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Hill Claims Giuliani Ran Shadow Foreign Policy in Ukraine to Bypass Officials and Diplomats to Benef
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18 Oct 2019 05:48 AM EST

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Fiona Hill (Image source: Kuhlmann/MSC via Wikimedia Commons)

When former special assistant to the president and senior director for European Director for European and Russian Affairs on the National Security Council Fiona Hill testified before the impeachment inquiry on Monday, she told investigators Rudy Giuliani was running shadow foreign policy in Ukraine that bypassed U.S. officials and career diplomats for the purpose of personally benefitting Donald Trump.  

She was thrust into the limelight this week as a witness in their impeachment investigation that is looking into the circumstances surrounding Donald Trump asking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, as well as the possibility that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election for the benefit of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He was reportedly holding out aid in exchange for the investigation taking place.

Throughout Trump's interest in the Biden conspiracy theory, his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani has been involved, with two of his associates being arrested last week as well for campaign finance violations. 

Three House committees that are led by Democrats are now investigating the circumstances surrounding Trump's call to Zelensky.

Hill told impeachment investigators that she confronted the U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland about Giuliani's activities," according to people familiar with her closed-door testimony. She claims his actions were not carried out in conjunction with officials responsible for foreign policy.  

Text messages that were obtained showing the discussions surrounding the Ukraine effort showed Sondland being involved.

While Sondland is set to appear before the impeachment inquiry later this week, there is talk of questioning the former national security adviser John Bolton, who was Hill's supervisor. 

Hill testified that Bolton was very upset with Giuliani's activities with Ukraine, recalling that he compared Trump's personal attorney to a "hand grenade who's going to blow everybody up" after he found out about Giuliani's efforts with Ukraine.

A few weeks before Trump's phone call with Zelensky, Bolton met up with Sondland, then-special envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and Hill.  

Sondland's plans with Ukraine became known to the others when he told them that there were "investigations that were dropped that need to be started up again," according to a U.S. official familiar with the meeting.

The meeting participants understood that he was referring to the energy company Hunter Biden worked for, Burisma. This reportedly made Bolton go "ballistic" after the meeting. 

Hill reported in her testimony that after the meeting Bolton told her to raise their concerns about Giuliani's shadow operations in Ukraine with White House attorneys. He said he didn't want to be part of any "drug deal" that was being planned for Ukraine.

She met with National Security Council attorney John Eisenberg to mention her concerns about Giuliani's activities. Sondland and Volker worked with him on the efforts as well. 

"Rudy Giuliani has clearly been a leading force for the administration in defining a shadow foreign policy in Ukraine," Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) told reporters after exiting Hill's deposition but didn't not say she mentioned that in her testimony.

"There was an official foreign policy, which was attempting to counter corruption in Ukraine, and then there was Rudy Giuliani and the gang that couldn't shoot straight who worked for him, who were involved precisely [in] connecting with corruption in Ukraine and promoting corruption in Ukraine." 

"I don't know Fiona and can't figure out what she is talking about," said Giuliani after her testimony. He added that his contact with Ukrainian officials was set up through the State Department.

"I reported everything back to them," he claimed. "Nothing shadowy about it. 

The former mayor of New York also stated that Hill wasn't in the know as much as Sondland and the others regarding Ukraine. "She just didn't know," he said, adding that he'd never talked to her about Ukraine policy.

Hill also mentioned she was very angry when former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yavonovitch was removed from her post at Giuliani and Trump's urging.  

Wednesday is the deadline for Giuliani's associates who were arrested last week, Florida businessmen Les Parnas and Igor Fruman, to turn in documents that were requested by the impeachment inquiry. They are known to have helped Giuliani with the Biden conspiracy theory.

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