Trump accused of witness intimidation
Ousted Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch said she felt ‘big threat’, when she gives public testimony in the probe, Trump tweets against her, says everywhere she went ‘turned bad’.
Iran Press/ America: Former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch provided chilling detail in Trump impeachment hearings Friday of the “big threat” she felt upon suddenly being ousted from her post and learning US President Donald Trump had denounced her in his July phone call with Ukraine’s president.
In that call, Trump assailed her as “bad news” and said she was “going to go through some things.”
In an extraordinary moment, even in an administration filled with them, Trump himself went after her again as she spoke, tweeting from the White House that everywhere she served had “turned bad.” He emphasized that as president he had the “absolute right” to appoint his own ambassadors.
Rather than distract from the career diplomat’s somber but powerful testimony, his interference was seen by Democrats as yet more evidence against him in the probe.
“It’s very intimidating,” Yovanovitch said when Trump’s new tweet was shown on a screen in the hearing room. “I can’t speak to what the president is trying to do, but I think the effect is to be intimidated.”
“I want you to know that some of us here take witness intimidation very, very seriously,” said Representative Adam Schiff of California, Intelligence Committee chairman who displayed Trump’s attack.
Yovanovitch described a “smear campaign” against her by Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and others, including the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., before her firing.
She told the lawmakers her sudden removal had played into the hands of “shady interests the world over” with dangerous intentions toward the United States.
She recalled that as she had read the White House’s rough transcript of Trump’s conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, another person said, “The color drained from my face.”
She said quietly, “Even now words fail me.”
Her removal is one of several events at the center of the impeachment effort.205