As House Democrats conducted the second day of their public hearing with regard to President Donald Trump’s impeachment investigation, the president had a few choice words to say about their witness, former ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
According to Daily Caller, Trump blasted the witness on Twitter as she was testifying in front of the House Intelligence Committee.
“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. It is a U.S. President’s absolute right to appoint ambassadors,” Trump tweeted.
His attack immediately drew the attention of House Intel Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who actually interrupted the hearing to inform Yovanovitch that the president was talking about her on Twitter — a move that Schiff would later call “witness intimidation in real time.”
Other Democrats on the panel echoed Schiff’s claim that Trump’s tweet amounted to intimidation, but Trump had a different take on the subject.
“I have the right to speak. I have freedom of speech just like other people do,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
The president was asked by reporters on Friday if he thought his tweets about Yovanovitch during the hearing were intimidating, to which he replied, “I don’t think so at all.”
Moments ago at the WH @realDonaldTrump defends earlier tweets that Democrats are calling witness intimidation.
"I have the right to speak, I have freedom of speech, but they've taken away the Republicans rights." pic.twitter.com/72shuYvtPf
— Raquel Martin (@RaquelMartinTV) November 15, 2019
Fox News anchor Brett Baier seemingly joined with Schiff’s line of thinking that the president’s tweet about the former ambassador amounted to witness intimidation or witness tampering, which Baier claimed provided more ammunition for Schiff to use against Trump.
“That enabled Schiff to then characterize that tweet as intimidating the witness, or tampering with the witness, which is a crime, adding essentially an article of impeachment in real-time as this hearing is going on,” Baier said.
The second round of televised impeachment inquiry testimonies is set to take place next week, with at least five more witnesses called by House Democrats.