Republican congressional candidate Robert Hyde, whose messages with Lev Parnas about surveilling a U.S. ambassador have now prompted a State Department inquiry, claims an ‘intel’ source provided him information he passed on to the Rudy Giuliani associate.
Hyde, who earlier said he was drinking when he exchanged messages with former Giuliani sidekick Parnas, made the claim in a video message he posted online, diminishing the information as ‘just copy and paste bull****.’
But even as he defended his conduct and blasted Donald Trump critics, he appeared to acknowledge an additional batch of text messages that relate to the alleged stalking and surveillance of fired U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch – a target of Giuliani and his allies.
Republican congressional candidate Robert Hyde put out a video where he said a source provided him ‘intel’ on former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, but denied impropriety and blasted Democrats
That disclosure comes just days after online revelations about the close physical monitoring of Yovanovitch. Parnas, who has been indicted on campaign finance charges, has since come forward to apologize for his role in smearing Yovanovitch, while brushing off claims the surveillance was real.
Hyde in his video also furnished the name of a person who does not appear in public records as the source of the information he passed on to Parnas. He said he personally had never been to Ukraine.
‘Anthony De Caluwe, go look into him, my other side of my text messages,’ he said in the video, where he gesticulated while seated on a plush brown couch.
‘And why don’t you ask them guys. Because it was just copy and paste bulls*** that from some intel guy probably that was f***ing with me. Trying to set Trump up. And I’m sure if I disappeared or died or they gag-ordered me, they were going to use me as a smoking gun. Some bulls*** like I have these Ukrainian ties,’ he said.
Hyde’s pushback came on a day when the Judiciary Committee released new documents that showed him texting with a phone number from Belgium. Hyde sent the number a screenshot photo of Yovanovitch, CNN reported. The number responded: ‘My contacts are checking’ and ‘I will give you the address next week.’
Parnas then replied: ‘Awesome.’
DailyMail.com was unable to make contact with the only Anthony De Caluwe who showed up in a records search, and has not obtained any information to confirm a person by that name was surveilling the former ambassador.
Hyde, who is a Connecticut congressional candidate and has donated to Trump and been photographed golfing with him, repeatedly attacked Rep. Adam Schiff, the House Intelligence Committee chairman and impeachment manager who is bringing two impeachment articles against him in the Senate.
‘Who was I talking to that was providing me this intel?’: Hyde made the comments in a pugnacious video
Hyde previously brushed off the messages with Parnas by saying he was drinking when he wrote them
‘Adam Schiff is a horrible person. Do the math. I’m Rob Hyde. That guy’s been nothing but a piece of Schiff forever,’ he said, using a Trump quip.
‘Ask him for the other side of my text messages since he likes to provide and spy on Americans … Who was I talking to that was providing me this intel? Ask him. Come on Adam Schiff!’
He continued: ‘Who was providing me that intel of me and the Ukraine spying on Marie Yavonovitch. Please. Who? You’re a scumbag Adam Schiff. The world knows it. And the world’s going to figure it out. You’re nothing but a piece of Schiff.’
‘Adam Schiff put out the other transcripts for the guy I was talking to that I think Adam Schiff put there to f*** with me. So why doesn’t everybody look at Anthony De Caluwe or whatever the heck his name is. Works for government departments – whatever he is,’ Hyde rants in the video. ‘Because honestly, I have no ties to Ukraine. I don’t even know if Lev’s Ukrainian, but he’s probably the only one I know. Or knew. And I urge everybody to look into Adam Schiff and ask him for the other side of those transcripts, those text messages from WhatsApp. And ask Adam Schiff to provide them.’
Schiff’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
Hyde’s confirmation of receiving the information comes days after Parnas brushed off the disclosure following reports it could be evidence of a crime or even an intent to harm the ambassador.
Parnas told MSNBC Hyde was ‘drunk all the time’ and he didn’t take the information seriously.
Federal authorities are finally showing interest in the material, however, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the information will be investigated, and members of the FBI visited Hyde’s Connecticut home on Thursday.
Hyde, who has posted pictures of himself at the White House bowling alley and at a Trump golf property, said he was just trying to get into a lobbying career.
‘Who I was talking to. Are you kidding? Like I have anybody over in the Ukraine. Are you serious? I’m a landscaper from Simsbury, Connecticut that’s trying to get into the government relations, public relations world, lobbying world, whatever you want to call it,’ he said.
Hyde further tamped down the alleged surveillance by saying he was far afield when he sent the messages, blasting Democrats for putting out information ‘between Parnas and I while we were effing around and I was down in Ecuador I believe climbing volcanoes.’
In other texts, he attacks Parnas as a ‘known con man’ and calls himself an ‘Honorable Marine.’
Pompeo on Friday finally called for an internal probe after the release of the bombshell texts that appeared to show Rudy Giuliani associates surveilling Yovanovitch.
