Mar 7, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Fiona Hill: Putin has the U.S. "exactly where he wants us"

Fiona Hill testifies in impeachment inquiry of President Trump on Nov. 21, 2019. Photo: Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Fiona Hill, the former top Russia expert on the National Security Council, said that Russian President Vladimir Putin has the U.S. "feeling vulnerable, he's got us feeling on edge, and he's got us questioning the legitimacy of our own systems" in a "60 Minutes" interview airing on Sunday.

The big picture: The nation's top election-security official warned the House Intelligence Committee last month that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election to help President Trump get re-elected and to continue attempting to sow discord among the U.S. electorate.

What she's saying: "Putin, sadly, has got all of our political class, every single one of us, including the media, exactly where he wants us."

  • She said that in 2016, "a lot" of the polarization in the U.S. came from Russia — "But they don't invent the divisions. The Russians didn't invent partisan divides. The Russians haven't invented racism in the United States. But the Russians understand a lot of those divisions and they understand how to exploit them."
  • "I don't think that we're in a second Cold War. But one thing that people need to bear in mind is that the Russian military still has the capacity to wipe out the United States through a nuclear strike. But there is no ideological struggle. The Cold War were two systems against each other. In a sense, we're in the same system. We're competitors."

Flashback: Hill, a former White House official, testified in the impeachment inquiry into Trump that a "fictional narrative" about Ukraine, driven by partisan politics, distracted the president from the real threat that Russia poses to American democracy.

Go deeper: Russia has already won the fight to undermine U.S. elections

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