Former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch retires from State Department

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By Abigail Williams and Phil Helsel  with NBC News Politics
Image: Former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Yovanovitch testifies before House
Marie Yovanovitch, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, retired Friday from the State Department.   -   Copyright  Jonathan Ernst Reuters file

Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, a central figure in the impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump, retired from the State Department on Friday after three decades in the foreign service, a person familiar with her plans confirmed.

Yovanovitch testified in the U.S. House of Representatives that her reputation was smeared by Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who seized on disinformation that she had been badmouthing the president and blocking corruption investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

She denied all the allegations under oath, and her colleagues have testified that she was the victim of disinformation tactics that had been used on U.S. officials for years.

Yovanovitch, who was recalled from her post last year, had most recently been serving as a senior State Department fellow at Georgetown's School of Foreign Service, although she was not teaching classes this semester. The retirement was first reported by NPR.

She had been a foreign service officer for 33 years and served in six presidential administrations, four Republican and two Democrat.

She was appointed as an ambassador three times, twice by President George W. Bush and once by President Barack Obama. She served as ambassador to Kyrgyzstan, Armenia and then Ukraine during her career.