Let’s talk about what Fiona Hill said.

The former White House Russia adviser testified last week in the House impeachment investigation, one of a number of nonpartisan civil servants who came forward to shed light on Donald Trump’s attempt to strong-arm Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky into investigating a political rival. Their cool professionalism offered a useful contrast with the heated histrionics of Republicans on the panel, their facts and specifics colliding like bumper cars with the fact-free accusations and vague conspiracies of the Trump defenders.

Hill, in particular, was quietly devastating.

In her opening statement, she rebuked conservatives’ fascination with bizarre and Byzantine theories for which they have no evidence. Like their stubborn insistence that Ukraine interfered with the 2016 election: The U.S. intelligence community has said quite clearly that it was Russia that meddled in American affairs, a conclusion Trump — and thus, his enablers — famously decline to accept.

“Some of you on this committee,” said Hill, in the crisp and precise accent of her native England, “appear to believe that Russia and its security services did not conduct a campaign against our country — and that perhaps, somehow, for some reason, Ukraine did. This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves.”

This inability to agree on reality, she said, is producing dire consequences. “Our nation is being torn apart.”

All of which raises pointed questions: Given that they not only intervened to help Trump but also, as “60 Minutes” reminded us on Sunday, to undermine Democratic congressional candidates, why do the Russians have such a clear preference for Republicans? Why haven’t Republicans been challenged to explain that? And why don’t more of us seem to care? Why is this not a hair-on-fire, shouting-in-the-streets national emergency?

Some of us are old enough to remember the time, not so long ago, when Russia was the bête noire of conservatism, when Ronald Reagan, the archangel of the right, declared the old Soviet Union “the evil empire.” So there is for us a sense of jaw-dropping, head-snapping cognitive disconnect at hearing Republicans, of all people, minimize a Russian attack upon the United States. It’s as if the Ku Klux Klan ran a membership drive for the NAACP — and black people just shrugged.

That’s how broken this nation is, the degree to which Fox, Facebook, Alex Jones, Breitbart, anti-vaxxers and other misinformation peddlers have damaged not simply our ability to discern the truth, but even our ability to care. Kellyanne Conway blithely demands that we respect “alternative facts.”

But the alternative to fact is chaos. For Exhibit A, turn on your television — or just open your front door.

Trump did not create this problem — in fact, it created him — but he has certainly weaponized and exacerbated it with reckless abandon. He has taken what was already awful and made it exponentially worse, as the lapdogs of his party follow in lockstep, happy to break the broken nation, so long as they get anti-abortion judges and tax cuts. Apparently, that’s the going price of a human soul.

So we would be well advised to take Hill’s warning seriously.

One is reminded of another presidential counselor who spoke truth to power. But John Dean’s words to Richard Nixon don’t begin to touch the magnitude of our present crisis. In 1974, yes, there was “a cancer on the presidency.”

But in 2019, the cancer is the presidency.

Leonard Pitts is a columnist for The Miami Herald, 3511 NW 91st Ave., Miami, Fla., 33172. Readers may contact him via email at lpitts@miamiherald.com.

Copyright 2019 Tribune Content Agency.

(92) comments

phydeaux994

Now, the August 9th call from Sondland to Trump where he asked him what he wanted for Ukraine and Trump answered “nothing, I want nothing, no quid pro quo” didn’t happen, there is no record of a call on August 9th on the switchboard at the White House. Another coverup lie by Sondland. Every day, one more nail , day after day. The magnitude of this Conspiracy is astonishing. Trump, Pence, Pompeo, Mulvaney, Sondland, Rudy and his henchmen (under the bus as of yesterday), McConnell, McCarthy, Nunes, Graham (a pitiful man?), EVERY REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN/CONGRESSWOMAN shaking in fear for their jobs, and the herd of the uneducated and deplorables giggling and cheering at every profanity from Trump. The Transformation of a once proud America into a Putin Puppet and the laughingstock of the World. In 4 short years. WHO KNEW it could happen so fast at the hand of a DEMAGOGUE named TRUMP? WHAT IS HAPPENING TO OUR BELOVED COUNTRY...???

matts853

Good letter and very well said, Phy. These are unsettling times for our nation thanks to a president that is only loyal to himself.

phydeaux994

Sept 9 not Aug 9. My mistake.[crying]

phydeaux994

Rudy? Rudy who??

