Nets Cheer Hill Ripping GOP’s ‘Unfounded’ Ukraine ‘Conspiracy Theory’

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The liberal broadcast networks seemed in good spirits Thursday evening following the final day of televised impeachment hearings. Their jubilation came due to a moment during the testimony of former White House Ukraine adviser Dr. Fiona Hill supposedly “blasting Republicans for spreading a conspiracy theory about Ukraine interfering in the 2016 election,” as NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt suggested.

But what they touted as a rebuke for Republicans wasn’t true. In reality, it was a story that was broken by Politico (far from a right-wing news organization) not long before President Trump’s inauguration, on January 11, 2017.

In addition to hyping the “signs” that “Democrats may be about to move from inquiry to the actual impeachment,” Holt touted Hill, “who immediately challenged committee members to not buy into politically driven falsehoods…”

The video portion of the NBC report was handled by White House correspondent Peter Alexander, who began by boasting about Hill “putting House Republicans on defense, blasting their unfounded theories of Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election.”

All three of the broadcast networks gushed about this soundbite from Hill’s testimony:

Based on statements and questions I have heard, 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 somehow, for some reason, Ukraine did. This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves.

 

 

Fiona Hill came to Congress calling it her moral obligation. And she brought with her a message to the committee,” declared ABC senior congressional correspondent Mary Bruce on World News Tonight before playing that soundbite. “She testified the conspiracy theory was being promoted by the President's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, and that the President was listening.”

Meanwhile, CBS Evening News anchor Norah O’Donnell beamed about Hill “school[ing] lawmakers.” “Former White House official Fiona Hill told lawmakers she worried President Trump had fallen victim to a fictional narrative about Ukraine,” she added.

It was more of the same from CBS chief congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes: “Hill is a Russia expert. Today, she rebuked some Republicans for entertaining a conspiracy theory about 2016 election interference (…) She said the President himself had bought into it.

But it wasn’t an “unfounded” “conspiracy theory” as they would like you to believe. According to then-Politico reporters David Stern and Ken Vogel, “Donald Trump wasn’t the only presidential candidate whose campaign was boosted by officials of a former Soviet bloc country.” They explained:

Ukrainian government officials tried to help Hillary Clinton and undermine Trump by publicly questioning his fitness for office. They also disseminated documents implicating a top Trump aide in corruption and suggested they were investigating the matter, only to back away after the election. And they helped Clinton’s allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers, a Politico investigation found.

Their reporting also found that Ukraine’s influence did have consequences. “The Ukrainian efforts had an impact in the race,” they wrote, “helping to force Manafort’s resignation and advancing the narrative that Trump’s campaign was deeply connected to Ukraine’s foe to the east, Russia.”

That’s the real conspiracy theory; the one the broadcast networks and liberal media writ large had been peddling for over three years now.

The transcripts are below, click "expand" to read:

ABC’s World News Tonight
November 21, 2019
6:32:41 p.m. Eastern

(…)

MARY BRUCE: Fiona Hill came to Congress calling it her moral obligation. And she brought with her a message to the committee.

DR. FIONA HILL: 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 and for some reason, Ukraine did. This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves.

BRUCE: She testified the conspiracy theory was being promoted by the President's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, and that the President was listening.

(…)

 

CBS Evening News
November 21, 2019
6:31:39 p.m. Eastern

NORAH O’DONNELL: Good evening, and thank you so much for joining us. If you watched today's hearings, you saw two career foreign policy officials school lawmakers on what they should really care about: Russia. Former White House official Fiona Hill told lawmakers she worried President Trump had fallen victim to a fictional narrative about Ukraine.

Hill testified, alongside embassy official David Holmes, who says he overheard the President on the phone asking if Ukraine would investigate the Bidens.

(…)

6:34:49 p.m. Eastern

NANCY CORDES: Hill is a Russia expert. Today, she rebuked some Republicans for entertaining a conspiracy theory about 2016 election interference.

DR. FIONA HILL: 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.

CORDES: She said the President himself had bought into it.

(…)

 

NBC Nightly News
November 21, 2019
7:00:23 p.m. Eastern [Opening tease]

LESTER HOLT: Breaking news tonight, the dramatic final day of this week's impeachment hearings. President Trump's own former Russia advisor blasting Republicans for spreading a conspiracy theory about Ukraine interfering in the 2016 election.

DR. FIONA HILL: This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves.

(…)

7:01:45 p.m. Eastern

HOLT: Good evening. There are signs tonight that Democrats may be about to move from inquiry to the actual impeachment of President Trump. Late today, House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff saying Congress must now decide its duty. His remarks coming as public hearings wrapped up with the testimony of former White House Russia expert Fiona Hill, who immediately challenged committee members to not buy into politically driven falsehoods, as she and a career service officer provided new details to the Democratic narrative of presidential wrongdoing. Peter Alexander, has details.

[Cuts to video]

PETER ALEXANDER: Tonight, the president's former top Russia advisor, Fiona Hill putting House Republicans on defense, blasting their unfounded theories of Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election.

HILL: Based on statements and questions I have heard, 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 somehow, for some reason, Ukraine did. This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves.

ALEXANDER: But Republicans pointing out that they had released a report on Russian election meddling.

(…)

NB Daily Events Trump Impeachment Foreign Policy Europe Ukraine Bias by Omission Conspiracy Theories Labeling Political Groups Conservatives & Republicans Broadcast Television ABC World News Tonight CBS CBS Evening News NBC NBC Nightly News Video Mary Bruce Lester Holt Peter Alexander Norah O'Donnell Nancy Cordes Donald Trump

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