In a stunning moment at Thursday's impeachment hearing, former top White House Russia adviser Fiona Hill asked whether she may respond to Republican attacks, after three GOP congressmen in a row used their five-minute question allotments to criticize the impeachment inquiry and its witnesses.

"I don't believe there should be any interference of any kind in our election. ... That's actually why as a nonpartisan person and as an expert on Russia and an expert on Vladimir Putin and on the Russian security services, I wanted to come in to serve the country to try to see if I could help. ... We're here to relate to you what we heard, what we saw and what we did. And to be of some help to all of you in really making a very momentous decision here. We are not the people who make that decision."
— Fiona Hill

Why it matters: Hill lamented that Reps. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) and John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) left the hearing room after giving lengthy speeches directed at the witnesses, noting that she and others who came before the committee under legal obligation also felt a moral obligation to the country.

  • In several hearings over the past two weeks, Republicans have asked witnesses directly whether they believed Trump committed a crime — specifically bribery or extortion.
  • Hill made the argument that she and others were appearing before the committee as fact witnesses — not to opine on impeachment. She also used the moment to underscore why it's important that Americans can unite in 2020 to vote without fear that the election is being interfered with by foreign powers.

Go deeper: Live updates from Hill's and Holmes' testimonies

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