Many expressed outrage when President Donald Trump took to Twitter to attack former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, while she testified in the impeachment investigation. And it wasn’t just his opponents. Even traditional allies said the president had gone too far. “Should the president be tweeting at her mid-hearing? No,” Fox Business Network host Lisa Kennedy said. “It makes him look like a big dumb baby.”
While Yovanovitch was testifying, Trump slammed her on Twitter, claiming that “everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad.” The House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff interrupted the questioning to read the tweet aloud and ask for Yovanovitch’s reaction. Trump defended himself later in the day. “It’s a political process, it’s not a legal process,” Trump said. “I’m allowed to speak up.” He added that “I have the right to speak, I have freedom of speech.”
Yet even some of his friends at Fox News disagree with the president. Fox News host Bret Baier, for example, said Trump’s tweet was “adding an article of impeachment real-time.” On the air, Baier espoused the same message. “This whole hearing turned on a dime when the president tweeted about her,” Baier said. “During the questioning, Adam Schiff stopped the Democratic questioning to read the president’s tweet to her and get her response.” That meant Schiff could go on to “characterize that tweet as intimidating the witness, or tampering with the witness, which is a crime, adding essentially an article of impeachment, real-time, as this hearing is going on,” Baier said.
Speaking on MSNBC, law professor Laurence Tribe said he agreed with Baier’s assessment. “I think it’s clear he will,” said Tribe. “I think Bret is right. I don’t always agree with people on Fox, but this was intimidating right out in the open, and the fact that Yovanovitch had the candor to say that she doesn’t know what the president’s purposes were, even though I think we can all surmise, but that the effect was intimidating makes it clear that this will be part of the impeachment articles.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that Trump “made a mistake” by tweeting against Yovanovitch. In preview of an interview with CBS’ Face the Nation, Pelosi attributed the attack to “his own insecurity as an imposter” because he knows “he’s in that office way over his head.”
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