As former United States Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testified before the House Intelligence Committee about the right-wing smear campaign against her, Donald Trump tweeted:
The tweet was specifically in reference to Yovanovitch's review of her diplomatic service in her opening statement. Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) interrupted the Democratic counsel’s questioning to ask Yovanovitch for her reaction to Trump’s tweet. Even some Fox News personalities expressed concern that Trump’s tweet could force Republicans to do cleanup and that it could be witness intimidation.
Fox News’ website, on the other hand, went all-in, attacking Yovanovitch as “Midas in reverse.”
For those unfamiliar with Greek mythology, Midas was a tragic Greek king who legend says obtained the ability to turn everything he touched into gold, before ultimately realizing that this power was a curse. We at Media Matters have no idea why such a person would be on the minds of people at Fox News.
Another headline on the Fox News homepage accused Yovanovitch of “bitterness.”
Fox News senior Capitol Hill producer Chad Pergram added on air: “Now, when we look at the U.S. Constitution and we look at Article 2, Section 4, it doesn't say anything about witness intimidation.”
Asked how Republicans might respond, Fox News contributor and former White House spokesperson under George W. Bush Dana Perino denied that it was witness tampering, because Trump “criticizes a lot of people.” Perino added that Trump’s tweet “might be ill-timed, it might be ill-mannered, it might be bullying,” but it was not tampering.
Fox News contributor Ken Starr also denied that Trump was tampering with a witness, saying Trump’s “ill-timed and ill-conceived tweet” would not intimidate anyone. (It is worth noting that the Starr Report accused President Bill Clinton of witness tampering.)