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

Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie YovanovitchMarie YovanovitchJim Jordan requests documents from Pompeo regarding Hunter Biden, Burisma  Trump taps new ambassador to Ukraine America's diplomats deserve our respect MORE responded in real time to tweets from President TrumpDonald John TrumpFormer employees critique EPA under Trump in new report Fired State Department watchdog says Pompeo aide attempted to 'bully' him over investigations Virginia senator calls for Barr to resign over order to clear protests 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 SchiffFlynn urged Russian diplomat to have 'reciprocal' response to Obama sanctions, new transcripts show The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - George Floyd's death sparks protests, National Guard activation Hillicon Valley: Trump signs order targeting social media legal protections | House requests conference with Senate after FISA vote canceled | Minneapolis systems temporarily brought down by hackers 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.”

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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.”

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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.

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