Schiff halts Yovanovitch testimony to read Trump’s real-time tweets

November 16, 2019

The House Democrats’ absolute farce of an impeachment process continued Friday with a public hearing featuring the testimony of former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who had been recalled from her post in May by President Donald Trump.

Shortly after the hearing began, Trump fired off a tweet that was critical of Yovanovitch, and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and ringleader of the impeachment circus, brought the proceedings to a halt so he could read the president’s tweet and solicit the ambassador’s response in real time, Breitbart reported.

Trump tweets about Yovanovitch

In a two-part tweet, President Trump first wrote, “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,” he added in the follow-up.

That missive from the president was apparently too much for Schiff and his fellow Democrats to handle — not to mention the media — as Schiff brought the hearing to a halt so he could share what Trump wrote with Yovanovitch — who otherwise would have been unaware of the comments.

Schiff claims “witness intimidation”

“Ambassador Yovanovitch, as we sit here testifying the president is attacking you on Twitter, and I’d like to give you the chance to respond,” Schiff said as he proceeded to read off part of the first tweet. “Would you like to respond to the president’s attack that everywhere you went turned bad?”

Yovanovitch, of course, defended her service in Somalia and Ukraine and elsewhere. Schiff was not finished, however, and characterized the tweets as being tantamount to witness tampering or intimidation.

Referencing the July 25 phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that is at the heart of the impeachment inquiry, in which Yovanovitch’s dismissal was briefly mentioned, Schiff said that Trump had “implicitly threatened you in that call recor.” He went on to suggest that the tweet was a furtherance of such threats and intimidation.

“And now the president in real-time is attacking you. What effect do you think that has on other witnesses’ willing to come forward and expose wrongdoing?” Schiff asked. Yovanovitch replied, “It’s very intimidating.”

“Designed to intimidate, is it not?” the former prosecutor said, leading his witness. The ambassador responded, “I mean, I can’t speak to what the president is trying to do, but I think the effect is to be intimidating.”

Schiff said, “Well, I want to let you know, ambassador, that some of us here take witness intimidation very, very seriously.”

The whole charade was most absurd, particularly suggestions that Trump’s tweets could constitute an impeachable offense. It is worth reiterating that there is no way the president’s tweets could truly be considered “witness intimidation” given the fact that, had Schiff not stopped the hearing to read them aloud, the ambassador would never have known about them — or been intimidated by them — until after her testimony was already complete.

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Ben Marquis

Ben Marquis is a staff writer for Conservative Institute.