The impeachment proceedings against U.S. President Donald Trump have concluded their second day of public hearings with the testimony of Marie Yovanovitch, former U.S. diplomat to Ukraine.
The hearing lasted six hours and was about why Yovanovitch was removed from her position as ambassador in May for what appears to be an anti-Trump bias, though it is unclear what hard evidence there is of this claim. Yovanovitch testified about her role as an ambassador, along with reaffirming several of the facts surrounding the impeachment case against Trump, questions which were mostly asked by the Democratic counsel.
For the Republicans, their main line of questioning focused on trying to show that Yovanovitch is not a witness that needs to be present, and does not have anything to add to the impeachment inquiry, as she was not present during the phone call between Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky.
During this hearing, Trump tweeted about Yovanovitch, saying “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.” This was brought up to Yovanovitch, who responded by saying that she is unaware that she made places like Somalia worse, and instead that she “demonstrably made things better.” Democrats have these tweets by Trump as an example of witness intimidation and are using it as more evidence for removing the president.
The hearing continues an impeachment process that began on September 24 after the House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced hearings would begin following the release of a transcript of a call between Trump and Zelensky. Since then, there have been several private hearings, and, on Oct. 31, the House voted 232 to 196 for beginning a formal public hearing process, with hearings having started this week and will most likely go on until the House decides to vote on whether they will impeach the president or not. If they do decide to impeach, it is up to the Senate to convict and fully remove the president. Because the Senate is a majority Republican, it is unlikely that they will vote to convict, as Trump’s approval rating among Republicans is in the high 80s and has stayed that way throughout most of Trump’s presidency.