President Trump attacked ousted Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch Friday morning as she testified in the House impeachment probe, despite White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham claiming that the President would not watch the hearing after taking in Intel Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes’ (R-CA) conspiracy theory-laden opening statement.
Only an hour into Yovanovitch’s public testimony, where she’s thus far expressed her “amazement” that corrupt foreign interests found a “willing partner” in Americans to achieve her ouster in her opening statement, Trump went on a Twitter tirade railing against the ousted Ukraine ambassador.
In his Friday morning tweets, Trump argued that “everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad” and that it is a President’s “absolute right to appoint ambassadors.”
….They call it “serving at the pleasure of the President.” The U.S. now has a very strong and powerful foreign policy, much different than proceeding administrations. It is called, quite simply, America First! With all of that, however, I have done FAR more for Ukraine than O.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2019
According to a pool report Friday, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham defended Trump’s tweets by arguing that they were “simply the President’s opinion.”
“The tweet was not witness intimidation, it was simply the President’s opinion, which he is entitled to. This is not a trial, it is a partisan political process—or to put it more accurately, a totally illegitimate, charade stacked against the President,” Grisham said, according to the Friday pool report. “There is less due process in this hearing than any such event in the history of our country. It’s a true disgrace.”
Later Friday, according to CNN, Trump argued that he has “the right to speak,” regarding his tweets about Yovanovitch.
“You know what? I have the right to speak. I have freedom of speech just as other people do, but they’ve taken away the Republicans rights,” the President said during a health care event at the White House, after admitting that he watched Yovanovitch’s public testimony after all and characterized it as “a joke,” according to CNN.
Within the first hour of Yovanovitch testifying publicly, the White House released a memorandum of the first conversation between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in April.
The night before Yovanovitch’s public testimony, Trump went on a tweet-storm denying that EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland linked the withheld Ukraine military aide to a phony investigation into the Bidens.
The President’s tweets aimed at Yovanovitch sparked a wave of backlash that noted how he didn’t react to the public testimony of acting ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor and top State Department official George Kent the same way:
Trump is watching and attacking the witness in real time.
Folks, the world is watching this. https://t.co/LAD5nu30pN
— Susan Glasser (@sbg1) November 15, 2019
Notably, Trump did not attack the two men who testified on Wednesday the same way https://t.co/ZCMbkhHUh3
— David A. Graham (@GrahamDavidA) November 15, 2019
This is disgusting and no one in the Republican Party will care https://t.co/NIWfzXabjX
— Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer) November 15, 2019
The president of the United States is using Twitter to continue attacking a lone civil servant — **while she is testifying before Congress**. He has already repeatedly smeared her and has already destroyed her career.
And it's also witness tampering. https://t.co/8WtbIw6ArG
— Tim O'Brien (@TimOBrien) November 15, 2019
This is the definition of cowardice. A craven politician prevents members of his administration from testifying under oath, conceals documents and releases doctored summaries of calls, but he issues a pitiful tweet criticizing an accomplished diplomat who testifies under oath. https://t.co/yrLjpBCr8E
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) November 15, 2019