Nov 21, 2019

"Could I actually say something?": Fiona Hill fires back at House Republicans

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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The impeachment inquiry's closing arguments

Fiona Hill. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The takeaway from seven public impeachment hearings: Nothing has shattered House Republicans’ allegiance toward President Trump.

Driving the news: That includes the Trump administration's former top Russia aide suggesting Republicans were dangerously close to being played as Russian assets.

Go deeperArrowNov 21, 2019

Highlights from Fiona Hill's and David Holmes' impeachment testimonies

Photo: Matt McClain/Pool/Getty Images

Fiona Hill, President Trump's former top Russia adviser, and David Holmes, a State Department official at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, testified in Thursday's impeachment hearing.

Driving the news: Hill testified she had a conflict with EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland over his claim that he was working on Ukraine policy at Trump's direction — to pursue what she termed a "domestic political errand."

Go deeperArrowUpdated Nov 21, 2019

Fiona Hill warns of "fictional narrative" on Ukraine in testimony

Former White House official Fiona Hill told Thursday's impeachment hearing that a "fictional narrative" about Ukraine, driven by partisan politics, distracted President Trump from the real threat that Russia poses to America's democracy.

Why she matters: Hill, who left last summer as Trump's top adviser on Russia and Europe, gives House investigators a window into former national security adviser John Bolton's objections to Trump's Ukraine activities. In closed testimony last month, Hill said Bolton called Rudy Giuliani a "hand grenade that is going to blow everybody up."

Go deeperArrowUpdated Nov 21, 2019