Schiff Accuses Trump of Engaging in 'Witness Intimidation in Real Time'
Anti-Trump Democrat claims president is intimidating witnesses as they testify
During Friday's second public hearing in the Democrats' impeachment inquiry, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) accused President Donald Trump of engaging in "witness intimidation in real time."
Anti-Trump Rep. Schiff, who is leading the proceedings, claimed that the president was "intimidating" his witness, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, by "attacking" her on Twitter while she was testifying, despite the fact that Schiff was the one informing her she was being "attacked."
‘I want to let you know, ambassador, that some of us here take witness intimidation very, very seriously,’ says Chairman Schiff in reference to Trump’s live-tweeting criticism of Yovanovitch during the #impeachmenthearings https://t.co/HNWWM5kfHT pic.twitter.com/fxabtTxzHd— Reuters (@Reuters) November 15, 2019
After making the allegation against the president in front of the cameras during the hearing, Schiff again accused Trump of "witness intimidation" while speaking to reporters afterward.
Schiff stated that President Trump was engaging in “witness intimidation in real time” with his statements about Yovanovitch, warning that such "intimidation" is taken “very seriously.”
“[W]e saw, today, witness intimidation in real time by the president of the United States, once again, going after this dedicated and respected career public servant in an effort to not only chill her but to chill others who may come forward," Schiff told the press.
"We take this kind of witness intimidation and obstruction of the inquiry very seriously.”
On Friday, Trump was defending his decision to fire Yovanovitch earlier this year, saying that she had “turned bad.”
“Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad,” Trump said on Twitter during the hearings.
“She started off in Somalia, how did that go?”
Yovanovitch’s first tour was in Mogadishu, Somalia and was installed in Ukraine during the Obama administration, according to Breitbart.
Trump recalled her in May 2019.
The president recalled his phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky where President Trump described Yovanovitch as “bad news.”
During her testimony from the House Intelligence Committee, Yovanovitch said she felt “threatened” by the president’s comments in that phone call, and was shocked that a U.S. President would undercut her personally in a phone call with a foreign leader.
But Trump reminded Americans that Zelensky agreed with his assessment, citing concerns she favored the previous president of Ukraine.
“[T]he new Ukrainian President spoke unfavorably about her in my second phone call with him,” Trump added on Twitter.
President Trump repeated he had the right to call her back to the United States.
“It is a U.S. President’s absolute right to appoint ambassadors. They call it ‘serving at the pleasure of the President,'” he said.
Trump defended his renewed foreign policy in Ukraine without Yovanovitch, saying it was much tougher than under former President Barack Obama.
“The U.S. now has a very strong and powerful foreign policy, much different than proceeding administrations,” he wrote.
“It is called, quite simply, America First!"