Russian

The president has demonstrated that most white Americans don’t believe sexual assault or perjury are disqualifying offenses to be President.

Russian

Trump has been unfairly discriminated against because he’s friends with communist Russian oligarchs and wealthy sharia law Muslims who want to annihilate America.

Ystj

Yawn...the liberal post again...the REAL threat to America is the looney left.

DickD

How would a right winger know what constitutes lunacy? They make up lies, say hateful things about everyone, even some Trump appointees. Yes, there's lunacy but it is the Trump cult. The Republican party has ceased to exist.

phydeaux994

👍

phydeaux994

😂🤣😜🤪😷😻😹

barrykissin

https://www.globalresearch.ca/russiagate-miserable-truth/5686762

RUSSIAGATE: THE MISERABLE TRUTH

veritas

Same old same old from the same old same old. Tedious redundancy from all concerned. Happy Thanksgiving to us all and let’s try not kill one another between now and the election.

thump1202

Happy Thanksgiving, I wish you an enjoyable feast, family, and friends.

jsklinelga

veitas[thumbup]

barrykissin

"anti-vaxxers and other misinformation peddlers" versus yesterday's FNP, p. A-4: "New reports: More polio cases now caused by vaccine than by wild virus."

"The U.S. intelligence community has said quite clearly that it was Russia that meddled in American affairs ..." versus Hillary touted that all of our 17 intelligence agencies concluded with “high confidence” that the Russians meddled in our election for Trump’s benefit. FALSE. The assessor was John Brennan, then spy-in-chief, who put together a secret panel of his choices from FBI, CIA and NSA in order to produce his miserable INVENTION of the who, how and why the Russians did their dastardly meddling. i am no Trump supporter, but demonization of the Russians is both baseless and dangerous.

hayduke2

Get the tinfoil hats out folks!

olefool

You barry are a Russian troll. Eat it.

mrnatural1

Hey Barry,

Good to see you posting here.

You wouldn't remember me even if I was using my real name, but we met years ago -- my wife and I hired Norm Usiak to represent us when a neighbor attempted to close our road to the public.

I hope to see more of your comments.

DickD

Most, including the top security of the U.S. believe the opposite, barry. Too much Faux News.

threecents

...says the anti-vaxer. Yes, tragically the Sabin live attenuated vaccine can mutate back to a virulent form in the gut of immunized people, and while the vaccinated person will already have produced a sufficient immunity to protect himself

, he could spread it via contaminated water to unvaccinated people. Obviously, the expense should have been made years ago to switch to the more expensive killed Salk vaccine or, even better, to put in mutations in the Sabin vaccine that will prevent it from becoming virulent. I think the new effort uses one of those strategies and polio will finally be completely eradicated in our lifetime. Not to excuse this issue, but we should be grateful that most polio has already been prevented by the Sabin and Salk vaccines - one of the greatest achievements of science.

barrykissin

Some vaccinations are necessary and safe. Others are neither.

threecents

Wow, profound.

Dwasserba

"Their cool professionalism offered a useful contrast with the heated histrionics of Republicans on the panel..." yet many remain unmoved, and cheer and repeat the vulgar word Trump uses in a rally including CHILDREN in Florida. Parents, this is the example you set, molding your children for the future. Gag.

