Foreign Affairs committee further investigating alleged threats against former Ukraine ambassador


The House Foreign Affairs Committee will further probe potential threats against former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch after new evidence suggests she was potentially under surveillance during her time in Ukraine.

New documents from indicted Ukrainian businessman Lev Parnas revealed that Robert F. Hyde, a Republican congressional candidate, was suggesting he had information tailing the Ukrainian ambassador’s movements.

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Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel, New York Democrat, said in a statement that the State Department is aware and his committee is trying to gauge what the department knew about the text messages.

“The messages suggest a possible risk to Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch’s security in Kyiv before she was recalled from her post last year,” he wrote. “This unprecedented threat to our diplomats must be thoroughly investigated and, if warranted, prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Mr. Engel said he’s requesting all relevant documents and a briefing from State Department officials.

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Ms. Yovanovitch’s attorney Lawrence S. Robbins called the revelations “disturbing” and called for an investigation by the proper authorities, according to multiple reports.

House Democrats on Tuesday night released a trove of documents turned over by Mr. Parnas‘ attorney as part of the impeachment probe of President Trump. Included are text messages between Mr. Parnas and Mr. Hyde, a House candidate from Connecticut and a Trump donor, which appear to show that Mr. Hyde was monitoring the movements of then-Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch in Kiev.

The texts, exchanged on WhatsApp last March, suggested that Mr. Hyde was in contact with people in Ukraine who were watching Ms. Yovanovitch. Several mention when she was being moved from her embassy post in Ukraine and one mentioned her communications.

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“They are willing to help if we/you would like a price,” Mr. Hyde told Mr. Parnas in one message.

“If you want her out they need to make contact with security forces,” he wrote in another.

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Mr. Hyde accused the Democrats of taking his messages out of context and insists he was only “playing” with Mr. Parnas.

“I was never in Kiev,” he tweeted. “For them to take some texts my buddy’s and I wrote back to some dweeb we were playing with that we met a few times while we had a few drinks is definitely laughable. Schiff is a desperate turd playing with this Lev guy.”

Ms. Yovanovitch was a central figure in the Ukraine investigation, despite having no first-hand information about the alleged quid pro quo that impeachment hinged on.

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She was pushed out of her position abroad and faced a backlash of allegations led by the president’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani that accused her of trying to undermine the president in Ukraine.

Democrats argued her ouster cleared the way for the administration to leverage Ukraine for investigations into the Biden family and an unsubstantiated theory of Ukraine election interference in 2016.

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