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BI agents on Thursday visited the Connecticut home and business of Robert Hyde, a Republican congressional candidate whose purported surveillance of the U.S. ambassador in Ukraine last year has become an issue in the impeachment of President Donald Trump.

The visits came on the same day that Ukrainian officials said they had opened an investigation into Hyde’s claims to Lev Parnas, a then-associate of Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, that he was tracking the movements of American ambassador Marie Yovanovitch last year when she was still posted in Kyiv.

Parnas and Giuliani last year were engaged in an effort to oust Yovanovitch as part of a broader push to get Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, the current front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination.

The Senate on Thursday began its impeachment trial of Trump. The House of Representatives a month earlier impeached the president in connection with his withholding of congressionally appropriated military aid to Ukraine while he was pressuring that country’s new president to announce a probe of Biden and his son Hunter, who served on the board of a Ukraine gas company. Trump has denied any wrongdoing.

An FBI spokesman in New Haven confirmed the visits to Hyde’s home in Simsbury, and to his business office in Avon on Thursday morning, after they were first reported by CNN.

Hyde, who is seeking to win the GOP nomination to unseat incumbent Democratic Rep. Jahana Hayes in Connecticut’s 5th District, began donating to Trump and to the Republican National Committee in September 2016.

Hyde had worked for more than 16 years as a landscaper and in construction, according to his LinkedIn page, but in December 2018 became president of a Washington, D.C.-based government and public relations firm, Finley Hyde & Associates, according to that page.

Messages for Hyde, 40, left by CNBC was not immediately returned.

A senior law enforcement official told NBC News that the visits were not to conduct a court-authorized search but did not elaborate on the FBI’s reason for the visits.

A neighbor of Hyde told NBC that one FBI agent arrived at Hyde’s residence before dawn and parked on the street in front of the home.

The neighbor spoke to the FBI agent and said to the best of his knowledge, the agent did not enter Hyde’s home. Read more

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