Alwaght- US Democrats criticized Donald Trump’s attack on former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch as "witnesses intimidation" ,"appalling" and "part of a broader incriminating pattern of conduct."
Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told reporters “This is a part of a pattern to intimidate witnesses, and it’s also part of a pattern to obstruct the investigation. It was also a part, frankly, of the pattern to obstruct justice,” referring to US president's Twitter attack on Yovanovitch while she was testifying before the panel, NBC News reported.
"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," Trump tweeted on Friday.
Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., read the tweet aloud during the hearing and asked her to respond.
“Where I've served over the years, I and others have demonstrably made things better,” she said, including Ukraine where she said “there are huge challenges” but they’ve made a lot of progress since 2014.
That progress, she said, was made in part by the work of the U.S. and by her work as ambassador to Ukraine.
Schiff asked Yovanovitch how the president's repeated attacks on her might affect other witnesses in the impeachment inquiry.
"It's very intimidating,” she said, adding, "I can't speak as to what the president is trying to do but I think the effect is to be very intimidating."
During a break, Schiff called Trump's mid-testimony tweet "witness intimidation in real time."
"It wasn't enough that Ambassador Yovanovitch was smeared, it wasn’t enough that she was attacked, it wasn’t enough that she was recalled for no reason, at least no good reason," Schiff told reporters. "But we saw today, witness intimidation in real time by the president of the United States, once again going after this dedicated and respected career public servant in an effort to not only chill her, but to chill others who may come forward. We take this kind of witness intimidation and obstruction of inquiry very seriously."
Trump threw the tampering allegation back at Schiff while speaking to reporters at a health care event in the White House.
"I'll tell you what tampering is. Tampering is when a guy like shifty Schiff doesn’t let us have lawyers. Tampering is when Schiff doesn’t let us have witnesses, doesn’t let us speak,” Trump said. "Nobody has had such horrible due process. There was no due process."
Asked if he thought his words and tweets could be considered intimidating, Trump said, "I don't think so at all."
After Yovanovich's testimony concluded, Schiff told reporters the president's actions were "just appalling" and "part of a broader incriminating pattern of conduct."
"This is a part of a pattern to intimidate witnesses and also part of a pattern to obstruct the investigation and also a part, frankly, of the pattern to obstruct justice," he said.