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Read time: 4 minutes

Schiff Warns Trump About Real-Time Witness Intimidation Via Tweet

Trump decided to tweet hostility toward witness Marie Yovanovitch while she's on the stand, and receives an immediate warning.
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The Yovanovitch hearings Friday morning provided revelations regarding the impact of Trump tweets on the State Department...

But wait, there's more!

Then it was revealed that Trump is tweeting attacks against Marie Yovanovitch THIS MORNING while she is testifying. Witness intimidation in real time! You'd think Ivanka would take him golfing so he can't commit impeachable crimes during the impeachment hearings, but hey.

I personally think the stuff about the State Department refusing to issue a statement of support for Yovanovitch because "Trump might tweet a contradiction of that statement they can never be sure" is an equally big deal, but those who wanted "pizzazz" at a hearing got it as Adam Schiff followed up by reading Trump's tweet from this morning (witness intimidation, again, while she is on the stand) into the record.

DANIEL GOLDMAN, MAJORITY COUNSEL: Your general understanding is that you did have the full support of the State Department, is that right?

MARIE YOVANOVITCH: Yes.

GOLDMAN: And, in fact, during your 33-year career as a foreign service officer, did you ever hear of any serious concerns about your job performance?

YOVANOVITCH: No.

GOLDMAN: Was the statement of support ultimately issued for you?

YOVANOVITCH: No, it was not.

GOLDMAN: Did you learn why not?

YOVANOVITCH: Yeah, yes, I was told that there was a concern on the seventh floor that if a statement of support was issued, whether by the State Department or by the secretary personally, that it could be undermined.

GOLDMAN: How could it be undermined?

YOVANOVITCH: That the president might issue a tweet contradicting that or something to that effect.

[PAUSE]

GOLDMAN: So let me see if I get this right. You were one of the most senior diplomats in the State Department, you've been there for 33 years. You had won numerous awards. You had been appointed as an ambassador three times by both Republican and Democratic presidents. And the State Department would not issue a statement in support of you against false allegations because they were concerned about a tweet from the President of the United States?


↓ Story continues below ↓

YOVANOVITCH: That's my understanding.

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF, CHAIRMAN: If I could follow up on that question. It seems like an appropriate time. Ambassador Yovanovich, as we sit here testifying, the president is attacking you on Twitter and I would like to give you a chance to respond. I'll read part of one of his tweets. Everywhere Marie Yovanovich went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go? He goes on to say later in the tweet, the President has an absolute right to appoint ambassadors. First of all, Ambassador Yovanovich, the Senate has a chance to confirm or deny an ambassador, do they not?

YOVANOVITCH: Yes. Advise and consent.

SCHIFF: Would you like to respond to the president's attack that "everywhere you went turned bad"?

YOVANOVITCH: Well, I mean, I don't think I have such powers. Not in Somalia and not in other places. I actually think that where I've served over the years, I and others have demonstrably made things better for the US, well as for the countries that I've served in. Ukraine, for example, where there are huge challenges, including, you know, on the issue that we're discussing today of corruption, huge challenges. But they've made a lot of progress since 2014, including in the years that I was there. And I think in part the Ukrainian people get the most credit for that. But a part of that credit goes to the work of the United States and to me as the Ambassador in Ukraine.

SCHIFF: Ambassador, you've shown the courage to come forward today and testify, notwithstanding the fact you were urged by the White House or State Department not to, notwithstanding the fact that as you testified earlier the president implicitly threatened you in that call record. And now the president in real-time is attacking you. What effect do you think that has on other witnesses' willingness to come forward and expose wrongdoing?

YOVANOVITCH: It's very intimidating.

SCHIFF: It's designed to intimidate, is it not?

YOVANOVITCH: I mean, I can't speak to what the president is trying to do. But I think the effect is to be intimidating.

SCHIFF: Well, I want to let you know, Ambassador, that some of us here take witness intimidation very, very seriously.

Charlie Pierce is right.

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