Democrats in the US House of Representatives have released a trove of documents they obtained from a close associate of President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, which they plan to send to the Senate as part of their case to remove the Republican president from office.
House Democrats unveiled the new evidence Tuesday which they obtained from Lev Parnas, an associate of Giuliani who allegedly aided him with his search in Ukraine for detrimental information on Trump’s political opponents. The documents, obtained as part of Trump’s impeachment investigation, show Parnas communicating with Giuliani before the removal of Marie Yovanovitch, who was the US ambassador to Ukraine. A man named Robert Hyde disparaged Yovanovitch in messages to Parnas and gave him updates on her location and cell phone use, raising questions about possible surveillance.
Democrats released the documents Tuesday as they prepared to send articles of impeachment to the Senate for Trump’s trial. The files add new evidence to their accusations that Trump abused his power by withholding $391 million in US security aid to Ukraine as leverage to pressure Kiev to conduct an investigation that would benefit him politically.
Parnas was in frequent communication with Giuliani and with Ukrainian officials, the messages show. He appeared to be pushing unsubstantiated allegations that Democrat Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, were somehow engaged in corruption in Ukraine. The documents — including phone records, texts and flash drives turned over by Parnas — were sent to the House Judiciary Committee by three other House panels “to be included as part of the official record that will be transmitted to the Senate along with the Articles of Impeachment,” according to a statement. Parnas, a US citizen who emigrated from Ukraine, was indicted last year on charges of conspiracy, making false statements and falsification of records. His business partner, Igor Fruman, who is also US citizen born in Belarus, was indicted on the same charges.
Prosecutors allege they made outsize campaign donations to Republican causes after receiving millions of dollars originating from Russia. The men have pleaded not guilty. House Democrats launched an impeachment inquiry against Trump in September after the unknown whistle-blower alleged the Republican president pressured his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate former Biden and his son, who had served as a director for Ukrainian energy company Burisma.