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'Witness Intimidation in Real-Time': Trump Tweets Attack on Yovanovitch During Public Impeachment Testimony

"It's very intimidating," former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch said of the president's tweets.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testifies before the House Intelligence Committee in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill on November 15, 2019 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testifies before the House Intelligence Committee in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill on November 15, 2019 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

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"The President tweeting insults about a witness, a respected longtime foreign service officer, as she testifies before Congress is beyond inappropriate." —Noah Bookbinder, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington

House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Adam Schiff on Friday accused President Donald Trump of engaging in "witness intimidation in real-time" after the president live-tweeted attacks on former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch during her public impeachment testimony.

"It's very intimidating," Yovanovitch said of Trump's tweets.

"Some of us here take witness intimidation very seriously," replied Schiff.

Watch:

After Yovanovitch delivered her opening remarks, Trump fired off a series of tweets bashing her record performance as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.

"Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad," Trump tweeted. "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,'" Trump added. "The U.S. now has a very strong and powerful foreign policy, much different than proceeding administrations. It is called, quite simply, America First!"

During a break in the hearing, Schiff told reporters that what the American people just saw on live television "was witness intimidation in real-time by the president of the United States."

Schiff said the overt act by Trump was an effort "not just to chill [Yovanovitch] but to chill others who may come forward" in the future. He concluded by saying House lawmakers take what the president just did "very seriously."

In response, Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), said: "The President tweeting insults about a witness, a respected longtime foreign service officer, as she testifies before Congress is beyond inappropriate."

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