Two top officials who served on U.S. President Donald Trump's National Security Council staff testified that they had seen no evidence that the Ukraine government interfered in the 2016 election, contradicting a claim the president has made in public and private.
The former officials, Fiona Hill and Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, were responding to questions from House impeachment investigators, who released transcripts of their depositions on Friday, POLITICO wrote.
The testimony undercuts a conspiracy theory that has been pushed by Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer, as he sought to upend the intelligence community's conclusion that Russia sought to help Trump defeat Hillary Clinton in 2016.
According to Giuliani, Ukrainian officials conspired with the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee to help boost the Democratic nominee's campaign and damage Trump's candidacy. No evidence has emerged to support that idea.
In his testimony, Vindman said there was no "factual basis" for such claims. "I am, frankly, unaware of any authoritative basis for Ukrainian interference in 2016 elections, based on my knowledge," he said.
"It is a fiction that the Ukrainian government was launching an effort to upend our election, upend our election to mess with our Democratic systems," Hill testified.
"I'm extremely concerned that this is a rabbit hole that we're all going to go down in between now and the 2020 election, and it will be to all of our detriment," she added. "And I just want to, if I've done anything, leave a message to you that we should all be greatly concerned about what the Russians intend to do in 2020. And any information that they can provide, you know, that basically deflects our attention away from what they did and what they're planning on doing is very useful to them."