Pro-Trump Witness of Yovanovitch Surveillance Probe Refuses to Cooperate, House Foreign Affairs Committee Says

A GOP candidate for Congress who claimed in text messages that he had former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch under surveillance has reportedly refused to cooperate with a House investigation of his alleged activities.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee is having difficulty obtaining evidence from Connecticut Republican Robert Hyde, according to a Monday report from NBC. Hyde claimed that he turned over "everything I had" to the committee in a February 12 interview with The Daily Beast, but the House committee disputed the claim.

"[We were] dismayed to read yesterday that you have made statements to the media which greatly exaggerate the extent of your cooperation with this investigation," wrote the committee to Hyde in an email obtained by NBC. "As you know, we have expressed repeated concern that the records you previously produced contain significant gaps."

Hyde reportedly accused the "corrupt" committee of trying to harm his political campaign, while also insisting that he would only allow the committee to examine his electronic devices in his presence.

"I'm a nobody that has come from nothing and that loves his country. I'M NOT SURE HOW OR WHY I'M BEING USED IN THIS HOAX OR WHATEVER YOU CALL IT. But it's disgusting trying to set me up. I submitted everything I have," wrote Hyde in an email response to the committee also obtained by the outlet.

Marie Yovanovitch
Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testifying before the House Intelligence Committee hearing on the impeachment of President Donald Trump on November 15, 2019. Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty

Hyde became a focus of attention in January after a series of March 2019 text messages between him and Lev Parnas, an associate of President Donald Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani, were released during impeachment proceedings against Trump. An investigation centered on the alleged plot to surveil Yovanovitch was launched by the House committee soon after.

The text messages appeared to show Hyde updating Parnas with the location of Yovanovitch while offering further surveillance with the assistance of unnamed people in Ukraine. Hyde later claimed that he never intended to spy on the former ambassador and was only "joking around" with Parnas.

"We just had some colorful texts, had a few pops way back when I used to drink, and it's kind of unfortunate that the left ought to get their panties in a bunch," said Hyde during a January 15 interview on America This Week. "I mean those are pretty heavy accusations. It was just colorful, we were playing. I thought we were playing. I didn't know he was so serious."

Yovanovitch was fired from her position about two months after the messages were sent, allegedly for interfering with Giuliani's attempt at finding evidence that could be used against former Vice President Joe Biden.

Trump supporter Hyde is running against Representative Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.) with the campaign slogan "Let's Make Connecticut Great Again," but an obscene tweet about Sen. Kamala Harris in December prompted a public rebuke from state GOP officials, who refunded donations to his campaign.

Hyde is said to have donated over $56,000 to Republicans including Trump since 2016, while failing to pay thousands in child support until a court forced him to begin making weekly payments in November 2019.

Other notable incidents involving Hyde include his reported violation of a restraining order issued after he allegedly stalked a GOP consultant. He was also placed on an involuntarily hold for mental health observation after being found at Trump National Doral Miami resort in May 2019 claiming a "hit man" was after him.