House Foreign Affairs Committee: Investigation of Yovanovitch Surveillance

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House Foreign Affairs Committee: Investigation of Yovanovitch Surveillance

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USA Today
Top Democrat demands probe of 'profoundly alarming' threats against former U.S. Ambassador Yovanovitch

WASHINGTON – A top House Democrat demanded an investigation Wednesday into new evidence suggesting that former U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch was under surveillance by associates of Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump's personal lawyer.

The evidence emerged Tuesday when House Democrats released text messages and other documents gathered as part of the impeachment probe into Trump's efforts to pressure Ukraine for an investigation into a political rival.

The text messages reveal that an associate of Giuliani's, Lev Parnas, was in contact with Robert Hyde, a pro-Trump congressional candidate in Connecticut who claimed to have Yovanovitch under surveillance. Parnas worked with Giuliani to execute Trump's Ukraine pressure campaign. ...

Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called the messages "profoundly alarming" and said he would demand documents and a briefing from State Department officials to find out what they knew, if anything, about the threats against Yovanovitch.

"The messages suggest a possible risk to Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch’s security in Kiev before she was recalled from her post last year," Engel said. Trump yanked her from the ambassador post early after Giuliani complained that she was obstructing efforts to get Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.

"This unprecedented threat to our diplomats must be thoroughly investigated and, if warranted, prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Engel said.
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Re: House Foreign Affairs Committee: Investigation of Yovanovitch Surveillance

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MSNBC: House Intel member: New Parnas documents ‘require another full investigation’

Rep. Mike Quigley calls the new revelations in the Parnas-Giuliani documents "deeply disturbing" and asks, "Who gave the orders to do this, to surveil a U.S. ambassador?” and “Who was making these threats?” Jill Wine-Banks and Mieke Eoyang also discuss.
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Re: House Foreign Affairs Committee: Investigation of Yovanovitch Surveillance

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Politico
Republicans break with Robert Hyde, latest player in Ukraine drama

House leaders say they don’t support the Connecticut candidate, who’s wrapped up with an indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani.


Congressional Republicans are distancing themselves from Robert Hyde, a controversial House candidate and GOP donor who has become the latest figure to get wrapped up in the Ukraine saga that led to President Donald Trump’s impeachment.

The top three Republican leaders in the House — Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana and GOP Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney of Wyoming — all said they don’t know Hyde and don’t support him, according to their offices.

And the Republican Party chairman in Connecticut, where Hyde is one of several Republicans vying to challenge Democratic Rep. Jahana Hayes this fall, is calling on Hyde to drop out of the race.

“I have asked Rob Hyde to end his bid for Congress,” the chairman, J.R. Romano, wrote on Twitter. “His campaign is a distraction for the Democrats to raise money and falsely label all Republicans with his antics. In my view he is not helping other Republican candidates or @realDonaldTrump win.”
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Re: House Foreign Affairs Committee: Investigation of Yovanovitch Surveillance

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Mother Jones - David Corn
A New Figure in the Ukraine Scandal Worked for a Mysterious Chinese Trump Donor

Robert Hyde introduced this donor to Trump at Mar-a-Lago.


Since Donald Trump’s election, Robert F. Hyde, a former landscape company owner and the latest oddball figure to enter the Trump-Ukraine scandal, has attempted to ride the Trump presidency into a new career as a lobbyist, public affairs operative, and all-around GOP player. A Marine veteran and Trump mega-fan who is currently running for Congress in Connecticut, he has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Trump and a bevy of Republican candidates and entities. His largesse has earned him invites to the White House (for a bowling night) and exclusive Republican events. A fixture at Trump’s Washington, DC, hotel and Mar-a-Lago club, Hyde has collected and posted scores of photos of himself mingling with Republican luminaries, including Trump and his adult children, as well as Vice President Mike Pence, Sen. Ted Cruz, Rep. Matt Gaetz, and many others.

