U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, D-4th District, and former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

Washington – Rep. Jim Himes on Friday told former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch that he is an angry man, made so by President Donald Trump’s treatment of the longtime career diplomat.

“I am angry,” Himes, D-4th District said. “I’ve been angry since I learned about your summary and unexplained dismissal after a lifetime of excellent and faithful service to this country. I am angry that a woman whose family fled Communism and Nazism to serve this country beautifully for 33 years is literally under fire.”

Yovanovitch  told her side of the story Friday to members of the House Intelligence Committee after the president ousted her in the spring and called her “bad news” to Ukraine’s president in a notorious phone call that sparked the impeachment inquiry. In that phone call, Trump urged the Ukrainian president to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, who had served on the board of a Ukrainian energy company.

At the second public impeachment hearing, Yovanovitch testified she was the victim of a “campaign of disinformation ” spearheaded by Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, and that she was likely ousted because of her work fighting corruption in Ukraine.

Yovanovitch is the daughter of Russian and Ukrainian parents who fled the Soviet Union and the Nazis. Born in Canada, her family moved to Connecticut when she was three years old. She graduated from the Kent School, where her parents taught foreign language.

Himes told Yovanovitch that the language Trump used to attack her “would have embarrassed a mob boss.”

“I am angry that a woman like you would not be dismissed, but humiliated and attacked by the president of the United States. I am not just angry for you, I’m angry for every single foreign service officer…” Himes said, “…every single intelligence officer who, right now, believes that a lifetime of service and sacrifice and excellence might be ignored by the president of the United States.”

Trump tweeted disparagingly of Yovanovitch as she testified, prompting Democrats to accuse him of witness tampering.

“Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad,” Trump tweeted. “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.”

After made aware of Trump’s tweet, Yovanovitch defended her long service in the U.S. foreign service.

“I actually think that where I’ve served over the years, I and others have demonstrably made things better, you know, for the U.S. as well as for the countries that I’ve served in,” Yovanovitch said .

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff told reporters that Trump’s attack was “witness intimidation in real time by the president of the United States.”

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3rd District, who is not on the Intelligence Committee but who, like most House Democrats, is keeping tabs on the historic hearing tweeted Friday: “Pres. Trump’s attempt to intimidate and discredit Amb. Yovanovitch’s testimony is disgraceful.”

“She served honorably under Republicans and Democrats—until Trump & Giuliani decided their own personal & political interests were more important than our national interests,” DeLauro said.

Himes used the five minutes allotted to most of the members of the Intelligence Committee to make a point – that Trump had to removed Yovanovitch from her post to accomplish his purported goals in Ukraine.

“If you had remained as ambassador and not been dismissed,” Himes asked, “would you have supported a three-month delay in Congressionally mandated military aid to Ukraine?”

“No,” Yovanovitch responded.

Himes then asked “if you had remained, would you have recommended to the president that he ask a new president of Ukraine to find out about Biden’s son?”

“No,” the former diplomat responded again.

Himes: “I am angry.”

Himes also asked Yonavovich if she would have recommended the president ask the new Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate a CrowdStrike server that was supposedly being held in Ukraine. That server was  invoked by Trump because CrowdStrike  company assisted the Democratic National Committee in investigating a 2016 hack by Russian operatives who were trying to influence the presidential elections.

Yovanovitch rejected the notion that the server had been in Ukraine. “I would repeat once again that the U.S. intelligence community has concluded it was the Russians,” Yovanovitch said.

She testified it was a “terrible moment” and that words fail her even now to describe it, when she learned of how Trump spoke about her to Zelensky in the now-controversial July 25 phone call.

She also said her ouster based on false accusations pushed by Rudy Giuliani has thrown American policy into disarray and given “shady interests the world over” a lesson in how to get rid of an American diplomat who opposes their operations.

While Democrats portrayed Yovanovich as a “anti-corruption ambassador” who ran afoul of Trump’s plans in Ukraine, Republicans on the intelligence panel portrayed her as someone who did not have firsthand knowledge of the phone call between Trump and Zelensky or a delay in U.S. military aid to Ukraine, which Democrats say was aimed to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.

Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the intelligence panel, said the former ambassador “is not a material fact witness” in the House impeachment probe.

“I’m not exactly sure what the ambassador is doing here today,” he said. “This seems more appropriate for the subcommittee on human resources at the Foreign Affairs Committee, if there’s issues with employment, disagreements with the administration…”

Schiff sternly denied Republican attempts to interrupt the hearing outside their allotted time.

That provoked a reaction from Trump, who said he avoided watching the first public impeachment inquiry on Wednesday but tuned into Friday’s event.

“I’ve been watching today,” Trump told reporters. ” For the first time, I started watching. And it’s really sad when you see people not allowed to ask questions. It’s totally — nobody’s ever had such horrible due process. There was no due process. And I think it’s considered a joke all over Washington and all over the world.”

Republicans on the intelligence panel also complained that Democrats have not forced an anonymous whistleblower who worked for the CIA to testify. That whistleblower’s  complaint about Trump’s phone call to Zelensky prompted the impeachment inquiry.

“I say it is appalling that my colleagues continue to want to out this whistleblower so he can be punished by the president,” Schiff said.

