Former National Security Council aide Fiona Hill lambasts what she calls the “fictional narrative” that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 presidential election during her testimony in the Trump impeachment inquiry on Thursday.
Hill and David Holmes, a U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, are set to testify before the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday. The inquiry has focused on how President Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce investigations related to the Bidens, as well as alleged actions taken by Ukraine in the 2016 election, as aid was withheld.
In her prepared testimony obtained by Fox News, Hill says, “Based on questions and statements I have heard, some of you on this committee appear to believe that Russia and its security services did not conduct a campaign against our country—and that perhaps, somehow, for some reason, Ukraine did. This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves.”
She adds: “I refuse to be part of an effort to legitimize an alternate narrative that the Ukrainian government is a U.S. adversary, and that Ukraine—not Russia—attacked us in 2016.”
The transcript of Trump’s July 25 call with Zelensky shows Trump asking for a “favor” in the form of Ukraine providing information about the hacking of the DNC server in 2016. He referenced CrowdStrike, a cyber firm used by the DNC to investigate the attacks.
“I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike… I guess you have one of your wealthy people… The server, they say Ukraine has it,” Trump said.
Hill’s comments appear to reference such allegations.
“These fictions are harmful even if they are deployed for purely domestic political purposes,” Hill says.
She also plans to tell lawmakers: “The unfortunate truth is that Russia was the foreign power that systematically attacked our democratic institutions in 2016. This is the public conclusion of our intelligence agencies, confirmed in bipartisan Congressional reports. It is beyond dispute, even if some of the underlying details must remain classified.”
Democrats have dismissed the notion that Ukraine played a role in the 2016 race. But Republicans throughout the hearing have repeatedly asked witnesses about a separate Ukraine-related allegation involving Alexandra Chalupa—a former Democratic National Committee consultant who allegedly had meetings during the 2016 campaign with officials at the Ukrainian Embassy in D.C. to discuss incriminating information about Trump campaign figures.
On Thursday, California Rep. Devin Nunes — the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee — railed into Democrats during the hearing, saying, “They got caught covering up for Alexandra Chalupa—a Democratic National Committee operative who colluded with Ukrainian officials to smear the Trump campaign—by improperly redacting her name from deposition transcripts and refusing to let Americans hear her testimony as a witness in these proceedings.”
Hill is also expected to testify Thursday about what she witnessed inside the White House as two men — European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland and Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani — carried out foreign policy for the president.
In closed-door testimony last month, Hill testified that she spent an “inordinate amount of time” at the White House coordinating with Sondland, whose donation to Trump’s inauguration preceded his appointment as ambassador to the EU. Sondland testified Wednesday that Trump and Giuliani sought a quid pro quo with Ukraine tied to a White House meeting, but stressed he never heard Trump himself tie military aid to his request for investigations, the matter at the heart of the probe.
Holmes, a U.S. diplomat in Kiev who overheard that July 26 call, is also testifying Thursday as investigators wrap up two weeks of public hearings. Holmes heard Trump ask Sondland whether Zelenskiy was going to conduct the investigations he wanted and be told he would.
Opening the hearing on Thursday, Schiff said lawmakers in the coming days will “determine what response is appropriate” after the recent testimony.
“It will be up to us to decide, whether those acts are compatible with the office of the presidency,” Schiff said.
Trump on Thursday railed against the proceedings as a “phony impeachment hoax.” He denied putting pressure on Ukraine and tweeted, “I never in my wildest dreams thought my name would in any way be associated with the ugly word, Impeachment!”
Fox News’ Mike Emanuel and The Associated Press contributed to this report.