Nov 21, 2019

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.

  • "I would ask that you please not promote politically driven falsehoods that so clearly advance Russian interests," Fiona Hill testified today.
  • She was referencing the pattern of Republicans basing questions on Ukrainian political interference and the Biden family, rather than on the Trump administration's actions in Ukraine.

The big picture: Most House Republicans have been a hard "no" on impeachment since the very beginning, and even retiring Rep. Will Hurd of Texas declared himself a "no" today.

In today's session, Hill and David Holmes of the State Department fleshed out some of the details presented by past witnesses.

  • Hill said she told EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland she was frustrated he wasn’t coordinating with the National Security Council on his Ukraine efforts.
  • Hill added that Sondland didn’t coordinate with professional staff because he was involved in a “domestic political errand.”
  • Hill said she told Sondland that Trump's Ukraine policy was "all going to blow up."
  • And she called it "not credible" that Sondland didn't make the Biden-Burisma connection.

What they're saying: Hill lamented that Republicans left the hearing room after giving lengthy speeches directed at the witnesses.

  • 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.

The bottom line: Democrats considered today their closing arguments prior to the Thanksgiving recess.

Go deeper: Full highlights

Go deeper

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

"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.

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Hill says she told Sondland that Ukraine policy was "all going to blow up"

Fiona Hill, President Trump's former top Russia expert, testified during Thursday's impeachment hearing that she told EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland earlier this year that the Trump administration's policy on Ukraine was "all going to blow up."

The big picture: Hill illustrated a dual-track policy that "diverged" seemingly at Trump's direction. According to her testimony, Sondland claimed to be reporting directly to the president and other senior White House officials to pursue a "domestic political errand" — investigations linked to the Biden family's business dealings in Ukraine — while National Security Council staff focused on traditional foreign policy.

Go deeperArrowNov 21, 2019