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AP FACT CHECK: Impeachment hearings and that Trump tweet

SeattlePI.com Saturday, 16 November 2019
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said he was just exercising his right to free speech. Democrats said he was intimidating a witness.

Whichever is the case, Trump’s Twitter assault on an ex-ambassador’s record came with a heavy dose of distortion.

He portrayed her, in a few choice words, as a wrecking ball in every country where she served U.S. interests in a long diplomatic career that has spanned danger zones and emerging democracies.

The tweet jolted impeachment hearings where Marie Yovanovitch was already testifying to the personal threat she has been feeling from the president.

Over two days, the hearings by the House Intelligence Committee featured a variety of statements at odds with the known facts.

Each day, the committee’s top Republican wrapped into his opening statement the provocative claim that Democrats went on a hunt for naked pictures of the president in a flailing attempt to come up with dirt on him. The lawmaker didn’t tell the story straight.

A look at some of the claims from the first round of public hearings and the larger political arena from the week:

YOVANOVITCH

TRUMP: “Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go?” — tweet Friday.

THE FACTS: The notion that countries “turned bad” when Yovanovitch went to them has no credence.

Yovanovitch served as a low-level diplomat in Somalia in her first foreign tour after joining the foreign service in her 20s. She had nothing to do with the 1984 famine that preceded her arrival in Somalia and contributed to that country’s unraveling, nor anything to do with the government’s collapse and the onset of anarchy after she left.

“I don't think I have such powers,” she said pointedly when asked about Trump’s tweet during...
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News video: Impeachment witnesses to detail Trump's Ukraine call

Impeachment witnesses to detail Trump's Ukraine call 02:17

The first week of televised impeachment hearings did not feature witnesses with direct knowledge of a controversial phone call at the hear of the probe. That changes this week. Zachary Goelman reports.

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