- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 21, 2019

Fiona Hill, a former National Security Council expert on Russia, said Ambassador Gordon Sondland’s task from President Trump was focused on politics, not foreign policy.

Ms. Hill described two “testy encounters” she had with Mr. Sondland because of her frustration that he was not coordinating with her and other officials and keeping them up to date.

However, after reviewing his Wednesday testimony, Ms. Hill said she realized the ambassador was right to report to only a handful of individuals close to the president because he was working in a different arena than her.

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“He was being involved in a domestic political errand. And we were being involved in national security foreign policy, and those two things had just diverged,” she said.

Ms. Hill admitted that she and other NSC officials tried to block Mr. Sondland’s efforts because they wanted to avoid veering into domestic politics.

At the time, though, Ms. Hill said she was still irritated and told Mr. Sondland, “I think this is all going to blow up.’ And here we are.”

Democrats are looking to frame the president’s interest in Ukrainian investigations into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden and interference in the 2016 presidential election as a political effort rather than an overarching effort to ramp up anti-corruption efforts in Ukraine.

The crux of the impeachment inquiry centers on allegations that Mr. Trump pressured new Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky via a quid pro quo to open investigations into alleged 2016 election interference and corruption at Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma, where Mr. Biden’s son Hunter was on the board of directors.

Rep. Mark Meadows, a North Carolina Republican who has been championing the party’s defense of Mr. Trump from the sidelines of the inquiry, pushed back on the attention the exchange was attracting.

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