Trump’s former top Russia adviser is testifying before House committees on Monday as part of the impeachment inquiry examining the president, his administration and his allies’ dealings with Ukraine.
Fiona Hill, who served on the National Security Council, left the administration in August. She is set to be asked about her knowledge of efforts by the president and his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to press Ukraine to mount investigations into Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, as well as possible 2016 election interference, and how those efforts intersected with the work of the NSC and the State Department.
She will also likely be asked what steps were taken within the White House to restrict access to records of some of the president’s calls with foreign leaders, including a July call in which he pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Mr. Biden and other matters.
The closed-door hearing got off to a rocky start after Rep. Matt Gaetz (R., Fla.), who is not a member of one of the three committees interviewing Ms. Hill, tried to participate and was subsequently ordered to leave by House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.).
Mr. Gaetz refused to leave, and Democrats brought the matter to the parliamentarian, who sided with Mr. Schiff, Mr. Gaetz said in an interview. The back-and-forth held up the hearing for about 45 minutes, he said.
“It’s not like you know, I’m on the Agriculture Committee,” he told reporters after he left. Mr. Gaetz is on the Judiciary Committee, which historically has led impeachment proceedings.
Democrats allege that Mr. Trump’s efforts to get Ukraine to launch the investigations marked an improper use of the president’s office to benefit his own re-election hopes. A whistleblower complaint filed in August, which set off the impeachment inquiry last month, alleged that following the July call there was an effort within the White House to “lock down” all records related to the call. Mr. Trump has denied wrongdoing and on Twitter Monday morning called the Democrats’ probe a “total impeachment scam.”
In a letter to Ms. Hill last week, House lawmakers requested her testimony and documents, including those related to Mr. Trump’s phone calls with his Ukrainian counterpart in April and July, communications between administration officials about those calls, and records related to Mr. Giuliani.
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