Yovanovitch responds to Trump tweets at hearing, says he's trying to intimidate

Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie YovanovitchMarie YovanovitchGiuliani hires attorneys who defended Harvey Weinstein The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - Facebook upholds Trump ban; GOP leaders back Stefanik to replace Cheney Former Ukrainian prosecutor says he was fired for not investigating Hunter Biden: report MORE responded in real time to tweets from President TrumpDonald TrumpCuban embassy in Paris attacked by gasoline bombs Trump Jr. inches past DeSantis as most popular GOP figure in new poll: Axios Trump endorses Ken Paxton over George P. Bush in Texas attorney general race MORE denigrating her as she testified in a House impeachment hearing, stating that they were meant to intimidate her.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffFive things to watch as Jan. 6 panel begins its work Schiff: Jan. 6 committee mulling subpoenas, testimony from riot participants House erupts in anger over Jan. 6 and Trump's role MORE (D-Calif.) offered Yovanovitch the chance to respond to Trump after he paused her dramatic testimony to read Trump's tweet.

“It’s very intimidating,” Yovanovitch said. “I can’t speak to what the president is trying to do, but I think the effect is to be intimidating.”

ADVERTISEMENT

In his tweet, Trump wrote that "everywhere" 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,” he wrote.

In her remarks, Yovanovitch, who spoke in a calm, measured tone throughout her testimony, said the president was prescribing powers to her that she did not realize she had.

“I don’t think I have such powers, not in Mogadishu, Somalia and not in other places,” Yovanovitch said. “I actually think that where I have served over the years, I and others have demonstrably made things better, for the U.S. as well as for the countries that I’ve served in.”

Yovanovitch added that Ukraine has made “a lot of progress since 2014, including in the years that I was there, and I think in part — the Ukranian people get the most credit for that — but a part of that credit goes to the work of the United States and to me as the ambassador in Ukraine.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Trump's decision to tweet about Yovanovitch during the hearing was not entirely surprising giving his tendency to go after those criticizing him. 

But the decision is likely to give discomfort to Republicans seeking to defend him given its timing. Democrats immediately accused Trump of seeking to intimidate a witness.

Yovanovitch was ousted as U.S. ambassador after she was told the president had lost confidence in her. She testified that she believed she was the victim of a shadow campaign to oust her that was orchestrated by Trump's personal attorney Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiBob Dole: 'I'm a Trumper' but 'I'm sort of Trumped out' Ex-Trump adviser Barrack charged with secretly lobbying for UAE Aides who clashed with Giuliani intentionally gave him wrong time for Trump debate prep: book MORE