Fiona Hill, the Russia expert who testified during then-President Donald Trump’s first impeachment proceedings, is helping President Joe Biden prepare for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to Axios.
Hill is just one of those who took part in a briefing for Biden, who is set to meet the Russian leader on Wednesday, according to the news outlet.
She is the former top Russia expert for the White House and was a key witness in Trump’s impeachment proceedings. Hill was Trump’s point person on Ukraine.
She has spent decades studying Russia and Putin. Hill was a critical biographer of Putin and co-authored a number of books on Russia, including "Mr. Putin: Operative at the Kremlin."
Axios noted she was present at the Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki in 2018.
During the briefing for Biden, the assembled experts agreed on the approach the president should adopt — straight talk leaving no doubt for Putin on where the U.S. stands on a variety of key issues, including hacking and human rights.
About a dozen people participated in the briefing including two of President Barack Obama’s former Russian ambassadors: Michael McFaul and John Tefft. Joining them were Rose Gottemoeller, an arms control expert who served as deputy secretary general of NATO under Obama, and Eric Green, a career foreign service office, Axios reported.
The outlet noted that the group urged Biden not to hold a joint press conference with Putin or give him any opportunity to try to upstage the private talks with new public proposals. The group presented a range of views about how to handle Putin, but there weren’t strong disagreements on the approach.
Some supported looking for more opportunities to engage with Russia. However, others argued for a get-tough approach.
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