Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives said on Tuesday they would include new evidence when they send formal impeachment charges against President Donald Trump to the Senate on Wednesday.
That includes phone records and other documents provided by Florida businessman Lev Parnas, an associate of Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.
Giuliani says Parnas helped him investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
U.S. Democrats allege Giuliani and Parnas were part of a White House scheme to pressure Ukraine's president into announcing a corruption probe into Biden and his son.
The Ukraine-born Parnas has pleaded not guilty to federal campaign-finance violations in a separate criminal case.
Democrats said Parnas' phone included a screenshot of a previously undisclosed letter from Giuliani to then President-elect Volodymyr Zelensky, where the former new york mayor writes, "In my capacity as personal counsel to President Trump and with his knowledge and consent, I request a meeting with you." Democrats said this new trove also includes Parnas' own apparent handwritten notes the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Vienna, where he writes, "get Zalensky [sic] to Annonce [sic] that the Biden case will Be Investigated." The pressure campaign resulted in the House voting to impeach Trump last month for abuse of power and obstructing Congress's inquiry into the matter.Chillingly, the documents also show an intense focus on the former American Ambassador to Kyiv, Marie Yovanovitch.
A Republican Congressional candidate who communicated with Parnas claimed to have Yovanovitch under physical surveillance in Kyiv, and that he had contacts who were "willing to help if we/you would like a price." (SOUNDBITE) (English) GEORGE KENT, THE DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR EUROPEAN AND EURASIAN AFFAIRS, SAYING: "Over the course of 2018-2019, I became increasingly aware of an effort by Rudy Giuliani and others, including his associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, to run a campaign to smear Ambassador Yovanovitch and other officials at the U.S. embassy in Kyiv (Kiev)." Impeachment witnesses described a smear campaign against Yovanovitch apparently directed by Giuliani On a July phone call with Ukraine's president, Trump called Yovanovitch "bad news," and said "she's going to go through some things." (SOUNDBITE) (English) MARIE YOVANOVITCH, FMR. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE, SAYING: "'She is going to go through some things.'
It didn't sound good.
It sounded like a threat." Yovanovitch told investigators that when she recalled to Washington, she was told she needed to come quickly because her security could be at risk.
The late inclusion of these records, which were only made available to investigators in the last few days, suggested Democrats were trying to further substantiate their case before it heads to the Senate for trial.