Analysis after Marie Yovanovitch's impeachment testimony

Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch gave public testimony Friday regarding the circumstances of her abrupt ouster from her post.
Image: Impeachment live blog illustration v3
Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch gave public testimony Friday regarding the circumstances of her abrupt ouster from her post as part of the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

Catch up quickly:

5 things we learned from Yovanovitch's public testimony

Trump defends attacking Yovanovitch after Dems accuse him of 'witness intimidation'

Analysis: The devastating day Trump's presidency came into sharp focus

  • Also: A fate worse than firing — humiliation. "All we have is our reputations," Yovanovitch said.

Yovanovitch says Trump admin kneecapped her diplomatic efforts

Follow us here for breaking news and analysis from NBC News' political reporters as well as our teams on Capitol Hill and at the White House. Download the NBC News app for full coverage and alerts.

Live Blog

Dems give Yovanovitch a standing O, Nunes predicts 'plummeting' TV ratings for 'show trial'

The closing statements from Nunes and Schiff made it seem as though the two congressmen had participated in two different hearings.

In his, Nunes addressed “the American people,” telling them that “today’s show trial has come to an end” and announced that he and some of his colleagues would now be “heading down to the basement of the Capitol Building” where they’d be “hiding behind closed doors” to interview another witness in the inquiry — David Holmes, the counselor for political affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine.

He closed by complaining that “television ratings must be plummeting right now” for the networks airing coverage of the hearing.

Schiff, on the other hand, lauded Yovanovitch for appearing.

“What you did coming forward … is give courage to others who witnessed wrongdoing,” he said. Schiff went on to summarize what he called Trump’s “corrupt intent” in conditioning military aid to Ukraine on the launching of an investigation into the Bidens.

The hearing ended with the Democratic members of the committee standing and giving a round of applause for Yovanovitch for her service to the State Department.

Yovanovitch says attacking foreign service officers 'deeply troubling’

Yovanovitch told Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., that there are morale issues at the State Department following the smear campaign against her and the lack of support from top department officials after she was recalled and later attacked by Trump.  

“It’s deeply troubling and there are morale issues at the State Department,” she said.

When Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., later asked if she was "concerned that other ambassadors may suffer the same fate as you," she replied, "yes."

GOP Rep. Zeldin says Democrats wanted Yovanovitch ‘to cry for the cameras’

Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., told reporters Friday that Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee were trying to get Yovanovitch, to “cry for the cameras” during the second impeachment hearing. 

The remarks came when NBC News’ Garrett Haake asked Zeldin why Trump feels the need to attack Yovanovitch if he and Republicans are dismissing her testimony as irrelevant. 

“The reason why that 45 minutes was spent with her getting asked questions about her feelings is because House Democrats wanted to recreate what happened in the deposition," Zeldin said. "They wanted her to cry for the cameras. It’s unfortunate." 

Asked how he knows that that’s Democrats’ strategy, Zeldin said, “I was in the depositions, and inside of the depositions, what they wanted to use was the part of the July 25 call transcript where they take President Trump’s words, and then they want to ask her how she felt, and then they want to get her to cry. That’s what happened previously, and it was obvious that they were looking to do exactly the same thing that they did last time, to do it again.”

The detail that Yovanovitch had cried in her closed-door deposition was not widely known. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., said in a statement after that initial interview that she was “overcome with emotion” at times and had to leave the room. 

Zeldin also suggested that it was acceptable for Trump to defend himself on Twitter on Friday morning when he smeared Yovanovitch amid her testimony, saying, “The president’s going to defend himself, whether it’s today, it’s yesterday, it’s tomorrow, it’s the hours, the days, the weeks that are ahead. The president of the United States know that this is a total sham.”

Schiff, Jordan zingers rouse silent crowd

Schiff and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, exchanged fiery words toward the end of Jordan’s allotment of time, breathing fresh air into a lengthy hearing that has already stretched nearly six hours.

After a long wind up outlining a question to Yovanovitch, the witness asked Jordan whether he had, in fact, asked her anything

As he attempted to restate the question, his time ran out, but Schiff allowed him to continue.

Jordan, however, once again engaged in a lengthy wind-up with no clear question, prompting Schiff to say, “I have indulged you with extra time, my indulgence is wearing out.”

Unimpressed, Jordan shot back, “Our indulgence with you wore out a long time ago.”

The audience was quiet all day, but during the exchange there was audible laughter when Schiff said his indulgence of Jordan was running out, then a chorus of “oooohs” when Jordan said his indulgence ran out a long time ago.

Heck's impassioned defense of Yovanovitch

Rep. Denny Heck, D-Wash., gave a forceful defense of Yovanovitch and excoriated Trump for recalling her despite her decades of experience in U.S. foreign service. 

He questioned how “the most powerful person on the face of the earth" could remove her from her Ukraine post and then "ominously threaten that you will ‘go through some things.’”

"So I am angry, but I am not surprised,” he said. 

“Here's my message to you: There is nothing, Ambassador Yovanovitch, nothing he can say or do, not a thing, that will in any way diminish the nature and quality of the service you have rendered to our great nation. Not a thing."

Ratcliffe scores rare point in questioning on Bidens

Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, pressed Yovanovitch on whether she had been briefed ahead of her confirmation hearing in 2016 for possible questions about then-Vice President Joe Biden’s son being on the board of Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma.

After Yovanovitch acknowledged she’d been directed to refer all questions regarding that matter to the vice president’s office, Ratcliffe pressed her on the question of whether Hunter Biden being on the company's board was improper.

“I think that it could raise the appearance of a conflict of interest,” she replied.

The moment marked a rare point on the board for Republican interrogators, many of whom have largely used their time allotments to say there’s nothing particularly tragic about Yovanovitch’s situation because she landed at Georgetown after her recall from Kyiv.

Jordan claims White House has shown 'unprecedented transparency'

Dem Rep. Quigley gets laughs with GOP 'Hallmark movie' quip

Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., provided the hearing with some comic relief when he used his allotted time to mock Republican claims that Yovanovitch shouldn’t merit much sympathy because she’d ended up at Georgetown after being ousted from Ukraine.

“It’s like a ‘Hallmark’ movie — you ended up at Georgetown, it’s all OK,” he said, prompting chuckles in the room.

But he pointed out — with Yovanovitch agreeing — that it “wasn’t your preference to leave Ukraine” and it “wasn’t your preference to be defamed by” Trump.

“There’s nothing wrong with Georgetown,” Quigley said. 

“It's a wonderful place,” Yovanovitch said, leading Quigley to point out that it still would have been so if she’d ended up there purely because she wanted to — not because she had to return to Washington.

“It’s not the end of a ‘Hallmark’ movie, it’s the end of a really bad reality TV show brought to you by someone who knows a lot about that,” Quigley said.