Hyde, now 40, remained mostly a wannabe, though he managed to hook up with Lev Parnas, the now-indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani, and apparently tried to become part of the Giuliani operation in Ukraine that targeted US Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, as it sought dirt on Joe Biden to help Trump. But as Hyde endeavored to leverage his political contributions into access and influence without great success, there was one real connection Hyde did make—and it was with a mysterious Chinese immigrant named Cheng Gao who donated almost a quarter of a million dollars to Trump and the GOP and who also sought a place in Trumpworld.

Last March, Mother Jones revealed Gao’s curious backstory. Gao, who contributed $237,000 to the Trump campaign and other Republican groups, attended an inaugural dinner for Trump in January 2017. He has identified himself as a “Buddhist artist” who lives in New York City. But Gao only recently relocated to the United States from China, and he and and his wife, Qingqing Qiu, moved into an apartment in Trump Tower several months after Trump entered the White House. It is unclear how Gao amassed his wealth. Several businesses linked to Gao and Qiu showed little sign of activity. ...

Yet on a financial disclosure form Hyde filed last year in connection with his long-shot congressional bid, Hyde noted that he has been a public relations consultant for Gao. And a former business associate of Hyde tells Mother Jones that Hyde met Gao at a Trump fundraiser in New York City during the campaign. So it appears that Hyde, for some reason, was concealing his relationship with Gao. (Hyde did not respond to a Mother Jones interview request on Tuesday.)
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Re: House Foreign Affairs Committee: Investigation of Yovanovitch Surveillance

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The Hill
Menendez calls for 'immediate briefing' on Parnas-Yovanovitch documents

Sen. Bob Menendez (N.J.), the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called for an “immediate briefing” from the administration on communications released by House Democrats on Tuesday suggesting former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was under surveillance by Trump associates before her removal.

“These disturbing messages indicate that Ambassador Yovanovitch’s movements may have been closely tracked, for at a minimum, over a series of days in late March 2019. Notably, this was the same time frame that a packet of disinformation, the contents of which smeared Ambassador Yovanovitch, made its way into the hands of senior officials at the State Department, including the Secretary, and as a series of articles were published that made false attacks against her,” Menendez wrote in a letter to Assistant Secretary of State Michael Evanoff.

“I demand an immediate briefing and accounting by you and all relevant officials about what the Department knew about any of these efforts to track Ambassador Yovanovitch’s whereabouts while she served in Kyiv, including Embassy officials and the Regional Security Officer at post; what steps the Department took at the time to ensure her safety; and the steps it has taken since then to ensure her safety and the safety of all U.S. personnel stationed in Kyiv,” Menendez wrote. ...

In the letter, Menendez also claimed the State Department had yet to address concerns he raised in two letters sent in November regarding potential risks to the safety of diplomats who testified before Congress in the House’s impeachment hearings, calling the lack of response “disturbing.”

“I trust that you will treat this request with utmost urgency, and swiftly respond to this as well as my prior requests regarding the safety and security of Department employees,” he wrote.
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Re: House Foreign Affairs Committee: Investigation of Yovanovitch Surveillance

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Follow the money. Where was Hyde getting his?
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Re: House Foreign Affairs Committee: Investigation of Yovanovitch Surveillance

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H/T Chili
Business Insider: Ukraine launches criminal investigation into alleged surveillance of US ambassador Marie Yovanovitch ...

The Ministry of Internal Affairs released a statement saying it "took note of the possible illegal surveillance on the territory of Ukraine by former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch."

It added that it, "with regard to international and national legislation, guarantees protection, safety and untouchability for diplomats of any foreign state on the territory of Ukraine, including the representatives of the diplomatic corps of the United States of America."

Yovanovitch was one of several witnesses to testify in Congress' impeachment inquiry into Trump's conduct, where she revealed previously unknown details about the lengths Trump and Giuliani went to in order to engineer her removal from her posts.

Other witnesses, like Fiona Hill, the National Security Council's former top Russia analyst, testified that while they acknowledged the president is at liberty to hire and fire ambassadors at will, they did not understand why Yovanovitch was publicly humiliated before being dismissed.

