The testimony of key Ukraine scandal witness Marie Yovanovitch “turned on a dime” thanks to Donald Trump’s tweets, according to Fox News’ Bret Baier.
During today’s impeachment hearing, House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Adam Schiff stopped the questioning of the witness to read Donald Trump’s latest tweet about her out loud to her and asked for her response. She called the president’s words “very intimidating.”
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
Right now, President Trump is watching our hearing and tweeting baseless attacks against Ambassador Yovanovitch.— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) November 15, 2019
This is witness intimidation in real time. And we won’t stand for it. pic.twitter.com/2MngDNJUaw
Even Baier had to admit that Trump may have crossed the line into witness tampering, which is a serious crime for anybody and “adding essentially an article of impeachment in real time.”
Wow. Fox News’ Bret Baier says that Trump’s tweets attacking Yovanovitch could be construed as witness intimidation and hence “adding essentially an article of impeachment in real time as this hearing is going on.” pic.twitter.com/7IiDQ1xriP
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) November 15, 2019
“Some of us here take witness intimidation very, very seriously,” said Schiff.
Trump attacked Yovanovitch just after her opening remarks in a tweet saying that Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky “spoke unfavorably about her” and that she screwed up everything she touched. Multiple experts and politicians, including Schiff, have called this “witness intimidation in real-time.”
The president is intimidating a witness in real time. https://t.co/9nC7URv54r— Robert Reich (@RBReich) November 15, 2019
Trump’s attack and Schiff’s reading of his tweet at the hearing “changed this entire dynamic of this first part of this hearing,” according to Baier, “and Republicans now are going to have to take the rest of this hearing to probably try to clean that up.”
Don’t you get tired of cleaning up after Trump, Republicans?
Former RNC Chairman Michael Steele, at least, is all the way done.
Dude! You realize she’s testifying LIVE?! Amb. Yovanovitch will respond to this tweet...yup, there it is. You just made her case of intimidation. Is no one in the room with you? https://t.co/RdKg7VqqVg— Michael Steele (@MichaelSteele) November 15, 2019
Baier wasn’t the only one on Fox News who was not on Trump’s side today. Chris Wallace lauded Yovanovitch’s testimony as so moving that if it didn’t affect you, “you don’t have a pulse,” and echoed Baier’s sentiments on possible witness intimidation.
Wallace is recapping Yovanovitch's testimony sympathetically and in detail. "This played out in real time, with the President attacking her... This does raise the possibility of witness intimidation, witness tampering..." Truly wild split between FOX news and FOX commentary.— Emily Nussbaum (@emilynussbaum) November 15, 2019
At the same time, Fox News guest Ken Starr (of Clinton impeachment fame) called Trump’s tweet about Yovanovitch “extraordinarily poor judgment” and “quite injurious.”
Ken Starr on Fox News: “The president was not advised by counsel in deciding to do this tweet. Extraordinarily poor judgment… Obviously this was quite injurious.”— James Poniewozik (@poniewozik) November 15, 2019
Meanwhile, the left is blowing up.
Trump himself is clearly not satisfied with only one article of impeachment.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) November 15, 2019
His choice to publicly broadcast his own, personally authored witness intimidation means he’s wants to sign up for another article on obstruction of justice, too. https://t.co/wYvH92CMHb
18 USC 1512— Rep. Joe Kennedy III (@RepJoeKennedy) November 15, 2019
(b)Whoever knowingly uses intimidation, threatens, or corruptly persuades another person, or attempts to do so, or engages in misleading conduct toward another person, with intent to-(1)influence, delay, or prevent the testimony of any person in an official proceeding https://t.co/G91PHasdoW
A hell of a backdrop to an impeachment hearing is real-time witness intimidation by the president and his right-hand man being found guilty on all counts.— jess mcintosh (@jess_mc) November 15, 2019
Adam Schiff breaking into Goldman’s line of questioning to get Yovanovitch to admit on the Congressional record that she felt intimidated by Trump’s tweet was absolutely brilliant because having the witness confirm they felt intimidation is a necessary element to prove the crime.— Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) November 15, 2019
The president just demonstrated witness intimidation & obstruction of justice in real time. Yuvanovitch is a dedicated, truth-telling, career foreign service official who knows how to put country first, over partisanship. Trumps actions are truly dangerous. https://t.co/Ex0W6iV1lT— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) November 15, 2019
we dont live in a dictatorship (yet). an attempt at witness intimidation is intimidation regardless of what trump says it is or isnt. he doesnt get to decide. he's not god. https://t.co/SGlOobZoiA— Oliver Willis (@owillis) November 15, 2019
Surprised @realDonaldTrump didn’t barge into the hearing and try to grab Amb. Yovanovitch by a part of her anatomy. His behavior this morning IS AN IMPEACHABLE OFFENSE IN AND OF ITSELF. It’s called witness intimidation and the kind of unhinged behavior the Founders worried about.— Howard Fineman (@howardfineman) November 15, 2019
How many impeachable offenses is that, now?