by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
… [A]spects of the proceedings are farcical. …
… [W]hile Marie Yovanovitch, ambassador to Ukraine until Trump sacked her, was testifying before Adam Schiff’s committee, the president tweeted some negative things about her. …
… This is mild stuff by Trumpian standards. However, Democrats promptly, and in unison, called this witness intimidation.
Actually Yovanovitch probably wouldn’t have known about the alleged intimidation had not Schiff brought it to her attention. Schiff asked the former ambassador whether she felt intimidated by Trump’s tweet. She duly affirmed that she did.
Yovanovitch may have meant she found the tweet unpleasant, not that she was actually intimidated by it. In any event, as far as I can tell, her approach to answering questions didn’t change after Schiff helpfully advised her of Trump’s tweet.
Indeed, Schiff surely knew the tweet wouldn’t cause her to feel genuinely intimidated. Otherwise, he would not have brought it to her attention. What prosecutor wants to cause his witness to feel intimidated while testifying?
If Yovanovitch actually was intimidated, as opposed to displeased, by the tweet, that’s pathetic. Anyone who can’t handle the low level criticism in Trump’s tweet shouldn’t be the U.S. ambassador to any nation, and certainly not Ukraine.
Trump has the right to criticize the witnesses being called by Democrats in their effort to terminate his presidency. Whether it’s a good idea or not, I don’t know. But that’s how Trump responds in cases like these.
And there’s nothing illegal about it.