Fiona Hill (L), the National Security Council’s former senior director for Europe and Russia, and David Holmes (R), an official from the American embassy in Ukraine, testify before the House Intelligence Committee

The Unflappable Fiona Hill Shut Down Republicans’ Ukraine Conspiracy Theories to Their Faces

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In today’s impeachment hearing, Dr. Fiona Hill, a former top presidential advisor on Europe and Russia, shut down one of the GOP’s go-to conspiracy theories.

Trump, Rudy Giuliani, Devin Nunes, and other GOP lawmakers, along with rightwing media outlets, have been pushing what she called a “fictional narrative” that it was Ukraine, and not Russia, that sought to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

First of all, if you haven’t watched today’s hearing, to set the stage, you need to understand what kind of person Hill is. She’s this kind of person:

She began her opening statement by expressing her pride at being “a nonpartisan foreign policy expert, who has served under three different Republican and Democratic presidents.”

“I have no interest in advancing the outcome of your inquiry in any particular direction, except toward the truth,” she said.

So far, the impeachment witnesses have not pushed back against the GOP’s Ukrainian conspiracy theory, but Hill did today.

“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,” she told the committee. “This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves.”

She says that the fact that Russia successfully interfered in our election is “beyond dispute, even if some of the underlying details must remain classified.” The impact of that interference, she says, “remains evident today.” Russia had a goal of sowing discord among Americans and increasing the partisan divide. They obviously succeeded. So who benefits from the GOP’s decision not just to ignore that, but to move the blame to one of our allies?

“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,” Hill said today. Of course, that didn’t stop Nunes from revisiting his conspiracy theories, but still, Hill’s testimony has made for a powerful day.

(image: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.