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Fiona Hill speaks during the CITIZEN by CNN 2020 Conference on Tuesday. Photo: Getty Images/Getty Images for CNN

Former top White House Russia adviser Fiona Hill said Tuesday the "bungled handling of COVID," race relations, "political polarization" and the "spectacles that we're presenting" have eroded the United States' world standing.

What she’s saying: "We are increasingly seen as an object of pity, including by our allies, because they are so shocked by what's happening internally, how we're [eating] ourselves alive with our divisions," Hill told CNN's Jim Sciutto at the Citizen by CNN 2020 conference.

  • "We're the ones who are creating all this. It's not the Russians or the Chinese or anyone else. We are doing this to ourselves."

The big picture: A Pew Research Center poll found last week that positive views of the U.S. are at record lows, driven by the nation's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

  • The U.S. has reported more deaths from COVID-19 than any other country, per Johns Hopkins.
  • The death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 200,000 in the U.S. on Tuesday. Almost 6.9 million Americans have tested positive for the virus.

Of note: Hill testified in the House last year during Trump's impeachment hearing that an ongoing conspiracy theory about Ukrainian meddling in the 2016 presidential election distracted Trump from the real threat that Russia poses to America's democracy.

Go deeper

Aug 22, 2019 - World

Russian interference, 2020

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Americans are at each other's throats. Politically, socially and culturally, we suspect each other's motives and plain sanity. So certain are we of the other's intent to do the nation harm, some of us have joined political gangs and assaulted one another, resulting in at least 1 death.

Which is to say: Americans have played into Russian President Vladimir Putin's hands — again. It is assumed he can attack next year's elections if he so chooses, but since no outsider knows exactly how, what comes next is one of the great underlying mystery-dramas of the 2020 election campaign.

1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Jen Psaki: "With that I’d love to take your questions”

In her inaugural briefing as White House press secretary, Jen Psaki said she has a “deep respect for the role of a free and independent press in our democracy,” and pledged to hold daily briefings.

Why it matters: Conferences with the press secretary in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room became almost non-existent under the Trump administration. By sending Psaki to the podium hours after President Biden took the oath of office, the White House signaled a return to pre-Trump norms.

Avril Haines confirmed as director of national intelligence

Haines. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Image

Avril Haines was quickly confirmed by the Senate on Wednesday as the director of national intelligence (DNI) in a vote of 84-10.

Why it matters: Haines is the first of President Biden's nominees to receive a full Senate confirmation and she will be the first woman to serve as DNI. She's previously served as CIA deputy director from 2013 to 2015 and deputy national security adviser from 2015 to 2017.

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