Searching for smart, safe news you can TRUST?

Support safe, smart, REAL journalism. Sign up for our Axios AM & PM newsletters and get smarter, faster.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Searching for smart, safe news you can TRUST?

Support safe, smart, REAL journalism. Sign up for our Axios AM & PM newsletters and get smarter, faster.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

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.

Go deeper:

Subscribe to Axios AM/PM for a daily rundown of what's new and why it matters, directly from Mike Allen.
Please enter a valid email.
Please enter a valid email.
Server error. Please try a different email.
Subscribed! Look for Axios AM and PM in your inbox tomorrow or read the latest Axios AM now.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Health

Boris Johnson announces month-long COVID-19 lockdown in England

Prime Minsiter Boris Johnson. Photo: NurPhoto / Getty Images

A new national lockdown will be imposed in England, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Saturday, as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country topped 1 million.

Details: Starting Thursday, people in England must stay at home, and bars and restaurants will close, except for takeout and deliveries. All non-essential retail will also be shuttered. Different households will be banned from mixing indoors. International travel, unless for business purposes, will be banned. The new measures will last through at least December 2.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The massive early vote

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Early voting in the 2020 election across the U.S. on Saturday had already reached 65.5% of 2016's total turnout, according to state data compiled by the U.S. Elections Project.

Why it matters: The coronavirus pandemic and its resultant social-distancing measures prompted a massive uptick in both mail-in ballots and early voting nationwide, setting up an unprecedented and potentially tumultuous count in the hours and days after the polls close on Nov. 3.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Ipsos poll: COVID trick-or-treat.
  2. World: Greece tightens coronavirus restrictions as Europe cases spike — Austria reimposes coronavirus lockdowns amid surge of infections
  3. Economy: Conference Board predicts economy won’t fully recover until late 2021.
  4. Technology: Fully at-home rapid COVID test to move forward.
  5. States: New York rolls out new testing requirements for visitors.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!