Political News

Who is Robert Hyde, the latest figure to emerge in Ukraine scandal?

Posted January 15, 2020 12:48 p.m. EST

— Before this week, Robert F. Hyde was known as a challenger for the Republican nomination for the US congressional seat from northwestern Connecticut.

Now, new documents publicly released Tuesday reveal Hyde as the newest figure caught up in the Ukraine scandal.

Text messages show Hyde was involved in efforts to surveil and remove former US Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch from her post in Kiev.

Hyde calls himself an "ardent" supporter of President Donald Trump and has donated $25,000 to Trump's inaugural committee, according to records published by Open Secrets. He has also given over $30,000 to the Trump campaign and other Republican political groups, according to federal records.

Hyde's social media posts are littered with photographs of him with Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas, Trump and the President's close allies.

In a photo published by the Connecticut Post, Hyde posed for a selfie with Trump on April 21, 2019 — the same day Trump first called Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Hyde is one several GOP candidates hoping to unseat incumbent Democratic Rep. Jahana Hayes.

Late last year, he drew controversy for posting a crude and sexist tweet, which he later deleted, about former Democratic presidential candidate and California Sen. Kamala Harris.

Hyde served in the Marine Corps and is a veteran of the Iraq war, according to his campaign website.

According to an official Department of Defense record, Hyde spent some time in the Marine Corps Reserve and was on active duty from February to June 1999. It was not immediately clear why his active duty time was only five months.

Hyde's LinkedIn page says he ran a construction company in Connecticut for about 16 years. He claims the company helped build the Connecticut home of rapper 50 Cent. He started a government relations group in December 2018 called Finley Hyde & Associates LLC based in Washington, DC, according to his LinkedIn page.

In the new batch of documents released Tuesday, Hyde sent Parnas text messages last year that appeared to discuss the whereabouts of Yovanovitch in Ukraine, according to House officials.

Using crude language, Hyde implied he or his allies were monitoring Yovanovitch in Kiev, and suggested to Parnas that she should be removed from her position.

When asked Tuesday by CNN if he had offered to harm Yovanovitch, Hyde replied, "No effing way."

He declined to comment to CNN when asked about the House Democrats' statement that the texts suggested Hyde had Yovanovitch under physical surveillance.

Hyde told CNN he has not heard from federal prosecutors.

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