Members of the Washington press corps love nothing more than to see their reporting surface in official proceedings, such as a White House press conference or perhaps a high-profile congressional hearing. It confers relevance. It means you’re driving the conversation, to cite one of the more noisome journo-cliches of recent decades.

It’s always best, though, when the official proceeding doesn’t trash your stuff.

In his deposition last month on Capitol Hill, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman characterized as “false” the work of John Solomon, the former executive vice president for digital video at The Hill, according to a transcript released Friday. Vindman just might know: He has served as the top Ukraine hand at the National Security Council and watched as Solomon’s reports on the country in The Hill surfaced earlier this year. He gave his deposition as part of the House impeachment inquiry.


In the pages of The Hill, Solomon poured starting fluid on the idea that former vice president Joe Biden had pressed for the ouster of a Ukrainian prosecutor so as to lessen the pressure on the company where his son, Hunter Biden, held a board seat. Part of this Solomon oeuvre included an interview with then-Ukrainian prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko, who alleged that former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch had presented him a do-not-prosecute list.

There’s no evidence for such a deed. Lutsenko later retracted the claim, and Vindman called it “preposterous” in his deposition.

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) decided to press Vindman on his conclusion that Solomon was pushing bogus reporting.

Zeldin: Did your sources, though, say that everything was false or just parts of it were false?
Vindman: I think all the key elements were false.
Zeldin: Just so I understand what you mean when you say key elements. Are you referring to everything John Solomon stated or just some of it?
Vindman: All the elements that I just laid out for you. The criticisms of corruption were false.
Zeldin: You mentioned —
Vindman: Were there more items in there, frankly, congressman? I don’t recall. I haven’t looked at the article in quite some time, but you know, his grammar might have been right.

To check on Solomon’s reporting, Vindman had quizzed his “interagency colleagues” at the State Department and the intelligence community. He asked for “background” and wanted to know if there was “anything substantive in this area.”


Apparently there was not. Lack of substance notwithstanding, Yovanovitch was recalled early from her ambassadorial post in May over the allegations promoted by Solomon, Rudolph W. Giuliani, et al. U.S. diplomat George Kent, in his own deposition, said of Solomon’s early Ukraine reporting: “If not entirely made up in full cloth, it was primarily non-truths and non sequiturs.”

As ProPublica reported, Solomon’s material helped Trump personal lawyer Giuliani and associates to advance the idea that the real collusion in the 2016 presidential election was engineered by Democrats and Ukrainians, who didn’t want Trump, an admirer of Russian President Vladimir Putin, to gain power. Over the past several months, Giuliani and Solomon have, in turn, helped Fox News host Sean Hannity spread this very same message to his audience.


Though Solomon split with The Hill earlier this fall, he signed on as a Fox News contributor. We’ve asked Fox News whether it’s okay employing a man being cited on Capitol Hill as a purveyor of false narratives. We will update this post if we receive a reply.

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