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The Brookings Institution is one of many think tanks in Washington, D. They write op-eds and books, give talks and convene seminars, hoping that, when reputations falter or Administrations shift, they will be rescued from the life of opining and contemplation and return to the adrenaline rush and consequence of government. Nearly always, the yearning is to be inside.
Others, too, may have expected a call. Fiona Hill, a leading expert on Russia and its modern leadership, had a reputation as a blunt speaker and an independent thinker and analyst. The daughter of a miner and a midwife, she grew up in Bishop Auckland, in northern England, and has a strong northern accent. Hill, who was born inis a senior fellow at Brookings, and a denizen of the Eurasia Foundation, the Council on Foreign Relations, and Harvard University, where she got her doctorate in history. She was a national intelligence officer in the Administrations of George W.
Bush and Barack Obama. Hill was skeptical of this theory, thinking it more likely that the campaign and Russia were working in parallel to discredit Clinton. She was less certain than her colleagues that Clinton would win the election, especially after the outcome of the Brexit referendum, that same month. Several of her family members had voted to leave the E. She saw why Trump appealed to voters who felt that their concerns had long been ignored. But, as Hill told K. Two days later, Trump named Michael Flynn to that post, and, the following week, chose McFarland to be his deputy.
Earlier that month, Trump had rejected the C. I mean, they have no idea. She was also troubled when, in January,she learned about a dossier, compiled by the former British spy Christopher Steelethat was circulating among journalists and experts in D. Hill had known Steele sincewhen she was an intelligence officer and he worked for M.
Steele had been hired by Fusion G. Hill told McFarland about her relationship with Steele, and conveyed her doubts about the dossier. On January 25th, David Cattler, the deputy assistant to the President for regional affairs, called Hill to tell her that Flynn was offering her the position of senior director for European and Russian affairs on the National Security Council. Obama Administration officials believed that the call had undermined their efforts to hold Russia able and to deter future election meddling, but McFarland assured Hill that nothing improper had occurred.
At the dinner, he told Hill that she was putting her reputation in jeopardy by working for Trump. What was I going to do? Walk away? There were early s that it might have been wise to do so. On February 28th, Cattler called Hill to tell her that his job had been eliminated.
But you could also come in and be fired. You could be fired capriciously. Old acquaintances also pressured Hill to change her mind. On March 8th, before Hill was scheduled to meet with her staff for the first time, she had breakfast with Celeste Wallander, at the Blue Duck Tavern, near Georgetown. To work in the Trump Administration was to endorse its policies.
Ultimately, she will be remembered not for safeguarding the country but for the unvarnished testimony that she delivered in the impeachment proceedings against Trump, in October and November ofwhich revealed how U. She remained convinced that public service was a necessary and noble calling, but worried that partisan politics was hobbling the country and endangering its security. Hill sees her willingness to take on undesirable jobs as part of a family tradition. Her maternal grandfather, an air-raid warden during the Second World War, used buckets of sand to put out flares dropped by German advance planes.
Her father, Alfred, a miner since he was fourteen, lost his job inwhen a pit closed in Crook, and went to work as a porter in a hospital. Hill excelled at languages, and by the time she was fifteen she was fluent in French and proficient in German.
Like many teen-agers, the Hill girls had nightmares about being caught in a nuclear war between the U. Fiona was self-deprecating, awkward, and intelligent. The girls attended Bishop Barrington, a local school in a rough neighborhood. Interviewing at Hertford College, wearing an outfit her mother had made, she noticed the other girls in the waiting room whispering about her. One of them tripped her as she stood up and she fell into a doorframe. He suggested that she apply instead to St. Andrews, in Scotland.
Hill followed the advice and was admitted. In the summer before she began, she took a job as a cleaner at the hospital where her father worked. One day, a macerator—a machine that blended human waste and disposable bedpans—exploded. You too posh now to get shit off walls? I can go do that. At the end of her third year of university, Hill won a British government fellowship to study at the Maurice Thorez Institute, a language school in Moscow, before returning to St. It was an era of shortages, and the general gloom in Moscow reminded her of the atmosphere in Roddymoor, the former coal-mining town where her grandparents had lived.
There, she met the political scientist Robert Legvold, who suggested that she study in the United States. At her interview, the judges had trouble understanding her accent, and, as she was leaving, she opened a door and stepped into a closet. Soon, she met a Soviet-studies student from Chicago named Kenneth Keen. They became friends and struck up a romance. InAllison took a leave of absence from Harvard to serve as an Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Clinton Administration, and he asked Hill to run his project.
She liked organizing conferences that brought together political, economic, and academic leaders from across Europe and the former Soviet Union. Three years later, Hill completed her doctorate. She and Keen moved into a small two-bedroom house in suburban D. Keen worked as a business consultant; Hill got a job at the Eurasia Foundation. Exploring the prospect of reconciliation between Moscow and the Chechens, she spent time with prominent Chechen separatists, whom she had gotten to know in the nineties and who were wanted by the Russian intelligence services.
This is getting dangerous. In September,while attending a conference in Sochi, Hill became violently ill after taking a sip of a drink at her hotel bar. An analysis of her blood showed that her liver enzymes were elevated, and she concluded that she had been poisoned. On September 1,Chechen rebels demanding the withdrawal of Russian forces from Chechnya took hostage more than a thousand people, mostly children, at a school in Beslan, a town in the Russian republic of North Ossetia.
Two days later, Russian commandos attempted to free the hostages in what was widely viewed as a botched raid, and at least three hundred and thirty people were killed in the chaos. The attendees had assumed that, given the disaster in Beslan, the conversation at the tea would be brief.
Instead, Putin spent nearly four hours sparring with them. Hill was impressed by his political agility and command of the issues.
Hill took the job—she was three months pregnant—and swiftly established a reputation for her unbiased assessments. As Daniel Hoffman, one of her C. Russia experts in the U. Strobe Talbott published an op-ed in the Washington Post with Steven Pifer, another colleague at Brookings, championing a proposal to provide material assistance to the Ukrainian military, including armor-piercing missiles.
Her ten-year-old daughter woke up in the middle of the night with a stomach bug.
At around 7 a. Her boss was H. McMasteran Army general, who had replaced Flynn as national-security adviser. Hill was in her White House orientation session when an aide to McMaster interrupted to tell her that she needed to go to the Oval Office immediately to brief Trump for a call to Putin. An explosion that morning, evidently from a bomb planted by a terrorist, had ripped through a subway car in St.
Ten people were reported dead.
McMaster introduced Hill by title but not by name, and asked her to offer some insight. In the middle of the briefing, Ivanka Trump walked in, impeccably dressed, and sat down next to Hill, who tried to hide her sneakers under her chair. Hill brought a box of family pictures and other personal effects to her new office, and kept the box under her desk.
She always carried a green notebook and two pens, taking notes at all her meetings. On May 2nd, Trump spoke on the phone with Putin about the conflict in Syriawhere Russian forces were supporting the Assad regime and American forces were fighting Islamic State terrorists. Trump and Putin spoke through interpreters, and senior members of the White House staff gathered in the Oval Office to listen on speakerphone. Hill, who had a migraine, found a perch at the back of the room. Perhaps we need to think about this. My head is pounding. No, not Margaret, not Ivanka.Sexy Brookings woman
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