In Real Time, Trump Tweet Is Focal Point in Testimony - Page 2

President slams ex-ambassador Yovanovitch Friday, and she is asked to respond
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 15, 2019 9:07 AM CST
Updated Nov 15, 2019 2:48 PM CST

  • Trump defends: Asked about his tweet Friday afternoon, Trump stood by his words, saying he has the right to defend himself. "I have the right to speak. I have freedom of speech just like other people do," Trump told reporters at the White House, per the Hill. Asked if his comments can be intimidating to others, he said, "I don't think so at all."
  • Earlier criticism: Yovanovitch told lawmakers she was "devastated" to learn that Trump disparaged her in his July phone call to Ukraine's leader. In that call, he described her as "bad news" and said that "she's going to go through some things." That sounded like a threat, said Yovanovitch. “I didn’t sound good,” she said. “That the president of the United States would talk about any ambassador like that to a foreign head of state. And it was me! I couldn’t believe it.”
  • Opening statement: Read Yovanovitch's in full via Axios here. "Our Ukraine policy has been thrown into disarray, and 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. (Read a summary of her testimony from behind closed doors last month.)
  • Schiff: Read his opening statement here. He said Yovanovitch's ouster as ambassador "was a stunning turn of events for this highly regarded career diplomat." The ouster was purely political, he added. "Yovanovitch was serving our nation’s interest in fighting corruption in Ukraine, but she was considered an obstacle to the furtherance of the President’s personal and political agenda. For that she was smeared and cast aside."
  • Devin Nunes: In his own opening statement, Schiff's GOP counterpart slammed Democrats for acting like "some kind of strange cult” while seeking to "fulfill their Watergate fantasies," per the Washington Post. Nunes also read an excerpt from Trump's first phone call with Ukraine's leader, in April, to make the case that Trump sought no favors. (The White House released a readout of that call on Friday.) "It’s unfortunate that today and for most of the next week we will continue engaging in the Democrats’ day-long TV spectacles instead of the problems we were all sent to Washington to address," he said. His full opening statement is here.
(Read other highlights, including Yovanvitch's rejection of a lawmaker's unusual theory.)

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