Trump upends impeachment hearing with Twitter attack on ex-Ambassador

The second day of impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump was thrown off stride on Friday by the President himself, as he went on Twitter and ridiculed the former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine as she testified before the House Intelligence Committee on Friday, prompting Democrats to accuse Mr. Trump of blatant witness intimidation.

"As we sit here testifying, the President is attacking you on Twitter," said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA).

"He is smearing you right now as you are testifying," said Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA).

"Expect witness tampering to be an article of impeachment," tweeted Rep. Justin Amash (I-MI), who left the Republican Party after endorsing an impeachment investigation against the President.

The President's tweets came as in the midst of questioning for Marie Yovanovitch, as Democrats swiftly moved to bring Mr. Trump's real time comments into the hearing.

"I mean, I can't speak to what the President is trying to do, but I think the effect is to be intimidating," Yovanovitch said in her impeachment appearance.

The President's tweets unexpectedly upended whatever GOP planning had been done for the hearing, forcing Republican lawmakers yet again to answer for the reactions of Mr. Trump, and leading to headlines which clearly took Republicans off script.

GOP lawmakers tried their best to steer around Yovanovitch, engaging in no line of questions which had any type of confrontational element during the hearing.

Instead, Republicans praised her diplomatic work, noting that she had landed a fellowship at Georgetown University, at the same rate of pay as her ambassadorial post.

Democrats mocked that talk.

"It's like a Hallmark movie, you ended up at Georgetown! It's all okay!" said Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) in a sarcastic tone.

Democrats returned again and again to the President's tweets during the hearing, accusing him of trying to undermine the impeachment investigation.

"This is another step by the President to intimidate witnesses," said Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT). 

"He didn't intimidate you," Welch told Yovanovitch.

Republicans again did their best to simply say the entire process was a sham.

"The American people know this is nonsense," said Rep. Chris Stewart.

At the end of the hearing, top Republican Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) called the second hearing an 'embarrassment.'

But a couple minutes later, members of the public were standing and cheering for Yovanovitch.

For a closer look at what went on in the hearing, click on this link for more video.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.

About the Author

X