Day two of the public impeachment hearings featured an oddity. Marie Yovanovitch, the former US ambassador to Ukraine, was asked to respond in real time to a Friday morning tweet from Trump in which he criticized her. Details and coverage:
- Trump: "Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad," he wrote shortly after her testimony began. "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."
- Yovanovitch: Democrat Adam Schiff called Trump's tweet "witness intimidation" and asked Yovanovitch to respond, reports Politico. "I actually think that where I've served over the years, I and others have demonstrably made things better, you know, for the US as well as for the countries that I've served in," she said when Trump's comments were read aloud. She also described Trump's attacks as "very intimidating" for her and other witnesses. See video via CNN.
- Two views: Criticism of Trump's tweet wasn't just from the left, notes the Washington Post. Former independent counsel Ken Starr, a usual defender of Trump, had this to say on Fox News: Trump “was not advised by counsel in deciding to do this tweet. Extraordinarily poor judgment.” But former White House press chief Ari Fleischer disagrees. "As for Trump’s tweet, to call it witness intimidation is laughable," he tweeted. "People can say whatever they want about Trump and he can’t say what he thinks? The witness has every right to speak her mind and he can speak his. If witnesses are so intimidated, why do they keep showing up?"