BunnyLou

This dude has a problem wit reality. Fiona Hill was not employed in the national security apparatus at the time of the call. She had no direct evidence other than to give opinion and multi-hand information.

hayduke2

Hey Bunny - did you hear your hero throw Rudy under the bus today. Keep believing his BS....

hayduke2

Hey Bunny - did you hear Tucker cheering for Russia! One of your heroes of the media.[lol][lol][lol]

MRS M

Reading these comments today are the best example yet of Trump's unwavering, and frankly brilliant success, in convincing his gullible supporters to accept his corrosive diatribes and believe his boisterous and ignorant lies and promises, beginning at Day 1 of his campaign. Be forewarned. When Trump loses in 2020 (if he isn't gone before) these are the very same supporters who will be crying "RIGGED!", just as he clearly stated he would do if he lost in 2016. In their sick world, their leader has convinced them that in making America great again, all must be lied about, diminished, denounced and berated...whether attacking diplomats, judges, the media, the free press, or any politician who challenges him. And, be clear. None of this can be accomplished without Trump........cheating to win.. Their continuing support of this corrupt and dangerous individual who has undermined the very fabric of our nation, is the best testament yet to ignorance, denial, and subservience to a corrupt man who is morally bankrupt and unfit to be in office. One wonders what has happened to the members of the Grand Old Party, whether in Congress or right here in our own backyards, that they are willing to accept and support a man who clearly has shown that in order to win, he must cheat; and in order to continue to garner support, he must attempt to destroy the very fabric of our nation. For those interested in learning how history repeats itself, and the tragic consequences of allowing sick and power-hungry individuals to convince their followers that "only he can fix this" through destruction, hatred, division and lies.............see Germany 1933-1939.

Thewheelone

Mrs. M [thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

hayduke2

Spot on Mrs M...[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

threecents

[thumbup] MRS M. I used to think Trump believed what he said, whether birther, anti-vaxxer, global warming, evil immigrants, etc, but I came to realize that he actually is a student of history and literature (e.g. Lord of the Flies). He was a Democrat who became a Republican because he knew there was a great untapped need for less well-off Republicans to find scapegoats for their problems - that they would embrace someone who could give them the simple answers they were looking for.

Russian

If the Russian mob lent you money to stave off financial ruin who would you fear more the DOJ or the GRU? Because the DOJ doesn’t typically push delinquent borrowers off buildings or poison their tea most Republicans would pay their Russian obligations before USA obligations.

mrnatural1

Good point Russian. [thumbup]

FCPS-Principal

Mr. Pitts' column contains only one error. The peddlers of lies and misinformation, i.e, Facebook, Alex Jones, Breitbart, Tucker Carlson, anti-vaxxers and others, have indeed NOT damaged our ability to discern the truth. Once you ignore these idiots, which everyone has the ability to do, everything makes sense again. Everything. Jerks like these have been around a long time. Rev. Charles Coughlin, a so-called Christian who held rallies with the cry, "send the Jews back in leaky boats", was a good example. (One wonders how many children he abused back then.) Now Hispanics have replaced Jews in the wingnut press and we have lots of blathering Charles Coughlins, but that doesn't mean you have to believe any of them.

Dwasserba

[thumbup]Principal Wow. Lucid.

mrnatural1

Great comment FCPS-Principal. You're absolutely right that, "Jerks like these have been around a long time."

I would only add that some people are not sophisticated enough to determine when they are being manipulated and lied to.

olefool

If you want to read an excellent primary on what's happening with the GOP and their evangelists you need look no further than here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/11/26/apocalyptic-myth-that-helps-explain-evangelical-support-trump/

Obadiah Plainsmen

We crazy evangelicals, we cling to our bible, guns and that old rugged cross .Who came up with the bright idea to allow us to vote.

phydeaux994

You CANNOT be a Christian, or any Religion that worships GOD as our creator, AND be a supporter of “The Chosen One” a.k.a. Donald J. Trump. He is a False God. Sorry OP, you’ll have to change that to the Old Rugged Wall.

Obadiah Plainsmen

I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. 4 My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.

thump1202

Are evangelicals even a significant voting block anymore? From what I've seen they've largely disappeared since the hayday of social conservatism. Most everyone I meet who claims to be a republican these days says they're against a lot of the social pushes of the past 10 years than necessarily for anything in the GOP platform.

public-redux

Yes and no. White evangelicals are about 16% of the population, which would suggest that they don’t have much political power. However, they have overwhelmingly aligned themselves with one party and they have an excellent track record of voting in primaries. Which means white evangelicals are a significant voting bloc. And since most House districts are gerrymandered in such a way that they favor one party, winning the primary in the dominant party in that district is tantamount to winning the general election. So white evangelicals have more influence than their share of the population would suggest.

