Ukraine launches probe into alleged surveillance of ex USA envoy

Cheryl Sanders
January 17, 2020

The day after Parnas said he delivered the message, the US State Department announced that Vice President Mike Pence would no longer be attending Volodymyr Zelenskyy's inauguration.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters that he hasn't ruled out seeking Parnas as a witness in the impeachment trial of Trump.

"I don't know anything about the letter, but certainly Rudy is one of the great crimefighters in the history of our country", Trump said.

The probe into the possible monitoring of former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch follows the release of records from US House committees that suggest that Lev Parnas, an indicted associate of the former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the US president's attorney, was keeping tabs on the diplomat's whereabouts when she was stationed in Ukraine.

"It was just colorful, we were playing - I thought we were playing", Mr. Hyde said.

Parnas said every communication he had with Zelenskyy's team was at the direction of Giuliani, whom he regularly overheard briefing Trump about their progress by phone.

Parnas claimed on MSNBC that Trump is lying about not knowing him and that while he wouldn't consider them "friends", he and the president interacted on numerous occasions at roundtables and fundraising events. "They are moving her tomorrow".

Former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, November 15, 2019, during the second public impeachment hearing of US President Donald Trump's efforts to tie aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents.

Parnas said he was often with Giuliani four or five times a week and regularly overheard him talking on the phone with Trump.

Messages exchanged between Parnas and Republican congressional candidate Robert Hyde suggest Hyde was communicating with people in Ukraine who were closely watching Yovanovitch's movements.

At the time, Trump's allies were trying to have Yovanovitch, who was seen as a roadblock to a Biden investigation, removed from her post. "I can only tell you this thing is a big hoax".

"We will do everything we need to do to evaluate whether there was something that took place there", he said in a radio interview with Tony Katz, an Indianapolis-based broadcaster.

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