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

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: Breaking down the June jobs report | The biggest threats facing the recovery | What will the next stimulus bill include? Military bases should not be renamed, we must move forward in the spirit of reconciliation Pelosi: Trump 'himself is a hoax' MORE (D-Calif.) hammered President TrumpDonald John TrumpProtesters tear down statue of Christopher Columbus in Baltimore 'Independence Day' star Bill Pullman urges Americans to wear a 'freedom mask' in July 4 PSA Protesters burn American flag outside White House after Trump's July Fourth address MORE in an interview on Friday over his attack on former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie YovanovitchMarie YovanovitchCheney clashes with Trump Voters must strongly reject the president's abuses by voting him out this November Bolton book puts spotlight on Pompeo-Trump relationship 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 QuigleyDemocrats accuse SBA of stonewalling GAO's attempts to oversee lending program Democrats call for probe into ouster of State Dept. watchdog Bipartisan lawmakers call for global 'wet markets' ban amid coronavirus crisis 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 SwalwellSwalwell: Trump 'makes us look like geniuses every day for impeaching him' Voters must strongly reject the president's abuses by voting him out this November Democrats face tough questions with Bolton 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 GiulianiOusted Manhattan US Attorney Berman to testify before House next week Sunday shows preview: With coronavirus cases surging, lawmakers and health officials weigh in Hillicon Valley: Democrats introduce bill banning federal government use of facial recognition tech | House lawmakers roll out legislation to establish national cyber director | Top federal IT official to step down 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.