Fiona Hill, a former top White House adviser on Russia and Europe, and David Holmes, a political counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, are the final witnesses testifying on week two of public hearings as part of House Democrats' impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.
Hill served in the Trump administration for two-and a half years on the National Security Council until her resignation, which was announced one week before Trump's July 25 call with Ukraine's new president.
Hill said in her prepared opening statement that U.S. support for Ukraine, which faces Russian aggression, "has been politicized."
She accused Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee of advancing Russian propaganda with "politically driven falsehoods" that portray "an alternate narrative that the Ukrainian government is a U.S. adversary, and that Ukraine—not Russia—attacked us in 2016.”
“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," Hill said in her statement. "This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves. The unfortunate truth is that Russia was the foreign power that systematically attacked our democratic institutions in 2016."
She called for not letting "domestic politics stop us from defending ourselves against the foreign powers who truly wish us harm."
Fiona Hill's Full Opening Statement
Holmes, a career foreign service officer, was the chief policy advisor for ousted U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. He testified in his prepared opening statement of efforts by Ukraine's former Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko to discredit her anti-corruption agenda with "unsupported allegations."
He also testified about overhearing a phone call between U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland and President Donald Trump at a restaurant. Holmes said: "I heard Ambassador Sondland greet the President and explain that he was calling from Kyiv. I heard President Trump then clarify that Ambassador Sondland was in Ukraine. Ambassador Sondland replied, yes, he was in Ukraine, and went on to state that President Zelenskyy “loves your ass.” I then heard President Trump ask, “So, he’s gonna do the investigation?” Ambassador Sondland replied that “he’s gonna do it,” adding that President Zelenskyy will do “anything you ask him to.” Even though I did not take notes of these statements, I have a clear recollection that these statements were made. I believe that my colleagues who were sitting at the table also knew that Ambassador Sondland was speaking with the President."