Lev Parnas, the indicted associate of President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, on Wednesday night undercut Democrats’ explosive suggestion that the Trump team had former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch under surveillance, saying in a televised interview that text messages that seemingly suggested Yovanovitch was being secretly monitored were in reality just the ramblings of a “drunk.”
Speaking to MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” a day after he provided a slew of new documents and text messages to House investigators, Parnas repeatedly said prominent Trump donor Robert F. Hyde wasn’t being serious when he claimed in some of those communications to know Yovanovitch’s whereabouts in Kiev.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif, wrote Tuesday that Hyde’s texts indicated “that he had Ambassador Yovanovitch under physical surveillance.” Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders said it was “outrageous that the president’s personal lawyers appear to have directed the surveillance of a U.S. ambassador” and demanded that the matter be “fully investigated.” Yovanovitch herself called for a probe.
“I don’t believe it was true, I think he was either drunk or was trying to make himself bigger than he was,” Parnas told Rachel Maddow, adding that he was “disturbed” by the “crazy” text messages. “I didn’t take him seriously. I didn’t even respond to him most of the time. If I did, it was something like ‘LOL’ or ‘Okay’ or ‘Great’ or something like that.”