USA

Democrats Release More Material From Lev Parnas on Ukraine Campaign

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Credit...Seth Wenig/Associated Press

WASHINGTON — House Democrats released another round of information on Friday that raised questions about elements of the impeachment inquiry, including allegations about the surveillance of the United States ambassador in Ukraine and efforts by an aide to a top congressional Republican to pursue investigations sought by President Trump.

The information came from the electronic devices of Lev Parnas, the businessman who worked with the president’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani to pursue the pressure campaign on Ukraine at the center of the impeachment trial.

Mr. Parnas, who is facing federal campaign finance charges in Manhattan, has publicly turned on Mr. Trump and his allies. He petitioned the court to allow him to release the information to Congress, and has offered to testify in the impeachment trial and to cooperate with prosecutors in New York investigating Mr. Giuliani. And he undertook a media tour of sorts this week in which he claimed that the president “knew exactly everything that was going on that Rudy Giuliani was doing in Ukraine.”

House Democrats have been releasing the contents of Mr. Parnas’s devices over the past week in an effort to bolster their demand that witnesses be permitted to testify in the Senate trial.

The documents released by House Democrats included WhatsApp messages between Mr. Parnas and Derek Harvey, an aide to Representative Devin Nunes of California, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee and a leading defender of Mr. Trump.

Mr. Nunes has suggested that Mr. Trump and his allies were justified in pressuring the Ukrainian government to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., his family and Ukrainians who released information about Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.

The WhatsApp messages show Mr. Harvey working with Mr. Parnas to arrange interviews with Ukrainian officials who claimed wrongdoing by the Bidens and by Ukrainians in 2016.

The messages also suggest that Mr. Harvey, a retired Army colonel who previously served on the National Security Council under Mr. Trump, met at the Trump International Hotel in Washington with Mr. Parnas, Mr. Giuliani and John Solomon, a conservative journalist who worked closely with Mr. Parnas on articles that injected the Ukrainian officials’ claims into the conservative media, reinforcing the pressure campaign.

The message exchange between Mr. Parnas and Mr. Harvey appears to include the passport of Mykola Zlochevsky, the oligarch owner of Burisma, the Ukrainian gas company that paid Mr. Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, as a board member.

Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Parnas pressured Ukrainian officials to commit to investigating the arrangement, and some Senate Republicans are threatening to call Hunter Biden to testify in the Senate impeachment trial if Democrats press for their own witnesses.

A spokesman for Mr. Nunes did not respond to a request for comment.

Friday’s release also included correspondence of an obscure Republican candidate for Congress in Connecticut who had suggested to Mr. Parnas that Marie L. Yovanovitch had been under surveillance while serving as the United States ambassador in Kyiv at a time when she had come under heavy criticism from Mr. Trump’s allies.

The newly released correspondence included WhatsApp messages between the congressional candidate, Robert F. Hyde, and an unidentified account with an avatar of a man and a number that began with Belgium’s country code, but was partly redacted in the release. Someone using the account sent Mr. Hyde an official government portrait of Ms. Yovanovitch, and indicated, “My contacts are checking,” adding, “I will give you the address next week.”

Mr. Hyde responded, “Awesome.”

The person using the account appeared to be familiar with Mr. Hyde, congratulating him “on your new business development” while sending updates suggesting knowledge of Ms. Yovanovitch’s whereabouts in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital.

Mr. Hyde appears to have forwarded some of the contents of the messages to Mr. Parnas, and when the messages between the two men were released this week, they prompted concern from Ms. Yovanovitch, who was removed from her post last spring on Mr. Trump’s orders, and from others.

On Thursday, Ukrainian police announced a criminal investigation into possible illegal surveillance, and F.B.I. agents visited Mr. Hyde’s home and business, according to a law enforcement official.

Mr. Hyde, who has a history of erratic behavior, initially claimed that the messages were a prank, saying on Twitter on Tuesday that he was “playing with” Mr. Parnas.

On Friday, though, Mr. Hyde posted a profanity-laced video and several messages on social media in which he identified Anthony de Caluwé as the source of the information about Ms. Yovanovitch. Calling him “some intel guy,” Mr. Hyde speculated that Mr. de Caluwé may have been manipulating him in an effort “to set Trump up.”

An Anthony de Caluwé with a Belgian phone number that matched the portion of the number visible in Friday’s release did not respond to a request for comment, nor did Mr. Hyde.

Mr. Hyde encouraged Democratic impeachment investigators to look into Mr. de Caluwé and said, “I’m sure if I disappeared or died or they gag order me, they’re going to use me as a smoking gun.”