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Ukraine looks into impeachment-related evidence

by Harvest Prude
Posted 1/16/20, 11:58 am

WASHINGTON—Ukraine is opening a criminal investigation into whether a U.S. politician conducted illegal surveillance of former U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch. The U.S. House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday released the information it received from Lev Parnas, an associate of President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

What does the evidence show? Text messages between Parnas and Robert Hyde, a Republican congressional candidate from Connecticut, suggest Hyde monitored Yovanovitch’s movements while she was in Kyiv, Ukraine. “She’s talked to three people. Her phone is off. Her computer is off,” one text from Hyde read. Hyde said Wednesday he was just playing in the messages. Yovanovitch was removed as ambassador to Ukraine last summer and testified in the impeachment inquiry into Trump. Parnas and his partner Igor Fruman were indicted earlier this year on conspiracy charges for providing illicit campaign donations. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said the Trump administration was “not too concerned” about Parnas’ allegations because the criminal charges against him prove he lacks credibility.

Will the revelations come up in the impeachment trial? Democrats said the House impeachment managers will provide the text messages as evidence and may use them to pressure Republicans to call witnesses. The trial kicked off Thursday with the managers reading the articles of impeachment before the assembled Senate. U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts is being sworn in to preside over the trial. He will then swear in the lawmakers as jurors. After that, lawmakers will recess until Tuesday, Jan. 21, when the trial will begin in earnest.

Dig deeper: Read the evidence from Parnas on the House Intelligence Committee’s website. Also, check out a statement issued Thursday by the U.S. Government Accountability Office declaring the Trump administration broke the law by delaying military aid to Ukraine last summer “for policy reasons.” The White House says the decision was within its authority.

Editor’s note: WORLD has updated this report to include the statement from the GAO.

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Harvest Prude

Harvest is a political reporter for WORLD's Washington Bureau. She is a World Journalism Institute and Patrick Henry College graduate. Harvest resides in Washington, D.C. Follow her on Twitter @HarvestPrude.

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