WASHINGTON (NBC News) – Democrats said it was “witness intimidation,” but President Donald Trump said he had every right to bash his former ambassador to Ukraine during her public testimony in the impeachment hearings.
Marie Yovanovitch was the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, a career public servant who testified she was abruptly pulled from her job after a smear campaign against her.
The president on Friday lashed out, tweeting “everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad.”
Committee Chairman Adam Schiff responded by saying “some of us here take witness intimidation very, very seriously.”
The president later fired back again.
“I have the right to speak, I have freedom of speech just as other people do but they have taken away the Republicans’ rights,” Trump said.
Yovanovitch also said she was shocked to learn about the July call when President Trump told Ukraine’s leader she was “bad news” and “was going to go through some things.”
“It didn’t sound good, it sounded like a threat,” she said.
Ambassador Yovanovitch also testified the president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani led efforts to falsely paint her as disloyal, aiming to clear the way for a shadow foreign policy that could help President Trump politically.
“Shady interests the world over have learned how little it takes to remove an American Ambassador who does not give them what they want,” she said.
Impeachment hearings will continue at least into next week when several officials are scheduled to testify on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in front of the House Intelligence Committee.