The State Department had been silent for three days after the release by the House Intelligence Committee of messages to and from Parnas. Some of the messages show detailed information about the location and movements of Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, who had come under harsh criticism by Giuliani and his team who branded her as anti-Trump.
‘We will do everything we need to do to evaluate whether there was something that took place there,’ Pompeo said.
‘We will do everything we need to do,’ said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, for the first time saying the alleged surveillance of Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch would be investigated
Parnas and his lawyer have furnished a series of photo of him with top Republican officials and Trump allies, including Mike Pence and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy
Hyde published multiple photos of himself with President Trump at events
‘They will let me know when she’s on the move’: Hyde said he was ‘down in Ecuador I believe climbing volcanoes’ at the time of the messages
One cryptic series of texts from Hyde mentioned Yovanovitch security and asked ‘what I would like to do and what is in it for them’
But he also shared doubts at the get-go about the nature of what had occurred.
‘I suspect that much of what’s been reported will ultimately prove wrong,’ he said.
Pompeo on Friday broke nearly 72 hours of silence on the subject, saying he an obligation to evaluate and investigate the matter relating to an American posted overseas and placed under protection of U.S. diplomatic security.
In interviews with conservative radio hosts, Pompeo said he had no knowledge of the allegations until earlier this week when congressional Democrats released documents from an associate of President Donald Trump’s personal attorney suggesting that Marie Yovanovitch was being watched. He also said he did not know and had never met Lev Parnas, the associate of Rudy Giuliani who made the claims.
Pompeo, who was traveling in California when the documents were released, had been harshly criticized by lawmakers and current and former diplomats for not addressing the matter. The documents provided by Parnas suggested there may have been a threat to Yovanovitch shortly before she was abruptly recalled last spring.
Indicted Giuliani associate Lev Parnas turned over WhatsApp messages and other information to House investigators
Hyde says ‘F*** that b****’ in relation to former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch
The messages from Parnas came to light on the eve of Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial
Parnas has been speaking publicly about his work along with Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine matters
‘We will do everything we need to do to evaluate whether there was something that took place there,’ he said in a radio interview with Tony Katz, an Indianapolis-based broadcaster. ‘I suspect that much of what´s been reported will ultimately prove wrong, but our obligation, my obligation as secretary of state, is to make sure that we evaluate, investigate. Any time there is someone who posits that there may have been a risk to one of our officers, we´ll obviously do that.’
‘It is always the case at the Department of State that we do everything we can to ensure that our officers, not only our ambassadors but our entire team, has the security level that´s appropriate,’ Pompeo said.
‘We do our best to make sure that no harm will come to anyone, whether that was what was going on in our embassy in Baghdad last week or the work that was going on in Kyiv up and through the spring of last year when Ambassador Yovanovitch was there, and in our embassy in Kyiv even today,’ he said.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo briefs reporters about additional sanctions placed on Iran, at the White House, Friday, Jan. 10, 2019, in Washington with and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
Pompeo made similar but less specific comments to conservative commentator Hugh Hewitt.
Until he spoke, the State Department had declined repeated requests to offer any public defense of Yovanovitch, drawing fire from many.
The allegations, if true, are central to the impeachment inquiry into Trump, who faces a charge that he abused his presidential power by pressuring Ukraine to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden, using military aid to the country as leverage. Trump says the inquiry is a ‘hoax.’
At the time, Trump´s allies were trying to have Yovanovitch, who was seen as a roadblock to a Biden investigation, removed from her post. She was recalled in late May ahead of the end of her tour.
Yovanovitch returned to Washington after being told in a late-night phone call to get on the next plane home for her own safety by the director general of the Foreign Service, according to witness testimony in the impeachment inquiry. The nature of any possible threat was not specified and remains unclear, although the Parnas documents suggest the surveillance was a prelude to some kind of action.
Robert Hyde, the Republican congressional candidate who exchanged text messages with Lev Parnas about the physical movements of Yovanovitch, claims he was drinking when he wrote about surveillance of her.
‘For them to take some texts my buddy’s and I wrote back to some dweeb we were playing with that we met a few times while we had a few drinks is definitely laughable. Schiff is a desperate turd playing with this Lev guy,’ he wrote.
Many of the texts provide information about Yovanovitch’s security package not long before she was suddenly removed from her post.
‘She under heavy protection outside Kiev,’ Hyde wrote in one.
Two days later, he wrote: ‘They are moving her tomorrow.’ Then he added: ‘The guys over there asked me what I would like to do and what is in it for them.’
‘Private security. Been there since Thursday,’ he wrote in another message. ‘They will let me know when she’s on the move.’
‘They are willing to help if we/you would like a price,’ Hyde added in another message that day.
‘Guess you can do anything in the Ukraine with money … what I was told,’ he wrote.
‘Can’t believe Trump hasn’t fired this b****’ Hyde says writes at one point.
Yovanovitch’s lawyer had demanded an investigation after the texts came out.