In Brief

Warning of ‘fictional narrative’ at impeachment hearing

Trump's former Russia adviser warns of Moscow conspiracy theory

President Trump's former top Russia adviser says Moscow is “gearing up” to repeat its interference in the 2020 US presidential election.

Speaking at the impeachment inquiry, British-born Fiona Hill said America was being “torn apart” by the impact of Russia's previous targeted campaign in 2016.

She said Moscow wanted to distance itself from its interference in the American election and “sow doubt” about the legitimacy of the presidency.

She added: “Right now, Russia's security services and their proxies have geared up to repeat their interference in the 2020 election. We are running out of time to stop them.”

At the impeachment hearings, several Republicans have made references to alleged election meddling by Ukraine, without offering evidence.

Hill told Republicans to dismiss a conspiracy theory pushed by Moscow of Ukrainian meddling in the US election, saying some members of the House intelligence committee appeared to believe Russia did not target the US three years ago.

The 54-year-old said Republicans should not promote “politically driven falsehoods” that cast doubt on Moscow's interference, adding: “This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves.

“In the course of this investigation, I would ask that you please not promote politically driven falsehoods that so clearly advance Russian interests.”

Hill has been widely praised for her testimony. The Guardian says she has emerged “as a heroine for our times,” while Politico’s congressional bureau chief, John Bresnahan, called her a “national treasure” and Vanity Fair said she has “eviscerated GOP lawmakers” and “set the Republicans’ impeachment defences on fire”.

Speaking of her own journey, the coalminer’s daughter told the inquiry: “I am an American by choice, having become a citizen in 2002. I was born in the north-east of England, in the same region George Washington’s ancestors came from. Both the region and my family have deep ties to the United States.”

Before the hearing, Trump had published a tweet urging Republican committee members to “keep fighting” because “you are dealing with human scum”.

The impeachment inquiry began after a whistleblower raised fears that Trump was withholding aid from Ukraine to coerce President Zelensky to investigate the Bidens.

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