Despite a number of potentially damning allegations against Rudy Giuliani and President Donald Trump, Lev Parnas threw cold water on texts from Robert Hyde suggesting former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was under surveillance.
“No, I didn’t believe Mr. Hyde, no,” Parnas told MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” about messages showing Hyde, a Trump donor, disparaging Yovanovitch and giving him updates on her location and cellphone use.
“He’s a weird character; he’s a weird individual,” Parnas added, claiming Hyde was frequently drunk at the Trump hotel bar and a loose cannon.
Parnas received messages from Hyde, who referred to Yovanovitch as a “b***h.” Hyde is now running for a U.S. House seat in Connecticut.
After texting about the ambassador, Hyde gave Parnas detailed updates that suggested he was watching her. In one text, Hyde wrote: “She’s talked to three people. Her phone is off. Her computer is off.” He said she was under heavy security and “we have a person inside.”
Hyde at one point texted Parnas ”they are willing to help if we/you would like a price,” and “guess you can do anything in Ukraine with money . . . is what I was told.”
Parnas texted back: “lol.”
“I don’t believe it’s true,” he told Maddow of Hyde’s texts. “He was either drunk or trying to make himself bigger than he was, so I didn’t take it seriously, and if you see, I didn’t respond most of the time. If I did it was something look, ‘lol, OK, or great.’
“I didn’t want him to get rowdy if I saw him the next time, why didn’t you text? Eventually I cut him off. I got disturbed, like, this is crazy.”
In an interview with The Associated Press, another committee chairman, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, said the texts are “deeply disturbing” and certainly suggesty surveillance.
“What’s most disturbing about these texts is that they seem to suggest that there’s somebody inside the embassy who’s supplying information to Parnas and Hyde about the movement of the ambassador,” Schiff said. “So it raises a whole host of troubling questions,” he said, about how far the president and Giuliani were willing to go.
Lawrence Robbins, an attorney for Yovanovitch, called for an investigation into the messages: “Needless to say, the notion that American citizens and others were monitoring Ambassador Yovanovitch’s movements for unknown purposes is disturbing. We trust that the appropriate authorities will conduct an investigation to determine what happened.”
On Twitter, Hyde dismissed the claims as “laughable” and appeared to try to distance himself from Parnas. He said he would “welcome” an investigation.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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