WASHINGTON — New impeachment evidence released by House Democrats on Tuesday included texts sent between Connecticut congressional candidate Robert Hyde and Soviet-born businessman Lev Parnas in 2019.
It appears Hyde worked with Parnas to monitor the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch’s movements in Ukraine, as a campaign unfolded to remove her from her post. The texts suggest that Hyde worked with a Ukrainian team to track Yovanovitch, possibly with the goal of interfering with her work in some fashion.
“If you want her out, they need to make contact with security forces,” Hyde wrote to Parnas on March 26, 2019.
“They are willing to help if we/you would like a price,” Hyde wrote in one chilling message. “Guess you can do anything in the Ukraine with money… what I was told.”
Hearst Connecticut Media first reported Hyde’s relationship with Parnas, his associate Igor Fruman and the president’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani in November 2019. Parnas recently turned over thousands of new documents to House impeachment investigators regarding his work for President Donald Trump in Ukraine.
Hyde is a generous Republican donor who has been photographed with President Trump on multiple occasions since 2016. He has also been photographed with Vice President Mike Pence, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and other GOP members.
He is currently running for Congress in Connecticut’s 5th District, where Democrat Jahana Hayes is the incumbent.
Hyde did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.
Hyde tweeted on Tuesday night: “Please click the link to make a contribution to our campaign so we can help get the House from Adam Bull Schiff and find the 12 billion dollars that disappeared in Ukraine under Maria [sic]Yovanovitch.”
Early in the text exchange, Hyde and Parnas shared many links to news articles about growing calls for Yovanovitch’s removal in March 2019. Hyde wrote to Parnas, “Wow. Can’t believe Trumo [sic] hasn’t fired this bitch. I’ll get right in [sic] that.”
Hyde and Parnas exchanged numerous messages about Yovanovitch’s precise whereabouts.
“She under heavy protection outside Kiev,” Hyde wrote to Parnas.
Two days later, he wrote to Parnas: “They are moving her tomorrow.”
Hyde followed up, “The guys over there asked me what I would like to do and what is in it for them.”
Then he provided more details about Yovanovitch’s movements, noting her computer was off and she was outside the embassy.
“They will let me know when she is on the move,” Hyde wrote.
Parnas responded, “Perfect.”
Hyde has repeatedly refused to answer questions about his connection to Parnas, Giuliani and other Republican figures. But in November 2019, Hyde texted three photos of himself to this reporter.
One was a picture of Hyde leaning in for a photo with Giuliani, Fruman and Parnas, now indicted on charges that they used foreign money to buy political influence. All of the men are smoking cigars.
Another photo featured Hyde taking a selfie with Parnas, who wore a Trump yarmulke and crossed his arms over his chest making peace signs with his fingers. Hyde smoked a cigar and wore a Trump tee-shirt. In a third image, a tuxedoed Hyde smiles in a group shot with Fruman.
It’s not clear where or when the photos were taken and Hyde repeatedly claimed he did not remember those facts.
In the text messages with Parnas, Hyde referred to Parnas as “bud” and “broski.”
Soon after his indictment, Parnas agreed to turn over a trove a documents, including handwritten notes and phone records to the House Intelligence Committee. Parnas was one of several associates of Rudy Giuliani who was subpoenaed by the committee.
The evidence, which was not published publicly until Tuesday, will be transmitted by the House to Senate for use in the Senate impeachment trial, expected to start next week.
“We will continue our investigative work and will make available to the Senate and the American people any additional evidence of the President’s misconduct as it is revealed,” said four House Committee chairmen in a statement Tuesday evening.
Yovanovitch was ambassador to Ukraine from August. 2016 to May 2019, when she was abruptly recalled by the Trump administration. The seasoned diplomat has suffered harsh criticism by Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and other Republicans for months, before and after the end of her ambassadorship, she testified to the House Intelligence Committee.
While Yovanovitch publicly testified in November, Trump attacked her on Twitter. The day Yovanovitch testified Hyde tweeted “She (Maria swampthing uavonibeiotch) was fired before the phone calls… why is she even there?”
A resident of Simsbury Connecticut, Hyde is challenging U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes, D-5, for her seat in Congress.
In December, Connecticut Republican leaders called on Hyde to drop out of the race after he made a vulgar comment about U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., on Twitter.
Hyde told Hearst Connecticut Media on Jan. 6 “We will be ending our campaign November 4, 2020. The day after we win.”
Hyde has given tens of thousands to Trump’s campaign, inauguration and other Republican causes. He attended Trump’s inauguration, as well as that of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
On Hyde’s campaign Instagram, Hyde shared a photo of himself and Trump in Manhattan in 2016. Hyde posted another photo of the president and himself in golf apparel and USA hats at Trump International Golf Club at West Palm Beach, Fla. in 2018.
Hyde was photographed speaking to Trump and golfer Tiger Woods in March 2019. He shared a selfie of him and Trump at Mar-a-Lago on Easter the next month. In May 2019, Hyde bowled at the White House, according to videos he shared on Instagram.
Hyde has also shared photos of himself with Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump and Tiffany Trump.
Hyde called Trump “the greatest president we’ve ever had,” in an interview in November, but declined to answer questions about the times he met the president, saying only “I met him a long time ago.”
Hyde has also been photographed with Trump-ally Roger Stone, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson, former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, as well as former Trump press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Reps. Mike Waltz, R-Fla., Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Warren Davidson, R-Ohio.
But few people on Capitol Hill knew who Hyde was in November. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who was photographed with him, said he had “no idea” who he was.
“I was never really into politics until Trump,” Hyde said in November.
In December 2018, the Simsbury resident started a public affairs and government relations firm Finley Hyde and Associates (Finley is Hyde’s middle name) in Washington, D.C., Connecticut business records show.
A former U.S. Marine, Hyde owns a two-bedroom villa in Delray Beach, Florida, where his parents live full-time, he said in November.
Parnas and Fruman are also Florida residents.
And it was in Florida that Hyde first met Roger Stone at a diner, he said, but declined to provide any other specifics. On May 11, Stone shared a photo of himself and Hyde with the caption “I enjoyed a fine cigar with @rfhyde1 one of @realdonaldtrump’s most loyal supporters. We are both Connecticut natives and we laughed about what assholes liberals are.”