After House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) took time out of today’s impeachment testimony to rebuke President Trump for “witness intimidation,” President Trump hit back.
During testimony from former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, Trump took aim at her over Twitter, saying “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…”
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.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2019
Following Trump’s tweet, Schiff dramatically interrupted questioning from his staff counsel to read Trump’s tweet aloud – asking Yovanovitch what effect Trump’s tweet might have on future witnesses, to which she replied that it would be “very intimidating.
Trump’s tweet was so troubling that former Media Matters employee Paul Waldman wrote in the Washington Post that Trump “talks and acts like a Mafioso” in an article entitled “Yovanovitch hearing confirms that Trump is running a thugocracy.”
Following Schiff’s dramatic exchange, Trump was asked whether his words can be intimidating, to which he said “I don’t think so at all.”
“I have the right to speak. I have freedom of speech just like other people do,” Trump told White House reporters following remarks on a health care initiative, adding that he’s “allowed to speak up” and defend himself.