Democrats say they will consider Trump’s smear for articles of impeachment [Video]

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Representative Eric Swalwell, one of the Democratic members of the House intelligence committee, said that Trump’s attack on Maria Yovanovitch “will be considered” for one of the articles of impeachment.

One of Swalwell’s fellow Democrats on the panel, Andre Carson, similarly said the committee would “look into” whether Trump engaged in witness intimidation.

Asked about Trump’s tweet smearing the reputation of Maria Yovanovitch, Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the House intelligence committee, said, “I don’t comment on committee business.”

Melanie Zanona

I asked @DevinNunes his thoughts on Trump’s tweet attacking Yovanovitch.

“I don’t comment on committee business,” he says.

This is the same Devin Nunes that was forced to recuse himself from the panel’s Russia investigation in 2017 after he told reporters that Trump transition officials had been caught up in American spy agencies’ surveillance of foreign officials.

That announcement prompted an ethics investigation over concerns that Nunes “may have made unauthorized disclosures of classified information.” He was later cleared of wrongdoing.

Representative Elise Stefanik, a Republican member of the House intelligence committee who has criticized Adam Schiff’s handling of the impeachment hearings, voiced disapproval of Trump’s tweet smearing Maria Yovanovitch’s reputation as the longtime diplomat testified.

Haley Byrd

Rep. Elise Stefanik to me on Trump’s tweet attacking Yovanovitch: “I disagree with the tweet. I think Ambassador Yovanovitch is a public servant, like many of our public servants in the foreign service.”

Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris weighed in on Trump’s tweet smearing Maria Yovanovitch’s reputation as the longtime diplomat testified, accusing the president of witness intimidation.

Kamala Harris

Witness intimidation is a crime.

Fox News anchors described the testimony of Maria Yovanovitch as a “turning point” in the impeachment inquiry against Trump.

Anchor Bret Baier predicted that Trump’s tweet smearing Yovanovitch’s reputation as the longtime diplomat testified would lead to a new article of impeachment against the president.

Bret Baier

That was a turning point in this hearing so far. She was already a sympathetic witness & the President’s tweet ripping her allowed Schiff to point it out real time characterizing it as witness tampering or intimidation -adding an article of impeachment real-time.

Host Chris Wallace insisted it was impossible for any viewer of the hearing not to be affected by Yovanovitch’s testimony.

Toluse Olorunnipa

Chris Wallace on Fox News: “If you were not moved by the testimony of Marie Yovanovitch, you don’t have a pulse.”

Chairman Adam Schiff called for a brief recess in the impeachment hearing to allow House intelligence committee members to cast votes.

Republicans present in the hearing room to hear the testimony of Maria Yovanovitch seemed to imply they thought the recess was a strategic move on Schiff’s part to pause before the GOP members of the committee can question the longtime diplomat.

Sam Brodey

Schiff moves to break the hearing for votes in the House, which are coming soon. The hearing — and the GOP’s line of questioning — will probably be paused for over an hour.

“That’s too good,” quipped Mark Meadows from the crowd

David Smith David Smith
That must be a first. Maria Yovanovitch is testifying about Trump and, with a quiet day on his schedule, the president seems to be listening. He responded with a tweet that began: “Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad.”

Blaming her for the conflict in Somalia appears a stretch, even for him.

Chairman Adam Schiff interrupted the hearing to point out the tweet. “As we sit here, the president is attacking you on Twitter,” he said, asking the former ambassador to respond.

Looking bemused, Yovanovitch said, “I don’t think I have such powers”, adding that she and her colleagues made things better, not worse.

Schiff rejoined: “The president is attacking you in real time… Some of us here take witness intimidation very, very seriously.”

Such a moment was probably inevitable in the reality TV-Twitter presidency.