The House Intelligence Committee released a trove of documents on Tuesday and Wednesday revealing the extent to which Giuliani's associates in Ukraine went in order to get Yovanovitch fired. ...

Yovanovitch's lawyer called for an investigation into alleged surveillance of her shortly after the documents were first released. But the US has not yet announced a probe in the matter.
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Re: House Foreign Affairs Committee: Investigation of Yovanovitch Surveillance

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Cross-posting

Seen on DU
Shimon Prokupecz ✔ @ShimonPro

FBI investigators went to the home and the business of Robert Hyde on Thursday. The agents were seen by CNN and confirmed by a law enforcement official. They were at the home early Thursday morning in Weatogue, CT before going to Hyde’s business in Avon, CT.

11:35 AM - Jan 16, 2020
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Re: House Foreign Affairs Committee: Investigation of Yovanovitch Surveillance

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Good. Thanks Addie.
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Re: House Foreign Affairs Committee: Investigation of Yovanovitch Surveillance

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The Hill
Sanders calls for investigation into possible surveillance of Yovanovitch

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Wednesday called for an investigation into documents produced by House lawmakers suggesting then-Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was placed under surveillance.

“It is outrageous that the President’s personal lawyers appear to have directed the surveillance of a U.S. ambassador. This must be fully investigated as the Senate conducts the impeachment trial,” Sanders tweeted Wednesday. “We have a responsibility to hold this lawless administration to account.” ...

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Wednesday that the documents indicated the need for witnesses and documents in the upcoming Senate impeachment trial.

"I don't know how any member of this body could pick up the newspaper this morning, read this new revelation and not conclude that the Senate needs access to relevant documents like these in the trial," Schumer said from the Senate floor.
Adding:
Law & Crime: ‘Not Just Insane, But Deeply Chilling’ Parnas Docs Spark Calls for Secretary Pompeo’s Resignation
CNN: After more than 48 hours of silence, Pompeo says State will investigate possible surveillance of ex-US ambassador
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Re: House Foreign Affairs Committee: Investigation of Yovanovitch Surveillance

Post by Slim Cognito »

Addie wrote: Thu Jan 16, 2020 11:50 am Cross-posting

Seen on DU
Shimon Prokupecz ✔ @ShimonPro

FBI investigators went to the home and the business of Robert Hyde on Thursday. The agents were seen by CNN and confirmed by a law enforcement official. They were at the home early Thursday morning in Weatogue, CT before going to Hyde’s business in Avon, CT.

11:35 AM - Jan 16, 2020
Not such a big shot now, eh Hyde?
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Re: House Foreign Affairs Committee: Investigation of Yovanovitch Surveillance

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Are you suggesting he can run but he can't Hyde? :confused:
Buckle up, peeps, this ride is gonna get BUMPY. :shock:
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Re: House Foreign Affairs Committee: Investigation of Yovanovitch Surveillance

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Cross-posting

CNN
Devin Nunes aide exchanged information with Lev Parnas about Ukraine campaign, documents reveal

(CNN)New documents released Friday evening by House Democrats show communications between indicted Rudy Guiliani associate Lev Parnas and an aide to the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee in which they arrange interviews with Ukrainian officials and apparent meetings at the Trump hotel in Washington, DC, including with Giuliani.

The materials draw California Rep. Devin Nunes even further into the efforts undertaken by Giuliani and his associates to dig up dirt on the President's political rivals.

The WhatsApp exchanges show that Nunes aide Derek Harvey raised questions about foreign assistance to Ukraine in late March 2019.

On March 29, 2019, Harvey asked Parnas, "Can we get materials?"

