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Today's column quotes Fiona Hill, an American hero.

It took guts to look members of the House Intelligence Committee in the eye and tell them they are dupes.

The president's "defenders" on the committee simultaneously accuse their colleagues of relying on rumor and innuendo while spouting some of the goofiest conspiracy theories I have ever heard. Hill called them out.

President Donald Trump's efforts to extort a smear job of his most feared political rival from Ukraine's government gets most of the attention. But Trump's personal lawyer at the time got started on his crackpot Ukraine scheme largely over a bizarre notion that country, not Russia, interfered in our elections in 2016. The president fell right in with this nonsense.

So the victim of the bigger smear job here is Ukraine.

Here is a long excerpt from Hill's courageously blunt remarks in the impeachment inquiry a week ago Thursday:

"[S]ome 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.

"The unfortunate truth is that Russia was the foreign power that systematically attacked our democratic institutions in 2016. This is the public conclusion of our intelligence agencies, confirmed in bipartisan Congressional reports. It is beyond dispute, even if some of the underlying details must remain classified.

"The impact of the successful 2016 Russian campaign remains evident today. Our nation is being torn apart. Truth is questioned. Our highly professional and expert career foreign service is being undermined.

"U.S. support for Ukraine -- which continues to face armed Russian aggression -- has been politicized.

"The Russian government's goal is to weaken our country -- to diminish America's global role and to neutralize a perceived U.S. threat to Russian interests. President [Vladimir] Putin and Russian security services aim to counter U.S. foreign policy objectives in Europe, including the Ukraine, where Moscow wishes to reassert political and economic dominance.

"I say this not as an alarmist, but as a realist. I do not think long-term conflict with Russia is either desirable or inevitable. I continue to believe that we need to seek ways of stabilizing our relationship with Moscow even as we counter their efforts to harm us. Right now, Russia's security services and their proxies have geared up to repeat their interference in the 2020 election. We are running out of time to stop them. In the course of this investigation, I would ask that you please not promote politically driven falsehoods that so clearly advance Russian interests.

"As Republicans and Democrats have agreed for decades, Ukraine is a valued partner of the United States, and it plays an important role in our national security. And as I told this committee last month, I refuse to be part of an effort to legitimize an alternative narrative that the Ukrainian government is a U.S. adversary, and that Ukraine -- not Russia -- attacked us in 2016.

"These fictions are harmful even if they are deployed for purely domestic political purposes. President Putin and the Russian security services operate like a Super PAC. They deploy millions of dollars to weaponize our own political opposition research and false narratives. When we are consumed by partisan rancor, we cannot combat these external forces as they seek to divide us against each other, degrade our institutions, and destroy the faith of the American people in our democracy.

"I respect the work that this Congress does in carrying out its constitutional responsibilities, including in this inquiry, and am here to help you to the best of my ability. If the president, or anyone else, impedes or subverts the national security of the United States in order to further domestic political or personal interests, that is more than worthy of your attention. But we must not let domestic politics stop us from defending ourselves against the foreign powers who truly wish to harm us."

For the first time I am going to put into print something I typed a dozen times over the years but always deleted because it was so harsh.

All along, the president's defenders decried the "Russia hoax," saying it could not be proved Trump colluded with Putin.

He did not because collusion is a two-way street. Even when one plotter gives the orders, the other has to cooperate. Each has responsibilities.

Organ grinders do not collude with their monkeys.

Commentary on 11/30/2019

Print Headline: A patriot speaks up

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