Pompeo Denies Knowing Parnas Or Anything About Yovanovitch Surveillance

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at the U.S. State Department on January 7, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

In a Friday interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo finally addressed the alleged surveillance of former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, saying that he’d “never heard about this at all.”

“Until this story broke, the best of my recollection, I’d never heard of this at all,” Pompeo told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.

Pompeo also washed his hands of any association with Lev Parnas, the associate of President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who provided a tranche of messages to Congress that included exchanges about getting rid of and tracking Yovanovitch.

“Never met him,” Pompeo said.

According to the Hill, the State Department agreed Thursday to brief senators about what officials knew of attempts to track Yovanovitch after heavy pressure from the Democrats. At that point, Pompeo still had not publicly acknowledged the threats.

Pompeo had already come under fire for his refusal to put out a statement backing up Yovanovitch during Giuliani’s smear campaign. In Friday’s interview, Pompeo still did not come to Yovanovitch’s defense, or raise any objections or concerns about the alleged tracking of a U.S. diplomat.

Other foreign policy experts, including a current State Department official, have raised the alarm about the egregious treatment of an American official. “Not just insane, but deeply chilling,” the State Department employee characterized the revelations to Foreign Policy magazine.

The new evidence also raises more questions about what Pompeo knew at the time.

Per the New York Times, State Department records show that Pompeo spoke to Giuliani at least twice in late March. Giuliani said that during the calls, he gave Pompeo the results of his Ukraine research. This was around the same time Pompeo was facing pressure from both Giuliani and the White House to fire Yovanovitch. She was recalled to Washington a month later.

Pompeo is scheduled to give a televised briefing Friday morning, though the State Department already abruptly cancelled two unrelated briefings just after Parnas’ messages were released to the public.

Messages Parnas gave to the House Intelligence Committee were released earlier this week and revealed a Connecticut contractor named Robert Hyde telling Parnas that Yovanovitch’s movements were being tracked. It has been long known that Giuliani was working to oust Yovanovitch to clear the way for someone who would be more amenable to forcing Ukraine to concoct a phony investigation into Joe Biden and his son.

“She under heavy protection outside Kyiv,” Hyde sent to Parnas in March. “They are moving her tomorrow,” he added days later.

“They are willing to help if we/you would like a price,” he texted Parnas later that day, March 25. “Guess you can do anything in Ukraine with the money… what I was told.”

“Lol,” Parnas said in response.

Both men have claimed that the exchange was not a serious one.

“I don’t believe it’s true,” Parnas said to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Wednesday about Hyde’s surveillance talk. “I think he was either drunk or he was trying to make himself bigger than he was. So I didn’t take it seriously.”

“It was just colorful, we were playing,” Hyde told Eric Bolling on Sinclair TV the same day. “I thought we were playing. I didn’t know he was so serious.”

Still, FBI agents visited Hyde’s home and business Thursday.

Ukraine has also opened an investigation into the threats, citing the messages which “contain a possible violation of the law of Ukraine and the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which protects the rights of a diplomat on the territory of the foreign country.”

Latest News

Notable Replies

  1. Liar…

  2. Not really a “details” sort of guy, Fat Mike. Like knowing his ambassadors in countries that we pay a lot of money and attention to …

  3. Well if you so innocent then go under oath about it.

  4. Avatar for danny danny says:

    I know nothink!

  5. Damn. Pompeo is confident those shredders at Foggy Bottom he ordered to work overtime are completely on top of this. I wouldn’t be so confident, you pompous ass.

    Someone has the receipts…and not answering to the American people can only go on for so long, and then what? tRump won’t always be there to protect your sorry ass. In fact, he’s more likely to throw you under the bus at some point if he thinks it will save his own hide. Good luck, moron. You’ll be toast too, eventually.

Continue the discussion at forums.talkingpointsmemo.com

114 more replies


Avatar for sandi Avatar for ajm Avatar for srfromgr Avatar for rollinnolan Avatar for thebigragu Avatar for ralph_vonholst Avatar for lastroth Avatar for musgrove Avatar for leftcoaster Avatar for moreyampersand Avatar for pine Avatar for zlohcuc Avatar for thunderclapnewman Avatar for junebug Avatar for henk Avatar for rocklaverve Avatar for lizzymom Avatar for khyber900 Avatar for j_publicus Avatar for cub_calloway Avatar for kelaine Avatar for rockitttla Avatar for emiliano4 Avatar for Hatmama

Continue Discussion
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: