Fiona Hill, former senior director for European and Russian Affairs on President Trump’s National Security Council, testified Thursday that the goal of Russian meddling into the 2016 election was not to elect Trump over then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, but to sow discord between Republicans and Democrats.
“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. (RELATED: Fiona Hill Testifies She Expected Giuliani’s Actions Would ‘Probably Come Back To Haunt Us’)
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.”