I agree with you that a lot of Republicans today do not support the traditional GOP platform nor share traditional GOP values.

mrnatural1

[thumbup] public.

thump1202

Thanks for the analysis, I don't have much info on that block, haven't spent a lot of time in the bible belt.

thump1202

How can anyone take hyperbolic nonsense like this article seriously? Mr Pitts just flings out wild accusations with no evidence, it's a total tabloid. Can we deal in facts and logic please?

FCPS-Principal

Mr. Pitts is.

shiftless88

Your post was satire, correct?

hayduke2

thump - you just proved his premise.

thump1202

He didn't have a premise, all he did was throw out speculative attacks against Trump. There's plenty of credible attack angles, why is the speculation necessary?

hayduke2

Don't think you exhibit what you ask for.

thump1202

I exhibit more of what I ask for than anointed religious zealots who have blind faith in the legacy media, who are proven liars all around.

DickD

"They are willing to sell their souls as long as they get anti abortion judges and tax cuts."

That says it all.

Russian

If Putin agreed to nuke only blue states before the election republicans might concede

Russian

The thought of losing racial privilege has pushed republicans to abandon the constitution for Russian totalitarianism.

mrnatural1

You're on a roll Russian.

drudake

If we can't see the hand of Russia in all this, we are lost as a nation. Despite the fact that Ukraine has demonstrably been striving to align itself with the west since its independence of the Soviet Union in 1991, a good portion of the people in this country appear willing to believe that they would for some inexplicable reason align themselves with the Russians to subvert our US elections. Never mind the fact that the Ukrainians have been fighting a defacto war with Russia since 2014 in which thousands of Ukrainians have died!

Russia knows they can not possibly beat the west in head to head conflict, so they are systematically and deliberately allowing us to destroy ourselves from within. Trump in the executive branch is the best possible thing that could have happened for them. He is slowly but surely destroying all of the governmental institutions that have been keeping us safe. And all the Russians had to do was stoke our own petty prejudices against each other to make it happen.

thump1202

You're really exaggerating the effect of $500k in facebook ads, don't you think? Our country is subject to all kinds of meddling, just as we meddle in the affairs of others. This is normal and has been happening ever since international relations has existed. I don't doubt that Putin is more than capable of manipulating Trump, however Trump is one man and just as Obama couldn't dictate his agenda on this country neither can Trump, even though Congress has ceded much of its power to the executive branch and doesn't want to take it back for all their posturing. It's hard to imagine this isn't all just a circus show to distract us all, there are too many effective vectors of action to prevent it if our political class was serious about changing things.

drudake

It's not just the facebook ads. Putin's entire political apparatus is playing Trump's narcissism like a fiddle. Yes, he's one man, but as you say, Congress has ceded him enormous power, with which he has alienated virtually all of our global allies, heightened tension across the Middle East and the Orient, ceded Syria and Turkey to the Russians and is working hard to push Ukraine over to the Russians as well. He's decimated the State Department, and is now undermining the Department of Defense and military discipline. I know he was elected to shake things up in the beltway, but this is beyond the pale. But hey, the economy is doing great. Until his house of cards falls down.

hayduke2

drudrake-[thumbup][thumbup]

Dwasserba

Probably too many big words

thump1202

Sounds like you listen to a lot of Maddow. I don't see much evidence that Trump is Putin's puppy. I do believe Trump's not hard to manipulate, but suggesting Trump spends all that much time talking to Russians and the entire state department is that much of a pushover is pretty excessive, especially since many of them are holdovers from previous administrations and there are a number of vacancies. There's also clear evidence Trump spends an inordinate amount of time watching TV coverage about himself from various media networks, giving speeches, golfing, and devising massive strings of twitter. Not sure where he'd have the time to be in the tank as much as MSNBC likes to speculate.

phydeaux994

When you take a Pinko Commie’s word over your own American Intelligence Community, time after time, you are being PLAYED thump. Everything Trump does benefits Putin/Russia. He is making fools of you, which is more apparent day after day. Go to a Trump Rally so you can laugh and cheer when he says 🐂💩, “Mommie, Donnie said a dirty word”. Pitiful.

thump1202

How did selling Ukraine weapons help Russia? Can you explain this? And no thanks, I don't listen to Trump, it's pointless.

