As the Congress inched closer to the start of a Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, new evidence emerged on Tuesday night related to actions in Ukraine by the President's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, including electronic messages which seemingly involved people tracking the movements of the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine who was the target of allies of the President.
The materials released by the House Intelligence Committee came from Lev Parnas, a business associated of Giuliani who was arrested on October 9, 2019, just before he was to board a flight to Austria. Parnas was later charged with illegally funneling foreign money into U.S. election campaigns.
Along with text messages, the Parnas information included handwritten items on notepads from the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Vienna, which seemingly were related to the genesis of the Ukraine investigation involving President Trump's May 25 phone call with the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky.
"Get Zalensky to announce that the Biden case will be investigated," one note says.
Also included in the release was a letter from Giuliani to Zelensky.
In the letter, Giuliani says he is the 'private counsel' for President Trump, and asks for a half-hour to meet with the Ukraine leader, but does not reveal the subject matter.
That letter was dated 15 days before President Trump's 'perfect' call with the leader of Ukraine, where Mr. Trump asked Zelensky to look into "the Bidens."
The materials made public on Tuesday also included electronic messages involving Robert Hyde, a GOP candidate for Congress in Connecticut, who seemed to have been involved in some type of surveillance and tracking of then-Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch.
Yovanovitch was the target of what she later described as a 'smear campaign' started by Giuliani, which ultimately led to her ouster as Ambassador.
In the newly-released messages from late March of 2019 - just as a media campaign against Yovanovitch was underway - Hyde said he was surprised the President "hasn't fired this bitch."
Over the next few days, Hyde messages that Yovanovitch is 'next to the embassy,' "Not in the embassy," and seemingly gives detailed updates on what the Ambassador has been doing.
"She's talked to three people. Her phone is off. Computer is off," one message from March 25, 2019 reads.
"They will let me know when she's on the move," another message reads, not indicating who the "They" is.
Among the evidence just produced by the House Intelligence Committee - a note from Parnas saying "get Zalensky to Annonce that the Biden case will be investigated" pic.twitter.com/nswPgc1kmF— Nicholas Wu (@nicholaswu12) January 14, 2020
With the consent of federal prosecutors in New York, the attorney for Lev Parnas said the information had been shared with the House Intelligence Committee, which then forwarded the materials to the House Judiciary Committee.
The notes quickly attracted the attention of Democrats.
Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) said on Twitter, “these notes are legitimately insane and damning and hard to fathom.”