The Foreign Service Journal, January-February 2020
12 JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2020 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL TALKING POINTS discipline any Department employee for appearing before Congress in response to a subpoena.” Mr. Bulatao also said the depart- ment would provide limited financial assistance for legal fees incurred by employees. The public servants who testified offered a civics lesson in how foreign policy is supposed to be managed. In public testimony Nov. 21, Fiona Hill, a Russia expert and senior member of the National Security Council staff, urged lawmakers not to promote “politically driven falsehoods” about Ukraine that create doubt about Russia’s attack on U.S. elections. “The unfortunate truth is that Russia was the foreign power that systematically attacked our democratic institutions in 2016. This is the public conclusion of our intelligence agencies, confirmed in bipar- tisan congressional reports. It is beyond dispute, even if some of the underlying details must remain classified. “The impact of the successful 2016 Russian campaign remains evident today. Our nation is being torn apart. “Truth is questioned. Our highly professional and expert career Foreign Service is being undermined. U.S. sup- port for Ukraine—which continues to face armed Russian aggression—has been politicized,” she testified. The House Intelligence Committee public hearings ended the week before Thanksgiving. The House Judiciary Committee then held public hearings in early Decem- ber, and on Dec. 10, it announced two articles of impeachment—abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The full House will vote on the articles, and if the House votes to impeach the president, the Senate will likely hold an impeachment trial in January. Impeachment Hearings: Diplomats Shine A s the House Permanent Select Com- mittee on Intelligence held public hearings in November into whether President Donald Trump committed impeachable offenses related to with- holding military aid to Ukraine and a meeting with Ukraine President Volody- myr Zelensky in exchange for politi- cal favors, U.S. diplomats were in the spotlight. Many media outlets applauded the integrity, professionalism and nonparti- sanship of the career Foreign Service offi- cers who testified. Former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch received a standing ovation after testifying before the House Intelligence Committee Nov. 15. (See p. 19 for excerpts from opening statements of several diplomats.) During the course of the public hearings, AFSA launched an #FSProud social media campaign, and hundreds of diplomats and friends took to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other plat- forms to say why they are #FSProud. (See p. 17 for samples.) AFSA’s Legal Defense Fund, which is used to assist members in cases involv- ing issues of significant institutional importance to the Foreign Service, has generated an outpouring of support from the FS community and the public. As of Dec. 11, the Legal Defense Fund had collected $418,465 since the initial solicitation went out Oct. 8. This support came from 2,176 individual donors, for an average donation of $192. As of press time in mid-December, $133,000 had been disbursed in support of members. Meanwhile, the State Department pledged not to punish employees who testified about the Ukraine matter. In a Nov. 18 letter to the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Commit- tee, Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Under Secretary of State for Management Brian Bulatao wrote: “No employee has faced any adverse action by the Depart- ment for testimony before Congress on this matter. The Department will not U nited Nations Peacemaker is an online support tool for mediators and peacemak- ers. Developed by the U.N. Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, it includes a database of more than 750 peace agreements, searchable by agreement and by issue; guidance material; information on the U.N.’s peacemaking support services; and a library of Site of the Month: United Nations Peacemaker : peacemaker.un.org literature on key media- tion issues including power and wealth shar- ing, constitutional issues and mediation strategies. The website, which was launched in 2006 and relaunched in 2019, features a diplomatic toolkit covering the themes of conflict analy- sis, engagement with parties, inclusivity and strategic communica- tions.