Russian

Happy Russian Naval Infantry Day!

Your Puppet

Donald Trump

Obadiah Plainsmen

Well Mr. Pitts the last time we heard from you you were reminiscing about Anne Frank and her observation of the heart. It appears Anne misdiagnosis the illness and it turned out to be cancer. Anyhow it was a nice attempt although she was in an attic of a bomb out house in worn torn Nazi occupied Poland. Let's fast forward to present day. If you would look at your own CNN poll it shows the impeachment hearings did not budge the cancer pendulum. So apparently 50% of the country does not think that Trump is a "national emergency" . Don't you hate it when this Republic doesn't work the way you think it should work.

thump1202

Polling indicates that independents in particular are turned off by the impeachment discussion. I understand why, those who aren't cheering for their team can't stand all the posturing and wordsmithing that happened during those hearings. End of the day no one who was actually on the call testified. This is due to Trump blocking them from what i understand, but without firsthand accounts the whole thing was speculation and not at all credible.

Dwasserba

Yeah I don't know who they're polling. Independents here were kinda meh on either, now we're really not.

thump1202

It was just another kavanaugh hearing. Nothing credible presented, pure speculation all around, non stop spin one way or the other depending on which news outlet is being listened to. Whether it's Maddow or Hannity just pure fake news and a waste of time to pay attention to.

jsklinelga

Several days ago Pitts wrote a hyperbolic distortion of reality suggesting similarities between Trump and Nazi Germany. He portrayed Vindman to be similar to Anne Frank. Now he starts this column off "The former White House Russia adviser testified last week in the House impeachment investigation, one of a number of nonpartisan civil servants who came forward to shed light on Donald Trump’s attempt to strong-arm Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky", referring to Fiona Hill. Does he think people do not know what the Brooking s Institute is? Or that this lady had a copy of the Steele dossier before it became public.

Trump has stated the obvious. The President of Ukraine never felt any pressure. Nor were they given a "Bidenish" ultimatum. I made the mistake of getting in the weeds of commenting numerous times. As always, that is fruitless. I learned. I never read past the first couple paragraphs. These columns are the Pitts. It is amazing why people cannot figure out why Trump's support is growing.

olefool

"Trump's support is growing"??? Says who, you? Really, I can't see why you and your cohorts don't see the 2 ton elephant in the room... Or maybe you all do.... All roads lead to Russia... This whole fiasco in Ukraine had nothing to do with corruption, and everything to do with the Russian incursion into Ukraine territory. It's clear to me that Trump is doing Putin's bidding by all his actions in Ukraine, Turkey, Syria, NATO and all our western allies. Not to mention the meddling in our, and many other western countries elections. Time to blow this smoke screen out the window and get down to reality, we are at war with Russia and Trump is on their side. If you're supporting Trump, you're on their side too. We may not be a perfect Union, but we're a whole lot better than anything else out there. Love it or leave it!!

timothygaydos

Try as we must to defend our country from socialists/communists who pretend to be democrats.... it is too funny. Hill had a copy of the dossier and worked with Steele earlier... quite convenient isn't it and only now she mentions this fact??? Fiona plays both sides of the fence so she can butter her bread to her liken. She is just like some of the others... they want to determine policy especially when it is different than our president who was elected. This inter-agency talking point crap we hear is crazy and yet we are to believe they know better - they know better for their own gains - see Bidens see Clintons and yes there have been republicans who did the same. 34% black likely voters are now supporting Trump more than anyone could have thought and it will grow. The first time in my life time we will see the black vote swing to the conservatives because the liberal progressive agenda is what is killing this great country. There were and still remain within the Russian and Ukrainian power structure hard core communists who will do anything to upset the prosperity of this country even work together to get what they want and then we have folks like the Clintons and the DNC who will for personal gains once again with those communist factions cheat to win an election they know they are losing at... Vindman is a disgrace - he leaked information to a former white house worker/staff member to gain leverage and in the process got caught and now in time will be ending his employment at the white house... remember leaking classified data is illegal well at least for all of us and not for Hillary and her staff... Happy Thanksgiving and do not let these folks who will come at you with distain upset your holiday!

