CHICAGO (CBS) — The former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine said she was the target of a smear campaign by President Donald Trump.
She talked of threats and intimidation during her hours-long testimony on Capitol Hill.
The former ambassador was calm and measured throughout Friday’s impeachment hearings. Marie Yovanovitch spent about four hours answering questions about her abrupt removal last May by President Donald Trump.
One referred to the July call between President Trump and the new president of Ukraine. When asked about her reaction when the president called her “bad news,” she said she was taken aback.
“I was shocked. Appalled. Devastated that the president of the United States would talk about any ambassador like that,” Yovanovitch said.
House Democrats contend Yovanovitch was targeted by President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Guiliani months before her ouster, in part, because of her anti-corruption stance.
The hearings are focused on whether President Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine in exchange for an investigation into Democratic opponent Joe Biden’s son, and his connection to a Ukrainian company.
Democrats contend that’s why Trump wanted Yovanovitch out. Republicans downplayed it.
“The president has a right to have their own foreign policy and to make their own decisions,” said Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R.-Ohio).
“What I do wonder is why it was necessary to smear my reputation,” responded Yovanovitch.
The maligning seemed to continue on Friday by a presidential tweet: “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.”
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
Republicans were undeterred.
“I would just say to the American people that today’s show trial has come to an end,” said Rep. Devin Nunes (R.-Calif.)
President Trump defended his tweet by saying he has a right to free speech.