On Tuesday afternoon, a flurry of stunning new documents related to the impeachment inquiry were released to the media.
They appear to detail the president’s possible involvement in a plot to threaten and intimidate the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Maria Yovanovich, in order to clear the way for Rudy Giuliani and his cronies to set up contrived investigations of Joe Biden and his family to use as a political weapon in 2020.
We already knew that the president’s consigliere Rudy Giuliani and his henchmen, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, had spearheaded the successful campaign to smear and ultimately remove Maria Yovanovich from her post as Ambassador to Ukraine because she was obstructing his efforts to arrange investigations into Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
Newly released text messages between Lev Parnas and Connecticut Republican House candidate Robert F. Hyde appear to show them discussing the surveillance of Yovanovich while she was still in Ukraine and an ominous offer to “help” for a “price” because “guess you can do anything in Ukraine with money… what I was told.”
Newly released Lev Parnas texts show Robert F. Hyde, GOP congressional candidate in Connecticut, claiming to be surveilling Marie Yovanovitch, then US ambassador to Ukraine https://t.co/VkI9nrRbJj pic.twitter.com/fzUHhGB36x
— Jon Swaine (@jonswaine) January 14, 2020
Parnas responded: “LOL.” Yovanovich would later be mysteriously told by who she believed to be the White House to get on the next plane home out of concern for her own safety.
Texts from Giuliani cronies, just released by House, are incredibly disturbing.
One text discusses unsavory characters in Ukraine willing to "help" with Yovanovitch for "a price"
A few weeks later Yovanovitch was told to leave immediately over concerns about her safety pic.twitter.com/kh00CMXFW0
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) January 14, 2020
Even more disturbingly, the President himself ominously bragged to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenksy on one of their infamous calls that Yovanovich was going to be “going through some things” — which suggests that he knew about the plans to intimidate or at least publicly smear her himself.
This is absolutely nuts. Was Trump part of a conspiracy to do harm to a US ambassador? https://t.co/dRWOZkpvMj
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 14, 2020
Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman were arrested trying to sneak out of the country last October and charged with felony campaign finance violations over a $325,000 payment to a pro-Trump Super PAC and for working with a Ukrainian politician to influence U.S. politics. That money is suspected to be part of a seven-figure ad campaign made on behalf of Texas Republican Rep. Pete Sessions in return for his leading the Yovanovich recall efforts in Congress.
After Trump publicly disavowed Lev Parnas and claimed that he didn’t “know him” despite being in multiple pictures with him, Parnas decided he would be better off cooperating with federal authorities. He is doing so with surprising and surreal enthusiasm, even having his lawyer post these deeply weird music videos that appear to show him taunting the president about his testimony.
— Joseph A. Bondy (@josephabondy) January 14, 2020
After these explosive revelations, it is clear that there is still much more to this story that needs to be told — but if anything carries enough gravity to convince Republicans in the Senate to allow more witnesses to come forward, the possibility of a threat on the life of a U.S. ambassador by minions linked to the President should do it.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.