Ukraine Launches Criminal Probe of Alleged Surveillance by Giuliani Associates


The documents of Parnas' communications released by House Democrats this week, including text messages, voicemails, notes and letters, filled in some of the gaps of Giuliani and his associates' activities between Kyiv and Washington, providing further details about the campaign to remove Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and pressure Zelensky into opening the probes sought by Trump.

"Evidence is coming in every day that supports our case", said Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.), one of seven impeachment managers who will be prosecuting the case against Trump in the Senate trial.

This week, House Democrats released text messages Parnas exchanged with Robert Hyde, a Republican congressional candidate from CT, in which the two have threatening exchanges about Marie Yovanovitch, the US ambassador to Ukraine.

Some of the materials obtained show Mr Parnas and Mr Giuliani discussing the removal of Marie Yovanovitch, the then United States ambassador to Ukraine. As an "incentive" for Zelensky to play ball with him, Trump conditioned the release of $400 million in US military aid on Zelensky publicly announcing Ukraine's investigation into the Bidens.

"Think of what you're doing, folks-honestly, you're respectable people-think of what you're doing", she said.

If true, Parnas's account undercuts a key Republican defence of Trump deployed during the ongoing impeachment fight - that Trump's withholding of vital military aid to Ukraine last summer was not a quid pro quo for Biden investigations because Zelenskyy did not know the money was being held up.

A lawyer for Mr. Parnas, Joseph Bondy, denied that his client was involved in any scheme to follow or harm the US ambassador, and said that the emails reflected Mr. Hyde's "dubious mental state".

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"Not only Rudy Giuliani", Parnas replied.

Hemmer interrupted and said: "But back on Parnas, sorry, cut through it, is he lying or not, Kellyanne?"

About two months after the WhatsApp exchange, President Trump abruptly recalled Yovanovitch from her post. In an interview Wednesday night on MSNBC, Parnas implicated several additional senior officials in the alleged scheme, including Vice President Mike Pence and Attorney General William Barr, who all rejected the claims. The texts show that Hyde told Parnas that Yovanovitch was "under heavy protection outside Kiev" and that "they are moving her tomorrow". He added, "The guys over they asked me what I would like to do and what is in it for them". "Perhaps he's not", Trump said on Thursday, later adding, "I don't believe I've ever spoken to him".

Bloomberg: "Yovanovitch Lawyer Calls Texts "Disturbing": Impeachment Update" - "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she'll send the articles of impeachment against Donald Trump to the Senate this week to begin the president's trial. In my capacity as personal counsel to President Trump and with his knowledge and consent, I request a meeting with you on this upcoming Monday, May 13th or Tuesday, May 14th".

Both men had ties to Rudy Giuliani, Trump's attorney and adviser, who the president had assigned to take the lead in persuading the Ukrainian government to open an investigation into his political rival former vice-president Joe Biden and his son Hunter. "Why would President Zelensky's inner circle or Minister Avakov or all these people or President Poroshenko meet with me?" he said.

"This is an example of all of the president's henchmen, and I hope that the senators do not become part of the president's henchmen", Pelosi said.

Mr. Giuliani has been public about his hunt for damaging information about Democrats, and the indictment gives a more complete picture about how he seems to have subcontracted part of the work to Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman, two of his longtime associates.