WASHINGTON (WFLA) – One witness testified publicly Friday in Day 2 of the Trump impeachment hearings.
Here’s what happened:
1:30 p.m. – Yovanovitch testified that, while she understands President Trump has the right to withdraw an ambassador at any time for any reason, she does wonder “why it was necessary to smear my reputation falsely.”
12:20 p.m. – Testimony resumed around 12:20 p.m.
11 a.m. – During the break in testimony, Twitter lit up with people talking about the president’s tweets about Yovanovitch during her testimony.
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) told NBC News the tweets will be considered “obstruction.”
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) told a CNN reporter she disagreed with the president’s tweet.
Fox News hosts John Roberts and Bret Baier also weighed in, calling the tweets and Yovanovitch’s response a “turning point.”
Hillsborough County Rep. Mike Beltran (R) said the president’s tweets were “perhaps not the best move as a tactical matter in terms of optics” but said he does not believe it rose to a criminal legality.
“He didn’t ask her to change her testimony. He didn’t threaten her if she testified. That wouldn’t rise to any witness tampering,” he said.
10:40 a.m. – The committee took a break about an hour into questioning Yovanovitch.
10 a.m. – President Trump tweeted about Yovanovitch as she was testifying.
“Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad,” he wrote.
Rep. Schiff read the tweets aloud to Yovanovitch during testimony, giving her the chance to respond.
Schiff told Yovanovitch, “I want to let you know, ambassador, that some of us here take witness intimidation very, very seriously.”
9:30 a.m. – Yovanovitch was sworn in around 9:30 a.m. While delivering her opening statement, the ousted ambassador touted her history in public service.
“I had no agenda other than to pursue our stated foreign policy goals,” she said.
She later addressed her removal.
“Ukrainians who preferred to play by the old corrupt rules sought to remove me. What continues to amaze me is they found Americans to partner with them and, working together, they apparently succeeded in orchestrating the removal of a US ambassador,” she said.
During her opening statement, Yovanovitch also warned of national security concerns over her ousting.
“These events should concern everyone in this room. Ambassadors are the symbol of the United States abroad,” she said. “If our chief representative is kneecapped, it limits our effectiveness to safeguard the vital national security interests of the United States.”
9:05 a.m. – Marie Yovanovitch arrived on Capitol Hill to testify before the House Intelligence Committee.
In his opening statement, Rep. Adam Schiff detailed Yovanovitch’s ousting in April 2019.
“She was informed that although she had done nothing wrong, she could no longer serve as Ambassador to Ukraine because she did not have the confidence of the president,” Schiff said.
Rep. Devin Nunes delivered an opening statement after Rep. Schiff, calling the phone call between President Trump and the Ukrainian president an excuse.
“Democrats have been vowing to oust President Trump since the day he was elected. Americans can rightly expect his phone call with President Zelensky was used as an excuse for the Democrats to fulfill their Watergate fantasies,” he said.
Nunes also took time in his opening statement to read aloud a newly-released transcript of a phone call between the two presidents on April 21. The transcript was released by the White House moments before Friday morning’s hearings.
Join host J.B. Biunno and political reporter Evan Donovan beginning at 8:30 a.m. for step-by-step analysis and expertise during the impeachment inquiry.
Former ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch is scheduled to testify before the House Intelligence Committee at 9 a.m.
However, a revelation in ambassador Bill Taylor’s testimony on Wednesday led the committee to request one of his staffers to testify privately.
Taylor said on Wednesday that one of his staffers, later identified by multiple NBC News sources as State Department official David Holmes, overheard President Donald Trump asking U.S. Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland about “investigations.”
Taylor testified that he came to understand “investigations” was a shorthand for Trump’s request of the Ukraine president to publicly announce investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden, his son Hunter, and the origins of Russia’s dealings with the Trump campaign staff in 2016.
Our special digital coverage on Friday will feature several guests from both sides of the aisle, including Florida Republican state representative Mike Beltran and former Democratic congressional candidate Chris Hunter, a former FBI agent and federal prosecutor.
Impeachment hearings will continue at least into next week, when several officials are scheduled to testify on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in front of the House intelligence committee.