Conservative radio host Mark Levin suggested on Friday that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff’s (D-CA) claims of “witness intimidation” do not hold water because Marie Yovanovitch, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, would not have known about President Trump’s tweets if Schiff did not bring them up.
Schiff, during the first portion of Friday’s hearing, took a moment to inform Yovanovitch that the president was tweeting about her, or as he described it, “attacking” her on Twitter. He told reporters following the first portion of the hearing that Trump engaged in “witness intimidation in real time.”
However, Levin suggested that the argument is nonsensical, as Yovanovitch would not have known about the tweets if Schiff did not make a point to bring them up.
“I swear the media are not only vicious but they are nuts. But for the fact that Schiff read the presidents tweet to the witness during the course of the hearing, she would have not known about the tweet. How the hell is that witness tampering?” he asked.
“Furthermore, it clearly hasn’t changed the fact that the witness is testifying willingly and sticking to her script,” he added:
2. Furthermore, it clearly hasn’t changed the fact that the witness is testifying willingly and sticking to her script.
— Mark R. Levin (@marklevinshow) November 15, 2019
“Ambassador Yovanovitch, as we sit here testifying the president is attacking you on Twitter, and I’d like to give you the chance to respond,” Schiff said during the hearing, reading Trump’s tweets.
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.
“Would you like to respond to the president’s attack that everywhere you went turned bad?” Schiff asked, prompting Yovanovitch to defend her past work.
Schiff, following the former ambassador’s defense, lauded Yovanovitch’s “courage” and baited her into describing Trump’s tweets as “intimidating.”
“And now the president in real time is attacking you. What effect do you think that has on other witnesses’ willing to come forward and expose wrongdoing?” the chairman asked.
“It’s very intimidating,” she said.
“Designed to intimidate, is it not?” he asked.
“I mean I can’t speak to what the president is trying to do, but I think the effect is to be intimidating,” she said.
“Well I want to let you know, ambassador, that some of us here take witness intimidation very, very seriously,” Schiff warned, a sentiment he repeated to reporters.
“What we saw today is, it wasn’t enough that Ambassador Yovanovitch was smeared. It wasn’t enough that she was attacked. It wasn’t enough that she was recalled for no reason — at least no good reason,” Schiff stated.
“But we saw today — witness intimidation in real time by the President of the United States,” he continued. “Once again going after this dedicated and respected career public servant in an effort to not only chill her but to chill others that may come forward.”
“We take this kind of witness intimidation and obstruction of the inquiry very seriously,” he added:
Levin was not alone in his assessment.
“The witness is testifying. She wouldn’t even know about the quote if Mr. Schiff hadn’t read the tweet,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) reportedly stated:
I talked to Jim Jordan about Trump’s tweet attacking Yovanovitch: pic.twitter.com/ybcEChXa6U
— Haley Byrd (@byrdinator) November 15, 2019
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) concurred:
GOP Rep Lee Zeldin says on C-Span that Trump's tweets this morning weren't witness intimidation because “Ambassador Yovanovitch wasn't on twitter'' at the time, and the only reason she knows that Trump tweeted about her is because Adam Schiff told her.
— Laura Litvan (@LauraLitvan) November 15, 2019