The same day that the articles of impeachment of Donald Trump were delivered to the U.S. Senate, Lev Parnas—an associate of Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani—went public with his insider’s knowledge of the scheme to pressure Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden. “Everyone was in the loop,” Parnas declared: the president, from whom Giuliani’s orders came, along with Vice President Mike Pence, Attorney General William Barr, and others in Trump’s close orbit. Parnas’s allegations, supported by a trove of text messages and other documents he had shared with several House committees, triggered new calls for witnesses and the introduction of new evidence at Trump’s trial.
The text messages also included unsettling exchanges from last spring between Parnas and a Republican congressional candidate from Connecticut named Stephen Hyde. The two seem to have been discussing active surveillance of Marie Yovonovitch, then America’s ambassador to Ukraine, whom Giuliani said he needed “out of the way” in order to carry out Trump’s orders. Hyde appears to be relaying information about her whereabouts, movements, and computer activity, at one point referring to her as “this bitch.” It was around that time the State Department urged Yovonavitch to leave Ukraine for her own safety.