On Tuesday, the House released new evidence provided by Lev Parnas, an associate of Rudy Giuliani, which include disturbing text messages that suggest former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch’s movements were being tracked in March 2019 — at the same time that Giuliani was in contact with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, as revealed in records obtained by American Oversight.
We lined up the newly released Parnas messages with the records we obtained from the State Department as well as other records and reports. The timeline is troubling.
In the spring of 2019, Giuliani and his allies had been unleashing a smear campaign against Yovanovitch. The newly released records include a number of WhatsApp messages from late March in which Parnas shared anti-Yovanovitch articles via WhatsApp with Robert Hyde, a Trump donor who was apparently assisting Parnas in Ukraine. On March 23, Hyde responded that he couldn’t believe President Donald Trump had not yet fired Yovanovitch and that “She under heavy protection outside Kiev.”
The next day, around noon EDT, Donald Trump Jr. tweeted about Yovanovitch, saying the U.S. needed “less of these jokers as ambassadors” and linking to an article about calls for her removal. About 20 minutes later (4:34 p.m. UTC), Parnas sends Hyde the same article that the president’s son tweeted.
The Associated Press reported that on this day, Giuliani and Parnas met at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., with Healy E. Baumgardner, a former Trump campaign adviser who had also previously worked for Giuliani’s presidential campaign.
Parnas posted on Instagram from the Trump International Hotel, where he was with Giuliani for a dinner celebrating the release of the Mueller report summary.
At that same time, Hyde messaged Parnas (around 2 a.m. the next day Ukraine time) suggesting he had Yovanovitch under surveillance. The series of messages include the following texts:
- “She’s talked to three people. Her phone is off. Computer is off.”
- “They are willing to help if we/you would like a price”
- “Guess you can do anything in the Ukraine with money… what I was told”
The next morning in Washington, about 14 hours later, call logs obtained by American Oversight show Giuliani spoke with Pompeo.
That afternoon, conservative commentator John Solomon emailed Parnas and Trump attorneys Victoria Toensing and Joseph diGenova an article advancing a Soros-related conspiracy theory about the 2016 election. Solomon had interviewed a former Ukrainian prosecutor who accused Yovanovitch of having given him a do-not-prosecute list of investigations into corruption. (Those allegations have been proved false.)
That night, Giuliani appeared on Laura Ingraham’s show on Fox News.
Just after midnight Ukraine time, Hyde again messaged Parnas about Yovanovitch, saying that his “contacts are asking what is the next step.” “If you want her out, they need to make contact with security forces. … From Ukrainians.” Parnas’s message a couple of hours later — “Call you soon in studio” — suggests that Parnas was with Giuliani during the Ingraham show.
At 11:28 a.m. EDT, Giuliani’s assistant contacted Trump’s Oval Office secretary, Madeleine Westerhout, asking for help getting in touch with Pompeo. “I’ve been trying and getting nowhere through regular channels.”
Later that night, Hyde messaged Parnas about Yovanovitch again: “Nothing has changed she is still not moving.” “It’s confirmed we have a person inside.”
The next morning, before 9:30 a.m. EDT, Giuliani called the State Department to set up a call with Pompeo. According to emails we obtained, the call was scheduled for the next day.
According to news reports, March 28 was also the day Giuliani delivered the “packet” he had compiled about Yovanovitch — including the email Solomon had sent to Parnas two days earlier.
At 3 a.m. Ukraine time, Hyde messaged Parnas, saying, “She had visitors” and, again, “It’s confirmed we have a person inside.”
Just under 12 hours later, at 8:14 a.m. EDT, State Department call logs show that Giuliani spoke on the phone with Pompeo for several minutes.
This gets more concerning when you consider the records and reports of contacts with Rep. Devin Nunes, the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, regarding investigations of the Bidens. According to CNBC, Nunes’ staff was in contact with Parnas and Ukrainian officials in “late March.” Pompeo’s call schedule, which we obtained through our FOIA lawsuit, shows a call with Nunes scheduled for April 1 — listed immediately after the March 29 call with Giuliani.
In March, Nunes’s staff scrapped a trip to Ukraine to interview former government officials who claimed they had information helpful to Trump’s re-election campaign. However, Nunes aide Derek Harvey represented the congressman in multiple late March 2019 calls with Parnas and Ukrainian government officials Konstantin Kulik and Nazar Kholodnytsky.
All of this calls into question Pompeo’s knowledge of the events unfolding in Kyiv and the eventual ouster of Ambassador Yovanovitch. The State Department documents American Oversight obtained in November also showed that the administration had misled members of Congress about Yovanovitch’s removal, telling them she had been “due to complete her three-year diplomatic assignment.” Documents we received this month in that same lawsuit show that the State Department instructed Yovanovitch’s lawyer to stop her from testifying in the House’s impeachment inquiry. You can see all the records we have obtained in our Ukraine-related lawsuits here.