White House budget official testifies in impeachment probe


Holmes, the political counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, testified that he overheard Trump in a phone call with his European Union ambassador, Gordon Sondland, saying he wanted Ukraine to conduct investigations.

Marie Yovanovitch, under questioning from the Democrats, said she felt threatened by the president as she detailed the story of being abruptly recalled from her post as us ambassador to Ukraine. It's meant, as Schiff says, to be intimidating, both to Yovanovitch and to others who might come forward to testify.

As she testified, Trump bombarded Twitter with criticisms of her.

Setting the scene less than an hour into the hearing, the president erupted spectacularly on Twitter with an attack on the highly-regarded former envoy. Yovanovitch responded with quiet dignity, defending her actions in those places, actions for which she has been universally praised by her colleagues.

"It's been a very, very hard time", Yovanovitch said.

The hearings could pave the way for the Democratic-led House to approve articles of impeachment - formal charges - against Trump. And the televised hearings will demonstrate to the watching public the details of the high crimes and misdemeanors Trump has committed. "Ukrainian partnership more reliable and more valuable to the United States".

There's no evidence that Yovanovitch, who was a low-level staffer on her first foreign posting in Somalia in the late 1980s, played a role in that country's civil war.

Citing "freedom of speech, ' President Trump says he has 'right to speak"; chief White House correspondent John Roberts reports.

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff speaks during the House Intelligence Committee hearing with witness Marie Yovanovitch, as part of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill in Washington, Nov. 15, 2019.

House Intelligence Committee holds day 2 of impeachment inquiry hearings
Even as she spoke, back at the White House, where aides said Trump did not plan to watch the proceedings, Trump was tweeting . Nunes complained that Democrats are relying on hearsay testimony from witnesses who only know of Trump's actions second-hand.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was asked if the tweet was classes as witness intimidation.

The Times reported that Trump did not get approval for his Friday tweets targeting Yovanovitch with top White House aides prior to posting them. "Were you involved in the deliberations about the pause in military sales to Ukraine as the Trump administration review newly elected President Zelensky's commitment to corruption reform?"

Interested in Impeachment Inquiry?

A rough transcript of the call revealed that Mr Trump had urged President Zelensky to investigate unsubstantiated allegations against Mr Biden and his son Hunter, who sat on the board of a Ukrainian gas company.

"She was not on the July 25 phone call and had no knowledge about the pause on aid to Ukraine".

The "smear campaign" against Yovanovitch was instigated by Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, his two associates - Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, and the right-wing media, according to Yovanovitch.

But above all Yovanovitch expressed alarm that envoys could be so easily "kneecapped" by false accusations and corrupt foreign influences. She said she never talked with them about probes relating to Biden.

The US State Department was being "hollowed out from within" and criticized the department's leadership for not acknowledging that the attacks against her and other US diplomats "are dangerously wrong". No wrongdoing by either Biden has been substantiated. In that phone call, Trump said Yovanovitch is "going to go through some things".

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