Lev Parnas, a former associate of Rudy Giuliani, said he dismissed information given to him by Robert Hyde, a Republican candidate for Congress in Connecticut's 5th District.
In a series of text messages to Parnas, Hyde suggested he was in touch with people who surveilled and possibly threatened, U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch.
“I think he was either drunk or he was trying to make himself bigger than he was, so I didn’t take it seriously,” Parnas told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.
Parnas said Hyde was a constant presence at the bar at a Trump hotel. When Parnas was asked if he ever believed Hyde had Yovanovitch under surveillance in Ukraine, he said, “Absolutely not.”
In an interview with the Sinclair Broadcast Group, Hyde denied having "eyes" on the ambassador. "We just had some colorful texts," Hyde said. "I thought we were playing. I didn't know he was so serious."
Parnas is under scrutiny himself. He gave several interviews on Wednesday amidst calls for him to testify in Trump’s impeachment trial. He’s also been indicted for alleged illegal campaign finance violations.
After the messages between Hyde and Parnas were released by the House Intelligence Committee, the chairman of the Connecticut Republican Party called on Hyde to drop his congressional bid. J.R. Romano called the campaign, “a distraction for the Democrats to raise money and falsely label all Republicans with his antics.”
I have asked Rob Hyde to end his bid for Congress. His campaign is a distraction for the Democrats to raise money and falsely label all Republicans with his antics. In my view he is not helping other Republican candidates or @realDonaldTrump win. #ctpolitics
— J.R. Romano (@CTGOPChair) January 15, 2020
The Associated Press reports Hyde has struggled with extensive financial and legal problems. Last month, he was denounced for sexist tweets about Sen. Kamala Harris, a Democratic candidate for president who had recently dropped out of the race.