Ana has written about politics and policy in Washington, D.C.. for Gannett, Thompson Reuters and UPI. She was a special correspondent for the Miami Herald, and a regular contributor to The New York TImes, Advertising Age and several other publications. She has also worked in broadcast journalism, for CNN and several local NPR stations. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Journalism.

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13 Comments

  1. Awww, Rep. Himes was angry. Someone should remind him that Ambassadors serve at the pleasure of the President. They can be fired at any time, for any reason. If they don’t like the foreign policy that the POTUS (who is singularly responsible for it) puts in place, they have two options: keeping their mouths shut and supporting the policies or quitting.

    Whether she served under Republicans doesn’t matter either and proves nothing CNN and MSNBC are loaded with people who once worked for Republicans who are unbelievably anti-Trump/Republicans

    She was fired, she should have been fired and she witnessed nothing. Her appearance was just another Democrat irrelevant waste of time and further attempt to remove a duly-elected President from office because they don’t like that he beat their Queen and is trying to weed out corruption in the Senior Executive Service.

    1. Trump “… is trying to weed out corruption….” That’s pretty funny. He is a morally and ethically challenged narcissist, and he has surrounded himself with corrupt, unethical, unscrupulous sycophants, from his campaign to his administration, including cabinet-level people. Anybody with any integrity has either quit or been fired. Washington DC is a lot swampier now. And since I’m sure you’re wondering: No, I’m not a Democrat (never have been), and no, I’m no Hillary fan (never have been). Although I could not bring myself to vote for Trump, I truly hoped that my assessment of him was wrong and that he would step up and grow up and grow into the job. And I hoped that things would never result in impeachment. Those hopes are beyond dead now. We are here today because Trump brought us here.

      1. He is a morally and ethically challenged narcissist, and he has surrounded himself with corrupt, unethical, unscrupulous sycophants, from his campaign to his administration, including cabinet-level people.

        You’ve done a great job describing the preceding President.

        Having suffered through plenty of your posts, I’d say you’re probably NOT a Democrat or a Hillary fan. I’d say you’re much further Left than that.

  2. Good to see our good representative is there to make sure the republicans don’t get equal representation and witnesses. Rep Hines showed more concern over the reassignment of the previous ambassador then the truth that was said by the actual two presidents.

    1. What “truth”, pray tell, “was said by the actual two presidents”?

      And what witnesses do the Republicans want to call? Oh, yes, Hunter Biden. Hunter Biden, who has no actual first-hand (or even second- or third-hand) knowledge of what Trump did or didn’t do or say (isn’t that their complaint about the witnesses who have already testified?). Hunter Biden, who is not on trial and who is not being impeached. Meanwhile, Trump and his Republican supporters are doing everything they can to prevent the facts from coming out, from defying subpoenas to ordering people not to testify. Could that be because those facts would make an air-tight case for impeachment? It is simply mind-boggling the logistical gymnastics Trump supporters engage in to avoid facing Trump’s lies and abuse of power.

    1. You realize that there are mobs all around the world, right? He didn’t say anything negative about Italians. Try harder, this is pretty weak criticism

    2. You realize that there are mobs all around the world, right? He didn’t say anything negative about Italians. Try harder, this is pretty weak criticism

  3. Rep. Himes and the Democratic Party are wasting our (tax payers) time and money; meanwhile Congress is accomplishing nothing to improve the Country. The hearings are a joke; Ambassador Yovanovitch expounded on her feelings about being fired and the words used by President Trump in evaluating her performance; this is supposed to be an impeachment hearing; not a feel good gripe session. Ambassador Yovanovitch was supposed to carry out the foreign policy of the President; she did not; she should have been fired and if she worked in the private sector, she would have been fired sooner, with no explanation necessary. Further, President Trump’s tweet was not witness intimidation. John Gilsenan

    1. What part of “the foreign policy of the President” did she not carry out?

      I will agree with you on one point: Some of the questions being asked are indeed a joke, specifically the “how did that make you feel” variety. In their zeal to impeach Trump, some of the Democrats are asking some really stupid questions. And some very valid points that they are trying to make are getting lost in the silliness.

  4. I am taken back to June, 1954, when Senator McCarthy had charged that one of Joseph Welch’s attorneys had ties to a communist organization. As recounted by the Senate’s website, an amazed television audience looked on as Welch responded with the unexpected lines that ultimately ended McCarthy’s political career. “Until this moment, Senator, I think I had never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness.” When McCarthy tried to continue his attack, Welch quickly interrupted, “Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator. You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency?”

  5. Ah, just a bunch of partian right-wing whining here in the comments here, but that’s the norm, isn’t it? Did any of you actually listen? A career diplomat who is widely respected by any who worked with her or knew of her work doesn’t deserve to be intimidated publicly (which, by the way, is an an impeachable offense – look it up) by this lying, naricistic sociopath. He probably won’t be impeached because Mitch McConnell will do anything to serve his party, but once Drumpf is out of there, he will be prosecuted. New York has plenty of stuff on him for his tax nonsense already and there’s plenty more. Now go ahead and whine some more and attack my character – it’s the right-wing way, isn’t it?

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