Former U.S. Ambassador Yovanovitch Felt 'Threatened' by the President

Doug Sovern
November 15, 2019 - 4:41 pm
Marie Yovanovitch, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, is sworn in before a House Intelligence Committee hearing as part of the impeachment inquiry into U.S. President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., November 15, 2019.

Joshua Roberts/REUTERS/Pool/Abaca Press/TNS/Sipa USA

An esteemed career diplomat testified on Friday about her abrupt and unceremonious removal from Ukraine by President Trump, who then proceeded to savage her on Twitter.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, said she believes corrupt interests in Ukraine influenced and manipulated the president—using Rudy Giuliani as their messenger—into firing her.

Intelligence Committee Republicans largely treated her with deference and respect. President Trump then tweeted saying everywhere Yovanovitch went turned bad—including Somalia—seeming to blame her for the civil war there.

Chair Adam Schiff of Los Angeles read the presidential tweet at the hearing and asked Yovanovitch to respond.

“I don’t think I have such powers, not in Mogadishu, Somalia, and not in other places,” Yovanovitch explained. “I actually think that where I’ve served over the years, I and others have demonstrably made things better for the U.S., as well as for the countries that I’ve served in.”

East Bay Congressman Eric Swalwell was among the Democrats on the committee blasting the president for "witness intimidation," saying that could be added to the impeachment charges against him. The White House says Trump was just expressing his opinion.

Meanwhile, Trump campaign aide Roger Stone was found guilty on all counts of lying to Congress and obstruction. The White House released a contradictory summary of another Trump call to Ukraine, which Swalwell noted still doesn't show the president demanding Ukraine root out corruption.

“Isn’t it true that President Trump never mentions the word corruption?” Swalwell asked, to which Yovanovitch affirmed.

“And as far as the foreign aid that my colleagues keep saying, 'well he can’t be guilty, he didn’t complete the cheat,'” Swalwell continued. “The aid went to the Ukrainians.”

Swalwell asked, “Isn’t it true that the only reason the aid, or the only time the aid went to the Ukrainians, was after the whistle blower complaint became public?”, to which Yovanovitch again affirmed.

Republicans attacked the process and kept referring to this proceeding as a sham and a TV performance, saying there's no evidence of some sort of sinister scheme.

The hearings will resume on Tuesday, November 19, with eight more witnesses scheduled next week.