Former National Security Council official Dr. Fiona Hill told the House impeachment inquiry on Thursday that she understood why President Donald Trump was upset with officials from Ukraine who criticized him during the 2016 election cycle.
“Many officials from many countries, including Ukraine, bet on the wrong horse. They believed former [Secretary of State Hillary] Clinton … was going to win,” she said. “And many said some pretty disparaging and pretty hurtful things about President Trump, and I can’t blame him for feeling aggrieved about them.”
In testifying before the House Intelligence Committee, Fiona also noted that in preparing state visits after President Trump was inaugurated, officials collected all statements from “senior officials” from other countries, including American allies, that were very critical of him.
But she added that Trump had a different reaction to what Ukrainian officials did and said.
“The difference here, however, is that hasn’t had any major impact on his feelings towards those countries. Not that I have seen,” she said. “But I have also heard the president say … that Ukraine ‘tried to take me down.'”
In her opening statement, Hill dismissed claims that Ukrainian officials were working with the Clinton campaign to try and find political dirt on Trump.
But later, under questioning from Republicans, Hill noted that some Ukrainians were “trying to curry favor” with the Clinton campaign to collect information on Trump allies like his former campaign manager, Paul Manafort.
In January 2017, POLITICO published a story noting that Ukrainian efforts to “sabotage” the Trump campaign “backfired.”
“Kiev officials are scrambling to make amends with the president-elect after quietly working to boost Clinton,” the report noted.