Pelosi: Trump tweets on Yovanovitch show his 'insecurity as an imposter'

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiNJ governor calls for assessment of coronavirus response after crisis abates Overnight Health Care: Global coronavirus cases top 1M | Cities across country in danger of becoming new hotspots | Trump to recommend certain Americans wear masks | Record 6.6M file jobless claims Hillicon Valley: Zoom draws new scrutiny amid virus fallout | Dems step up push for mail-in voting | Google to lift ban on political ads referencing coronavirus MORE (D-Calif.) hammered President TrumpDonald John TrumpMilitary personnel to handle coronavirus patients at facilities in NYC, New Orleans and Dallas Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort has total of 20 patients: report Fauci says that all states should have stay-at-home orders MORE in an interview on Friday over his attack on former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie YovanovitchMarie YovanovitchAmerica's diplomats deserve our respect House panel says key witness isn't cooperating in probe into Yovanovitch surveillance President Trump's assault on checks and balances: Five acts in four weeks MORE while she testified in front of Congress, saying the smear reflects his "insecurity" over being an "imposter" in the Oval Office.

“The president and perhaps some at the White House have to know that the words of the president weigh a ton. They are very significant. And he should not frivolously throw out insults, but that's what he does,” Pelosi said in an interview for CBS’s “Face the Nation” that is set to air in its entirety on Sunday.  

“I think part of it is his own insecurity as an imposter. I think he knows full well that he's in that office way over his head. And so he has to diminish everyone else.” 

Trump raised eyebrows Friday morning when he attacked Yovanovitch just as she was testifying publicly in front of the House Intelligence Committee about the unusual circumstances surrounding her dismissal from her post earlier this year.

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“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,” Trump tweeted. “It is a U.S. President’s absolute right to appoint ambassadors.” 

“It’s very intimidating,” Yovanovitch responded during the impeachment inquiry hearing when asked about the tweet. “I can’t speak to what the president is trying to do, but I think the effect is to be intimidating.” 

“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.”

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Democrats seized on Trump’s broadside, suggesting the comment amounted to witness intimidation and could be considered a new article of impeachment as the House’s investigation unfolds. 

“I think it speaks for itself,” said Rep. Mike QuigleyMichael (Mike) Bruce QuigleyEPA defends suspension of pollution monitoring in letter to Congress House Democrats blast EPA as agency suspends monitoring amid coronavirus Illinois governor endorses Biden one day before primary MORE (D-Ill.), a member of the Intelligence panel. “Everything the president does, from obstruction to intimidation, becomes part of the record. And we’ll decide later — or not — whether it’s part of the articles.”

“Innocent people don’t intimidate witnesses. Guilty people do,” agreed Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellKey House chairman cautions against remote voting, suggests other options amid coronavirus outbreak House Democrats plead with key committee chairman to allow remote voting amid coronavirus pandemic Congress tiptoes toward remote voting MORE (D-Calif.), another Intelligence Committee member. “It should be considered for obstruction. It’s evidence of more obstruction, intimidating the witness, tampering with the witness’s testimony.” 

Yovanovitch was on Capitol Hill to testify about the circumstances regarding her abrupt dismissal from her ambassadorship by Trump in the spring after the president’s personal attorney Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiGoogle to spend .5 million in fight against coronavirus misinformation Hillicon Valley: FCC chief proposes 0M telehealth program | Twitter takes down posts promoting anti-malaria drugs for coronavirus| Whole Foods workers plan Tuesday strike 12 things to know today about coronavirus MORE and his allies engaged in a smear campaign to oust her, according to testimony in connection with the impeachment inquiry.

"I have freedom of speech just like other people do," Trump later said in defense of his comments, adding he doesn't "at all" think the comments amount to intimidation.

Pelosi said Trump "made a mistake and he knows [Yovanovitch's] strength. And he was trying to undermine it."

"Of course, presidents appoint ambassadors, but people don't insult people, especially when they're giving testimony before the Congress of the United States. I think even his most ardent supporters have to honestly admit this is the wrong thing for the president to do," she added.