Alice Jones

Get over yourself, Timmy. I’d imagine people mostly feel sorry for you. I do.

timothygaydos

Thanks!

Alice Jones

Timmy has the woe is me trump disease. Everybody feel sorry for them!

DickD

Tim, you prefer a Facist dictator?

timothygaydos

No and Trump was elected by our Constitutional process legally... get over 2016 and find a better candidate who can compete with him.

olefool

Was leaking classified info illegal the day Trump had his victory party with the Russians in the Oval Office after his inauguration???? It was a celebration by the Russians and Trump for having their chosen idiot installed in the oval office and he has proved his loyalty to their man Putin, and has been doing so ever since. I'm sure you remember Trump blurting out the classified secrets to the Russians that day, no? It was a hellofa party.

timothygaydos

Once again fake news and even if he did the POTUS has the right under the Constitution and supported by Federal Law to decide what is or isn't classified at any time not inter-agency personnel as much as they believe they have that power. That power rests with the POTUS. Yes it was a great party celebrating victory over a liberal progressive candidate that would sell anything for a buck... including selling out her own country... maybe you should not read the upcoming reports by the IG or the special prosecutor could put you over the edge olefool...

olefool

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Trump%27s_disclosures_of_classified_information

threecents

Actually, the State Dept often decides what is and is not classified - so that would be the Secretary of State. Wasn't Hillary Secretary of State?

Dwasserba

[unsure][huh] I saw patriots expressing themselves forcefully with an economy of words.

phydeaux994

Putin is the Truth Teller, Fiona and Vindman, all Americans except Republicans are “BALD FACE LIARS”. That is what you are saying tim, thump, FunnyLou. The uneducated and the deplorables all say that.

marinick1

[thumbup]

DickD

Jim, please read the part about selling your soul.

BunnyLou

Dick, being a progressive liberal as you are, you have no soul.

Alice Jones

And bunny, being a drooling dump sycophant that can’t think for herself is pathetic.

DickD

And you support filthy mouth Trump, so you would know. [lol]

threecents

Bunny, That was an evil thing to say.

hayduke2

jsk - "hook, line and sinker"..

BunnyLou

I agree. Trump support among Americans of African decent is up to 34.5 percent from the low 20s. Funny how people respond to economic conditions rather than this phony boloney bs story.

awteam2000

BunnyLou, Our black brothers may disagree with you ...

I’m not sure where you get your polling information from but Trump is again taking credit he doesn’t deserve for black job growth and the African-American community knows it. He’s also wrong to assert that Democrats haven’t done anything to improve the economic situation for African Americans.

It’s true that black unemployment has reached a record low during the Trump administration: 5.9 percent in May 2018. It currently stands at 6 percent.

But many economists view the continued economic growth since the middle of 2009, when Obama was in office, as the primary explanation for hiring. More important, there are multiple signs that the racial wealth gap is now worsening and the administration appears to have done little, if anything, to specifically address this challenge.

African Americans also had higher income prior to the Trump administration. A black household earned median income of $40,258 in 2017. That’s below a 2000 peak of $42,348, according to the Census Bureau.

The most dramatic drop in black unemployment came under Obama, when it fell from a recession high of 16.8 percent in March 2010 to 7.8 percent in January 2017.

You may want to believe what you’re saying but blacks don’t.

Btw, don’t you find it odd that the same black people keep showing up standing behind Trump at his rallies, no matter where the rally is held? Is that part of his employment program for minorities?

BunnyLou

Take a look at both Rasmussen and Emerson polls. They both indicate that 34 percent of likely AA voters will vote for Trump. Nice try with your laughable claims. dems have always sought to keep an underclass how else would they have any power?

Dwasserba

Where some see "support," others see "victims."

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