WASHINGTON (CN) – President Donald Trump and some House Republicans have aired a theory that U.S. allies in Ukraine, rather than adversaries in Russia, interfered in the 2016 elections. Testifying before Congress on Thursday, former senior National Security Council official Fiona Hill cleared the air.
“This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves,” the Russia expert said.
A career national-security official, Hill also warned that Russia’s attacks on U.S. democracy have not ended.
“The impact of the successful 2016 Russian campaign remains evident today,” Hill said. “Our nation is being torn apart. Truth is questioned. Our highly professional and expert career foreign service is being undermined.”
Narrating her upbringing in England, Hill described her journey as an “American by choice” whose family joined the fight against fascist terror during World War II.
“I grew up poor with a very distinctive working-class accent,” Hill remarked, her northern English dialect on display from her congressional perch.
Becoming a U.S. citizen nearly two decades ago did not spare Hill from xenophobic attacks from Trump’s allies, who have besmirched the character, reputation or patriotism of multiple witnesses.
Trump’s former dirty trickster Roger Stone, now a convicted felon, described Hill as a “globalist leftist [George] Soros insider” on InfoWars, an outlet run by pro-Trump conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.
In October, Hill told lawmakers that the anti-Semitic conspiracy tying her to a prominent Jewish financier made her the target of death threats. She likened the smear today as the contemporary equivalent of “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” Another witness earlier this week, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, had been subjected to a similar whisper campaign that Hill called “very unfortunate.”
“This is a country of immigrants,” Hill affirmed, philosophizing later: “This is what, for me, really does make America great."
For Hill, being a woman presented another challenge for interacting with officials like Gordon Sondland, Trump’s handpicked ambassador to the European Union who testified on Wednesday.
“When women show anger, it isn’t fully appreciated,” Hill remarked with exquisite restraint. “It’s pushed off as being about emotional issues, perhaps, or deflected to other people.”
An assured and charismatic witness undermining Trump’s theories of Ukrainian meddling, Hill made for a star witness for the Democrats for several other reasons. She had been one of two officials who witnessed then-national security adviser John Bolton make the explosive remark: “I am not part of whatever drug deal Sondland and [Trump Chief of Staff] Mulvaney are cooking up.”
Democrats subpoenaed Bolton to testify in the House probe, but the former national security adviser joined a group of officials taking the matter to court. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters at her weekly press conference on Thursday the inquiry will not wait on these rulings and that the chamber has not requested additional witnesses.
If a judge sends those officials to the congressional hot seat, Bolton will certainly be asked to explain another remark attributed to him about the president’s personal attorney.
“Rudy Giuliani is a hand grenade that is going to blow everybody up,” Bolton has been quoted telling Hill, who explained that remark to lawmakers under questioning.