Parnas told Harvey in an April text message that he would be interviewing "the general prosecutor that got fired by Biden," who is Viktor Shokin. Parnas also referenced Ukraine's then-prosecutor, Yuriy Lutsenko. Both prosecutors also spoke to Giuliani in his effort to dig up dirt on the former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

"Let's do our call at 12 and we can do the first prosecutor at 1 your time?" Parnas texted Harvey on April 17, 2019.
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Re: House Foreign Affairs Committee: Investigation of Yovanovitch Surveillance

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Cross-posting

Salon - Lucian K. Truscott IV
The man who knows too much: Lev Parnas is the smoking gun on Ukraine scandal

Parnas says Trump, Pence, Pompeo, Bolton and Giuliani all knew. He is why no witnesses will testify in the Senate


Revelations this week by Rudy Giuliani's henchman Lev Parnas in interviews with MSNBC, CNN and the New York Times blew Iran out of the headlines and landed on Capitol Hill like a bomb. Here was an insider in the Ukraine conspiracy not only willing to talk, but to provide documents to back up allegations he has made about Trump's shakedown of Volodymyr Zelensky to get dirt on his potential Democratic opponent, Joe Biden.

Parnas is the reason Republicans are so scared of opening the Senate trial of Trump to witness testimony. According to Parnas, everyone was in on the Ukraine scheme. Trump himself, of course, but also Vice President Mike Pence was in on it. So was Attorney General William Barr, so was Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and so were Secretary of Energy Rick Perry and national security adviser John Bolton. At the very center of the scheme, according to Parnas, was the man he worked for, Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.

Parnas has letters, text messages, contemporaneous notes, travel documents and more to back up his recollections of what happened as Trump tried to muscle Ukraine into aiding his re-election campaign by announcing an investigation of Biden. Trump was obviously getting ready to pound Biden with Ukraine conspiracy allegations the same way he pounded Hillary Clinton about her emails in 2016. Hey, it worked once! Why not?

After testimony by 10 witnesses before the House Intelligence Committee last fall, new information has continued to roll in. We have recently learned that the order to withhold the $400 million in congressionally appropriated aid to Ukraine came the day after Trump's "perfect" phone call with the Ukrainian president last July 25. More recently, a series of emails and other contacts at the top of the Trump administration questioning the legality of the sequestering of the funds has come to light. And now we've got Parnas and his trove of texts, notes, letters and other documents that back up his stories about working for Giuliani to get former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch fired, and all the machinations surrounding the shakedown of Ukraine's president and other officials to get them to investigate Biden.

But too little attention has been paid to the oldest question of all: Cui bono? Who benefits? Trump, of course. But how? Was it all about Biden, or was there something else Trump was trying to accomplish? Scratch the surface of the Ukraine scandal, and what you see is Russia, and Trump's old pal, Vladimir Putin.
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Re: House Foreign Affairs Committee: Investigation of Yovanovitch Surveillance

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Addie wrote: Sat Jan 18, 2020 12:13 pm Cross-posting

CNN
Devin Nunes aide exchanged information with Lev Parnas about Ukraine campaign, documents reveal

(CNN)New documents released Friday evening by House Democrats show communications between indicted Rudy Guiliani associate Lev Parnas and an aide to the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee in which they arrange interviews with Ukrainian officials and apparent meetings at the Trump hotel in Washington, DC, including with Giuliani.

The materials draw California Rep. Devin Nunes even further into the efforts undertaken by Giuliani and his associates to dig up dirt on the President's political rivals.

The WhatsApp exchanges show that Nunes aide Derek Harvey raised questions about foreign assistance to Ukraine in late March 2019.

On March 29, 2019, Harvey asked Parnas, "Can we get materials?"

