- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Top Democrats on the House Foreign Affairs Committee are demanding more information on potential threats against former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch Wednesday 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.

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.

Across the Capitol, Senate Foreign Relations Ranking Member Robert Menendez sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo requesting a briefing about the alleged threats against the ambassador and what the administration has done to protect Ms.Yovanovitch and other embassy officials in Ukraine.

Ms. Yovanovitch’s attorney Lawrence S. Robbins described the revelations as “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.

“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.

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.”

Rep. Mark Meadows, a top defender of the president’s on impeachment, said he had some concerns about Mr. Hyde but also had “no idea who the guy is” and “had to google him.”

“Honestly, if he’s running for office in Connecticut as a Republican, we have to question his judgment,” the North Carolina Republican said.

The last-minute additional documents has been met with some skepticism from Republicans, particularly since its source, Mr. Parnas, is charged with campaign finance violations.

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff defended the new evidence Tuesday morning.

“Witnesses may tell the truth and witnesses may not tell the truth. Documents don’t generally lie. And in the documents that we submitted to the Judiciary Committee just last night, you see the importance of documents,” he said.

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.

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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