Before Tuesday, he was best known as a little-known, scandal-scarred Republican congressional candidate who tweeted an obscene joke at Kamala Harris. But new documents from the House Intelligence Committee have put a completely different kind of spotlight on Robert F. Hyde, the Trump donor who appears to have tracked U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch’s movements in Ukraine.
In WhatsApp messages exchanged in March 2019 with Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas, who provided the committee with the files, Hyde and Parnas discussed Yovanovitch’s location. Hyde, a retired Marine, appeared to have associates in Ukraine monitoring her.
“They know she’s a political puppet,” Hyde wrote to Parnas. “They will let me know when she’s on the move… They are willing to help if you/we would like a price.”
“Guess you can do anything in Ukraine with money… what I was told,” Hyde wrote in another message. Parnas responded: “LOL.”
Parnas attorney Joseph A. Bondy confirmed to The Daily Beast that the Hyde in the text messages is the same person as the Republican congressional candidate.
Asked about his previously undisclosed involvement in Ukraine, Hyde texted The Daily Beast an insult about House Intel chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), writing “Bull Schiff is a giant b*tch.”
“Did Pelosi get drunk and lose the impeachment articles?” he added. “Looks like Schiff wants to whistle blow me.”
Hyde seemed to acknowledge authoring the messages in a Facebook post, but claimed they were just meant as jokes meant to fool Parnas, who he called a “dweeb.”
“How low can liddle Adam Bull Schiff go?” Hyde wrote. “I was never in Kiev. For them to take some texts my buddy’s and I wrote back to some dweeb we were playing with that we met a few times while we had a few drinks is definitely laughable. Schiff is a desperate turd playing with this Lev guy. Have fun with your witch-hunt liddle Schiff.”
In messages released to Schiff’s committee, Hyde used similarly off-color language, describing Yovanovitch as a “bitch” and providing other details about the ambassador, such as her “heavy security.”
Yovanovitch, the United States ambassador to Ukraine from 2016 to 2019, was targeted by Parnas and conservative media figures intent on ousting her from the embassy. Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, has claimed that Yovanovitch hurt his attempts to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter in Ukraine. In November, Yovanovitch testified in an impeachment hearing that her firing had been motivated by “a campaign of disinformation.”
"They are moving her tomorrow,” Hyde wrote to Parnas, who has since been indicted on campaign finance charges. “The guys over they (sic) asked me what I would like to do and what is in it for them. Wake up Yankees man. She's talked to three people. Her phone is off. Computer is off. She's next to the embassy. Not in the embassy. Private security. Been there since Thursday."
Hyde runs a Washington-based government relations firm, Finley Hyde & Associates, according to his LinkedIn account. The company’s website is decorated with pictures of Hyde and high-powered Republicans like Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). Hyde’s firm claims to have handled “major public affairs projects in the U.S. and abroad” and worked for clients that included “foreign government allies of the U.S.”
In August, Hyde launched a bid against Rep. Jahana Hayes (D) in Connecticut’s 5th District. Hyde’s Twitter and Facebook accounts are filled with pictures of him and prominent Republicans, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and Sen. Rand Paul (KY). Hyde has also taken pictures with Trump at the president’s Mar-a-Lago resort.
Hyde frequently took pictures with other Republican figures and posted online. Pictures on Hyde’s Instagram account show him posing with former Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ), Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), former Trump adviser Roger Stone, and former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Hyde also took pictures with Trump children Eric, Tiffany, and Don Jr., as well as Fox News employee Shannon Bream and Ed Henry.
He reportedly suffered some sort of episode at a Trump resort last year, according to Mother Jones, which cited a 2019 police report from the City of Doral Police Department. According to that report, Hyde was taken into police custody at the Trump National Doral Miami last May before being involuntarily admitted to a medical facility in accordance with a state law that allows the confinement of people believed to pose a danger to themselves.
He was described as a “male in distress fearing for his life” and reportedly told police he believed a “hit man was out to get him.” Police described him as acting “paranoid” and said he claimed “landscape workers” and the Secret Service were targeting him.
Before the Intelligence Committee’s release, Hyde also drew attention by sending an obscene tweet about Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and oral sex after the senator dropped out of the presidential race.
“She went down, brought to her knees,” Hyde tweeted. “Blew it. Must be a hard one to swallow….”
Leading Connecticut Republicans called on Hyde to drop out of the race, but he declined. (“We are winning in the polls and will win this seat from the squad member Jahana Hayes. Liddle Adam Bull Schiff will twist anything to carry on in his SHAM,” he texted The Daily Beast on Tuesday.)
In the aftermath of that controversy, the Connecticut GOP refunded contributions Hyde had made to the party.
"I appreciate you putting this out there publicly too," Hyde shot back on Twitter. "It's almost my birthday so double win. #thanks."
Hyde has made $56,000 in political contributions since 2016, according to the Hartford Courant, with much of it going to the Republican National Committee. But as of November, Hyde owed more than $2,000 in child support to Jennyfer Morin, the mother of his son.
"He can't even afford $100 a week in child support but he's golfing with Trump," Morin said, according to the Courant.
As news of Hyde’s involvement in the Ukraine scandal broke Tuesday, he was tweeting about his child support and claiming that he wasn’t a “deadbeat.” Hyde later deleted the tweets.