Trump’s attack on Marie Yovanovitch during her testimony draws bipartisan criticism

Marie Yovanovitch.
Marie Yovanovitch.SAUL LOEB

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says witness intimidation is a crime.

But she’s stopped just short of saying that President Donald Trump crossed that line with a tweet attacking the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine as she testified in the House impeachment hearings.

The California Democrat told reporters she’d not seen Trump’s tweet. He wrote that every country where Marie Yovanovitch worked as an envoy “turned bad.”

Asked if that tweet was witness intimidation, Pelosi said, “Witness intimidation is a crime.”

She said one question was if such actions by Trump were “keeping people from giving facts and then saying, ‘You don’t have the facts.’”


Asked if Trump’s tweet was appropriate, she says, ‘‘Appropriate and president in the same sentence? Come on. Why would we start making that judgment now?’’

The No. 3 Republican in the House says Trump “was wrong” to post tweets critical of Yovanovitch during her testimony in the impeachment hearings.

Rep. Liz Cheney said Yovanovitch “clearly is somebody who’s been a public servant to the United States for decades and I don’t think the president should have done that.”

The Wyoming Republican served in senior State Department roles when her father, Dick Cheney, was vice president and she has been more supportive of the career diplomats that have so far testified than some other Republicans.

Yovanovitch says President Donald Trump’s tweets about her during her testimony in the impeachment hearings are “very intimidating” to her and other witnesses.

Trump said during an event on Friday afternoon that he wasn’t trying to intimidate a witness in the House impeachment inquiry with his tweet and he’s entitled to speak his mind as the investigation plays out.

Trump said of impeachment, ‘‘it’s a political process, it’s not a legal process.” He says: ‘‘I'm allowed to speak up.”

White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham denied that Trump was engaging in witness intimidation.


“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. There is less due process in this hearing than any such event in the history of our country. It’s a true disgrace.”