggest land war in europe since world war ii. that biopic is something. it's just extraordinary. but let's talk about what it's like to be a witness in the impeachment of the president of the united states and you are not a limelight seeking person. we started our conversation with that and here you are in the limelight and it's all about you. and it will make history in a lot of ways but it will also make history the first time enin history the president of the united states live to his own impeachment by attacking a witness or intimidating a witness depending on how you want to look at that scene in the ffmiddle of the hearing what was that like when adam shift reads to you donald trump and he says marie you a lot of it is a disaster everywhere she's been.
she talks about it as if your personally running a motor pool at the us embassy ruin mogadishu had personally ruined somalia. what's it like when adam shift is reading that. >> it was a complete surprise obviously to me. i had no idea and first he announced thathe was going to do it . there's the anticipation. what's he going to say? what could he say? and of course the actual tweet itself as you recount was ridiculous. it was absolutely ridiculous. trying to compose my face although when i looked at the video that was playing that night of me listening to adam shift recounting this, all of my emotions were there for everybody to see including thankfully contempt because my eyes rolled.
i couldn't believe the president of the united states could say that and even though he was attacking me it really felt even in the moment was more about him. it revealed more about him. it corevealed that in fact the sorts of things i was saying about how i had been treated t that's the truth because it was contained. and i think he really demeans himself by doing that. the other thing is he really you know, handicapped the republican party that were trying to defend the president because again i don't know what your strategy was for that day but if they had wanted to attack me , that became very hard at that point. so they sort of focus on their questions were focused on making me irrelevant or the entire procedure irrelevant and illegal or they i think maybe multiple times the same story but also that the president of the united states has the right
to you know, name ambassadors but also fire them for any reason at any time which is absolutely e true but then why did he have to lie? so that was the test. >> i found i was going back and reading accounts of that day and my own reaction to it and i was struck by a couple of things. one was you said the republican strategy is to make this the sideshow. devon nunez the republican ranking member who is not quick congress to work for donald trump said this is it, irrelevant. and basically i think there should be asubcommittee on humanresources . that should talk about what happened . yet it seems like this was the key to unraveling the scandal for many people. like fiona hill it was her
that provided the start to understand there was a problem. that something not right was going on between trump and giuliani. i think many people felt that actually your firing was the moment at which the iceberg burst into view. it's a big part of the story. you didn't know many of these elements at the time. >> no, it was happening around me. >> the other thing and this conversation in your book for me because we are talking about lessons from the edge. >> i can shamelessly slidefor . a very powerful read and one of the things in your book and your testimony is you bring this i think you call it on cynical outrage about what happened to american democracy and to our system of government. this isn't how things are supposed to work.
it's actually shocking that the president of the united states would smear and fire and ambassador who did nothing wrong. >> are you still able to beon cynical? the american system on paper does it still look as strong to you after all this ? >> as we know this was only the first impeachment for the classic as we call, original coke. so not to make light of a very serious issue president was not helpful at all and i think he was inviolate that he thought he could do whatever youwanted . fast-forward through 2020 and the election campaign and the elections he lost but that he refused to concede. and i mean, it looks to me cwith all the things that are coming out now that there really was a conspiracy in
order to hold on to power. and then there was the second decision inquiry and once again, trump is not held accountable. so that is, there are many other things as we all know including targeting journalists and minorities and various other things. classic actions in democracy that started to fail. but i am just the decisions that we see in our society as well. that was when we saw the insurrection, that is something that i never would have thought about would happen to the united states and i think that was a terrible moment for many people. but i think that what we need to take from that is not i
hate governments, i don't want to do, i don't want to know anything about this. what we need to do as citizens is work to fix what needs reform. to strengthen our institutions. to inspire people of integrity to run for office and hold those high-level positions in administration and as we're finding out not just in local government but state-level as well. i think that's what we need to be doing and i think we need to be purposeful about it andoptimistic about it . optimism is a force. >> it certainly made the job of an american ambassador or american business a lot harder. can you imagine delivering a lecture today about the integrity of elections and democracy when our own has been sotarnished . >> i think that the short
answer is yes i can because when we work with other countries iton issues like freedom of the press or freedom of assembly, it's not because we are perfect. it's because we know how important it is and we're working on it in our own country and we hope you will too. i think the way when we deliver the message is really important. we need to be listening as much as we are i like to think that as much as we are sharing our official government point of view about various issues. and i'll tell you after january 6, so many people reached out to me and they were shocked. all the same emotions we had written shocked and afraid and wondered what would was happening in the united states but also afraid for their own country . at least many of the people
that i know overseas do still look to the united states as an example and as a leader and so we need to get our own house in order so that we can continue to fully handle them. >> i'm thinkingof a moment in kurt folders testimony . he was the special envoy who was dealing with the ukraine conflict obviously those negotiations didn't end up going anywhere and actually part we both know well ended up essentially trying and failing and being inserted into the middle of all this back and forth with giuliani and directly with him despite many officials, john bolton and sarah helsing that's not a good idea. so he thinks he can manage it . he's trying to get a good outcome for the ukrainian government and basically realizes that this breakfast he has with rudy giuliani that actually they are
holding up a meeting with the president of a foreign country in order to get investigations. and he has this testimony where he talks about having a conversation with a senior advisor to president zelensky in september and he's telling him you can go after your opponents in the election. you can't prosecute vindictive way essentially and the ukrainian officials say wait a minute, you mean like you guys are telling us ? just undercutting the punch of the moment that ymust have been when you heard that because that is exactly what americanofficials are trying to do . to encourage and other countries and i remember that adam schiff seized on that . in one of his closing remarks . it just seems like this moment where we are no better
than those we seek to correct. >> are always have to perfect our democracy and the answer is not we're going to give up because it's too hard. the answer is doubling down and work looking really hard at it and it doesn't mean you have to run for office . it could mean you're in your pda working with your teachers. doing great things with the kids or that your working on some angarden plot to beautify the city. i think that that kind of civic mindedness is what built america. and it also creates partnerships with people that maybe have different political views than you you are building a basis of friendship and trust that maybe can get to the next testep in terms of knitting the fabric hiof our society back together. >> and listening to you and this comes through in the book as this view of the
power of american civic institutions and democracy despite the challenges. that literally you know, change the trajectory of your own life. i'm reminded you were one of many witnesses who had a background with immigrant families or you haven't talked that much about your own family story essentially having parents who saw firsthand both the comforts us nazi and soviet yo aggression. you think that factored into it? you had alex vindman, fiona hill. these immigrants who believe more in america front than those who arguably benefited from the system they left. >> maybe. i know for myself i became an american by choiceat the age of 18 and you have to think about what that means .
