Transcript for Trump responds to former US ambassador’s testimony
Meantime, president trump staunchly defending his tweets attacking the foreign ambassador to Ukraine. ABC's David Wright is at the white house with that part of the story. David, good morning. Reporter: Good morning, whit. Down on capitol hill the Democrats called it witness tampering and even some Republicans admitted it was counterproductive. Here at the white house one of the president's senior staff members told ABC news it was an unavoidable mistake, but president trump dismissed all his critics. I've been watching today, for the first time, I started watching. Reporter: It was perfectly obvious the president was watching the testimony, based on the timing of his tweet, ambassador yovanovitch still on the stand when he lashed out. Do you believe your tweets and words can be intimidating. I don't think so at all. Reporter: Trump flatly rejected any suggestion of witness tampering. I'll tell you what tampering is. When a guy like shifty Schiff doesn't let us have lawyers and shifty Schiff doesn't let us have witnesses and doesn't let us speak. Reporter: He insisted there is nothing wrong with pushing back. You know what, I have the right to speak. I have freedom of speech just as other people do. Reporter: But even, some of his own staff members disagreed. One senior staffer told ABC news, he was flabbergasted by the attack. The embattled president got a spirited defense from his attorney general addressing the conservative federalist society. In waging a scorched Earth, no holds barred war of resistance against this administration. It is the left that is engaged in the systematic shredding of norms and undermining the rule of law. Do you think you are going to be impeached? Well, I shouldn't be. Reporter: The day also brought bad news for trump's longtime friend and political operative Roger stone convicted in federal court on charges that include witness tampering, obstruction and lying to congress for his role in the stolen democratic emails funneled to Wikileaks with the intent to interfere in the 2016 election. He faces a possible 50 years in prison unless the president pardons him. There's no question that the president is empowered to pardon Roger stone on any or all of the charges. Reporter: The president hasn't yet said if he does plan to pardon stone. But assuming this is the last prosecution from the Mueller probe some important numbers for you. 37 indictments total. Five people sent to prison. Roger stone makes six, Dan. David Wright at the white house. David, thank you so much. So many angles to explore here. Let's bring in Melissa Murray, nyu law professor. Thanks for having me. Thank you very much. Let's start with president trump tweeting in right in the middle of Marie yovanovitch's testimony on capitol hill yesterday. Democrats as you know call this witness tampering, witness intimidation. Is it? Well, the federal statute says that witness tampering is to knowingly influence or intimidate a witness so that you influence her testimony. So it may not necessarily be about intimidating Marie yovanovitch but subsequent witnesses who might come down the line letting them know this is what happens when you go against the president. Since she was testifying and might not have seen it maybe not tampering with her in particular but tampering with the overall system. Exactly. You noted quickly he didn't do this when there were men testifying against him on Wednesday. No, he was very retrained with George Kent and bill Taylor. But it was unusual that he did this with Marie yovanovitch. But not necessarily surprising and what is interesting is this is an entire proceeding that is going to be led by a woman, "NFL films presents," who is in office because of the votes of women who brought her and other women to power. And so, there's a lot of gender dynamics here. There are, indeed. Let's talk about a man who testified late Friday up until the evening on Friday night, David Holmes, state department official. Based in the Ukraine. He is saying as we've been reporting that he overheard a phone conversation in which president trump is talking to Gordon sondland, a U.S. Ambassador. If sondland is sitting next to Holmes in a restaurant, Holmes hears the president through the earpace say what's going on with the investigation into the Bidens. Is that damaging testimony and if it is, is it hearsay? Well, it's certainly damaging testimony. It's not hearsay. To be very clear, hearsay only applies in criminal trials. This is an investigation. It's not a criminal trial so the same prohibitions on hearsay don't attach. Even if they did this is not hearsay because he heard it. Now, you could quibble about the quality of the audio. You could quibble about what he heard but you can't quibble about the fact that he heard it firsthand. Not hearsay. We're lucky to have your analysis on a Saturday morning, Melissa, thank you very much. Melissa Murray from nyu law school.
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