New documents released by House Democrats on Tuesday offered fresh detail on the shadow diplomacy campaign at the center of President Trump’s impeachment, including text messages suggesting that the former United States ambassador to Ukraine was under surveillance while in Kyiv.
In a series of cryptic text messages, Lev Parnas, an associate of Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, communicated with another man who appeared to be monitoring the movements of the ambassador, Marie L. Yovanovitch. The texts, exchanged in March on the WhatsApp messaging service, indicated that the other man, Robert F. Hyde, was in touch with people in Ukraine who were watching Ms. Yovanovitch.
“They are willing to help if we/you would like a price,” one message from Mr. Hyde to Mr. Parnas read.
It was not clear who was watching the ambassador or why. Lawyers for Mr. Parnas and Ms. Yovanovitch did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Mr. Giuliani had been critical of Ms. Yovanovitch, whom he and other Republicans have said was opposed to the president. She also butted heads with a Ukrainian prosecutor over the nature of his investigations. Ultimately, Mr. Trump recalled Ms. Yovanovitch from her post in late April.
The documents were part of a number of items that Mr. Parnas recently had turned over to the House Intelligence Committee as part of its impeachment inquiry.
Mr. Parnas, a Soviet-born businessman based in Florida who is facing federal criminal charges in Manhattan, did not testify during the impeachment hearings last year. His lawyer, Joseph A. Bondy, recently turned over the records to the House, in response to a subpoena, after receiving permission to do so from the judge overseeing the criminal case.
The House is set to vote on Wednesday to send its impeachment charges against Mr. Trump to the Senate, and a trial could begin in the coming days.
In October, federal prosecutors in Manhattan filed campaign finance-related charges against Mr. Parnas and his associate, Igor Fruman, another Soviet-born businessman who worked alongside Mr. Parnas to assist Mr. Giuliani’s efforts in Ukraine. Two other men were also charged in the case.
The effort in Ukraine hinged on convincing officials there to open investigations that would benefit Mr. Trump politically. One potential investigation would center on former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter Biden; the other would involve claims that Ukraine — and not Russia — stole Democratic emails during the 2016 presidential campaign.
After their arrests, Mr. Fruman remained close to Mr. Giuliani, but Mr. Parnas split from their alliance, vowing to speak out about the Ukrainian pressure campaign. His lawyer, Mr. Bondy, has since created a #LetLevSpeak hashtag on Twitter.
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