House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) gave President Donald Trump a fierce warning not to “intimidate” the whistleblower days after a former ambassador claimed that the president’s tweet was “very intimidating.”
Pelosi, during a Nov. 17 appearance on CBS’s “Face The Nation” warned the president that he was in her “wheelhouse” should he decide to pursue information from the whistleblower.
“I will make sure he does not intimidate the whistleblower,” Pelosi said. “I told the president you’re in my wheelhouse when you come after the whistleblower.”
Democratic lawmakers began accusing the president of “witness intimidation” following his real-time tweet about former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch during her Friday testimony, after House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) read the tweet to her and asked for her response.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham dismissed these claims and asserted that the president should be allowed free speech.
“The tweet was not witness intimidation, it was simply the president’s opinion, which he is entitled to,” Grisham said on Nov. 15. “This is not a trial, it is a partisan political process—or to put it more accurately, a totally illegitimate, charade stacked against the president. There is less due process in this hearing than any such event in the history of our country. It’s a true disgrace.”
President Trump also defended himself against accusations that he engaged in “witness intimidation.”
“I have the right to speak. I have freedom of speech just as other people do. But they’ve taken away the Republicans’ rights,” he said during a health care event at the White House.
When asked what he would say to Democrats who believe he committed witness tampering, the president explained while taking a jab at Schiff.
“I’ll tell you what tampering is. Tampering is when a guy like Shifty Schiff doesn’t let us have lawyers. Tampering is when Schiff doesn’t let us have witnesses or let us speak,” President Trump said, adding that it’s “really sad” that people are not allowed to ask questions they may have.
“Nobody has ever had such horrible due process,” the president lamented. “There was no due process, and I think it’s considered a joke. All over Washington and all over the world, the Republicans are given no due process whatsoever. We’re not allowed to do anything. It’s a disgrace what’s happening, but you know what? The American public understands it.”
Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) said the president’s tweet regarding Yovanovitch is definitely not grounds for impeachment.
“It’s certainly not impeachable, and it’s certainly not criminal and it’s certainly not witness intimidation,” Turner said to CNN’s Jake Tapper during an appearance on “State of the Union.” “It certainly wasn’t trying to prevent her or wouldn’t have prevented her from testifying, she was actually in the process of testifying.”
Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) rejected claims that the president was trying to intimidate Yovanovitch by simply tweeting “everywhere” the ambassador has served “turned bad,” believing a mere tweet was insufficient to scare her as a witness.
“I don’t think she’s intimidated at all by this,” Stewart said to Fox News. “I think it’d be, frankly, kind of insulting to suggest that she would be. She’s a professional. She’s a strong individual. I think she’s been. She’s faced many more challenges in her life than a tweet.”