Schiff Alleges Witness Intimidation As Trump Attacks Yovanovitch on Twitter

By Susan Jones | November 15, 2019 | 11:11am EST
 Former US Ambassador to the Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testifies on November 15, 2019.(Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
Former US Ambassador to the Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testifies on November 15, 2019.(Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - As former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was testifying Friday before the House intelligence committee, President Trump was insulting her on Twitter, prompting Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) to raise the prospect of "witness intimidation."

Trump tweeted:

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.

Intelligence committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) invited Yovanovitch to respond to Trump's live tweets, telling her, "And now the president in real-time is attacking you. What effect do you think that has on other witnesses' willingness to come forward and expose wrongdoing?"

"Well, it's very intimidating," Yovanovitch said.

"Designed to intimidate, is it not?" Schiff asked.

"I mean, I can't speak to what the president is trying to do, but I think the effect is to be intimidating," the former ambassador said.

Schiff told her, "I want to let you know...that some of us here take witness intimidation very, very seriously."

Ken Starr, the former independent counsel who investigated President Clinton, told Fox News that Trump's decision to tweet about Yovanovitch showed "extraordinarily poor judgment."

"The president frequently says, I follow my instincts. Sometimes you have to control our instincts. So obviously I think this was quite injurious.  I don't think it rises to the level of intimidation of a witness, but I think that's the way it's going to be characterized."





 

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