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Marie Yovanovitch arrives to testify yesterday. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

An important human dimension gets obscured in the wider impeachment war: Former Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch is already a three-time victim of the Ukraine scandal and public hearings.

Why it matters: Maybe the only thing House Republicans and Democrats agree on is that Yovanovitch was a widely respected ambassador to Ukraine. Yet, she lost her job, endured a hit job by The Hill newspaper, and had her reputation vilified and sullied publicly by the president of the United States. 

The bigger picture: Yes, she still has a government job. But the toll on her was obvious during her testimony yesterday, which was riveting less for the facts and more because of her reaction to the pummeling from Trump and his allies.

The hearing began at 9:30 a.m. and Trump tweeted his attack on her at 10 a.m., blaming her for the dangerous conditions in Somalia, which has endured 30 years of "turmoil, factional fighting, and anarchy," as the CIA puts it.

  • The staff of House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, who was presiding, distributed printouts of the tweet to Democratic committee members, Axios' Alayna Treene reported from inside the hearing room.
  • Schiff called it "witness intimidation in real time."
  • The tweet was displayed on monitors as Yovanovitch continued testifying:
Photo: Susan Walsh/AP

Republicans said Trump's mid-hearing attack sabotaged their strategy:

  • Republicans recognized going in that she's a highly respected career official, and planned to focus their questions on showing how she had little knowledge of what is being investigated.
  • After the tweet, Republicans went even further out of their way to praise her (even calling her "Your Excellency" at one point) — which just made her abrupt recall to Washington look even more puzzling.

Yovanovitch described what it was like when she learned Trump denigrated her as "bad news" in a conversation with Ukraine's president:

"I was shocked and devastated that I would feature in a phone call between two heads of state in such a manner, where President Trump said that I was bad news to another world leader, and that I would be going through some things."
"So I 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, you know, even now, words kind of fail me."

Between the lines: The circumstances of Yovanovitch's removal made her a sympathetic witness, even before Trump's tweet, Treene reports.

  • In April, Yovanovitch got a late-night call from the State Department saying she needed to leave for security reasons — on the same night she was honoring her friend, who had died a horrific death after an acid attack for working to root out corruption. The harrowing details highlighted the importance of the ambassador's work in Ukraine.

The bottom line: As the hearing adjourned, Yovanovitch got a standing ovation.

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Go deeper

18 mins ago - World

Report: "Clear evidence" China is committing genocide against Uyghurs

The scene in 2019 of a site believed to be a re-education camp where mostly Muslim ethnic minorities are detained, north of Kashgar in China's northwestern Xinjiang region. Photo: Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images

Chinese authorities have breached "each and every act prohibited" under the UN Genocide Convention over the treatment of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in China's Xinjiang province, an independent report published Tuesday alleges.

Why it matters: D.C. think-tank the Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy, which released the report, said in a statement the conclusions by dozens of experts in war crimes, human rights and international law are "clear and convincing": The ruling Chinese Communist Party bears responsibility.

Updated 2 hours ago - Technology

Twitter sues Texas AG Ken Paxton

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton at February's Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Twitter on Monday filed a lawsuit against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R), saying that his office launched an investigation into the social media giant because it banned former President Trump from its platform.

Driving the news: Twitter is seeking to halt an investigation launched by Paxton into moderation practices by Big Tech firms including Twitter for what he called "the seemingly coordinated de-platforming of the President," days after they banned him following the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.

7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Senate retirements could attract GOP troublemakers

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Roy Blunt's retirement highlights the twin challenge facing Senate Republicans: finding good replacement candidates and avoiding a pathway for potential troublemakers to join their ranks.

Why it matters: While the midterm elections are supposed to be a boon to the party out of power, the recent run of retirements — which may not be over — is upending that assumption for the GOP in 2022.

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