Fiona Hill to say partisan politics drove a ‘fictional’ narrative on Ukraine

Fiona Hill to say partisan politics drove a ‘fictional’ narrative on Ukraine

WASHINGTON — Former White House official Fiona Hill on Thursday will accuse lawmakers on the House Intelligence Committee of echoing Russian propaganda by fomenting the “fictional narrative” that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election, according to her prepared testimony obtained by NBC News.

Hill, one of the foremost U.S. experts on Russian President Vladimir Putin, appears to take aim at Republicans on the panel, led by ranking member Rep. Devin Nunes of California, who have repeatedly questioned witnesses about alleged efforts by Ukrainians to hurt President Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign.

She will say during her impeachment testimony that “some of you on this committee appear to believe that Russia” and its spy services didn’t attack the U.S. in 2016″ and that perhaps, somehow, for some reason, Ukraine did.”

“In the course of this investigation, I would ask that you please not promote politically driven falsehoods that so clearly advance Russian interests,” Hill plans to say. “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.”

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She will issue a dire warning that Russian intelligence and its proxies are gearing up to interfere again in 2020 — and that the U.S. is “running out of time to stop them.”

“Our nation is being torn apart,” Hill will say in her testimony.

Hill becomes the latest witness to events in the West Wing to testify publicly in the impeachment inquiry. In her earlier, private deposition, she revealed that Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland had told Ukrainians visiting the White House that there was an agreement to grant Ukraine’s president a visit if he committed publicly into investigations into Trump’s political opponents.

She also described a “shadow foreign policy” overseen by Sondland and others, and how former national security adviser John Bolton had told her to report to lawyers what he described as a “drug deal” cooked up by Sondland and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.

Hill was expected to affirm that testimony before television cameras on Thursday, as well as to defend strenuously her political impartiality as a national security official. Many of the current and former officials who have testified in the impeachment hearings have been accused by Trump of being “never Trumpers” or otherwise attacked by the White House.

“For the better part of three decades, I have built a career as a nonpartisan, nonpolitical national security professional focusing on Europe and Eurasia and especially the former Soviet Union,” Hill plans to say.

Hill, an American who was born in the U.K., planned to describe her family’s background as coal miners who immigrated to the U.S. She will emphasize that she’s served under three presidents from both parties during her foreign policy career.

She planned to describe her willingness to testify about what she witnessed as “her patriotic duty,” the person said. The White House previously tried to limit what Hill could say by arguing certain topics could fall under executive privilege.

Hill left the White House National Security Council in July, shortly before Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. She testified previously about being told in May that Zelenskiy was rattled by overtures from Sondland and Trump personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. She said Bolton had referred to Giuliani as a “hand grenade.”

Her testimony comes as Democrats are nearing the end of a list of witnesses scheduled to testify publicly in the impeachment investigation. Although the public hearings were expected to be televised replays of the initial, closed-door depositions, nearly all the public witnesses have provided new information about pertinent events that have raised even more questions for House investigators.

Republicans and Trump’s allies have sought to distance the president from the allegations by emphasizing that witnesses only knew about some of the events second-hand and that Trump had said repeatedly there was not a quid pro quo. They have argued that any impression officials had that Trump leveraged military aid for investigations into the Biden family and the 2016 election was speculation.

Josh Lederman

Josh Lederman is a national political reporter for NBC News.

Peter AlexanderPeter Alexander

Peter Alexander is a White House correspondent for NBC News.

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