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Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, testified Friday in the House's second public impeachment hearing.

Driving the news: Trump took to Twitter as Yovanovitch testified to attack her diplomatic career, saying that everywhere she served "went bad." House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) read the tweets directly to Yovanovitch about 20 minutes after Trump posted them.

Other highlights:

  • Yovanovitch used her opening statement to push back on a number of unsubstantiated allegations that led to her ouster as ambassador, including that she directed embassy staff to ignore President Trump's orders and that she crafted a "do not prosecute" list for Ukrainian officials.
  • The former ambassador offered a defense of the State Department's work in the current era while criticizing corrupt conduct that "undermines the U.S., exposes our friends, and widens the playing field for autocrats like [Russian] President Putin."
  • She said she felt threatened by the fact that Trump said she would "go through some things" during his July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
  • Committee Republicans attempted to defy the agreed-upon rules for the impeachment inquiry at the start of their questioning period — likely an attempt to stage a bad television moment for Schiff.
  • During a line of questioning from Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), Yovanovitch said that if she had been kept on as ambassador she would not have recommended an investigation into a conspiracy theory linked to the 2016 election, a freeze on military aid to Ukraine or an investigation into the Biden family.
  • After being questioned by Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio) about the president's ability to fire diplomats at will, a key GOP argument for the former ambassador's ouster, Yovanovitch agreed but asked: "What I do wonder is why was it necessary to smear my reputation also?"

The backdrop: During her closed-door deposition before the House impeachment committees, Yovanovitch testified that President Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani led the smear campaign that led to her firing.

  • Yovanovitch is a career diplomat who also previously served as the ambassador to Armenia and Kyrgyzstan under the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

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Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”

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