Donald Trump’s unfounded ideas of corruption in Ukraine and untested theories that the country conspired to take him down in 2016 may have been planted directly by Vladimir Putin, new reports suggest.
Trump has repeatedly suggested that unspecified claims of “corruption” in Ukraine were the reason he withheld military aid to the country. He has also publicly raised the idea that Ukraine is withholding a computer server for the Democratic National Committee that proves there was no Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Both ideas have been decried as baseless, and in the case of the DNC server, a blatant falsehood since the DNC operated a series of cloud-based servers for its computer network, not a physical server that could be stashed in Ukraine.
But Trump has continued to push on both fronts, even as Congress moves full steam ahead on an impeachment inquiry looking into whether Trump improperly pressured Ukraine to dig up dirt on political opponent Joe Biden. Now, a series of new reports suggest that Trump’s ideas of corruption in Ukraine may come directly from Vladimir Putin. As Vanity Fair noted, recent reports from the New York Times and Washington Post claim that both Putin and the Russia-aligned Hungarian leader Viktor Orban have planted ideas of Ukraine as riddled with corruption.
“In conversations with Trump this spring, the two leaders reportedly nudged the president toward a bleak view of Ukraine as a place of rampant, irreversible corruption, and urged him to adopt their hostile posture toward Kiev, current and former officials told the The New York Times and The Washington Post,” the report noted. “In a meeting just over a week after speaking with Orban, Trump told his administration that Ukrainians were ‘terrible people’ and allegedly instructed diplomats to defer on matters related to Kiev to Rudy Giuliani who, at the time, was filling his head with conspiracy theories about the country.”
Donald Trump has been criticized for his close relationship with Vladimir Putin and frequent meetings with the Russian leader despite a consensus from U.S. intelligence agencies that Putin personally spearheaded a campaign of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Trump stirred controversy when he publicly backed Putin’s denial of interference, and his secret meetings with Putin have been met with suspicion. Trump has reportedly gone to great lengths to keep the matter of these meetings private, even going so far as to allegedly destroy notes and refuse briefings for even top members of his own administration.