I considered pulling the fire alarm: Fiona Hill says she was so alarmed at Trump’s behavior at his press conference with Vladimir Putin that she looked for ways to end it
- Fiona Hill, who served as Donald Trump’s top Russian adviser, said she was so distressed at his behavior with Putin she wanted to end 2018 press conference
- ”My initial thought was just ‘how can I end this?’ I literally did have it in my mind the idea of faking some kind of medical emergency,’ she said
- She noted that ‘I looked around to see if there was a fire alarm’ but didn’t see one
- Trump, at his presser with Putin, declined to back the assessment of US intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in the 2016 election
Fiona Hill, who served as Donald Trump‘s top Russian adviser, said she considered pulling a fire alarm or faking a medical emergency to end the then-president’s 2018 press conference with Vladimir Putin.
‘My initial thought was just ‘how can I end this?’ I literally did have it in my mind the idea of faking some kind of medical emergency and throwing myself backwards with a loud curdling scream into the media,’ she said.
And she told CNN: ‘I looked around to see if there was a fire alarm but we were in a rather grand building attached to the Finnish palace that the Finnish president lent to us for the occasion. And I couldn’t see anything that resembled a fire alarm.’
Hill, who was a witness in Trump’s first impeachment trial in January 2020, said she was distressed at Trump’s deferential behavior to Putin that she tried to find ways to cut it off.
Fiona Hill, who served as Donald Trump’s top Russian adviser, said she was so distressed at his behavior with Putin she wanted to end 2018 press conference
At the controversial press conference in Helsinki, after a meeting with Putin, Trump declined to support the US government’s assessment that Russia had interfered in the 2016 presidential election.
‘He just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be,’ Trump said of his conversation with Putin.
Hill said it was a ‘mortifying’ moment for the country.
‘I just thought, let’s cut this off and try to end it. I couldn’t come up with anything that just wouldn’t add to the terrible spectacle,’ she said.
‘It was one of those moments frankly that was mortifying and humiliating for the country.’
She said it was a ‘great idea’ for President Joe Biden to not hold his own press conference with Putin.
Biden and Putin meet in Geneva on Wednesday in an 18th-century Swiss villa overlooking Lake Geneva. It’s their first face-to-face meeting since Biden became president.
Donald Trump, at his press conference with Vladimir Putin, declined to back the assessment of US intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in the 2016 election
President Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin meet in Geneva at Villa La Grange, an 18th-century Swiss villa overlooking Lake Geneva; above security in front of the building
Ahead of the sit down, the White House announced there would not be a joint press conference – an indication both of the administration’s reluctance to grant Putin yet another prominent platform in addition to the summit itself – as well as a reluctance on the part of the White House to put Biden in an unscripted situation that could go off the rails.
‘This is not a contest about who can do better in front of a press conference or try to embarrass each other,’ Biden said on Sunday of the decision.
Putin is set to arrive first at the summit venue in an event that is both choreographed in its broad outlines and adjusted on the fly, some areas left entirely open – including the food.
‘No breaking of bread,’ quipped a senior official when asked about the lack of a set meal.
But the official allowed, ‘I presume that the principals and the participants can ask for some water or coffee or tea …’ The summit format also allowed for breaks to be determined.
Biden will arrive next, traveling in ‘the Beast’ for the short drive from his hotel.
Each man will meet separately with Swiss President Guy Parmelin, whose central role will be to break the ice and get things started on a good footing.
Then, the three men will be pictured together, but only Parmelin is scheduled to speak – a move that could at least forestall any early pyrotechnics.