Get the latest market trends in your inbox

Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with the Axios Markets newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Facebook logo. Photo: Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook removed "a network of several dozen Facebook pages" defending GOP congressional candidate and Trump donor Robert Hyde late on Friday, the Wall Street Journal reports — months after Buzzfeed revealed 23 of the pages featuring pro-Trump content.

Why now: Facebook's choice to take down the pages coincides with the House Intelligence committee releasing documents apparently showing that Hyde suggested to Lev Parnas, associate of Rudy Giuliani, that he had former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch under physical surveillance in Kyiv.

  • Hyde also appears to text Parnas: "Can't believe Trum[p] hasn't fired this [b**ch]. I'll get right on that," after Parnas shared pictures and articles of Yovanovitch, according to House Intelligence documents.
  • Hyde did not respond to a Friday request for comment on materials released by House Democrats. The White House did not respond to a request for comment on Saturday.

Details: Several of the Facebook pages — which had more than 120,000 collective likes — used the same contact information and details as Hyde’s Connecticut-based House campaign, per the WSJ. The pages also "described themselves as representing groups of supporters of President Trump from different states..."

  • On Friday, several of the Facebook pages shared a video of Hyde saying the texts disclosed by House Democrats shouldn't be taken seriously. "Like I have anybody over in Ukraine? Are you serious?” he said, per WSJ.
  • "Hyde said his texts to Mr. Parnas were a joke and that he didn’t monitor the ambassador’s movements," WSJ reports.
  • When Buzzfeed asked Hyde about his relationship to the Facebook pages in November, Hyde said: “I like positivity and like to follow all Trump media," then added in a follow-up message that he does not run the network pages.

The big picture: Facebook's policy "lets politicians make just about any claim they want, in ads or posts, including repeating verbatim a false claim that has already been labeled elsewhere as false," Axios' Scott Rosenberg reported last fall.

What they're saying: “When we find networks of Pages misleading people by concealing who controls them, we require those owners to show additional information. In this case, the necessary disclosure was not made, so per our policy, the Pages have been removed,” a Facebook spokesperson told WSJ.

Background: During her closed-door deposition before House impeachment committees, Yovanovitch testified that Giuliani steered the smear campaign that led to her firing. She also publicly testified that she felt threatened by Trump's mention of her in his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Go deeper: New Lev Parnas records detail Ukraine surveillance efforts, contact with Devin Nunes aide

Go deeper

Updated 18 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus may have been in U.S. in December 2019, study finds — Hospital crisis deepens as holiday season nears.
  2. Politics: Bipartisan group of senators unveil $908 billion COVID stimulus proposalFDA chief was called to West Wing to explain why agency hasn't moved faster on vaccine — The words that actually persuade people on the pandemic
  3. Vaccine: Moderna to file for FDA emergency use authorizationVaccinating rural America won't be easy — Being last in the vaccine queue is young people's next big COVID test.
  4. States: Cuomo orders emergency hospital protocols as New York's COVID capacity dwindles.
  5. World: European regulators to assess first COVID-19 vaccine by Dec. 29
  6. 🎧 Podcast: The state of play of the top vaccines.

Bipartisan group of senators unveils $908 billion COVID stimulus proposal

Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) in the Capitol in 2018. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

A bipartisan group of senators on Tuesday proposed a $908 billion coronavirus stimulus package, in one of the few concrete steps toward COVID relief made by Congress in several months.

Why it matters: Recent data shows that the economic recovery is floundering as coronavirus cases surge and hospitals threaten to be overwhelmed heading into what is likely to be a grim winter.

Inside Patch's new local newsletter platform

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Patch, the hyperlocal (and profitable) local digital news company, has built a new software platform called "Patch Labs" that lets local news reporters publish their own newsletters and websites, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: It follows a growing trend of journalists going solo via newsletters at the national level.