On Monday, President Trump’s former adviser on Russia and Europe Fiona Hill sat before the House committees leading the Trump-impeachment inquiry for a marathon ten hours of testimony, claiming that she considered the White House’s efforts in Ukraine to be a counterintelligence risk.
Two major takeaways emerged from Hill’s closed-door testimony: that Mick Mulvaney may have played a larger role than previously known, and that former national-security adviser John Bolton really wasn’t happy with the behavior of the president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.
According to Hill’s testimony, Bolton told her — following a July 10 meeting in which E.U. ambassador Gordon Sondland raised the notion of a Ukraine-Biden investigation — to inform White House lawyers: “I am not part of whatever drug deal Rudy and Mulvaney are cooking up.” Hill also quoted the national-security adviser, who resigned in September, as saying: “Giuliani is a hand grenade who’s going to blow everybody up.” (Extending that metaphor into the administration, would that make Bolton the bomb?)
Following the July 10 meeting, Bolton also directed Hill to inform National Security Council lawyers that Mulvaney was involved in Giuliani’s Ukraine misadventure — a “rogue operation with legal implications,” according to the New York Times description of Hill’s testimony. Already, Mulvaney is under scrutiny for potentially abetting the blockage of $400 million in aid to Ukraine.
Meanwhile, it appears that Giuliani, the former tough-on-crime prosecutor, may be having a tough time keeping his own name clean. Last week, ABC News reported that the president’s personal lawyer is being investigated by the FBI’s New York office and by Southern District of New York prosecutors for his dealings with his associates Lev “Mafia Rave” Parnas and Igor “Fraud Guarantee” Fruman. Responding to Hill’s testimony claiming that he ran a shadow State operation in Ukraine, Giuliani responded: “Nothing shadowy about it.”