On Capitol Hill, the president’s former top adviser on Russia and Europe told the House impeachment inquiry Thursday that Donald Trump sacrificed U.S. foreign policy goals by pressuring Ukraine’s leaders to announce an investigation into Joe Biden and his son. The adviser, Fiona Hill, said she came to realize the president was personally directing his attorney Rudy Giuliani and U.S. ambassador Gordon Sondland to pressure Ukraine into helping Trump’s re-election bid by smearing one of his main political rivals.
Fiona Hill: “He was being involved in a domestic political errand. And we were being involved in national security/foreign policy. And those two things had just diverged.”
During her opening remarks, Fiona Hill blasted what she called a “fictional narrative” promoted by Trump and his Republican allies that it was Ukrainian operatives — not Russians — who meddled in the 2016 election.
Fiona Hill: “Right now, Russia’s security services and their proxies have geared up to repeat their interference in the 2020 election. We are running out of time to stop them. In the course of this investigation, I would ask that you please not promote politically driven falsehoods that so clearly advance Russian interests.”
Hill said she warned Ambassador Sondland that his efforts in Ukraine on behalf of Trump would “blow up.” Another witness, David Holmes — an aide at the U.S. Embassy in Kiev — testified that he overheard President Trump discussing “investigations” into the Bidens with Ambassador Sondland over an unsecured cell phone at an open-air restaurant in Kiev, Ukraine. Late Thursday, House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff gaveled the impeachment proceedings to a close.
Rep. Adam Schiff: “This president believes he is above the law, beyond accountability. And in my view, there is nothing more dangerous than an unethical president who believes they are above the law. And I would just say to people watching here, at home and around the world, in the words of my great colleague, 'We are better than that.' Adjourned.”