No Dog In The Fight

Four women testified in this week’s impeachment hearing, culminating with the testimony of Fiona Hill, a former top Fiona Hill, a former top White House expert on Russia. Ms. Hill was called to testify as part of the investigation into whether Trump abused his power for political gain. During her testimony, Jackie Spear, the congresswoman from California, asked her whether or not a story she’d heard about Ms. Hill was true. Ms. Hill grew up in the north-east of England, and when she was eleven, a boy in her class set her pigtails on fire during a test. According to the story, Ms. Hill put out the fire with her hands and continued taking the test. When Ms. Hill said the story was true, she also claimed that it was a cautionary tale and that her mother gave her a “bowl haircut,” after the incident. Jackie Spear said, “You speak the truth, you are steely, and I truly respect that.”I watched Ms. Hill’s testimony in admiration, silently cheering her on. Her testimony was perfection of the type any trial lawyer would give her eye teeth to hear from a client on direct, testimony showing competence and composure with an economy of language. She never wavered once, and her credibility rose in double digits. This woman had no dog in the fight, and every reason to speak the truth. She was the walking poster child for the kind of leadership we read about but seldom see. I hear that the response to her testimony was overwhelming. Her social media news feeds were full. People claimed they were taping her photo to the walls at their desks.In addition to Ms. Hill, there was also testimony from Marie Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine; Jennifer Williams, special adviser on Europe and Russia for Vice-President Mike Pence; and Laura Cooper, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia. All of these women said they were compelled to testify, by “a strong sense of duty.” They testified in defiance of White House orders not to cooperate with the investigation.Their testimony showed who they are, well-educated, highly credentialed experts, completely knowledgeable in their respective positions. They stepped forth as heroines for this time, facing attacks from Trump and even death threats. Ms. Hill testified that when she expressed anger over the handling of Trump’s Ukraine policy, she was labeled as “emotional,” and her anger was discounted. She further stated that “Often when women show anger, it is not fully appreciated. It’s often pushed on to emotional issues perhaps or deflected to other people.”The hearings were an example of the gender discrimination of Trump’s presidency, bringing to mind his treatment of women, including degrading remarks about their appearances and behavior to the multitude of allegations of sexual harassment and assault. It was anticipated that Trump would strike out and try to intimidate Ms. Yovanovitch, and he did. “Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad,” Trump said. “She started off in Somalia, how did that go?”Asked about what she felt as a result of his tweet while she testified, Ms. Yovanovitch said: “It’s very intimidating.”Trump attacked her again as a partisan who opposed his presidency while on Fox and Friends. He said that the Republicans told him he’d treated her nicely. “Because she was a woman, you have to be nice.”Listening to his responses to the testimony of these women, you can clearly see that Trump is beside himself with happiness when he attacks women. Women have featured prominently in this investigation. All the women involved, from Nancy Pelosi, to the other female veteran civil servants, have displayed transparency and fearlessness.“I have no interest in advancing “I have no interest in advancing the outcome of your inquiry in any particular direction,” Ms. Hill told the Intelligence Committee, “except toward the truth.”Ms. Hill and the other women who testified have no dog in the fight, and in light of the present embarrassing display of Trump’s lapdog followers, who excel at misrepresentation and evasion, terrorized that he may leave them out in the cold, I am especially grateful and proud to witness the heroism of these women.