Police in Ukraine opened a criminal investigation into whether President Trump’s allies had the US ambassador in the country under surveillance while stationed in Kiev, the Ukrainian government said Thursday.
Democrats in the House of Representatives on Tuesday revealed evidence pointing to the surveillance of the ambassador, Marie L. Yovanovitch, just before the scheduled start for Trump’s political trial in the Senate.
The Chamber issued text messages to and from Lev Parnas, an associate of Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, who participated in a campaign to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate former Vice President Joesph R. Biden Jr., who is seen as a strong potential challenger for Mr. Trump.
As part of that campaign, the president’s allies tried to eliminate Ms. Yovanovitch from office. They finally succeeded.
Last March, an exchange between Mr. Parnas and another man, Robert F. Hyde, indicated that Mr. Hyde was in contact with people who were looking at Ms. Yovanovitch.
“They are willing to help if we want a price,” said a message from Mr. Hyde.
The State Department did not respond to a list of questions about text messages, Ms. Yovanovitch’s surveillance or the knowledge of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the matter and the role in his expulsion.
“Ukraine cannot ignore such illegal activities in its territory,” said the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine in a statement published on Thursday. “After analyzing these materials, the National Police of Ukraine, after its publication, initiated a criminal proceeding.”
“Our goal is to investigate whether there were violations of Ukrainian and international laws,” the ministry added. “Or maybe it was just a bravado and a false conversation between two American citizens.”
Edward Wong contributed reporting.