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Standing up for democracy and the truth: Former US national security official Fiona Hill

January 6 laid bare "the deep divisions, the partisan infighting, the polarization within our society," says Fiona Hill, the former US senior director of the National Security Council. In a GZERO World interview, she spoke with Ian Bremmer about her concerns about the state of democracy in the United States.

Hill famously testified against her impeached boss, Donald Trump, who stayed in power after being acquitted by the Senate of abuse of power and obstructing Congress. She also notes that divisions actually make America look weaker on the global stage — particularly to someone like Russia’s president Vladimir Putin.

Watch this episode of GZERO World: American strife: Will US democracy survive? Fiona Hill explains post-Jan 6 stakes

An emboldened Putin thrives on American disunity

Political polarization in the US isn’t just a problem within the country, points out former US national security official Fiona Hill. Deep divisions, she says, actually make America look weaker on the global stage — particularly to someone like Russia’s president Vladimir Putin.

“Putin loves our disunity," Russian expert Hill tells Ian Bremmer. "It's incredibly useful as a tool to exploit in that toolkit that he has.”

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American strife: Will US democracy survive? Fiona Hill explains post-Jan 6 stakes

One year after the attack on the US Capitol, American democracy is still hurting.

For Ian Bremmer, a democracy dies when regular people like the rioters choose violence over votes, and we can no longer agree on objective reality. But Republicans have done such a great job at whitewashing that Democrats are now the ones with their back against the wall ahead of the November midterms.

On GZERO World, Ian spoke with Fiona Hill, a former US national security official with a dim view of what lies ahead for American democracy.

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Podcast: How the US survives deep divisions: Fiona Hill and the post-Jan 6 fight for American democracy


Listen: On the anniversary of the Capitol insurrection, America has only grown more divided. More Republicans than ever believe that the election was stolen. And that’s not just a domestic problem. It’s a national security threat. Ian Bremmer speaks with Fiona Hill, former senior director of the National Security Council who famously testified against her boss, former president Donald Trump, in his first impeachment trial. Hill, an expert on Russia and China, worries about the global implications of January 6.

Subscribe to the GZERO World Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or your preferred podcast platform to receive new episodes as soon as they're published.

How tech was used to harm democracy on January 6

Marietje Schaake, International Policy Director at Stanford's Cyber Policy Center, Eurasia Group senior advisor and former MEP, discusses trends in big tech, privacy protection and cyberspace:

What is the tech legacy of the first anniversary of the January 6th storming of the Capitol?

Now, one is that it is so clear that there is no such thing as an online world that's separated from our offline lives. We see democracy being harmed in new ways and speech fueling actions in the streets. And this is not just a speech issue, but data harvesting and micro-targeting are giving those hate speech calls wings online.

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January 6th: One year later

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi, everybody, Ian Bremmer here, and it is January 6th, one year on, a date that's going to be seared in American consciousness for a long time. And of course, depending on who you are in the United States, a date that has a radically different meaning for you than many of your neighboring Americans. And that of course is precisely why this crisis of democracy has become what it is, that Americans don't agree on what actually happened on the date. Was this seditious behavior, trying to overturn a legitimate election, being exhorted to violence by the former sitting president of the United States, Donald Trump? Or was it a group of patriots trying to ensure that the false certification of a stolen and fraudulent election would not place and ensuring that Trump would be installed as reelected as a legitimate president?

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Fiona Hill: January 6 rioters should sue Trump

One year after the US Capitol insurrection, what's the state of American democracy? For former US national security official Fiona Hill, not good.

"We're still grappling with the ongoing consequences of that particular event," she says. In her view, the events of January 6, 2021 laid bare "the deep divisions, the partisan infighting, the polarization within our society" — which resulted in American citizens storming "a building that is supposed to be a unifying symbol, symbol of freedom, of representational democracy, not of repression."

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January 6 anniversary: America's back — against the wall?

If the January 6th assault on the US Capitol had a face, it would probably be that of the horned and shirtless “Q-Anon Shaman.” He was one of many weirdos, along with right-wing extremists and militia members who assaulted Congress that day. But there were also many ordinary Americans — imagine your neighbor calling to hang Mike Pence.

A democracy dies when regular people choose violence over votes, and we can no longer agree on objective reality.

But the historical whitewashing from the likes of Fox News and others seems to be working. A year later, two-thirds of Republicans still want a twice-impeached Donald Trump to keep dominating US politics — 10 percentage points more than on January 6, 2021. And even more GOP voters still believe Joe Biden stole the 2020 presidential election.

This November, though, it's the Democrats who're in danger in the midterm elections — as is US democracy itself. Perhaps America is not back, as Biden says, but has its back against the wall.

What this means for Dems is that they're in for a midterm shellacking like the one that 12 years ago humbled Biden's old boss, Barack Obama.

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