U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes, D-5, condemned the actions of her challenger Republican Robert Hyde who appears to have aided businessman Lev Parnas in surveilling the former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine in an attempt to help President Donald Trump and his associates.
“I am working my way through all of the documents in real time, just as you are,” Hayes said Wednesday morning. “What I have seen so far is deeply disturbing, to say the least. I cannot believe this is coming from my own district. This does not represent who we are and is definitely not reflective of CT-05.”
Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. Ambassador who was abruptly removed from her post in May 2019, has called for an investigation into whether Hyde and Parnas surveilled her.
Hyde’s cooperation with Parnas was revealed in text messages that Parnas handed over to Congress after lawmakers subpoenaed him. The messages were part of a larger document trove made public by House Democrats Tuesday night as part of their impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump.
Hyde’s relationship with Parnas, as well as Parnas’s associate Igor Fruman and the president’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, was first revealed by Hearst Connecticut Media in November, after Hyde texted pictures of himself with the men to the reporter.
On Twitter, Tuesday night Hyde denied that he was involved in a serious plot.
“How low can liddle Adam Bull Schiff go?,” Hyde wrote, referring to the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff, D-Calif.
“I was never in Kiev. 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,” Hyde wrote. “Schiff is a desperate turd playing with this Lev guy.”
Joseph Bondy, a lawyer for Parnas, denied that Parnas was involved in an effort to track or harm Yovanovitch.
“We completely categorically deny that Lev was involved in any activities with Hyde to surveil the ambassador and try to harm the ambassador,” Bondy said. “We believe Mr Hyde’s activities to be a reflection on his dubious mental state."
Lawrence S. Robbins, Yovanovitch's attorney, asked for an investigation into what happened.
"Needless to say, the notion that American citizens and others were monitoring Ambassador Yovanovitch's movements for unknown purposes is disturbing," he said in a statement.
Hyde did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday or Wednesday.
U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, D-5, a member of the House Intelligence Committee that lead the House impeachment effort, said the documents published Tuesday show why it’s critical for lawmakers to get more documents and witness testimony from the administration.
“Can you imagine what we might learn if we weren’t dealing with clowns and fringy characters but actually seeing the emails that exist at State, that exist at the White House that give us a full picture?” Himes said. “Did the State Department know that Ambassador Yovanovitch was getting surveilled?”
Trump has denied that he was involved in a complex scheme to obtain investigations from Ukraine that would harm one of his 2020 political opponents. That scheme has been investigated by House Democrats since September as part of the impeachment inquiry.
House Democrats approved two articles of impeachment against Trump. They are expected to vote to transmit those articles to the Senate on Wednesday.