Former US ambassador to Ukraine testifies in public at house impeachment hearing

Marie Yovanovich testified to what she called a "smear campaign," allegedly led by the White House and Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Guiliani.
5:44 | 11/16/19

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Transcript for Former US ambassador to Ukraine testifies in public at house impeachment hearing
We begin with the latest on the impeachment showdown. A U.S. Official based in Ukraine flying to Washington to appear at a closed door deposition testifying before congressional investigators late into the night. According to one lawmaker the state department official whose make is David Holmes spoke about overhearing a telephone conversation in which president trump allegedly asked about whether Ukraine was going to move Ford with an investigation in the Democrat Joe Biden. The six-hour deposition from Holmes came after an eventful public hearing featuring testimony from the former ambassador to Ukraine, Marie yovanovitch. She testified that she felt threatened by a smear campaign led by the president and his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani. Smack in the middle of that public testimony, president trump slammed yovanovitch again. This time on Twitter leading Democrats to raise concerns about potential witness intimidation. We have team coverage beginning with Kyra Phillips on capitol hill. Good morning, Kyra. Reporter: Good morning, you guys. Boy, it was quite a day yesterday. Both witnesses making news. As you just mentioned, David Holmes behind closed doors testifying that he overheard the U.S. Ambassador testify ING investigate his public rival. In the public hearing yovanovitch talked of her nonpartisanship and patriotism. Even surviving bombs and gunfire. Also, she refused to acknowledge the president's tweet attacking her reputation in realtime. It was unprecedented. But the 33-year career foreign service officer had no problem describing her abrupt firing and how she believes it was directly connected to the trump administration's shady interests and dangerous intentions. David Holmes, an official from the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine testified for six hours Friday behind closed doors to the house impeachment committee that he overheard a call between president trump and top American diplomat Gordon sondland. In a transcript obtained by CNN, Holmes says he heard that president zelensky needed to make clear to president trump that president zelensky was not standing in the way of investigations. Arrows continue to point in the direction of a shakedown scheme led by the president of the United States operated by agents like Rudy Giuliani. Reporter: But it was other testimony that stole the show in Washington on Friday. I had no agenda other than to pursue our stated foreign policy goals. Reporter: Marie yovanovitch, daughter of immigrants who fled the former soviet union and Nazi Germany serving tours as ambassador in some of the world's most dangerous places and known as an anti-corruption advocate, arrived in Ukraine in 2016 and was fired this year with no explanation. It was -- it was a terrible moment. A person who saw me actually reading the transcript said that the color drained from my face. I think I even had a physical reaction. I think -- even now words confound me. Reporter: The former ambassador to Ukraine testified to a concerted smear campaign led by the white house and trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani. After she raised concerns of a, quote, irregular back channel effort to dig up dirt on trump's political rivals. It was shocked and devastated that I would feature in a phone call between two heads of states. Reporter: Then in realtime, an unprecedented moment during this impeachment hearing. President trump takes a jab at yovanovitch's reputation tweeting, 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 president's absolute right to appoint ambassadors. What would you like to respond to the president's attack that everywhere you went turned bad? I actually think that where I've served over the years, I and others have demonstrably made things better. Reporter: Democrats seizing the social media moment. Designed to intimidate, is it not? I mean I can't speak to what the president is trying to do but I think the effect is to be intimidating. Reporter: In just one tweet, the president changed the narrative of his impeachment but this time his boasting backfired. Yovanovitch poured over by praise. From both sides of the aisle. You're tough as nails and you're a great example of what our ambassadors should be like. We are lucky to have you in foreign service and again want to thank you for your tremendous public service. Reporter: At the end of the day, no smoking gun. But did trump's tweet just trigger witness tampering? This is a part of a pattern to intimidate witnesses. We need to view the president's actions today as part of a broader and incriminating pattern of conduct. You can disagree or dislike the tweet but we are here to talk about impeachment and nothing in that room today or nothing in that room earlier this week, nothing rises to the level of impeachable offenses. So, bottom line, did the former ambassador detail what she described as inappropriate presidential behavior? Absolutely. As for a smoking gun toward impeachment, just wasn't there, whit. All right, Kyra Phillips on capitol hill. Thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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