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

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHouse to resume mask mandate after new CDC guidance McCarthy pulls GOP picks off House economic panel GOP up in arms over Cheney, Kinzinger MORE (D-Calif.) hammered President TrumpDonald TrumpRealClearPolitics reporter says Freedom Caucus shows how much GOP changed under Trump Jake Ellzey defeats Trump-backed candidate in Texas House runoff DOJ declines to back Mo Brooks's defense against Swalwell's Capitol riot lawsuit MORE in an interview on Friday over his attack on 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 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 QuigleyCarole Baskin: People 'will be outraged' by conditions exotic animals face House panel includes 0 million election security grant in proposed appropriations bill Fitness industry group hires new CEO amid lobbying push 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 SwalwellDOJ declines to back Mo Brooks's defense against Swalwell's Capitol riot lawsuit Tech executives increased political donations amid lobbying push Justice in legal knot in Mo Brooks, Trump case 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 GiulianiDOJ declines to back Mo Brooks's defense against Swalwell's Capitol riot lawsuit Bob Dole: 'I'm a Trumper' but 'I'm sort of Trumped out' Ex-Trump adviser Barrack charged with secretly lobbying for UAE 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.