Dr. Fiona Hill, a former National Security Council official who held Tim Morrison’s job until this past summer, will testify at the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday as part of the ongoing impeachment inquiry.
She resigned as Trump’s top Russia analyst days before the July 25 phone call considered the crux of the impeachment inquiry, raging since late September. Hill testified behind closed-doors on October 14.
Hill comes across as a competent expert on Eastern Europe, who was opposed to the president’s style of diplomacy and was outraged by the way former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch was treated. In her deposition, she claimed there was an “antisemitic conspiracy theory” to attack Yovanovitch and others as supporters of left-wing billionaire George Soros. (Soros is Jewish. Some of the attacks on him are antisemitic; most are not, and are substantive.)
Hill is also part of the ongoing rehabilitation of the public image of former National Security Advisor John Bolton. Democrats once described him as a warmonger; now that he may have had a falling out with President Donald Trump, he is a hero. Hill will quote Bolton as saying that Bolton was opposed to what U.S. Ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani were doing in Ukraine.
Like Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who worked closely with her, Hill seems outraged at the president’s informal diplomatic channel. Notably, she also admitted in her deposision to working in the past with “Russia dossier” author Christopher Steele, and she has served on a regional board of George Soros’s Open Society Institute.
Key Democrat Talking Points:
1. Hill was the original source of the quote by Bolton calling Sondland’s efforts with the Ukrainians a “drug deal”: “You go and tell [NSC counsel John] Eisenberg that I am not part of whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up on this, and you go and tell him what you’ve heard and what I’ve said.” She explained that Bolton was referring to a potential deal for a meeting with the new Ukrainian president in the White House in exchange for investigations into the 2016 elections, and into the Burisma company, which was linked to Joe and Hunter Biden. Bolton also said that Giuliani “is a hand grenade that is going to blow everybody up.”
- What Democrats aren’t telling you: Hill did not mean that Sondland and Giulini were doing anything illegal. The term “drug deal” was meant as a criticism, but also a jest: “I clarified, of course, that the drug deal was an ironic and sarcastic statement that Ambassador Bolton made,” she said in closed-door testimony.
2. In their “key excerpts” document, Democrats point out that Hill testified that “Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch’s removal was the ‘result of the campaign that Mr. Giuliani had set in motion.’”
- What Democrats aren’t telling you: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also told President Trump that he was glad Yovanovitch was gone. He told Trump: “It was great that you were the first one who told me that she was a bad ambassador because I agree with you 100%. Her attitude towards me was far from the best as she admired the previous President and she was on his side. She would not accept me as a new President well enough.” Hill struggled in her deposition to understand why Yovanovitch lost Zelensky’s confidence.
3. Democrats will point out Hill’s concern about the damage the president’s request might do to the close relationship with Ukraine, which he will argue is in the national security interest of the United States.
- What Democrats aren’t telling you: Hill admitted in her deposition that she once opposed giving Ukraine lethal defense weapons, because she thought it would provoke Russia and make the situation worse. She was criticized by her successor, Tim Morrison, for what he called an undisciplined management style.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.