Teresa Hanafin, writer of the Boston Globe’s Fast Forward, writes today:

 

Before we review what’s scheduled to happen today at the Capitol re: the articles of impeachment, there is truly stunning new evidence that strengthens the Democrats’ accusations against Trump: Dozens of pages of notes, text messages, and other records that detail the work that Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and Giuliani’s associate Lev Parnas, conducted on Trump’s behalf in Ukraine and with his approval.

Among the documents is chilling evidence that Trump’s henchmen in Ukraine were following the US ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, and had her under electronic surveillance as well.

The documents were given to Congress by Parnas and contain a series of exchanges between Parnas and a corrupt Ukrainian prosecutor, Yuriy Lutsenko, who was helping Giuliani dirty up Joe Biden and his son Hunter. But Lutsenko wanted something in exchange: For Giuliani to tell Trump to oust Yovanovitch because she was trying to root out the corruption that Lutsenko was engaged in.

A few main points:

1. Trump knew what Giuliani was doing. For the first time, there is a written record of Giuliani confirming that everything he was doing in Ukraine to try to smear Joe Biden, Trump’s chief political rival, was with the full “knowledge and consent” of Trump.

2. Parnas was the point man. Parnas, who spoke Russian, ran interference for Giuliani, talking to a range of Ukrainian officials in an effort to carry out Trump’s pressure campaign — including the corrupt prosecutor, Lutsenko.

3. Lutsenko badly wanted to get rid of Yovanovitch. Even though he initially had her support after replacing the previous corrupt top prosecutor, he soon was engaging in similar shady practices. As part of her campaign to rid Ukraine of widespread corruption, she started criticizing his office and supported a quasi-independent anti-corruption bureau that he despised. (BTW, she was not alone in this view: It was the consensus of the State Department and other agencies that Lutsenko was dirty.)

4. Lutsenko played both Giuliani and Trump. Lutsenko told Parnas that he had damaging information about Hunter Biden, but that he wouldn’t release it until Trump got rid of Yovanovitch. Trump obeyed and fired her, but guess what: There was no damaging information.

5. Yovanovitch was being watched. This is the most disturbing part: Remember that Trump told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in that infamous phone call that Yovanovitch “was going to go through some things.” Well, Parnas’s documents make it sound like Trump’s minions were planning a mob hit on her.

A new character is unveiled in this whole mess: Robert Hyde, an ardent Trump supporter who is running for Congress from Connecticut. For some reason, he was working with Parnas and claimed in text messages that he had Yovanovitch under surveillance.

“Wow. Can’t believe Trumo [sic] hasn’t fired this b—-,” he wrote in one message to Parnas. “I’ll get right [on] that.”

He said he was in touch with a “private security” team near the US embassy in Kyiv that was apparently monitoring the ambassador’s movements.

“She’s talked to three people. Her phone is off. Computer is off,” he wrote in one message. In another: “They will let me know when she’s on the move.”

As she testified, Yovanovitch got a phone call from the State Department telling her to get on the next plane to the US because her security was at risk. And now we know the threat was coming from Trump’s henchmen. Incredible.

Her lawyer has demanded that the information about surveillance be investigated.

You can read more about this sordid affair and review the documents yourself in stories by the Associated Press in the Globe,by The New York Times, and by The Washington Post. There’s also a statement and a copy of the documents on the House Intelligence Committee website.

You too can get Teresa Hanafin’s daily commentary on sports, the Old Farmers’ Almanac, and politics:


Thanks for reading. I wonder how much more dirt will come out between now and Trump’s trial. Send comments and suggestions to teresa.hanafin@globe.com, or follow me on Twitter @BostonTeresa. See you tomorrow.

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