November 18, 2019, 20:32

Former US national security expert on Russia expected for deposition

Former US national security expert on Russia expected for deposition

Congress is set to continue closed-door depositions this week regarding the growing impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, and now Fiona Hill, a former top national security adviser on Russia who left the administration just before the president’s July phone call with the president of Ukraine, plans to meet with lawmakers on Monday.

Democrats have accused Trump of abusing his office and potentially violating campaign finance laws. Despite admitting that he wanted Democratic rival and former Vice President Joe Biden, and Biden’s son, Hunter, investigated by Ukraine for alleged corruption, Trump has insisted he did nothing wrong.

Evan Vucci/AP, FILE

Fiona Hill, senior director for European and Russian Affairs on the National Security Council, listens as President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, April 2, 2019, in Washington D.C.

A copy of the request for documents and testimony lawmakers issued to Hill last week, obtained by ABC News, reveals a wide spectrum of issues the Democrat-led committees hope she can shed light on. The request includes information about the efforts by any current or former Trump administration officials — as well as the president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and newly indicted Soviet-born Florida-based businessmen Lev Parnas and Igor Furman — to investigate matters related to Burisma Holdings, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Hunter and Joe Biden, the Democratic National Committee, Hillary Clinton and former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie “Masha” Yovanovitch.

(MORE: Giuliani’s relationship with arrested men subject of criminal investigation: Sources)

Prior to her most recent work in the White House, Hill served under both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama as a career national intelligence officer for Russia and Eurasia on the National Intelligence Council.

An accomplished scholar and author on modern Russia, and a sharp critic of President Vladimir Putin, Hill initially was recruited to the post by Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, and his then-deputy national security adviser, K.T. McFarland, according to a source. Hill officially joined the national security team under the leadership of Flynn’s successor, former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, in April 2017.

Jacquelyn Martin/AP

President Donald Trump speaks with reporters on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Oct. 11, 2019, before departing for a campaign rally in Lake Charles, La.

Hill, who holds a master’s in Soviet studies and a doctorate in history from Harvard University, is described by former colleagues as the ultimate expert on all things related to Russian foreign policy, with a great wealth of institutional knowledge of Putin’s domestic and international strategic goals. She is widely praised for her work on the NSC, and multiple individuals close to her have said they’re amazed she lasted so long in the Trump administration.

(MORE: Trump claims on Ukraine call may stem from foreign official’s year-old request)

“Hill would be able to describe to the committees discrepancies, observations and recommendations emanated by inter-agency discussions organized by the NSC, and if and how those recommendations were acted upon by the president,” said ABC News Contributor John Cohen, a former DHS acting undersecretary who’s worked as both a congressional and federal investigator.

“She would have access — and would have been involved in — senior discussions on Russia and other issues, with visibility in internal discussions within the White House on Russia and Ukraine,” Cohen added.

Hill is presently on leave from The Brookings Institute in Washington, where she directed the Center on the United States and Europe from 2009 to 2017.

Reached by ABC News, Hill’s attorney, Lee Wolosky, declined to comment. The Brookings Institute also declined to comment.


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