Engel demands State Department documents regarding ‘threats’ to Yovanovitch security after release of Parnas documents
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) is demanding the State Department turn over documents related to possible security threats to former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch after newly released evidence suggests she was under surveillance.
Engel requested information from the department be delivered by next week in a letter sent to Under Secretary of State Brian Bulatao on Wednesday.
“I share the Department’s deep resolve that the safety and security of our diplomats is of paramount importance,” Engel wrote. “Given the profound risk that these new revelations expose, it is imperative that Congress be fully informed about the threats against Ambassador Yovanovitch and the Department’s response to them, in order to perform its Constitutionally mandated oversight function and to determine any legislative responses necessary to mitigate such threats in the future.”
Engel’s letter cites the additional evidence the four House committees at the center of President Trump’s impeachment trial released Tuesday. The new information was provided by Lev Parnas, an associate of Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
The information includes communications between Parnas and Connecticut congressional candidate Robert Hyde that hinted the ambassador was being watched.
“The strong implication from these messages is that someone with detailed knowledge of the Ambassador’s whereabouts and security protocols was providing that information in real time to Mr. Hyde and Mr. Parnas,” Engel wrote. “I cannot overstate the profound security risk that this poses to the U.S. mission and our interests in Ukraine.”
A spokesperson for the State Department was not immediately available for comment.
Engel is requesting documents related to Parnas, Hyde, as well as any risks to the the security of the Embassy in Kyiv —including but not limited to Yovanovitch — between Jan. 1 2019 and the present.
Yovanovitch’s lawyer Lawrence Robbins called for an investigation into the potential monitoring on Tuesday.
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called for an immediate briefing on the messages.
The new revelation comes as the impeachment process moves forward. The articles the House voted on at the end of last year were sent to the Senate Wednesday, and a trial will begin next week.
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