Fiona Hill says Trump's election lies have created a 'recipe for communal violence' that could foster 'civil conflict' in the US

Fiona Hill says Trump's election lies have created a 'recipe for communal violence' that could foster 'civil conflict' in the US
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  • Fiona Hill told Insider that Trump's elections lies have created a "recipe for communal violence."

  • Echoing other experts, Hill warned that the US could ultimately end up in "civil conflict."

  • "We may have just become ungovernable," Hill said. "We're in a mess."

America is historically divided. Trust in key institutions has tanked. Millions of people still don't believe President Joe Biden won the 2020 election fair and square. And former President Donald Trump and his Republican allies continue to push false claims on 2020, as they simultaneously vie to whitewash the deadly riot at the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

"We're in a mess," Russia expert Fiona Hill said in a conversation with Insider on Wednesday that focused heavily on the state of US democracy.

Hill, who served as the top Russia advisor on the National Security Council under the Trump administration, warned that the distrust in the electoral process fomented by Trump and those close to him has created a "recipe for communal violence." The US could ultimately "end up in a civil conflict," she added.

"Some people have said that might have been our last fair election in 2020. And it's disastrous because that means that a portion of the population will always believe that whoever got elected is illegitimate," Hill said.

The US has reached a point where "trust in the different communities and authorities" has broken down "to such an extent that people just start fighting with each other," Hill said.

Some academics have contended that the US is already experiencing a slow-moving civil war or is heading toward insurgency — the 21st century version of civil war. When asked if she agreed, Hill said, "I've said that myself at times and I've dialed it back a bit. We've got a lot of communal violence. So, we're already kind of in that. But we may have just become ungovernable by many of the things that have happened here."

"I don't think we'd end up in the kind of conflict that we had between the states — the Union and the Confederacy — back in the day," Hill said. "But people's sense of the civil and civic ways of resolving disputes are out the window."

When people are storming the US Capitol, staging armed protests at state capitols, plotting to take governors hostage, and engaging in targeted, mass violence — including racially motivated violence like the recent shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York — it's a sign that your country is in "really big trouble," Hill said.

"However you define it, you're in big trouble" when there's "this whole atmosphere where everyone's on edge and feeling that they need to resolve the disputes themselves," she added.

The GOP is 'hellbent on undermining democracy'

January 6
Pro-Trump protesters gather in front of the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC.Jon Cherry/Getty Images

Hill, who wrote a book on Russian President Vladimir Putin, is seriously concerned that the US could be moving toward autocracy. She saw firsthand how Trump sought to emulate autocratic leaders like Putin.

In her 2021 memoir, "There Is Nothing for You Here: Finding Opportunity in the Twenty-First Century," Hill wrote that Trump "may have paved the way for another, less personally insecure and more capable populist president — someone who actually did his or her homework and was skilled in project management — to pull a Putin in America."

Hill said the Russian president "took the constitution's presidential powers and ran with them" and also "enhanced them to the point of extending his own term in office essentially indefinitely," warning that it could also happen in the US.

Asked if she was still worried that someone could "pull a Putin" in the US and move it toward autocracy, Hill told Insider, "I'm very concerned about it."

Many Republicans continue to run for office "on the back of the lie that the January 6th committee has really tried very hard to refute," or the false notion that the election was stolen from Trump, Hill said.

Some of the people who will run for the GOP nomination in 2024, including those who could potentially beat Trump, if he chooses to make another bid for the White House, have "not refuted what he's said and never recognized Biden as a legitimate president," she said.

It would be "disastrous" if Trump runs and wins again "on that basis," and equally as bad if another Republican candidate who "helped enable this or perpetuate it and is tapping into it" wins, Hill warned.

The GOP today is not the Republican party of old, Hill said, stating that it has all the "hallmarks" of authoritarianism.

"I am not a partisan person, but it's a little bit hard to take a neutral stance," Hill said, noting that people in the UK have described the Republican party to her as "a charismatic satanic death cult."

The Democratic party is not unworthy of criticism, Hill said, but it's also not "trying to undermine the overall democratic system."

"Right now it has to be said that the Republican party, the congressional Republican party, so it seems, so it would appear, is hellbent on undermining democracy to exert minority rule," she added.

Hill, who was pushed into the national spotlight as a key witness during the House impeachment inquiry into Trump's dealings with Ukraine, said she's been closely following the hearings held by the House select committee investigating January 6. She said the committee has made a compelling case so far.

"But it doesn't mean that everybody else is watching and is being persuaded," Hill said, adding, "We've become so polarized and partisan."

To reverse course, Hill said, everybody needs to stand up and work at strengthening America's democracy.

"Everybody's individually got to think about what can they do in this moment, and really look at things long and hard about the kind of country that they want to live in," Hill said.

Read the original article on Business Insider