Objective Take-Aways From Fiona Hill’s “Fire Alarm” Story

Fiona Hill

I know how I missed this: I won’t watch CNN, and especially not the ridiculous Don Lemon, unless there’s the equivalent of a gun at my head. I finally caught wind of it when a New York Times’ hard left op-ed writers, Nick Kristoff (who is one of the few rational ones in that group) referenced the tale as if it is indisputable proof of President Trump’s awfulness. On June 16, Fiona Hill, once Trump’s top Russia adviser, told Don Lemon that she was so upset at how Trump’s 2018 press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin was proceeding that she looked for a fire alarm to pull and considered faking a medical emergency when she couldn’t find one, just to disrupt it. “I just thought, let’s cut this off and try to end it. I couldn’t come up with anything that just wouldn’t add to the terrible spectacle,” Hill said on “Don Lemon Tonight.”

The “terrible spectacle” she was trying to avoid was that Trump refused to support US intelligence conclusions that Russia had tried to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. Her self-glorifying account—at least to Trump-haters—didn’t get much coverage beyond CNN: little from the mainstream media, none from the conservative media. I sense, however, based on Kristof’s use of it, that it is destined to be wielded by Democrats as a “this is how terrible it was to have Donald Trump as President” story evermore.

But what Hill’s grandstanding really reveals is something every different, which is how this President, unlike all those before him, was sabotaged actively and passively by members of his own staff and administration who didn’t like him, trust him, respect him, or believe that he was a legitimate President. The media-derided term for what Trump had to contend with was the “deep state,” which had a conspiratorial ring and allowed those who correctly reported what was flamingly obvious to be ridiculed as paranoid. That term, however, was misleading.

That Hill decided that Trump’s handling of discussions and messaging at the meeting with Putin was inevitable. She is a Brookings Institution lifer, not overtly political, but a creature of liberal academic Washington and Boston, with ties to such liberal outposts as the Kennedy School, Harvard, and NBC News. Her scholarly credentials as an expert on Russia are beyond reproach, but virtually everyone she had worked with for decades and the institutions she was part of detested Trump and opposed his election. They, and presumably she, had concluded he was unfit and a danger to the country long before he was elected. Because the vast majority of both the Republican-conservative experts and specialists who a typical GOP President would rely on for advice and service and the Democratic-progressive members of the same class refused to work with a POTUS they considered an unmannerly clod, Trump, an outsider without foreign policy or political experience who needed loyal and dedicated advisers more than any recent President—who all need them—was handicapped from the start. This was dangerous, unpatriotic, and petty on the part of the experts, and it also required Trump to employ the people he could get from a shallow talent pool that he could not trust. (The much derided decision of Trump to make members of his family advisors flowed directly from this dilemma, and under the circumstances, it was a reasonable response.)

Hill was one of the relatively few who decided to hold her nose and work under a President she and her peers reviled on principle, with the objective of somehow managing to push the administration to the “right” policies—defined as the ones she preferred as a progressive and Democrat—from within. No leader should be put in the position to have to use someone like Hill, whose background foretold a backstabber. Trump didn’t need to suffer from Richard Nixon-style paranoia to decide that someone like Hill was a snake in the grass. She worked with Christopher Steele, who later wrote the fraudulent dossier on Trump’s alleged ties to Russia, when she was an intelligence officer and he was her British counterpart. She was also a volunteer adviser to the Central Eurasia Project of the Open Society Foundation, founded by the Democratic philanthropist and system-manipulating billionaire George Soros. But again, Trump had no better options, and he needed a Russian expert. Maybe he even believed that Fiona Hill was non-partisan, since she had worked under George W. Bush as well as Obama.

Hardly. She became part of the prosecution against Trump in both impeachments. GOP Rep. Connie Mack’s description of her as a George Soros mole on the National Security Council is exaggerated but not too far off-base. Now, as the mainstream news media increasingly is gravitating to stale Trump bashing to avoid informing the public about the mess that is Joe Biden’s Presidency, she’s a obvious resource for anti-Trump dirt.

Donald Trump decided that the best approach to a meeting with Putin was not to, say, call him a “killer,” as Joe Biden did in their recent meeting, or to confront him with accusations of “influencing” the 2020 election, which were inflated by the U.S. intelligence community in part to lay the groundwork for an investigation into alleged Trump “collusion.” That was Trump’s decision to make, and he was elected President to make it. Hill wasn’t. That she decided his handling of the press conference was such a looming disaster that she considered finding a way to stop it says nothing about the press conference or Trump. It does tell us….

  • …that Hill had her own agenda, and was prone to pursue it even when it was at odds with the President’s intent. The ethical response when an official has such a conflict is to resign, not to try to sabotage her boss.
  • …that she was laboring under confirmation bias, having decided from the start that Trump was unfit and incompetent, and unlike with a President she respected, she immediately concluded that when his strategy differed from hers, it could not possibly be wise or responsible. Under that self-delusion, she considered  intentional sabotage to be reasonable and necessary. Bias makes you stupid.
  • …that Fiona Hill exemplified how the unethical restraints “the resistance,” the political establishment (aka “the swamp”) and the academic complex placed on democracy and the elected  President because they arrogantly decided that the election results should not be followed or respected. This President needed more assistance than other Presidents; instead he was burdened with less. Indeed he received internal opposition and disruption rather than the help he desperately needed to succeed. Hill was part of the same rot that was personified by James Clapper, James Comey, Sally Yates and many others.

