The police in Ukraine have opened a criminal investigation into whether allies of President Trump had the United States ambassador to the country under surveillance while she was stationed in Kyiv, the Ukrainian government said on Thursday.
Democrats in the House of Representative on Tuesday revealed evidence pointing to surveillance of the ambassador, Marie L. Yovanovitch, just before Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate was scheduled to begin.
The House released text messages to and from Lev Parnas — an associate of Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer — who was involved 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 to Mr. Trump.
As part of that campaign, the president’s allies were trying to remove Ms. Yovanovitch from her post. They ultimately 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 watching Ms. Yovanovitch.
“They are willing to help if we/you would like a price,” said a message from Mr. Hyde.
The State Department did not reply to a list of questions about the text messages, surveillance of Ms. Yovanovitch, or Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s knowledge of the matter and role in her ouster.
“Ukraine cannot ignore such illegal activities on its territory,” Ukraine’s Internal Affairs Ministry said in a statement released on Thursday. “After analyzing these materials, the National Police of Ukraine upon their publication started criminal proceedings.”
“Our goal is to investigate whether there were any violations of Ukrainian and international laws,” the ministry added. “Or maybe it was just bravado and fake conversation between two U.S. citizens.”
Edward Wong contributed reporting.
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