President Donald Trump attacked former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch as she was testifying before lawmakers in the House impeachment inquiry Friday.
In a pair of tweets, Trump wrote that “everywhere” that former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch went “turned bad."
"She started off in Somalia, how did that go?" one of the tweets read. "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."
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"They call it 'serving at the pleasure of the President.'" he wrote in a second tweet. "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."
After the tweets were sent, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee swiftly intervened, halting the questioning to read the president’s comments out loud to the witness -- and Americans following the hearing -- during a live broadcast across the country.
“Ambassador Yovanovitch, as we sit here testifying, the president is attacking you on Twitter,” said Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California. “What effect do you think that has on other witnesses' willingness to come forward and expose wrongdoing?”
“Well, it's very intimidating,” she said.
"I actually think that where I've served over the years, I and other have demonstrably made things better for the us and for the countries that I've served in," she also added.
Said Schiff, “Well, I want to let you know, Ambassador, that some of us here take witness intimidation very, very seriously.”
The White House later responded to Schiff's comments on witness intimidation.
“The tweet was not witness intimidation, it was simply the President’s opinion, which he is entitled to," the statement read. "This is not a trial, it is a partisan political process—or to put it more accurately, a totally illegitimate, charade stacked against the President. There is less due process in this hearing than any such event in the history of our country. It’s a true disgrace.”
Yovanovitch is a career foreign service officer with a solid reputation. She testified Friday that she was the victim of “a campaign of disinformation” that used “unofficial back channels” leading to her removal from Ukraine. She is testifying openly before the House Intelligence Committee in its impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
In her opening statement, Yovanovitch told lawmakers that she was the victim of “a campaign of disinformation” that used “unofficial back channels” leading to her removal from Ukraine. She said it “continues to amaze” her that Americans partnered with “Ukrainians who preferred to play by the old corrupt rules” in pushing for her removal.
Yovanovitch is also sounded the alarm that senior State Department officials did not defend her from attacks from the president’s allies, including former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. She told lawmakers about a “crisis in the State Department.”
“The State Department is being hollowed out from within at a competitive and complex time on the world stage," she said.