Former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testified about being suddenly removed from her post during the second day of public hearings in the impeachment inquiry against US President Donald Trump on Friday.
During her testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, Trump was on Twitter attacking the career diplomat and her record.
“Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go?” he wrote, adding: “It is a US President’s absolute right to appoint ambassadors.”
The Democratic chairman of the committee, Adam Schiff, read Trump’s remarks out to Yovanovitch during the hearing, asking about her response.
“I can’t speak to what the president is trying to do, but I think the effect is to be intimidating,” she said.
Trump’s tweet prompted swift criticism, with Democrats saying it was a possible act of witness intimidation
The extraordinary back-and-forth unfolded on the second day of public impeachment hearings as Marie L. Yovanovitch, who was ousted as the envoy to Ukraine on Mr. Trump’s orders, detailed an unsettling campaign by the president’s allies to undermine her as she pushed to promote democracy and the rule of law.
In deeply personal terms, Ms. Yovanovitch described to the House Intelligence Committee how Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, worked hand in hand with a corrupt Ukrainian prosecutor to circumvent official channels, smear her and push her out of her job.
Her testimony came amid only the third impeachment inquiry in modern United States history. It drew a spontaneous standing ovation and a loud round of applause from spectators, and capped a revealing first week of public hearings as Democrats seek to make their case that Mr. Trump abused his power to enlist Ukraine’s help in discrediting his political rivals, chiefly former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. Speaker Nancy Pelosi this week called it “bribery,” echoing the language in the Constitution that describes impeachable offenses.