Republicans to grill former US ambassador to Ukraine at Trump impeachment hearing

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Former US ambassador to Ukraine expected to face grilling in second day of public Trump impeachment hearings
A former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who was abruptly recalled from her post is scheduled to testify before the House Intelligence Committee on Friday as Democrats cap off the first week of public hearings in their impeachment inquiry of President Trump. Republicans are set to hammer Marie Yovanovitch, a longtime diplomat who served under six presidential administrations over 33 years, with an aggressive cross-examination related to her previous statements under oath, as well as her reported role in shielding a George Soros-linked nonprofit allegedly connected to documented Ukrainian election interference efforts.

Profile of former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch;

Profile of former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch;

In his July 25 his call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky -- the call at the center of Democrats' impeachment push --  Trump specifically asked Zelensky to investigate reports that Ukraine had some involvement in interference in the 2016 election before he mentioned taking a look at Joe Biden's business dealings in the country. (Ukraine systematically worked behind the scenes to boost Clinton, Politico has reported.)

Key point for Trump defense: Forced out of her job in April, Yovanovitch likely can't offer much of substance on her own about the central allegations against Trump - that he pressured Zelensky to investigate the Bidens, and withheld U.S. military aid as leverage. (Democrats had previously referred to this as a "quid pro quo"; now they have reportedly retired that term in favor of the word "bribe.") The timeline will render Yovanovitch vulnerable to the same criticisms that Republicans had for William Taylor and George Kent, the two diplomats who testified during Wednesday in Day One of the public impeachment proceedings: that all she can offer is unverifiable hearsay and speculation.

Democrats' strategy: Democrats may likely focus on the circumstances of Yovanovitch's removal from her post. She said in a statement to investigators that last spring she was abruptly told to depart Ukraine "on the next plane and that the president had lost confidence in her and had been pressuring State Department officials to remove her.

The Trump administration and some Republican lawmakers have argued that Yovanovitch's removal from the job had nothing to do with his desire to have the Bidens investigated. However, The Wall Street Journal reported in October that Trump personal attorney Rudy Giuliani was instrumental in her ouster. According to reports, he had complained for months that Yovanovitch had been "undermining him abroad and obstructing efforts to persuade" Ukrainian leaders to investigate the Bidens.

Democrats, through the testimony of Taylor, Kent and Yovanovitch, may suggest Giuliani was leading a White House shadow foreign policy outside the diplomatic mainstream of U.S.-Ukraine relations. Click here for more on our top story.

TUNE IN: Stay with Fox News for team coverage of Day 2 of the public Trump impeachment inquiry hearings all day Friday, on all platforms.

US-born Alabama woman who joined ISIS is not an American citizen, judge rules
A federal judge ruled Thursday that an American-born woman who traveled to Syria to join the Islamic State (ISIS) group and now wants to return to her family in Alabama is not a U.S. citizen. U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton dismissed a lawsuit brought by the family of Hoda Muthana to force the federal government to let her in the country.

Muthana, 25, currently lives with her 2-year-old son in a refugee camp in Syria and has since repudiated the terrorist group. The judge's ruling came as a Missouri man who came to the U.S. from Bosnia was sentenced Thursday to eight years in prison for supporting terrorists, including an ISIS leader in Syria.

Ethics probe expanded as messages show 'Squad's' Tlaib frantically asking campaign for personal money
The House Ethics Committee on Thursday released a trove of striking internal campaign communications sent in 2018 by U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., in which Tlaib urgently requested money from her congressional campaign to defray personal expenses -- and, a government watchdog said, possibly violated federal law in the process. The document dump was related to the committee's ongoing ethics probe into Tlaib, which the panel said Thursday would be "expanded" based on a referral from the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE). Click here for more.

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SOME PARTING WORDS

Sean Hannity says, unlike Joe Biden, President Trump is not guilty of "quid pro quo."

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