Fiona Hill: “We’ve Got To Pull the Country Back Together”

In the waning days of the Trump administration, Cabinet members are resigning, prosecutors are exploring possible charges, and the House is moving quickly on impeachment. Fiona Hill served on President Trump’s National Security Council and understands well the battle for truth against alternative facts and delusions.

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FIONA HILL, FORMER SENIOR DIRECTOR, US NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: Clearly we have a crisis under where a political democratic crisis, even a constitutional succession crisis, completely manufactured, as you’ve been pointing out, and many others have as well. I have an interview in the last day or so we’re going to call this an attempted coup. I mean, really, what this is is a self-coup, something that was operating over a longer timeframe in plain sight. The President has been talking for months about the rigged elections, the fact that if he lost the election, it would have been stolen from him, laying the ground for the kind of moment that we’ve got ourselves into. Now, clearly, what matters the most when you look around the world and historically, it’s episodes like this, it’s how we handle it moving forward. And I think, you know, obviously, we’ve got a lot of work to do in shoring up our democratic institutions. They’ve gone through a stress test, many of them have worked, certainly at the federal and state level, with election officials doing their job with the Speaker of the Senate and the Vice President, you know, refusing to go along with these last minute objections, and obviously, with so many other people in the institutions across the government pulling together. So although this hasn’t succeeded at this stage, it’s clearly a lesson for all of us about how much work we’ve got to do moving forward. We’ve got to bring the rhetoric down, and we’ve got to pull the country back together.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Yes. And I want to dive deeper into what you must do to protect yourself and your democratic institutions from mischief from overseas as well in a moment. But first, I want to ask you, because you work for the President as I said, you traveled with him. You’ve known him for those several years that you worked inside the National Security Agency. What do you think he might do in the next 12 days, given, as you said, all of this happened in plain sight? All of this was clearly telegraphed. In fact, you even predicted several weeks ago that there was going to be violence potentially on January 6th.

HILL: Well, I think a lot of people have been predicting this. You know, there’s been a number of people recently saying, all you have to do is have ears and eyes, and be able to read to see this unfolding. I think the problem is that people have not been taking it seriously. I think now what we have to do is look at all the safeguards, and whatever we do, we have to do it legally as well by the book. I think what an important lesson for the rest of the world, is how we handle this. And American democracy has been challenged many times in the past. And again, as I’ve just said, this is like a stress test for our democracy. And if we make sure that we stick to the legality to the Constitution, to the limits of what our institutions can do as well, and what individuals in that system can do, we’ll get through this. So I think that’s what the most important thing is, not just what the President may or may not do in the time remaining to him.

About This Episode EXPAND

Former National Security Council official Fiona Hill joins Christiane to discuss Wednesday’s riot at the U.S. Capitol. Then, Lincoln Project co-founder Rick Wilson joins Hari Sreenivasan to offer his perspective. Plus, an exclusive interview with Afghanistan’s president and first lady on what relations with the U.S. will look like under President-elect Biden.