Parnas told Harvey in an April text message that he would be interviewing "the general prosecutor that got fired by Biden," who is Viktor Shokin. Parnas also referenced Ukraine's then-prosecutor, Yuriy Lutsenko. Both prosecutors also spoke to Giuliani in his effort to dig up dirt on the former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

"Let's do our call at 12 and we can do the first prosecutor at 1 your time?" Parnas texted Harvey on April 17, 2019.
So, can we assume that Nunes came up with zilch? How much authority does the minority leader have to conduct such an investigation without the approval of the majority?
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Re: House Foreign Affairs Committee: Investigation of Yovanovitch Surveillance

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This investigation needs to call Pompeo on the carpet and find out what he knew when.
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Re: House Foreign Affairs Committee: Investigation of Yovanovitch Surveillance

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tek wrote: Sat Jan 18, 2020 5:00 pm This investigation needs to call Pompeo on the carpet and find out what he knew when.
He will just ignore the subpoena like he did in the impeachment hearings.
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Re: House Foreign Affairs Committee: Investigation of Yovanovitch Surveillance

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Reality Check wrote: Sat Jan 18, 2020 5:04 pm
tek wrote: Sat Jan 18, 2020 5:00 pm This investigation needs to call Pompeo on the carpet and find out what he knew when.
He will just ignore the subpoena like he did in the impeachment hearings.
Indeed. Of course the laws still apply to everyone who is not part of the Dear Leader kleptocracy.
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Re: House Foreign Affairs Committee: Investigation of Yovanovitch Surveillance

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Foggy wrote: Thu Jan 16, 2020 4:38 pm Are you suggesting he can run but he can't Hyde? :confused:
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Re: House Foreign Affairs Committee: Investigation of Yovanovitch Surveillance

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Associated Press
Newly released texts tie Nunes aide closer to Ukraine plot

WASHINGTON (AP) — New documents released by House Democrats suggest that Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, was more deeply involved than was previously known in efforts by allies of President Donald Trump to dig up dirt in Ukraine on former Vice President Joe Biden.

Democrats on the Intelligence Committee released a trove of text messages, photos and other documents Friday night as part of the impeachment inquiry. The materials were provided to the House by Lev Parnas, a Florida businessman who worked with Trump personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to try to persuade the Ukrainian government to launch an investigation into Biden.

Nunes initially denied knowing Parnas but has since been forced to admit the two had spoken. The messages released Friday show about 100 text messages traded over months between Parnas and the California Republican’s staffer, Derek Harvey, a retired U.S. Army colonel. Harvey previously served at the White House on Trump’s National Security Council.

The months-long effort directed by Trump and Giuliani to prod Ukrainian officials to launch an investigation into Biden and his son Hunter’s business dealings in Ukraine is at the core of the two impeachment articles against Trump passed last month in a largely party-line vote. The non-partisan Government Accountability Office ruled Thursday that the White House broke the law last summer when it withheld congressionally authorized security assistance to Ukraine, essential aid that Democrats allege was being held hostage pending the announcement of the investigations Trump sought. ...

Among the documents Parnas sent to Harvey is a scan of the Ukrainian passport of Burisma’s founder. The texts also show Harvey scheduling phone calls with Parnas and a face-to-face meeting at the Trump International Hotel in Washington. ...

Phone records released by House Democrats in December showed several calls between Parnas and Nunes, who helped lead the Republican’s defense of Trump during the House impeachment hearings.
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Re: House Foreign Affairs Committee: Investigation of Yovanovitch Surveillance

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Foreignaffairs.house.gov
Engel Statement on State Department’s Failure to Meet Deadline on Yovanovitch Security Inquiry

January 24, 2020

Washington—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement regarding the State Department’s failure to meet a deadline for a request by the committee to turn over records related to a potential threat to the security of Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch before she was recalled from her post in Kyiv, Ukraine:

“The State Department’s failure to respond to the committee’s request is unacceptable, particularly as more information has emerged showing that Mr. Parnas apparently schemed directly with President Trump about Ambassador Yovanovitch. I have serious concerns that the security of an American ambassador and an American embassy were compromised. When she was called in the middle of the night and told to get on the next plane out of Ukraine, Ambassador Yovanovitch was warned, ‘this is about your security.’

“I want to know what the State Department knew about it then and what actions have been taken. I’ll use all the tools at my disposal to get the answers I’m seeking from the department.”

