During her Friday testimony before impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump, former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was asked to respond to a Trump tweet that criticized her job performance.
Yovanovitch’s removal may help establish claims Trump brought his political interests into his diplomatic efforts in Ukraine, according to the Wall Street Journal. She dismissed Trump’s claims diplomatic efforts suffered under her watch and said in most cases U.S. diplomacy in various countries improved on her watch.
Trump tweeted criticism of Yovanovitch during the ongoing hearings and asserted Yovanovitch had a history of failures in her diplomatic posts and that he as President holds the right to fire diplomats at his discretion.
….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 O.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2019
“They call it ‘serving at the pleasure of the President,'” Trump said of his decision to remove Yovanovitch. Trump then asserted that since taking over, his administration has created a “very strong and powerful foreign policy.”
Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-CA, asked Yovanovitch to respond to the Trump tweet in real time during her testimony.
Trump attacked Yovanovitch on Twitter during hearing.
Schiff: “Would you like to respond to the president’s attack that everywhere you went turned bad?”
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) November 15, 2019
During a break in the hearing, Schiff described the critical Trump tweet as an act of “witness intimidation.”
— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) November 15, 2019
In her opening statement Yovanovitch said she had “no agenda” other than to serve U.S. foreign policy goals and said she was surprised to learn the President had lost confidence in her diplomatic performance.
“A terrible thing to hear”: Yovanovitch says she was given “no real reason” why she was removed from her post or why President Trump had “lost confidence” in her https://t.co/qNx16IztcL pic.twitter.com/U9SqDKCgiJ
— CBS News (@CBSNews) November 15, 2019
Ken Starr, the independent counsel for the Clinton impeachment probe, told Fox News hosts during the break in hearings that Trump’s tweet showed, “Extraordinarily poor judgment,” but said it would not likely rise to the level of witness intimidation asserted.
Democratic Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-IL, suggested Trump’s tweet shows signs Yovanovitch’s testimony was “getting under his skin.”