- The Washington Times - Friday, November 8, 2019

During House Democrats’ impeachment probe interview of National Security Council staffer Fiona Hill, Rep. Adam B. Schiff got slapped down for championing the unsubstantiated Russia-collusion dossier on President Trump.

Ms. Hill, a Russia expert, said she knew from the start that the dossier’s author, former British spy Christopher Steele, “could have been played” by the Russians.

She called the dossier a “rabbit hole,” according to the transcript of her closed-door interview, which was released Friday by House Democrats.

“I was concerned about the Steele report because that is a vulnerability,” she said as Mr. Schiff, the chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence spearheading the impeachment inquiry, looked on.

Mr. Schiff fully endorsed the dossier Mr. Steele compiled in Moscow while being paid by Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

The interview focused on her concerns about Mr. Trump’s dealings in Ukraine that are central to the impeachment case against the president. But her testimony also the dossier that was the genesis of Democrats’ previous efforts to bring down Mr. Trump.

SEE ALSO: Trump not sweating impeachment testimony: ‘I’m not concerned about anything’

Christopher Steele going out and looking for information. He’s it obviously out there soliciting information. What a great opportunity to, basically, you know, present him with information that he’s looking for that can be couched some truth and some disinformation,” said Ms. Hill, an intelligence community veteran.

The dossier also was used by the FBI in 2016 to secure court approval for surveillance of the Trump campaign, launching a Russia-collusion investigation.

Mr. Schiff read aloud from the dossier during a House hearing on the allegations that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to interfere in the election, charges that ultimately could not be proven by special counsel Robert S. Mueller’s investigation.

Ms. Hill worked closely with Mr. Steele in the 2000s when she was the U.S. national intelligence officer of Russia and he was M16’s Russia chief.

She was shocked that Mr. Steele would undertake such an investigation as going to Moscow to dig up dirt on a U.S. presidential candidate.

“I was shocked to find out that he’d even been [to Moscow] and undertaken this investigation, honestly,” she said.

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