Connecticut Republican congressional candidate Robert F. Hyde responded Wednesday to emerging accusations that he ran a surveillance/stalking operation against former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch prior to her removal from office last year.
According to documents unveiled by House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff this week, last year Hyde exchanged text messages with Lev Parnas, the indicted former associate of President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.
In those text messages, which Parnas reportedly shared directly with Schiff, Hyde suggested that he had associates who were tracking Yovanovitch’s movements to a T.
Speaking with Sinclair TV host Eric Bolling on Wednesday, he admitted to having exchanged the text messages with Parnas but claimed he’d been “playing.”
“You meet a bunch of these characters when you’re out there in the fundraising, at events supporting candidates,” he said. “We sent some colorful texts, you know, we had a few pops way back when I used to drink. Kind of unfortunate that the left had to get their panties in a bunch.”
Bolling pushed back, saying, “This is Lev Parnas, who was a close friend of Rudy Giuliani, sharing a text of you saying ‘we have a person inside.’ What do you want to say to Lev Parnas?”
Hyde responded by doubling down on the “playing” claim.
“I mean, those are pretty heavy accusations. I mean, it was just colorful. We were playing; I thought we were playing. I didn’t know he was so serious,” he said.
The actual text messages seem to be anything but un-serious:
Um holy sh*t. This certainly makes it sound like Parnas and co. were actively tracking Yovanovitch’s movements. This could explain why Yovanovitch was moved out of Ukraine so quickly. https://t.co/4rBRB06ZGN pic.twitter.com/5Gc8WcGPih
— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) January 14, 2020
However, during an interview Wednesday evening with MSNBC conspiracy theorist Rachel Maddow, Parnas admitted that Hyde used to be “drunk all the time” and dismissed his texts.
“I think he was drunk, or he was trying to make himself bigger than it was,” Parnas said while referring to the damning texts.
“I didn’t take it seriously,” he added.
Dovetailing back to Bolling’s interview with Hyde …
“Did you have eyes on Marie Yovanovitch?” the host then asked, cutting straight to the chase.
“Absolutely not — are you kidding me!?” Hyde shouted back. “I’m a little landscaper from f—–g Connecticut. … Come on. You know me, Eric. … I believe I was in Ecuador while we were Whats Apping one another. … I’d like to see the full texts come out because there was some real colorful stuff said by Parnas.”
But when asked to cite examples, he refused to provide any. Instead, he asked why Democrats care more about his text messages than they do about the opioid crisis or the protests in Iran.
“I mean, the Democrats have literally taken us anything to be offended by anything rather than make America great again,” he said.
Growing frustrated by Hyde’s lack of legitimate answers, Bolling then asked where Parnas is getting these allegations from if they’re false.
“I’m not Lev — I barely know the guy,” Hyde responded. “Honestly … I was told a long time ago who Lev was by a lot of people down in communities throughout this country would pull me aside, have meetings with me and tell me ‘just stay away from the guy.”
“Honestly, I was never a close associate of Lev Parnas. Did we have a lot of laughs and joke a little bit? Of course. But to try to throw me under a bus somehow for joking around on Whats App.”
He then posited a bizarre conspiracy theory suggesting that Schiff abuses little children …
“I would love to see Adam Schiff’s What’s App texts. Are you kidding me? Staying at a hotel? Does he have something going on with some kid out there or something?” he said.
While it still remains unknown whether he did ever run a surveillance operation against Yovanovitch, it’s not clear how any of this is remotely relevant to the president’s impeachment and upcoming trial.
Parnas has for his part claimed that the president was aware of everything he and his associates had been doing in Ukraine. But given that he’s a criminal suspect who was indicted for planning to direct funds from a foreign government “to U.S. politicians while trying to influence U.S.-Ukraine relations,” there appears to be little reason to trust him.
In many respects, he seems as shady of a character as the president’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen. Much like with Parnas, Democrats pinned their hopes on Cohen, praying and hoping his testimony would bring down the president vis-a-vis the now-debunked Russian collusion delusion conspiracy theory and hoax. But it didn’t.
The only real relevance that might exist between Hyde’s bizarre tweets and statements are photos of him allegedly with the president, as well as figures linked to him, including his children and Fox News host Ed Henry:
Donald Trump Jr. and Robert Hyde. pic.twitter.com/I5WP2one3P
— David Mullins (@davidmullins) January 14, 2020
Eric Trump has no idea who Robert Hyde is: pic.twitter.com/cTAYcmnHlh
— Operative_X (@OperativeXRay) January 16, 2020
Hi @realDonaldTrump ?
Wow—so many great pics of you and Lev Parnas’s co-conspirator, Robert Hyde, who helped Rudy take down the US ambassador and concoct the fake Biden story you wanted so badly.
Seems like you guys had some fun times.
— MCBizzo (@realMCBizzo) January 15, 2020
Why don’t you worry about your own associations, Kiev McCarthy. What did you know about your friend Robert Hyde’s activities of stalking/plotting against a US Ambassador? #ParnasDocs pic.twitter.com/Fyvs4TNcg7
— Saledort (@saledort) January 15, 2020
— HYDE for U.S. Congress (@rfhyde1) January 5, 2020
But again, this appears to prove nothing. For if pictures alone were evidence of something nefarious, then Schiff would have a whole lot of explaining to do himself.
Case in point:
How’s your bff Ed Buck? pic.twitter.com/NObSRv1ivD
— AJ (@SBSportsDiva) January 13, 2020
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