Here’s Everything You Need To Know About What Happened On Day Two Of The Impeachment Inquiry Hearings
We have just wrapped up the first week of what is expected to be a 10-day inquiry into President Donald Trump’s controversial dealings with Ukraine. After more than a month of closed-door depositions, the American public is getting a first-hand opportunity to hear directly from three key witnesses in the probe. As more public and private hearings are still being scheduled, testimonies this week kicked off the next step in the Democrats’ investigation into President Trump’s attempts to have Ukraine spy on his political rivals.
On Wednesday, Bill Taylor, the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs George Kent testified in a joint hearing in front of the House Intelligence Committee. On Friday, it was former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch that would be testifying. She used the hearing as an opportunity to tell her side of the story in which she says she was a victim of a smear campaign led by President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani. Yovanovitch described how President Trump had tarnished a reputation after 33 years of serving the U.S. and left her “shocked” and “appalled.”
It’s just the second hearing but this first week has already revealed various details into President Trump’s dealings in Ukraine.
Friday’s hearing proved to be filled with as much drama as Wednesday with Yovanovitch placed on center stage. She was praised by both Democrats and Republicans who thanked her for her service to the U.S never casting doubt on her testimony. However, that didn’t stop Republicans from attacking Democrats for the way they’ve handled these impeachment proceedings. House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) stood by having Yovanovitch testifying saying that her long years of service to the country warranted her testimony.
Yovanovitch spoke at length about her removal as ambassador to Ukraine and was then “attacked” by Trump and Giuliani. She recounted how she felt threatened by President Trump and fellow associates when she read the transcript of the July 25 phone call with Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky.
“It was a terrible moment,” Yovanovitch told the House Intelligence Committee on Friday. “A person who saw me actually reading the transcript said that the color drained from my face. I think I even had a physical reaction. I think, you know, even now, words kind of fail me.”
The transcript between the two leaders shows that Trump told Zelensky that Yovanovitch was “bad news” and Zelensky said he agreed “100 percent.” The heartfelt testimony was felt throughout the room as she recounted the emotions that went through her mind as she read the transcript for the first time.
President Trump would get involved in the hearing even though he wasn’t there.
One of most shocking moments from Friday’s hearing came from someone that wasn’t even in the room. In the middle of Yovanovitch’s testimony, President Trump took to Twitter to further attack her.
“Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad,” he wrote on Twitter. “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.”
The critique was attacked by Rep. Schiff, Democrats and even some Republicans, who labeled the tweets as witness intimidation. The real-time tweets gave Schiff an opportunity to ask Yovanovitch about it and her reaction.
“Ambassador, you’ve shown courage to come forward today and testify, notwithstanding the fact you were urged by the White House or State Department not to, notwithstanding the fact that as you testified earlier the president implicitly threatened you in that call record. And now the president in real time is attacking you,” Schiff told Yovanovitch.
“What effect do you think that has on other witnesses willingness to come forward and expose wrongdoing,” Schiff asked.
“It’s very intimidating,” Yovanovitch said. “I can’t speak to what the president is trying to do, but I think the effect is to be intimidating.”
When later asked about the tweets, President Trump said he wasn’t trying to intimidate Yovanovitch but just trying to speak his mind on the issue. “I want freedom of speech,” Trump told reporters as he spoke about what he called an “unfair process”.
As the hearings wrapped on Friday, Yovanovitch was met with resounding applause and cheers after testifying for almost 7 hours. The moment marked the ending of what was surely an eventful week in Washington.