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The Parnas Docs

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With all this said, there’s a lot of pretty big stuff in this group of documents. But mainly it is documentary evidence and detail about things we already basically knew happened. Those details are very important, both factually and in terms of optics with the upcoming trial. But big picture they capture events and transactions we already knew about or assumed.

The big exception is these texts to and from Robert Hyde, a Trump donor, possibly a Mar-a-Lago member, and a Connecticut congressional candidate. We have to consider the possibility he was just blowing smoke or making things up. But the texts suggest he had Ambassador Yovanovitch under some kind of surveillance in Ukraine by persons unknown and by people who might be willing to do things to her — like hurt her.

Does this guy have any connection to or knowledge about Ukraine? Were these people who were working for him or for Parnas gangsters of some sort? Were they the Ukraine version of private investigators? We’ve long heard these suggestions that there were some threats to Yovanovitch’s “security” but we’ve never had a clear explanation of what that meant.

The upshot of a lot of commentary was that it wasn’t her physical security but that she’d be embarrassed in some way, perhaps by the President. But that explanation never really made sense. Was there somehow a perceived threat to her physical security or at least indications she was being surveilled? We have way too little information to know. But on their face that is what these texts seem to suggest.

Reading these texts I had the sense of some gung-ho Trumper talking tough, getting himself spun up but maybe not really having any idea the kinds of people he was dealing with. Ukraine is a very corrupt and very violent country, particularly where business and politics intersect. When idiots get hooked up with mobsters and goons things can go south very quickly.

Again, maybe this is just some overeager fool blowing smoke. But this really needs to be gotten to the bottom of.

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Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.