During the second day of open impeachment hearings, President Donald Trump lashed out at the former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch as she testified about her experience being removed from her post.
Trump tweeted that “everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad” adding that the Ukrainian president said he thought she was a bad ambassador during a phone call with Trump.
“Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go? Then fast forward to Ukraine, where the new Ukrainian President spoke unfavorably about her in my second phone call with him. It is a U.S. President’s absolute right to appoint ambassadors.”
….They call it “serving at the pleasure of the President.” The U.S. now has a very strong and powerful foreign policy, much different than proceeding administrations. It is called, quite simply, America First! With all of that, however, I have done FAR more for Ukraine than O.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2019
While House Democrats’ counsel was questioning Yovanovitch, Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) interrupted to read the tweet, “It seems like an appropriate time. Ambassador Yovonavitch as we sit here testifying, the president is attacking you on Twitter, and I’d like to give you a chance to respond.”
Watch the exchange below:
.@RepAdamSchiff reads President Trump tweets about Marie Yovanovitch.— CSPAN (@cspan) November 15, 2019
Marie Yovanovitch: "It's very intimidating."
Schiff: "Some us here take witness intimidation very very seriously.
Watch LIVE here: https://t.co/hfUPMqA2R9 pic.twitter.com/oMq7uLGogQ
Yovanovitch defended her tenure at the State Department, saying she believes she helped make the places she served better. She said she found the tweet to be “very intimidating” but added that she didn’t know Trump’s motives for the tweet.
“I can’t speak to what the president is trying to do, but I think the effect is to be intimidating.”
Schiff responded, “Well, I want you to know, Ambassador, that some of us here take witness intimidation very, very seriously.”
Trump’s tweet drew almost immediate condemnation from both sides of the political aisle.
GOP intel member Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) tells Haley Byrd on her way to vote that she disagrees with President Trump’s tweet attacking former ambassador Yovanovitch.— Lauren Fox (@FoxReports) November 15, 2019
“I disagree with the tweet. I think Ambassador Yovanovitch is a public servant..”
Rep. Himes said he “couldn’t be more proud” of Yovanovitch’s courage to testify today. He says Trump’s tweet is “certainly evidence of witness intimidation” and asked if he thinks it could be used to form an article of impeachment he says, “I think so.”— Addy Baird (@addysue) November 15, 2019
Why is @realDonaldTrump engaging in witness intimidation of Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch while she testifies during the #ImpeachmentHearings? Because her testimony is devastating to @POTUS.#ThursdayMorning Thoughts https://t.co/cgwVe0NzPq— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) November 15, 2019
President Richard Nixon's former White House Counsel John Dean says that President Trump committed witness intimidation with his tweets about Marie Yovanovitch pic.twitter.com/qAUqU8fDic— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) November 15, 2019
This Trump tweet is criminal witness intimidation. Glad @RepAdamSchiff called it out in real time. This vicious attack on a witness during her testimony may chill weaker souls, but he won’t get away with it. It’ll be part of an Article of Impeachment for obstructing Congress. https://t.co/Ihvo8PuOcf— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) November 15, 2019
Rep. Adam Schiff responds to Trump’s tweet attack on Marie Yovanovitch: “We saw today witness intimidation in real time by the President of the United States.”#ImpeachmentHearing pic.twitter.com/gp86scwdA7— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) November 15, 2019
Trump maintained in his tweet that he has the right to appoint and fire ambassadors at will, “They call it ‘serving at the pleasure of the President.'”