The White House says President Donald Trump’s tweets criticizing former U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch as she testified before the House as part of its impeachment inquiry was “not witness intimidation.”
Trump has drawn criticism for tweeting early in Yovanovitch’s testimony that everywhere the career diplomat was posted “turned bad.”
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.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2019
But White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham says Trump did nothing wrong. She says in a statement that the tweets were “simply the President’s opinion, which he is entitled to.”
She’s also criticized the hearing as a “partisan political process” and “totally illegitimate, charade stacked against the President.”
Trump later reiterated in a press conference that he wasn’t trying to intimidate Yovanovitch with his tweet, and that he’s entitled to speak his mind as the investigation plays out.
Trump says of impeachment, “it’s a political process, it’s not a legal process.” He says: “I’m allowed to speak up.”
Yovanovich said she found Trump’s message “very intimidating” and Democratic committee chairman Adam Schiff suggested it could be used as evidence against the president. He said: “some of us here take witness intimidation very, very seriously.”