Fiona Hill testified before the House impeachment committee yesterday and explained that while the Russian election interference was intended to simply sow discord between the parties and make one candidate appear illegitimate, the Ukraine was desperately trying to curry favor with Clinton, expecting her to win the election.
So… the so-called Russian meddling in the 2016 election was simply to put the winner under a cloud.
“The Russians’ interests are frankly to delegitimize our entire presidency,” Hill stated in response to a line of questioning from Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff during her public impeachment hearing. “So one issue that I do want to raise, and I think this would resonate with our colleagues on the committee from the Republican Party, is that the goal of the Russians was really to put whoever became the president, by trying to tip their hands on one side of the scale, under a cloud.”
“So if Secretary, former First Lady, former Senator Clinton had been elected as president, as indeed many expected in the run-up to the election in 2016, she too would have had major questions about her legitimacy,” she continued. “I think that what we’re seeing here as a result of all of these narratives is exactly what the Russian government was hoping for.”
“Perceived misinformation, perceived doubt, they have everybody questioning the legitimacy of a presidential candidate, be it President Trump or potentially a President Clinton, that they would pit one side of our electorate against the other, they would pit one party against the other, and that’s why I wanted to make such a strong point at the very beginning.”
Hill further emphasized the “need to be very careful as we discuss all of these issues not to give them more fodder that they can use against us in 2020.”
Hill’s testimony also cast Rudy Giuliani in a negative light, with Hill saying that she though that Giuliani’s efforts in Ukraine, which included campaigning to have Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch removed from her position as ambassador to Ukraine, would hurt the administration.
Gordon Sondland, U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, testified Wednesday that Rudy Giuliani proposed a quid pro quo in order to push Ukraine to investigate potential meddling into the United States 2016 presidential election.
Giuliani pushed back on Sondland’s claims both during and after the Wednesday hearing.
Later in Hill’s testimony, she stated she believed Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, and specifically his actions on Ukraine would “probably come back to haunt” the administration.
“I asked if there was anything we could do about it,” Hill told Democratic Counsel Daniel Goldman. “Ambassador Bolton had looked pained, basically indicated with body language that there was nothing much that we could do about it, and he then, in the course of that discussion, said that Rudy Giuliani was a hand grenade that was going to blow everyone up.”
Moreover, the Ukrainian government was trying to “curry favor” with Hillary Clinton, expecting her to win. This might indicate why it was so ready to follow the Obama administration orders not to investigate a list of liberals in the United States, connected to the massive corruption in the country.
Hill made the admission while discussing a 2017 Politico article by reporter Ken Vogel that alleged Ukrainian officials attempted to sabotage President Donald Trump’s candidacy. The article has been used to prove that Ukraine, in addition to Russia, had some role in interfering with the US election.
Vogel reported, “Ukrainian government officials tried to help Hillary Clinton and undermine Trump by publicly questioning his fitness for office. They also disseminated documents implicating a top Trump aide in corruption and suggested they were investigating the matter, only to back away after the election. And they helped Clinton’s allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers, a Politico investigation found.”
Hill seemed to acknowledge that Vogel’s reporting was accurate, but indicated that actions taken by “individuals” against the Trump campaign could not be compared to the vast Russian effort to damage Clinton. The testimony seemed to partially contradict her opening statement, during which she accused Republicans of creating a “fictional narrative” by suggesting Ukraine had meddled in the election.
“I do want to point out that the crux of the article here by Mr. Vogel is he said there was little evidence of a top-down effort by U.K. He makes the distinction between the Russian effort that was directed by Russian president Putin and involved the country’s military and foreign intelligence services. Now, I don’t think that those two things are exactly the same,” Hill testified.
She also, however, indicated that Ukrainian officials “bet on the wrong horse” in 2016 and said inappropriate and disrespectful things about President Donald Trump.
“They bet on the wrong horse. They bet on Hillary Clinton winning the election. And so, you know, they were trying to curry favor with the Clinton campaign. It’s quite evident here,” Hill said, adding that Trump never let Ukraine’s behavior affect his attitude toward the country.
“I could list a whole host of ambassadors from allied countries who tweeted out, who had public comments about the president as well. And it did not affect security assistance, having meetings with them. If it would, there would have been a lot of people he wouldn’t have met with,” she explained.