The significance of former Russia adviser Fiona Hill’s congressional testimony

The significance of former Russia adviser Fiona Hill’s congressional testimony


JUDY WOODRUFF: Another marathon of private
hearings on Capitol Hill today, as members of three committees in the House of Representatives
question President Trump’s former top Russia adviser Fiona Hill. It’s part of the ongoing impeachment inquiry. Our Yamiche Alcindor has been reporting on
Capitol Hill today. And she joins us now. So, Yamiche, remind us who Fiona Hill is. What is her background? YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Fiona Hill was the first
person who worked at the White House to come before Congress to testify as part of the
Democrats’ impeachment inquiry. She was President Trump’s top Europe and Russia
adviser. She worked with President Trump for about
two years as part of the National Security Council staff. And she had a long career as a national intelligence
officer before she came to work for President Trump. Now, she left the administration just a couple
of days before that July 25 phone call between President Trump and the president of Ukraine. Before, she worked — came to work for President
Trump, she worked for both George W. Bush’s administration, as well as the administration
of Barack Obama. And she’s seen as someone who’s very knowledgeable
on the issue of Russia. She’s also seen as someone who’s very skeptical
of Vladimir Putin. She’s written several books about Russia. And one of them is seen as a critical biography
of Vladimir Putin called “Mr. Putin.” So she’s someone who is very well-respected. And Democrats are eager to hear what she has
to say. JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Yamiche, we know that
she was answering questions among a number of committees in the House of Representatives
today, but behind closed doors. What do we know about what she’s been saying? YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Well, it’s clear that Fiona
Hill came here with an agenda. And that agenda is to, based on reports, talk
about the fact that she was against the removal of the former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie
Yovanovitch, and she was also really concerned with the actions of Trump allies. She thinks that they were abusing power by
having the former ambassador of Ukraine removed. She’s, according to reports, wanted to come
here, but she also was a complying with a subpoena, much like last week, when we saw
the former ambassador of Ukraine say that she was legally required to be here. Her lawyer said she was served with a subpoena
today and came here before Congress to offer information. So we’re not exactly sure exactly what she
said in the deposition, because it’s continuing to go on, but the idea is that she’s going
to be giving critical information that’s going to be part of this impeachment inquiry. And, basically, it’s going to be saying that
Rudy Giuliani and Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to Europe — to the European Union, as well
as the president’s personal attorney, were operating outside of the official channels
that the State Department has to try to pressure Ukraine to investigate the president’s political
rivals. JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Yamiche, separate story,
but we know that the White House is today dealing with the fallout from something that
happened several days ago. This was at a conference of Trump supporters
at which a video was shown that actually shows someone with the head of President Trump going
into a church, a congregation, people filling a church, and shooting people, with the names
of news organizations superimposed on their heads, among them, PBS, The New York Times
and others. What is the White House saying about this? YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Well, Judy, this is really
a disturbing video that depicts President Trump murdering journalists. And the White House press secretary, Stephanie
Grisham, says that the president hasn’t seen the video, but that, based on what’s been
described to her and to him, that he would condemn it. However, the president, who has been out tweeting
about all sorts of other things, has not actually condemned this video. Now, the president of the White House Correspondents
Association, he released a statement saying that this video is horrifying. And he called on both President Trump and
people who went to that pro-Trump conference to denounce this video. I should also tell you, I have been talking
to reporters personally all day about this video. And there are a lot of people who are shaken
up. They see this as an escalation of the president’s
rhetoric against journalists. He’s been calling reporters the enemy of the
people. And now people are really afraid that people
might actually be violent toward journalists. So people are really telling me that they’re
laying low and really trying to be vigilant about their surroundings. So this is really something we’re going to
have to keep our eye on, because it’s really disturbing to a lot of reporters. JUDY WOODRUFF: Incredibly disturbing. Yamiche Alcindor today reporting from Capitol
Hill, thanks, Yamiche. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Thanks, Judy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *