Speed Reads

parnas talks

Lev Parnas denies tracking Marie Yovanovitch in Kyiv, says she was never 'in danger'

Lev Parnas, the indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani, is trying to distance himself from Robert Hyde, a Republican candidate for Congress in Connecticut and "weird character."

"He's a weird individual," Parnas reiterated to MSNBC's Rachel Maddow during an interview Wednesday. On Tuesday, new evidence Parnas had turned over to House impeachment investigators was made public, including text messages between Parnas and Hyde. They appeared to show the men were tracking former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch's movements in Kyiv, noting when she was at her computer and the status of her security situation.

A former federal prosecutor on Tuesday tweeted it sounded like they were plotting "a mob hit" against Yovanovitch, but Parnas scoffed at the idea that Yovanovitch was under surveillance. He claimed he never worried she was "in danger," because Hyde was "drunk all the time." Parnas met Hyde at a Trump hotel bar, where he was "a fixture," and he said he "didn't take him seriously. I didn't even respond to him most of the time."

Parnas was part of the smear campaign to get Yovanovitch removed from her post, and he told Maddow he badmouthed her to Trump, claiming she was saying nasty things about him. "I don't believe it, and that's why I want to apologize for it," he said. Parnas also alleged the only reason why he and Giuliani wanted Yovanovitch fired was because she opposed the effort to get Ukraine to announce an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. "That was the only motivation," he said. "There was no other motivation." Catherine Garcia