Scott J. Applewhite/AP
- Marie Yovanovitch, the US's former ambassador to Ukraine, is the third official to testify in the public impeachment hearings into President Donald Trump.
- Yovanovitch was abruptly recalled from her position in May after what she characterized as a smear campaign against her by Trump and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
- She will vividly detail the shadow campaign Giuliani conducted to strong-arm Ukraine into acceding to Trump's demands for politically motivated investigations.
- Scroll down to watch the hearing.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
The public on Friday heard from one of the most significant witnesses to President Donald Trump's shadow foreign policy campaign in Ukraine.
Marie Yovanovitch served as the US ambassador to Ukraine until she was abruptly recalled in May following what she has characterized as a smear campaign against her based on "false claims by people with clearly questionable motives."
Yovanovitch's testimony threw the spotlight on Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer who is accused of engineering her ouster.
Yovanovitch arrived to testify to the House Intelligence Committee as part of its public impeachment hearings beginning at 9 a.m. ET on Friday.
You can watch the hearing here:
Schiff hits back at Trump for tweeting attacks on Yovanovitch while she testified: 'Some of us here take witness intimidation very, very seriously'
Trump took to Twitter to lob attacks at Yovanovitch while she testified on Friday.
"Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad," he 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."
He continued: "….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 [Obama]."
Schiff weighed in on the president's tweets in a notable fashion, saying, "Some of us here take witness intimidation very, very seriously."
Yovanovitch: 'I was shocked, absolutely shocked, and devastated' by what Trump said in July 25 call with Ukraine's president
Yovanovitch vividly detailed her reaction when she read a White House summary of the July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
During that conversation, Trump repeatedly pressured Zelensky to pursue politically motivated investigations that would benefit his reelection campaign.
Trump also mentioned Yovanovitch and said she was "bad news," adding that "she's going to go through some things."
Testifying on Friday, Yovanovitch said she was "shocked, absolutely shocked, and devastated, frankly," by what Trump said about her.
"I was shocked and devastated that I would feature in a phone call between two heads of state in such a manner where President Trump said that I was bad news to another world leader, and that I would be going through some things," the former ambassador said. "It was a terrible moment."
She continued, saying that a person who saw her reading the memo of the call said "the color drained from my face. I think I even had a physical reaction. Even now, words fail me."
Daniel Goldman, a veteran former federal prosecutor who is leading Democrats' questioning in the impeachment hearings, asked Yovanovitch if she felt threatened by Trump's words.
"I did," she replied.
Yovanovitch said she was giving an award to the father of a deceased anticorruption activist when she was abruptly recalled
AP Photo/Susan Walsh
In a stunning exchange, Yovanovitch testified that she was recalled in May while she was in the middle of hosting an event honoring an anti-corruption activist in Ukraine who died last month.
"She died because she was attacked by acid and died a painful death," Yovanovitch said of the activist, Kateryna Handziuk. "We thought it was important that justice be done, for her and for others who fight corruption in Ukraine. It's not a table-top exercise there, lives are in the balance. So we wanted to bring attention to this, and we gave her father that [Woman of Courage] award."
Yovanovitch went on to say that Carol Perez, the director general of the State Department, called her around 8 p.m. that day and told her there were issues with her staying on as ambassador. Five hours later, around 1 a.m., Perez called Yovanovitch again and said "there were great concerns" about her from the White House and that she "needed to come home immediately and get on the next plane."
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