Marie Yovanovitch Transcript Shows Trump Is a 'Thug' Who Engages in Witness Intimidation, Former Prosecutor Says

This is another busy week for the impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump's interactions with the Ukrainian government.

Already, House Democrats have released the full transcripts of two closed-door sessions with former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and former senior State Department adviser Michael McKinley.

Yovanovitch—ousted by the president under pressure from attorney Rudy Giuliani, among other Trump allies—told the House she was the victim of a smear campaign by Trump's team, members of which were more concerned with partisan politics than the national interest.

Yovanovitch was reportedly an obstacle to the efforts of Trump and his allies to pressure the Ukrainian government into opening an investigation into accusations of corruption against 2020 rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

The White House had frozen hundreds of millions of dollars worth of U.S. military aid to Ukraine at that time, with the implication that it would be released if a probe was forthcoming.

Yovanovitch explained she felt personally threatened by Trump, who in a July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the former ambassador was "going to go through some things."

Yovanovitch told House investigators she was "shocked" by the comment, "first of all, that I would feature repeatedly in a presidential phone call, but secondly, that the president would speak about me or any ambassador in that way to a foreign counterpart."

She added she did not know what Trump meant, and was "very concerned. I still am."

Former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner tweeted his concerns about the transcript, comparing Trump's actions to witness intimidation.

"As a career prosecutor, I dealt with countless fearful witnesses," he explained. "No one should ever have to experience that kind of intimidation!"

"Trump is a d@mn thug," Kirschner added.

Yovanovitch was called back to the U.S. abruptly at the end of April. She received a call from a State Department official around 1 a.m. telling her she needed to be on the next plane. Yovanovitch said the official told her "there was a lot of concern for me...this is about your security."

But when she landed, she was met by acting assistant secretary of state Philip Reeker, who told Yovanovitch that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo "was no longer able" to protect her and that Trump had wanted her dismissed since summer 2018.

McKinley's transcript detailed how the campaign against Yovanovitch sapped morale in the State Department. The former senior adviser said his resignation was, in part, a response to the administration's repeated failures to defend Yovanovitch.

"I was disturbed by the implication that foreign governments were being approached to procure negative information on political opponents," he told investigators.

Marie Yovanovitch, Donald Trump, Ukraine, impeachment, intimidation
Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch is flanked by lawyers, aides and police as she leaves the U.S. Capitol October 11, 2019 in Washington, D.C. OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images/Getty