“Fiona Hill, the former National Security Council (NSC) official who is testifying in Thursday’s impeachment inquiry, admitted in her closed-door deposition to having worked with Russia “dossier” author Christopher Steele.
Steele, a former British spy, was hired by the opposition research firm Fusion GPS to find dirt on then-candidate Donald Trump. The firm was paid by Trump’s political opponents, particularly the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign. His “dossier” produced a slew of unsubstantiated, salacious accusations, some of them were proven false outright. But the FBI used it to obtain a FISA warrant to spy on Trump campaign associates.
Hill was asked directly about her work with Steele. She portrayed it as a product of circumstance and said that she believed he was being fed misinformation by Russians, perhaps as payback for his past spying on them. (Some of the information also came from Ukraine, though Hill dismissed Ukrainian interference as a “fictional narrative.”)
“He was my counterpart when I was the director, the national intelligence officer,” she testified. She added: “So inevitably when I had to do liaison meetings with the U.K., he was the person I had to meet with.” She said that she had worked with him from 2006 to 2009 — and added that he had reached out to her in 2016, during the election: “That was prior to the time that I had any knowledge about the dossier. He was constantly trying to drum up business, and he had contacted me because he wanted to see if I could give him a contact to some other individual, who actually I don’t even recall now, who he could approach about some business issues.”
She said that she saw a copy of the “dossier” in January 2017, the day before it was published by Buzzfeed, adding that “it seemed to be about half of Washington, D.C., had it.” She later said she was “shocked” he was responsible.