Tue 19 Nov, 2019
Ex-ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch took to the stand and testified publicly late last week. Of course the orange shadow of a president we call Trump had jump on twitter to try and tear down her testimony in a very un-democratic un-american tantrum. While some republicans tried to defend this dumb ass behavior, Democrats insist and rightfully so that this is witness intimidation and it can and most likely will put unfair pressure on future impeachment testimonies. I wish this mutha fucka would shut up and deal with his ass whoopin like an adult, but there is no chance in hell is there? Here are some take aways from the Yovanovitch testimony…
1. Some fucked up tweets from Trump in real-time
The biggest development at the hearing was an unscripted intervention from the orange avenger himself — one that spurred Democratic cries of witness intimidation. Yep just an hour after the hearing began, Trump couldn’t stop himself from throwing a fucking tantrum. The tweets were as follows:
“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.” The U.S. now has a very strong and powerful foreign policy, much different than proceeding administrations. It is called, quite simply, America First! With all of that, however, I have done FAR more for Ukraine than O.”
“Some of us here take witness intimidation very, very seriously,” Schiff said in response — apparently dropping clues to the possibility that Trump’s behavior could be mentioned in a future articles of impeachment. In other words this idiot is putting more nails in his coffin and is not going to get away with this trash ass behavior.
2. Yovanovitch laid out her narrative of how the smear campaign against her went down
As Yovanovitch herself pointed out in her opening statement, she was no longer in her post by the time the key events Democrats are investigating actually took place — namely, Trump’s alleged efforts to pressure Zelensky by withholding a White House meeting and eventually military aid. Instead, her fate is a prologue of sorts to that saga. As the US ambassador to Ukraine, Yovanovitch was highly respected among her colleagues. But she ran afoul of two powerful people: Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Ukraine’s prosecutor general (under the country’s previous administration) YuriLutsenko.
Lutsenko began spreading what Yovanovitch says was a completely fabricated story about her: that she gave him a list of people she didn’t want him to prosecute. (Lutsenko has since recanted that story.) Rumors also spread that Yovanovitch was a Trump critic who was bad-mouthing the president in private. The purpose of these rumors seems to have been to push her out of the ambassadorship.
Then, in late April — just three days after Zelensky won the election — Yovanovitch got a call from a State Department official who told her to leave Ukraine on the next plane. The deputy secretary of state later explained to her that Trump had decided Yovanovitch had to go — and the haste was due to fear Trump would attack her in a public tweet.
The point of all of this, it seems, was to push out Yovanovitch because she wouldn’t have been helpful to Giuliani’s machinations. And once she was gone, the plot to pressure Zelensky’s administration could proceed in earnest.
3. Yovanovitch says Trump and his allies’ actions may have actually encouraged corruption in Ukraine, not helped curb it
Trump and his Republican allies insist that Trump’s interest in having Ukraine investigate Burisma and the Bidens had nothing to do with improving his own personal political fortunes, but rather was a virtuous campaign to address endemic corruption in the country.
But Yovanovitch tore a giant hole in that line of defense when she assessed that these actions may have actually made its corruption problem worse.
That stunning comment came under questioning from Rep. Danny Heck (D-WA). “What does this mean to Ukraine when the US engages in this kind of behavior?” he asked. “What does that mean to them and their struggling efforts to become a robust democracy?”
“I think when we engage in questionable activity, that raises a question. It emboldens those who are corrupt who don’t want to see Ukraine become a democracy, free-market economy, a part of Europe,” she replied. “That is not a security interest.”
4. Republicans were more comfortable attacking Schiff than Yovanovitch
The GOP members of the committee mostly held back from directly attacking Yovanovitch — perhaps believing that would come off poorly. Instead, they directed their belligerence toward Schiff.
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) disparaged Schiff’s “duplicity” and “abuse of power.” Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) requested that a litany of news articles in which Schiff was quoted saying the whistleblower would testify be submitted into the Congressional record. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) told Schiff that the GOP’s indulgence of him ran out “a long time ago.”
When questioning Yovanovitch, though, the GOP members tended to emphasize their respect for her service to the country — and to attempt to make implications that they thought would be helpful to Trump, rather than to outright attack her.
* Andrew Prokop and Alex Ward of vox.com cited
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