where you want to live and the values of the united states and i wanted to identify these things. and my parents as they came here with nothing and were always grateful to the united states that they could bring up their children, they could do well here. they chose me, i needed to get back just as they did. so that was a huge influence on me. >> the right to another part of the book we haven't talked t about but i think it goes to this question of what's happening to american democracy and what about the democracy that you saw challenged for struggling to emerge. you are in russia several, a couple times in your career but you were there in 1993. in doris yeltsin's not his standing on the tank knoll staring down the coup boris yeltsin of 1991 but what later generations in moscow
correspondents like me would refer to as the bad two in 1993. and boris yeltsin many people believed by turning his eye on the white house he himself was doing a blow to russia's halting efforts to become a democracy and that you were there sort of as the election of 1996 in russia in which there was basically a corrupt bargain to purchase that election onyeltsin's behalf . justified by many people in washington as a way to avoid a return to the communists to power. it was not an original sin of russian democracy? is that the moment when something like putin became inevitable in the interview ? >> i don't know is the short answer. i would just say that the intelligence services had always wanted more power. obviously that's where it
comes from there was a choice . yeltsin had a choice in 1999 in which he was sort of set up as his successorand as you'll recall there were a number of prime ministers that tried out and failed for one reason or another . and putin as the case officer managed to get that. i would like to add one thing which is that theren to criticize about what the us did or didn't do in 1990 two russia but the first thing i'd say is we manage our foreign policy based on the information we have. the choices we think are in front of us. it's an imperfect process and we do the best we can. and you know, sometimes it doesn't work out the way you would have liked. but the second thing i would say is that the russians as a
country, the leadership and the people and when we talk about these events in the abunited states understandably of course we talk about it from an american centric point of view. we did this, we did that and it's like all these other countries have no agency but they were the mostimportant actors . so . >> that's a great note and on. this document ukraine and the agency, the incredible agency that we're seeing right now . it's extraordinary. you saw that there was a war while you were there. nothing like the war and the hell really that's now being unleashed upon ukraine russia. you said in some of your interviews that you do believe that somehow ultimately ukraine will prevail. how is that possible ? >> because i think there may come a time when russia prevails militarily and they
will have to be some sort of deal made. but i'm not sure that the ukrainian people andin fact i'm pretty sure the ukrainian people will not accept it . even in the short term but not in the long term and i think there will be a trial and i think there will be civil disobedience. there will be snipers that will go after the russian occupiers. i think there will be, i would not want to be a russian soldier going into ukrainian cafcs. and i would not want to be a russian getting into a vehicle that was just serviced by a ukrainian because i'm not sure what would happen to my ignition. i think the ukrainians will find ways to make that occupation so costly not only in terms of the divergent resources from russia's own development which we've seen the economy collapse which means a lot of odresources. frankly the of
body count ofrussian soldiers . >> we will leave it at that. it's an extraordinary bit of bs history that we are observing right now and i want to thank you ambassador marie yovanovitch for sharing your own history with us and this book. it's really a gripping read i think it's also kind of a unique testament to american institutions under challenge and there arereal people behind these stories. it's not just agame of tweets . this was your life . and i think everybody is grateful that you managed to share your ypiece of this story with usand i certainly am and i enjoyed the conversation and i'm sure a thank you for thisgreat hour it's been a pleasure . >> "after words" is available as a podcast ready to listen
visit c-span.org/podcast or search "after words" on your podcast and watch this and all previous afterwards interviews at book tv.org. just click the "after words" button near the top of the page. >> book tv continues now. >> now on book tvs author interview program "after words" by minister of australia kevin rudd offers his thoughts on how the us andchina can coexist and avoid war in the future . >> ..