House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D., Calif.) lambasted President Trump for live-tweeting the public impeachment hearing of former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, telling Yovanovitch “that some of us here take witness intimidation very, very seriously.”
Trump tweeted during the hearing that “everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad,” referencing her time in Somalia and Ukraine.
….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
During questioning, Schiff read some of the tweet and asked Yovanovitch for her response.
“Well, I don’t think I have such powers, not in Mogadishu, Somalia and not in other places,” Yovanovitch replied. “I actually think that where I’ve served over the years, I and others have demonstrably made things better, for the U.S., as well as for the countries I have served in.”
“It’s very intimidating. I can’t speak to what the president is trying to do, but I think the effect is to be intimidating.”
During an intermission in the hearing, Schiff told reporters that Trump was attempting to “chill” Yovanovtich’s testimony, and any other witnesses who might come forward.
“We saw today witness intimidation in real time by the president of the United States,” Schiff said. “Once again, going after this dedicated and respected, career public servant, in an effort to not only chill her but to chill others when they come forward. We take this kind of witness intimidation and obstruction of inquiry very seriously.”
House Republicans were divided when asked about the tweet. While Representative Lee Zeldin said that “the president is going to defend himself,” fellow New Yorker Elise Stefanik said that “I disagree with the tweet.”