The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Trump denies witness tampering; State official says president asked about ‘investigation’ into Bidens

Former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testified at the impeachment hearing of President Trump on Nov. 15. (Video: The Washington Post, Photo: Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post)

President Trump dismissed criticism Friday that he had tried to intimidate a witness in the impeachment inquiry, saying a disparaging tweet about former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch as she testified before a House panel was “free speech.”

“I have the right to speak,” Trump said at an afternoon event in the Oval Office.

Trump’s tweet — in which he said everything “turned bad” in various places Yovanovitch was posted as a diplomat — came as she testified that she was the target of a “campaign of disinformation” that involved Trump’s personal attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani.

Yovanovitch also told the House Intelligence Committee that she felt threatened when she read how Trump talked about her to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on a July 25 call.