Unlike Trump, Texas GOP Rep. Hurd praises witness in impeachment hearing

November 20, 2019
In The News

WASHINGTON - U.S. Rep. Will Hurd took a far different approach than President Donald Trump when he praised the fired Ukranian ambassador, the sole witness in the House impeachment inquiry today.

After Trump slammed her as she testified — “Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad,” he wrote in an angry tweet — Hurd outdid Republicans and even Democrats on the Intelligence Committee in lauding the 33-year diplomat ousted by the president last spring.

“You’re tough as nails and you’re smart as hell. And you’re a great example of what our ambassadors should be like,” said Hurd, R-San Antonio. He wasn’t finished.

“You’re an honor to your family. You are an honor to your country. And I thank you for all that you have done and continue to do on behalf of the country,” he said.

Republicans have sought to diminish witnesses’ testimony in the first two days of hearings in the Democratic-run proceedings to impeach the president.

That goal was difficult today not just because the witness was a woman but also because of her decades of service under four GOP presidents, her background as the daughter of parents who escaped Nazi and Communist regimes and her respectful demeanor and replies.

And it became harder after the president’s tweet, in which he blamed Yovanovitch for troubles in Somalia, one of her posts in the diplomatic corps.

Rather than grill the witness, Hurd presented what he called “a five-year history of the Ukraine in about 45 seconds.”

He remarked to Yovanovitch: “And now that you’re a professor, you can grade my paper.”

Hurd’s aim was to make a point that Rudy Giuliani, who has said he was acting on the president’s behalf in Ukraine, was chiefly meeting with the candidate defeated by Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and therefore had no impact.

“There’s no love lost between those two dudes, is there?” Hurd asked.

“I don’t think so,” she answered.

Rep. Joaquin Castro, when it was his turn, focused on why Yovanovitch was ordered last spring to leave Ukraine on the next plane.

“I think most Americans agree that a president shouldn’t fire an ambassador, or recall an ambassador, because the ambassador is standing in his way of doing a corrupt act,” Castro said.

After establishing with his questions that Trump had never consulted Yovanovitch or asked her about “the good guys and the bad guys” in Ukraine, Castro mentioned Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s alleged role in the scandal.

“It appears from the testimony we’ve heard in the Intelligence Committee thus far that there were a group of the president’s men, perhaps Secretary Perry, Rudy Giuliani, ambassador (Gordon) Sondland who were in on this scheme to get the Bidens and (the natural gas company) Burisma investigated,” he contended.

Castro asked Yovanovitch if she’d ever seen or heard of a president seeking foreign help investigating an American citizen.

“I’m not aware of that,” she responded.