Report: Trump Thought Dr. Fiona Hill Was A Member Of His Clerical Staff
President Donald Trump’s former top adviser on Russia, Fiona Hill, delivered devastating testimony on Thursday during her appearance before impeachment investigators, where she accused the president and his allies of trying to legitimize “an alternate narrative that the Ukrainian government is a US adversary, and that Ukraine, not Russia, attacked us in 2016.”
But Hill’s relationship with the president was “strained from the start,” according to a 2017 Washington Post report, after Trump mistook the National Security Council official for a secretary.
During an Oval Office meeting prepping Trump for a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, “Trump appeared to mistake Hill for a member of the clerical staff, handing her a memo he had marked up and instructing her to rewrite it,” The Post reported.
Officials who witnessed the exchange said that Hill returned a confused look to the president, which appeared to anger Trump, as he interpreted her response as insubordination.
“As she walked away in confusion, Trump exploded and motioned for [then-National Security Adviser H.R.] McMaster to intervene,” officials told The Post, and “McMaster followed Hill out the door and scolded her.”
This was not the end of Hill’s tense relationship with Trump, according to the report. After details of Trump’s meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak were leaked, Hill was forced to defend her staff against accusations of disloyalty.
During that meeting, Trump had “revealed highly classified information to his Russian guests” — a fact that was subsequently leaked to The Post.
The White House reportedly began excluding Hill from important meetings she would ordinarily attend, including Trump’s sitdown with Putin at a July summit of Group of 20 nations in Hamburg.