“’America is back’ became President Biden’s refrain on his European trip this month, and in a narrow sense it is,” wrote Kristof yesterday. “We no longer have a White House aide desperately searching for a fire alarm to interrupt a President as he humiliates our country at an international news conference, as happened in 2018.” Talk about spin! No, we no longer have a President who is burdened by staff that are actively attempting to undermine him because they believe they have the right to veto the people’s choice.

9 thoughts on “Objective Take-Aways From Fiona Hill’s “Fire Alarm” Story

  1. Fiona Hill has proven herself to be an unethical political hack that will be welcomed into the left’s hive mind with open arms.

    The political left and their lapdog Pravda like propaganda laced media learned all the wrong lessons from four years of President Trump, they learned that they can undermine an entire Republican Presidency and rig, yes rig, elections to regain power. The political left and their lapdog Pravda like media perpetuated a massive ruse, intentional treachery, to psychologically manipulate the people of the United States and they will continue to attack President Trump, his entire Presidency and all Republicans ad nauseum to rationalize their unethical and immoral actions.

    Does anyone reading this really think the left and their media attack dogs will simply turn away from their verifiable pattern of immoral but seemingly effective population manipulation propaganda and return to pre-Trump political business as usual when the next Republican Presidential nominee emerges?

    Rigged: manipulated or controlled by deceptive or dishonest means.

    Rig: manage or conduct (something) fraudulently so as to produce a result or situation that is advantageous to a particular person or group.

    Treachery: betrayal of trust; deceptive action or nature.

    Ruse: an action intended to deceive someone; a trick.

    Personally, I think all the signs are there that the United States has surpassed political, societal and cultural tipping points and we’re figuratively careening down a precipice towards a clash of epic proportions. Is it unavoidable at this point, maybe.

  2. So, the moral of the story is to make sure you elect a president who has the Deep State and the media’s stamp of approval, otherwise they will foil him left and right.

  3. Hill is clearly grandstanding now, and it is indeed a tired trope.
    That said, I find it difficult to make the leap to her having done anything wrong at the time of that press conference. She may have had the impulses she described, or this may be a just fish story that makes for a bigger splash today. But the fact remains that she did not interfere with the press conference.
    More importantly, Trump did embarrass himself and the country in that moment. (This is not to suggest that other Presidents, including Trump’s immediate predecessor and successor, haven’t done so, as well.) Hill was a policy advisor, but it appears to me that it was politics, not policy, that was the problem.
    It’s bad optics at best to have a President stand beside the leader of an antagonistic country and undercut one’s own intelligence community, even if he thinks they’re wrong, and even if that President’s “brand” is as a shoot-from-the-hip alpha male who tells it like it is.
    I, too, would be hoping for an intervention before things went from bad to worse.

    • All true, Curmie. This is especially useful: she didn’t actually DO anything, and there’s nothing wrong with thinking something. I am tempted to hold anti-Trump zealots to their own standards: one of my least favorite kinds of “fake news” was the “Trump wanted to do X, insiders say.” Those stories are still coming, like the one that says he asked someone at the Justice Department if anything could be “done” about SNL. Then everyone starts discussing how horrible it is that he wanted to do something that never happened.

      Of course Trump was an embarrassment on the world stage, though more in style than substance, as we knew he would be. The investigations found that Russia spent a paltry 25 million on US election disinformation: if any morons were persuaded to change their votes, no one can tell, and the term “interfered” is deliberately inflammatory, since there was no evidence this was anything but mischief designed to unsettle US politics. In using it to try to undermine the President, the intelligence agencies were doing exactly what the Russians hoped. Clapper and Comey as well as others were revealed as partisan hacks—I don’t see why Trump, who was targeted by them, had to uphold their politicized agencies to attack Putin.

      In JFK’s first summit with Khrushchev, he impressed the Soviet leader as weak and inexperienced, leading directly to the Cuban Missile crisis. THAT really was a disastrous performance, but no aide or member of the government, not even General LeMay, ever came forward to say so. And that was “the norm,” and should be, not Hill’s sniping.

      • The Dems and the media and the bureaucratic elites are desperately trying to put a wooden stake through Trump’s heart.

      • I’d say there’s a difference between what Hill didn’t do and what Trump, in the example you cite, maybe didn’t do. If, in fact, Trump asked someone at Justice, using the authority of the Presidency, if anything could be done about SNL, that, in my book, is doing something, even if there was no follow-through.
        Of course, that conclusion relies on the premise that Trump did make such a request. The evidence for that assertion is two anonymous sources talking to the Daily Beast. I may be left of center politically, and I certainly despise Trump, but I’m not going to bet the mortgage on the veracity of that allegation.

  4. Biden’s staff has its hands full just trying to ensure that he doesn’t come off as the querulous, lying, senile, creepy dotard that he is. Only partially successful at that, they have no time (nor need) to actively undermine him.

  5. So interesting how many of these foreign relations elites are … foreign born. What’s up with that? Do we really want foreign born people setting our relations with foreign countries? Would I go to Holland and advise them how to conduct their foreign policy?

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