Testimony or ‘therapy session?’ Schiff claims ‘witness intimidation’ as Trump live tweets bizarre hearing

Screengrab CSPAN

President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Friday to defend his right as commander in chief to appoint ambassadors — even as former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testified in the Democratic Party’s dog and pony impeachment show trial.

It was all enough to prompt a reaction from Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who accused Trump of “witness intimidation.”

Schiff may have been perusing social media during a hearing that could have doubled as a therapy session for the former ambassador, it was clear Yovanovitch was not — thus how could she be intimidated? At least, not until Schiff brought it to her attention.

Trump tweeted: “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.”

“They call it ‘serving at the pleasure of the President.’ The U.S. now has a very strong and powerful foreign policy, much different than proceeding administrations. It is called, quite simply, America First! With all of that, however, I have done FAR more for Ukraine than [Obama].”

Chairman Adam Schiff interrupted the hearing to point out the tweet.

“As we sit here, the president is attacking you on Twitter,” Schiff told Yovanovitch.

“I don’t think I have such powers,” she said when asked for a response. “I actually think that where I served over the years I and others have demonstrably made things better for the U.S. as well as for the countries that I served in.”

“The president is attacking you in real-time,” Schiff would add. “Some of us here take witness intimidation very, very seriously.”

Here’s a noteworthy exchange between Fox News’ Bret Baier and conservative radio talk show host Tammy Bruce on the matter:

An exchange between Democratic counsel Daniel Goldman and Yovanovitch seemed to capture the Democrats’ approach to impeachment, as the focus was not so much on facts and evidence as much as feelings.

“So, just like that, you had to leave Ukraine as soon as possible,” Goldman said. “How did that make you feel?

“Terrible, honestly,” she said. “After 33 years of service to our country, it was terrible. It’s not the way I wanted my career to end.”

The Republican National Committee offered Democrats a reminder on Twitter.

“Newsflash for Democrats: Hurt feelings aren’t grounds for impeachment,” read the tweet.

Social media had a field day over the exchange, as seen when Townhall editor Katie Pavlich weighed in.

“This hearing is turning into a taxpayer funded therapy session,” Pavlich tweeted.

But then, that may have been predictable given a tweet from Fox News reporter Chad Pergram that suggested Yovanovitch “broke down” during a closed-door deposition.

“Dem Intel Cmte mbr on Yovanovitch hrng today. Tells Fox GOP ‘had better be careful. I’d ask very few questions’ of her. Fox is told GOPers were aggressive in questioning Yovanovitch during deposition & she broke down. ‘If they do that today, it will not look good,’ said the Dem,” Pergram tweeted.

Here’s a sampling of other responses from Twitter:


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