Published: Wed, January 15, 2020
Global News | By Blake Casey

House committees release new texts for use in upcoming impeachment trial

House committees release new texts for use in upcoming impeachment trial

Democrats in the US House of Representatives said they would include new evidence when they send formal impeachment charges against President Donald Trump to the Senate on Wednesday, seeking to expand the scope of a trial that will dominate Washington for the next several weeks.

Parnas and his business partner, Igor Fruman, both USA citizens who emigrated from the former Soviet bloc, were indicted previous year on charges of conspiracy, making false statements and falsification of records. On the day before, The New York Times reported Giuliani planned to travel to Ukraine to try to dig up dirt against former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who sat on the board of a Ukrainian gas company. Yovanovitch testified in the House impeachment hearings that she was the victim of a "smear campaign".

Judging by the flurry of tweets and filings this weekend, however, ongoing discovery in the case may continue to serve as a pipeline for evidence from the Manhattan U.S. attorney's office, through Parnas, and onwards to the House.

They also include text messages between Parnas and others, including Giuliani, about efforts to oust then U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

A man named Robert F Hyde disparaged Yovanovitch in messages to Parnas and gave him updates on her location and mobile phone use, raising questions about possible surveillance. Hyde is now running for a U.S. House seat in CT. In one text, Hyde wrote: "She's talked to three people. Her computer is off". On July 7, he texted Giuliani to say he was traveling to Vienna and "trying to get us mr Z".

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Lawrence Robbins, an attorney for Yovanovitch, called for an investigation into the messages.

The text messages also show that Parnas consulted Giuliani in January 2019 after the US denied issuing a visa for former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin.

White House counsel Pat Cipollone and outside lawyer Jay Sekulow are expected to lead the President's defense on the Senate floor, but are also expected to be joined by additional lawyers as the trial goes on, sources said.

Trump became only the third USA president to be impeached when the House last month approved charges that he abused the powers of his office and obstructed Congress in its investigation into his conduct.

Republicans mocked Pelosi for the delay, saying it undercut her argument that Congress needed to impeach Trump because he was inviting foreign interference in the 2020 presidential election.

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