President Donald Trump’s former top Russia advisor testified that former national security advisor John Bolton had directed her to alert a lawyer in the National Security Council over a July meeting between Ukrainian and U.S. officials.
Fiona Hill, the former senior director for Russian and Eurasian affairs, spoke under subpoena Monday before the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees, telling lawmakers about the July meeting that left her and Bolton concerned about what The Wall Street Journal referred to as an “investigation that could implicate Biden and his son.”
Bolton reportedly advised Hill to alert NSC lawyer John Eisenberg following the July 10 meeting, she said during her nine-hour testimony according to the Journal. Hill left the administration days before Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky’s July 25th phone call which has sparked an impeachment inquiry by Democrats.
Trump’s former top Russia analyst was not part of his July call with Zelensky but was present, along with Bolton, at the July 10 meeting and had concerns about the president’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who was reportedly referred to by Bolton as a “hand grenade who’s going to blow everybody up,” according to The New York Times.
Giuliani’s involvement was characterized as a rogue operation by Hill as he worked with Gordon Sondland, the former European Union ambassador. The Times reported that Bolton and Sondland locked horns in the meeting, and Hill testified that Bolton told her to inform Eisenberg about Giuliani working with White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney in an effort to get Ukraine to launch an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.
“I am not part of whatever drug deal Rudy and Mulvaney are cooking up,” Bolton reportedly said to White House attorneys.
Giuliani has insisted that his dealings on Ukraine were coordinated with the State Department to root out corruption, but Democrats disagree.
“There was an official foreign policy, which was attempting to counter corruption in Ukraine. And then there was Rudy Giuliani, and, you know, the gang that couldn’t shoot straight who worked for him, who were…connected with corruption in Ukraine and promoting the corruption in Ukraine,” Maryland Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin told the Wall Street Journal following Hill’s appearance Monday.
Hill is among a group of current and former administration members who are being interviewed by House panels this week, with Sondland expected to testify later this week. Democrats are also focusing on allegations over the president’s alleged withholding of military aid to Ukraine, seeking to interview White House budget director Russell Vought.
As the acting director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, Vought “would be among the most senior administration officials called to appear before Congress in the Ukraine probe,” according to ABC News which obtained a copy of the letter to the OMB requesting Vought to appear on Oct. 25.
Both Trump and Zelensky have maintained that there was no quid pro quo or pressure for Ukraine to investigate the Bidens and the transcript of the call showed no threats made by Trump.
The OMB, Pentagon, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were subpoenaed by Democrats last week for documents related to Ukraine as the White House issued a letter stating it would not be cooperating with the Democrats and their sham inquiry. Republicans have slammed Democrats and House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff’s handling of the impeachment inquiry.
Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz blasted Schiff Monday after being booted out of Hill’s hearing as the House parliamentarian ruled that as a member of the House Judiciary Committee, he was not part of any of the three committees that were involved in the closed-door hearing.
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