Posted by Curt on 21 November, 2019 at 12:00 pm. 7 comments already!


In her testimony before the House impeachment inquiry, Fiona Hill, formerly of the National Security Council, took great pride in telling lawmakers she was a nonpartisan intelligence professional. She then labored mightily in service of a Democratic political narrative.

Specifically, Hill conflated two separate theories of Ukrainian collusion in the 2016 election. One of these is discredited, the other is quite viable. Hill helped the Democrats suggest that they have both been debunked.

Hill is too smart not to have grasped the effect of her testimony. This is exactly the kind of cynicism that fuels concerns about the unaccountable “deep state.”

To be sure, President Trump is largely to blame for propagating the discredited Ukraine theory. It holds that, somehow, it was Ukraine, rather than Russia, that interfered in the 2016 election by cyber-espionage against Democratic email accounts.

This is such a loopy theory, it defies clear explanation. Suffice it to say that it involves suspicions that a hacked DNC server is hidden in Ukraine. Perhaps, the speculation runs, it was Ukrainian operatives, not Russian ones, who were the culprits.

It is a fringe theory. No one who has closely followed the collusion caper puts any stock in it. Regrettably, the president is a hospitable audience for frivolous theories that cast doubt on Russia’s culpability, which he wrongly fears casts doubt on his legitimacy.

In his July 25 conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump appears to have pressed this theory about the server. He wanted Kiev to look into it, even though it is the consensus of American intelligence agencies that Moscow was behind the cyber hijinks.

In her testimony, Hill observed that Russia, which she rightly regards as our strategic rival, is delighted by the promotion of this debunked server theory. Anything that could undermine ties between Washington and Kiev promotes Moscow’s interest — putting in doubt our support for a former Soviet captive state that revanchist Russia has under siege.

Fair enough, but Hill generally framed this debunked idea as the “theory of Ukraine’s interference in the 2016 election” — as if it were the only theory of Ukrainian collusion. A Democratic questioner stressed, and Hill emphatically agreed, that “there is no basis for these allegations.”

The problem, of course, is that there is a second theory of Ukrainian collusion in the 2016 election.

The second theory has nothing to do with Russia. It is supported by significant evidence. It includes public professions of support for Clinton and opposition to Trump by Ukrainian officials. It includes acknowledgments by Ukrainian investigators that their Obama administration counterparts encouraged them to investigate Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Bolstering this theory is the fact that Ukrainian officials leaked information damaging to Manafort (a ledger of payments, possibly fabricated) that forced Manafort’s ouster from the Trump campaign, triggering waves of negative publicity for the campaign.

A Ukrainian court, in late 2018, concluded that two Ukrainian officials meddled in the election. And in 2018 House testimony, Nellie Ohr — who worked for Fusion GPS, the Clinton campaign opposition research firm that produced the lurid and discredited Steele dossier — conceded that a pro-Clinton Ukrainian legislator was a Fusion informant.

When Republicans and most Trump supporters refer to evidence of Ukrainian collusion in the 2016 election, it is this collusion theory that they are speaking about. This theory is in no way mutually exclusive with the finding that Russia hacked the DNC accounts — it has nothing to do with the hacking.

There is nothing illogical in believing both that Russia hacked the Democrats and that Ukraine supported the Democrats.

Hill’s testimony aimed at obfuscating this viable theory of Ukrainian collusion, implying that it had been debunked and that to consider it is to lend aid and comfort to Russia, notwithstanding that many people who credit the Ukrainian collusion theory are more reliably hawkish on Russia than Democrats have been over the last 30 years — I included.

Read more

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x