Transcript for Fiona Hill gives nation and Republicans stark warning
And we begin tonight with the impeachment hearings. And today, we heard directly from one of president trump's former top advisers, and shech theed she warned one of president trump's hand-picked ambassadors, this was all going to blow up. Dr. Fiona hill was one of two witnesses testifying about the president's dealings with Ukraine. Chef was the former top Russia expert for the president and described in detail what she considered an alarming meeting inside the white house. The former national security adviser, among those also in the room, after what they both heard, she says John Bolton told her, "I am not part offer what drug deal." Republicans taking aim at hill's credibility, but she stood by her account. And the other witness that described what he heard in a president in Ukraine, president trump right through the phone. ABC's Mary Bruce leads us off tonight. Reporter: Fiona hill came to congress with a message to the committee. Some of you on this committee 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. Reporter: She testified the conspiracy theory was being promoted by the president's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, and that the president Is it your understanding, then, that president trump disregarded the advice of his senior officials about this theory and instead listened to Rudy Giuliani's views? That appears to be the case, yes. Reporter: Hill says she watched as Giuliani launched a smear campaign against the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie yovanovitch. Hill went to her boss, former national security adviser, John Bolton. I'd asked if there was anything we could do about it, and ambassador Bolton had looked pained, basically indicated with body language that there was nothing much that we could do about it. And he then, in the course of that discussion, said that Rudy Giuliani was a hand grenade that was going to blow everyone up. Did you understand what he meant by that? Well, I think he meant that, obviously, what Mr. Giuliani was saying was pretty explosive in any case. He was clearly pushing forward issues and ideas that would, you know, probably come back to haunt us. And, in fact, I think that that's where we are today. Reporter: Hill says when yovanovitch was fired, Gordon sondland -- a wealthy trump donor hand-picked by the president to become ambassador to the eu -- assumed a larger role. I was upset with him and he said to me, that I'm briefing the president, I'm briefing chief of staff Mulvaney, I've talked to ambassador Bolton. Who else do I have to deal with? But it struck me when yesterday when you put up on the screen ambassador sondland's emails and who was on these emails and he said these are the people that need to know, and he was absolutely right. He was being involved in a domestic political errand. So, he was correct. I had not put my finger on that at the moment, but I was irritated with him and angry with him that he wasn't fully I did said to him, Gordon, I think this is all going to blow up, and here we are. Reporter: Hill described a July meeting at the white house with Ukrainian officials. Bolton and sondland both in the room. The Ukrainians were pushing to arrange an in-person meeting between president trump and president zelensky. Then, sondland jumped in saying the white house had one condition. Ambassador sondland leaned in basically to say, well, we have an agreement that there will be a meeting if specific investigations are put under and that's when I saw ambassador Bolton stiffen. I was sitting behind him in the chair. I saw him sit back slightly, like this. And then he looked up to the clock and basically said, well, you know, it's been really great to see you, I'm afraid I've got another meeting. Reporter: Bolton left the room. And hill says sondland then reiterated the condition, what had to happen for that white house meeting to take place. He said that he had an agreement with chief of staff Mulvaney that in return for investigations this meeting would get scheduled. Reporter: She went to tell Bolton. His reaction? He had some very specific instruction for me. I had to go to the lawyers, to John eisenburg, senior counsel for the national security council, to basically say, "You tell Eisen burg," ambassador Bolton told me, "That I am not part of this, whatever drug deal that Mulvaney and sondland are cooking up." Reporter: Republicans tried to attack hill's credibility. Dr. Hill, you have provided me probably the greatest piece of evidence that's before us to illustrate the problem with hearsay. Reporter: But hill pushed back. We're here just to provide what we know and what we've heard. I understand that for many members this may be hearsay. I talk about things I heard with my own ears. Reporter: Then it was David Holmes, an American diplomat who heard the president's words himself. Holmes was sitting with sondland in an outdoor restaurant in kiev when sondland picked up his cell phone and called the president. This was an unsclur cell phone, is that right? Yes, sir. In the middle of a restaurant in kiev? Yes. Reporter: The president soon on the line. It was quite loud when the president came on, quite distinctive. When the president came on, he sort of winced and held the phone away from his ear like this. And he did that for the first couple exchanges. Reporter: Holmes then describing what he overheard. Ambassador sondland replied, yes, he was in Ukraine, and went on to state that president zelensky "Loves your ass." I then heard president trump ask, "So he's going to do the investigation?" Ambassador sondland replied that "He's going to do it." Adding that president zelensky will do "Anything you ask him to." So, let's get to Mary Bruce. And Republicans pushing back on Fiona hill, as you reported there, also on David Holmes. Asking how he could have understood what the president was saying if he wasn't on the phone call himself. The president tweeting the same thing today, claiming it would have been impossible to hear him. Reporter: David, Holmes was he could hear the president. He says this was a very distinctive experience, something he would not forget, overhearing the president of the United States discussing something Holmes had been working on for months. And while the president is questioning this, sondland himself does not dispute Holmes' recollection of that phone call. Mary Bruce leading us off again tonight. Mary, thank you. As you heard Mary report there, the president tweeting about David Holmes, who says he heard the president on that phone call at a restaurant in Ukraine, but the president was quiet on Dr. Fiona hill, at least publicly. But here's what we do know tonight. The president today invited some key Republican senators to the white house for a lunch. So, let's get right to ABC's Jonathan Karl with us live tonight. Because Jon, we know the president needs these Republicans in the senate who could ultimately decide his fate. Reporter: He sure does, David. And, in fact, there were two meetings here at the white house today with Republican senators. There was the lunch with the president, there were eight Republican senators at that lunch, including, interestingly, Mitt Romney, who is often the president's harshest Republican critic. The president lashed out on the impeachment inquiry, he called it unfair, he insisted he had done absolutely nothing wrong. But the conversation quickly veered off to other subjects. The second meeting, which did not involve the president, was hosted by the director of legislative affairs here. Mick Mulvaney was there, Jared Kushner, six Republican senators to talk strategy about a senate impeachment trial. Something the white house now sees as all but inevitable, assuming the house votes to impeach. David, the bottom line, the president, the white house, they're working very hard to keep Republicans in line and so far, it is working. I do not see an indication of a single Republican defection, not in the house, not in the senate, on impeachment. Jon Karl live at the white house tonight. Jon, thank you and to Mary and
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