US President Donald Trump was unhinged Friday tweeting some denigrating comments against former Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch as she gave testimony live on TV on his impeachment probe at the House of Representatives.
Democrats immediately accused Trump of seeking to intimidate a witness and Yovanovitch who responded to the tweets live on TV agreed no less.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) offered Yavonovitch the chance to respond to Trump after he paused her dramatic testimony to read Trump’s tweet.
“It’s very intimidating,” Yovanovitch said. “I can’t speak to what the president is trying to do, but I think the effect is to be intimidating.”
Yovanovitch was ousted as U.S. ambassador after she was told the president had lost confidence in her. She testified that she believed she was the victim of a shadow campaign to oust her that was orchestrated by Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.
In her response, Yovanovitch, who spoke in a calm, measured tone throughout her testimony, said the president was prescribing powers to her that she did not realise she had.
“I don’t think I have such powers, not in Mogadishu, Somalia and not in other places,” Yovanovitch said. “I actually think that where I have served over the years, I and others have demonstrably made things better, for the U.S. as well as for the countries that I’ve served in.”
Yovanovich added that Ukraine has made “a lot of progress since 2014, including in the years that I was there, and I think in part — the Ukranian people get the most credit for that — but a part of that credit goes to the work of the United States and to me as the ambassador in Ukraine.”
Trump’s decision to tweet about Yovanovitch during the hearing was not entirely surprising giving his tendency to go after those criticizing him.
But the decision is likely to give discomfort to Republicans seeking to defend him given its timing.