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Politics Intimidation among key takeaways from the Trump impeachment hearing with Marie Yovanovitch

21:30  15 november  2019
21:30  15 november  2019 Source:   usatoday.com

Trump attacks ambassador on Twitter as she testifies that his words in Ukraine call made her feel threatened

  Trump attacks ambassador on Twitter as she testifies that his words in Ukraine call made her feel threatened President Donald Trump on Friday lashed out at former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, as she testified in a public impeachment hearing in the House that his words about her in a phone call with the Ukraine president "sounded like a threat."President Donald Trump on Friday lashed out at former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, as she testified in a public impeachment hearing in the House that his words about her in a phone call with the Ukraine president "sounded like a threat.

WASHINGTON – Marie Yovanovitch, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, testified Friday in the second public hearing of the House's impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump's efforts to pressure the East European country to investigate his political rivals.

Democrats consider Yovanovitch a key victim of the administration's pressure campaign, someone who was removed from her post in May because she was perceived as someone working to undermine the Trump agenda – a criticism she firmly denies.

'A turning point in this hearing': Fox personalities speculate if Trump-Yovanovitch tweet could lead to witness intimidation charges

  'A turning point in this hearing': Fox personalities speculate if Trump-Yovanovitch tweet could lead to witness intimidation charges Multiple Fox News personalities speculated that President Trump's insulting tweet toward former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine could result in witness tampering and witness intimidation charges. The president denigrated the former ambassador while she was testifying in front of the House Intelligence Committee on Friday morning. While she was on Capitol Hill, Trump tweeted that, "Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go?" He also pointed out that administration officials serve at the pleasure of the president.

The inquiry is based on a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky where Trump discussed military assistance for Ukraine in exchange for a "favor" to investigate his political rivals, including former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

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Here are some key takeaways from the testimony of the 33-year veteran State Department diplomat:

Yovanovitch: 'I had no agenda'

During her testimony, the ambassador tried to portray herself as a straight shooter whose top priority was carrying out U.S. priorities.

"I entered the Foreign Service understanding that my job was to implement the foreign policy interests of this nation, as defined by the President and Congress, and to do so regardless of which person or party was in power," she told lawmakers. "I had no agenda other than to pursue our stated foreign policy goals."

Later under questioning, Yovanovitch said she was "shocked, appalled, devastated" when she learned in September that Trump in a July 25 call to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky described her as "bad news."

She said she found the charge startling because she did nothing to undermine U.S. interests under Trump.

Marie L. Yovanovitch wearing glasses: Former Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch testifies before the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on Nov.. 15, 2019 in a public hearing in the impeachment inquiry into allegations President Donald Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate his political rivals. © Jack Gruber, USA TODAY Former Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch testifies before the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on Nov.. 15, 2019 in a public hearing in the impeachment inquiry into allegations President Donald Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate his political rivals.

Trump's tweets became a moment

Trump has tweeted his criticism of the inquiry dozens of times since the impeachment process began several weeks ago. But his scorching tweets during Yovanovitch's testimony took center stage at one point.

A little more than an hour into the testimony, Democratic staff displayed two of the tweets on large screens in the hearing room as Schiff read them aloud:

"I don't think I have such powers," Yovanovitch said when Schiff asked for her reaction to the tweets. "It's very intimidating."

"I want you to know that some of us here take witness intimidation very very seriously," Schiff responded.

Democrats emphasized her integrity

Much like they did with Wednesday's witnesses, Bill Taylor and George Kent, Democrats made a point of stressing the integrity of Yovanovitch, a career diplomat whose Ukraine posting was her third stint as an ambassador.

Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., praised Yovanovitch during her 33 years in the State Department for earning a reputation for fighting corruption and naming names. She had arrived in the United States after her parents fled the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, Schiff said. But Yovanovitch was recalled in April, despite being offered an extension of her tour by the State Department, and told President Donald Trump had lost confidence in her, Schiff said.

First hearing: New revelations, steady witnesses, Trump tweets: takeaways from the first public hearing on impeachment

“It was a stunning turn of events for this highly regarded career diplomat, who had been doing such a remarkable job fighting corruption in Ukraine that a short time earlier she had been asked by the State Department to extend her tour,” Schiff said.

"All Americans are deeply in your debt," Schiff later told her.

Republicans: inquiry elbowing out priorities

Echoing a familiar mantra, Republicans said the impeachment inquiry is stymieing Congress' work on a range of issues including trade agreements and avoiding a government shutdown.

"It's unfortunate that today and for most of next week we will continue engaging in the Democrats' day-long TV spectacles instead of solving the problems we were all sent to Washington to address," California Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the committee, said.

"We now have a major trade agreement with Canada and Mexico ready for approval, a deal that would create jobs and boost our economy," he continued. "Meanwhile, we have not yet approved funding for the government, which expires next week. along with funding for our men and women in uniform. Instead, the Democrats have convened us once again to advance their operation to topple a duly elected president."

Democrats who control the House say the criticism is hollow considering the House has passed – and keeps passing – important legislation, such as bills to help veterans, that the GOP-run Senate refuses to take up.

And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the impeachment inquiry isn't stopping the House from working on trade agreements, prescription drug prices and efforts to keep the government open.

"So as I say, we legislate.  We investigate ... But we litigate," she told reporters Thursday.

Contributing: Bart Jansen, Nicholas Wu, Jeanine Santucci

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Intimidation among key takeaways from the Trump impeachment hearing with Marie Yovanovitch

Marie Yovanovitch Gets Standing Ovation at Jazz Club after Trump Impeachment Testimony .
The former ambassador to Ukraine was attacked on Twitter by President Donald Trump as she testified before the House Intelligence Committee.On Friday, Yovanovitch appeared before the House Intelligence Committee to testify about her removal as the ambassador to Ukraine in the ongoing impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.

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