# # #
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Re: House Foreign Affairs Committee: Investigation of Yovanovitch Surveillance

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The Hill
House Foreign Affairs chairman says Bolton urged him in September to look into Yovanovitch ouster

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday said former national security adviser John Bolton had suggested to him in September that his panel should look into the ouster of former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, whose controversial departure has become a focal point of President Trump's impeachment trial.

Engel released his statement in response to Trump, who earlier on Wednesday questioned on Twitter why Bolton hadn't raised any concerns over his administration's conduct following his departure as national security adviser on Sept. 10.

“President Trump is wrong that John Bolton didn’t say anything about the Trump-Ukraine Scandal at the time the President fired him. He said something to me," Engel said in his statement.

“He and I spoke by telephone on September 23," he added. "On that call, Ambassador Bolton suggested to me—unprompted—that the committee look into the recall of Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch. He strongly implied that something improper had occurred around her removal as our top diplomat in Kyiv."
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Re: House Foreign Affairs Committee: Investigation of Yovanovitch Surveillance

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NBC News - Josh Lederman and Anna Schecter
Dutch Trump superfan who claimed he surveilled Ambassador Yovanovitch told people he was DEA

Interviews with a half-dozen people who know Anthony de Caluwe and documents obtained by NBC News show that the Trump superfan has a shadowy past.


WASHINGTON — The Dutch man who claimed to have Marie Yovanovitch under surveillance when she was the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine has been masquerading as a U.S. federal law enforcement officer and told people he was starting a tech company that could track movements electronically, according to interviews and documents obtained by NBC News. ...

How de Caluwe, 54, a citizen of the Netherlands and an ardent, vocal supporter of President Donald Trump, ended up sending encrypted messages about Yovanovitch's supposed whereabouts has been mostly a mystery since his name first surfaced in news stories about the Trump administration and Ukraine this month.

Text messages released by the House this month after its impeachment investigation showed that indicted Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas had received cryptic texts about Yovanovitch's movements from Robert Hyde, a Republican congressional candidate in Connecticut, in March 2019, the same period in which Parnas and Giuliani were seeking the ambassador's ouster. Later document releases revealed that Hyde had been the middleman, passing the supposed surveillance details to Parnas from de Caluwe, a fellow Trump supporter he'd met at Republican events.

De Caluwe, who's been living in Belgium and Florida, has posted numerous photos and pro-Trump slogans on his multiple social media accounts, projecting proximity to Trump's orbit with a constant stream of posts that depict Republican events, Trump's Washington hotel and even a Christmas reception at the White House. Sometimes he is clearly at the event pictured, but sometimes he isn't, and he isn't in any pictures that show Trump himself. He has said he's a financial adviser who's never surveilled any Americans, and he has dismissed his encrypted texts claiming to have Yovanovitch under surveillance in March as just "ridiculous banter" with a friend. Trump fired Yovanovitch two months later.

But interviews with a half-dozen people who know de Caluwe and documents obtained by NBC News call into question elements of that story, finding that de Caluwe has a shadowy past — including a history of attacking Yovanovitch on social media, a web of financial companies that appear mainly to be elaborate websites using stock photos, and grandiose plans to begin moving the human race into space.
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Re: House Foreign Affairs Committee: Investigation of Yovanovitch Surveillance

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Washington Monthly - Nancy Le Tourneau: Why Did Bolton Tell Engel to Look Into the Removal of Yovanovitch?
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Re: House Foreign Affairs Committee: Investigation of Yovanovitch Surveillance

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Diplomat ousted and slammed by Trump gets diplomacy award

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireSto ... itter_abcn
Marie Yovanovitch was expected to accept the Trainor Award from the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University in a ceremony Wednesday, making her first public appearance since testifying before Congress in the impeachment proceedings.

Past recipients have included former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo and former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Yovanovitch was a highly regarded career foreign service officer when Rudy Giuliani, serving as Trump's personal lawyer, led a campaign against her as he sought to push Ukrainian officials to help him in his reelection campaign.

Giuliani later said in a series of interviews that he forced her out of her post and provided the president with information that showed she impeded investigations that could have helped Trump.
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