White House: Trump’s Tweet Attacking Yovanovitch ‘Was Not Witness Intimidation’

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 18: U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks during a ceremony where a flag from D-Day was given to the Smithsonian in the East Room of the White House July 18, 2019 in Washington, DC. The American flag, which was flown on the stern of the boat that led the first U.S. troops onto Utah Beach on D-Day, was purchased by Dutch businessman and art collector Bert Kreuk bought the flag for $514,000 at an auction in Dallas in 2016. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The White House released a statement on Friday defending President Donald Trump’s public attacks against former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch during her congressional testimony.

As Yovanovitch appeared before the House Intelligence Committee, Trump took to Twitter to claim everything the former diplomat did “turned bad.” The comment led House Intel Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) to accuse the president of “witness intimidation,” and even Fox News anchors questioned if Trump was providing Democrats evidence in real time to cite in their impeachment case.

“The tweet was not witness intimidation, it was simply the President’s opinion, which he is entitled to,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham stated. “This is not a trial, it is a partisan political process – or to put it more accurately, a totally illegitimate charade stacked against the president. There is less due process in this hearing than any such event in the history of our country. It’s a true disgrace.”

In Trump’s full comments deriding Yovanovitch, who he recalled from her administration post in Ukraine during the spring and has now become a key witness in the House Democratic-led inquiry into the president’s alleged executive abuse and quid pro quo deal with the European country, he wrote, “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.”

“They call it ‘serving at the pleasure of the President,'” Trump added.

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Caleb Ecarma was a reporter at Mediaite. Email him here: caleb@mediaite.com Follow him on Twitter here: @calebecarma