×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Impeachment Witness Testifies Russia Is Getting What It Wanted

A National Security Council official testified Thursday that Russia has succeeded in exacerbating domestic tensions in the U.S. and delegitimizing the U.S. presidency.

Fiona Hill, a Russia expert, made a direct challenge to Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee, who have seemed to cast doubt on Russian interference in the 2016 election, and to put blame on Ukraine. She asked them to stop promoting falsehoods that promote Russian interests, and warned that Russia is gearing up to interfere in the 2020 campaign.

“President Putin and the Russian security services operate like a super PAC,” she said. “The Russian interest is to delegitimize our entire presidency. The goal of the Russians was to put whoever became president under a cloud… What we’re seeing here, this is exactly what the Russian government was hoping for.”

Hill testified on the fifth day of impeachment hearings. She was joined at the witness table by David Holmes, a foreign service official who serves in Ukraine.

Holmes spoke about meetings in Kiev, including one on July 26 in which he overheard a conversation between President Donald Trump and Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union. Holmes repeated testimony he had given last week in a closed deposition, saying that he could overhear Sondland tell the president that Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky “loves your a–,” and would do anything Trump wanted.

Popular on Variety

He recalled that Trump asked about “the investigation,” and that Sondland confirmed that Zelensky would do an investigation. The conversation came one day after Trump urged Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and Ukraine’s purported involvement in the 2016 campaign.

After Sondland hung up with the president, Holmes asked if it was true that Trump did not “give a s— about Ukraine.” Sondland confirmed that, and said Trump only cared about “big stuff” that benefits him, such as the Biden investigation, Holmes said.

Sondland neglected to mention this conversation during his deposition. In his testimony before the committee on Wednesday, he said he had remembered the conversation and had no reason to dispute Holmes’ general recollection of it. He did dispute referring directly to Biden, however, saying he understood only that the president and his attorney, Rudy Giuliani, wanted an investigation of Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company. Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, served on the board of the company.

Kurt Volker, a diplomat who also served in Ukraine, testified on Tuesday that he also failed to make the connection between a Burisma investigation and the Bidens, saying the former would be unremarkable while the latter would be obviously improper. He said he only made the connection much later.

Hill and Holmes both testified Thursday that it was clear that Burisma and the Bidens were linked, as Giuliani had been publicly making the connection in stories in the New York Times.

Hill repeated testimony she had given about John Bolton, who was then the national security adviser. She described a meeting in which Bolton sought to make it clear he had nothing to do with a deal whereby Ukraine would launch investigations in exchange for a White House meeting. She said that Bolton instructed her to go tell the lawyers that “I am not part of whatever drug deal that (Chief of Staff Mick) Mulvaney and Sondland are cooking up.”

More Politics

  • Editorial Use OnlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    Chinese TV Drops English Soccer Match Over Player's Political Comments

    State broadcaster China Central Television on Sunday dropped its planned live coverage of a soccer match between English teams Arsenal and Manchester City due to the political comments made by one of Arsenal’s players. Mesut Ozil, a German midfield player of Turkish origin, used social media to criticize China’s practices in Xinjiang province, which has [...]

  • Cenk Uygur

    Bernie Sanders Retracts Endorsement of Young Turks Founder Cenk Uygur After Backlash

    Bernie Sanders pulled his support for Cenk Uygur’s congressional bid, with the Vermont independent in part acknowledging that Sanders’ supporters were “frustrated” about the endorsement. Sanders, who’s running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, cited Uygur’s announcement Friday that he would not be accepting any endorsements. In a statement, Sanders alluded to sexist and other [...]

  • Pete Buttigieg

    Here's Who's Raising Money in Hollywood for Pete Buttigieg

    The Pete Buttigieg campaign released its top bundlers on Friday evening, as it continues to open up its fundraising process to media scrutiny. Buttigieg released the names of 157 members of his “investors circle,” each of whom has raised at least $25,000 for his campaign. Buttigieg is now the most prolific fundraiser in Hollywood, with [...]

  • Ivanka Trump

    Ivanka Trump Reportedly Set to Speak at CES 2020

    Ivanka Trump, President Donald Trump’s daughter and an adviser to the president, is scheduled to appear on a panel at CES 2020 in January, according to a published report. Ivanka Trump will appear on a panel set for Jan. 8 at 3 p.m. at the Las Vegas confab with Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of [...]

  • Donald Trump Hollywood Racism

    House Judiciary Committee Votes to Impeach President Trump

    The House Judiciary Committee voted to adopt two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Friday morning, sending the matter to the full House for a vote next week. The articles accuse Trump of abusing his power by pressuring Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 election and of obstructing the impeachment inquiry. Both articles [...]

  • Boris JohnsonConservative Party rally on eve

    Boris Johnson Returns as Prime Minister After Election, Pledges to Deliver Brexit

    UPDATED: The third general election in Britain in four years has returned former London mayor Boris Johnson as prime minister and given his Conservative Party a commanding majority in Parliament. Johnson campaigned on a promise to finally pull the U.K. out of the European Union after three-and-a-half years of political infighting since Britons voted to [...]

  • Boris Epshteyn

    Sinclair Drops Political Commentary Segments From Boris Epshteyn, Ameshia Cross

    Sinclair Broadcast Group has decided to scrap the political commentary segments that have aired across its vast station group since 2017. Boris Epshteyn, former Trump campaign official turned chief political analyst for Sinclair, has been delivering commentary segments that were mandated to run adjacent to local newscasts on all Sinclair stations since the spring of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content