January 15, 2020

In the continuing saga of Trump's shakedown of Ukraine, the new playerhas responded to his newfound fame as mafia hitman for the administration. Robert Hyde, running for a Connecticut Congressional seat (because, of course he is) didn't deny tracking our ambassador's movements while she was in Ukraine. He also didn't deny sending the tweets that clearly imply he's willing to harm, or arrange for harm, to come to Marie Yovanovitch in order to facilitate said shakedown.

Is he going to halt his run for Congress? AHAHAno.

What's his response? Well, in a text message to journalist Josh Lederman, he just says, "Pfft. Dude. I was drunk, and Adam Schiff is a turd."

and the coup de grace:

Your Republican party, ladies and gentlemen.

Josh Lederman and Heidi Przybyla joined Stephanie Ruhle to discuss this dramatic, yet dime-store novel turn of events.

STEPHANIE RUHLE: We're not talking about any official agency. We're not even talking about a lawmaker. Who in the world is Robert Hyde? He's a new name.

JOSH LEDERMAN, NBC POLITICAL REPORTER: He is. He's someone we didn't know was part of the impeachment saga until these documents. He's a Republican candidate in Connecticut who appears to have joined Trump's orbit by making donations to the president and Republicans, he showed up at Mar-a-Lago. He's a very bombastic guy. He had to delete an offensive tweet about Kamala Harris after she dropped out of the presidential race. In a text message to me last night as we were asking him about this, he brushed this all off, didn't back down but said these are texts he sent to some, quote, dweeb while he was having some drinks with a friend.

RUHLE: ...I want to go deeper into Robert Hyde, his excuse was he was drinking when he sent those messages about the ambassador. While the ambassador was testifying before Congress, he took to twitter in the middle of the afternoon calling her foul, derogatory terms right there. So at 3:59 in the afternoon, calling a career diplomat a piece of you know what, he was drunk then too?

HEIDI PRZBYLA: Maybe he was drunk when he -- or the lawyer was when he texted Josh last night, I don't know. But I think we have a lot more to learn about how Hyde fits into this. But the most important thing here is the lines drawing back to the president. This is why we have a second article of obstruction because it is precisely information like this that makes it very clear this was all being carried out on behalf of no one else, other than the president of the United States. Giuliani says in this letter he is acting solely on behalf of Trump. What is he looking for? We know from contemporary news reporting at the time that he is looking for dirt on the Bidens. From those handwritten notes, it says this is what the president wants. He wants an announcement of dirt on the Bidens. What does that have to do with official corruption? Just getting an announcement for the president from the president's personal attorney pushing for this. So it's blowing up this narrative that the president had any concerns about a broader fight against corruption that this was his personal attorney acting on behalf of the president in his own personal context. And then it also explains, Hyde tweeting at Yovanovitch why the president said in that phone call with Zelensky that she's going to, quote, "go through some things" because apparently he had people on the ground there who were at a minimum tracking her movements. Who knows specifically what they meant to do to her other than to get the president to remove her. But another concern. If you are one of these Republican senators -- by the way, the Chief Justice as well, who's going to have the first call on whether new evidence is admitted, you have to look at this and really wonder, is this the way that you want to be on the record, given that the one sure thing about this entire episode is more information is going to continue to flow.

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