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Mon Oct 21, 2019, 07:41 PM

Putin and Hungary's Orban helped sour Trump on Ukraine

Source: Washington Post

President Trump’s effort to pressure Ukraine for information he could use against political rivals came as he was being urged to adopt a hostile view of that country by its regional adversaries, including Russian President Vladi­mir Putin, current and former U.S. officials said. Trump’s conversations with Putin, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and others reinforced his perception of Ukraine as a hopelessly corrupt country — one that Trump now also appears to believe sought to undermine him in the 2016 U.S. election, the officials said.

Neither of those foreign leaders specifically encouraged Trump to see Ukraine as a potential source of damaging information about Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, nor did they describe Kyiv as complicit in an unsubstantiated 2016 election conspiracy theory, officials said. But their disparaging depictions of Ukraine reinforced Trump’s perceptions of the country and fed a dysfunctional dynamic in which White House officials struggled to persuade Trump to support the fledgling government in Kyiv instead of exploiting it for political purposes, officials said.

The role played by Putin and Orban, a hard-right leader who has often allied himself with the Kremlin’s positions, was described in closed-door testimony last week by George Kent, a deputy assistant secretary of state, before House impeachment investigators, U.S. officials said. Kent cited the influence of those leaders as a factor that helped sour Trump on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in the months leading up to their July 25 phone call — a conversation that triggered an extraordinary whistleblower complaint as well as a House impeachment inquiry.

U.S. officials emphasized that while Putin and Orban denigrated Ukraine, Trump’s decision to seek damaging material on Biden was more directly driven by Trump’s own impulses and Kyiv conspiracy theories promoted by his attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani. In their early May phone call, Putin “did what he always does” in seeking to undercut the United States’ relationship with Ukraine, said a former U.S. official familiar with details of the conversation. “He has always said Ukraine is just a den of corruption.”

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/putin-and-hungarys-orban-helped-sour-trump-on-ukraine/2019/10/21/a0af1e9c-f40b-11e9-ad8b-85e2aa00b5ce_story.html

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Reply Putin and Hungary's Orban helped sour Trump on Ukraine (Original post)
BumRushDaShow Oct 21 OP
dalton99a Oct 22 #1
Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin Oct 22 #2

Response to BumRushDaShow (Original post)

Tue Oct 22, 2019, 12:15 AM

1. Kick

The efforts to poison Trump’s views toward Zelensky were anticipated by national security officials at the White House, officials said. But the voices of Putin and Orban took on added significance this year because of the departure or declining influence of those who had sought to blunt the influence of Putin and other authoritarian leaders over Trump.

Officials cited the departures of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, both of whom had backed U.S. military assistance to Ukraine but were no longer in position to protect that stream of funding when it was suspended in the weeks leading up to Trump’s July 25 phone call.

National security adviser John Bolton was also seen as a fervent backer of Ukraine in its conflict with Russia, but his relationship with Trump deteriorated rapidly this year before he was pushed out of the White House last month.

“Over time you just see a wearing down of the defenses,” a former White House official said, describing the struggle to contest the influence of Giuliani, Putin and Orban.

The House impeachment inquiry is centered on Trump’s alleged attempt to use the power of his office to coerce Ukraine into taking measures that the president hoped would help him in the 2020 election.

There is no evidence that Putin spoke about Biden or endorsed Giuliani’s unsubstantiated claims that it was Ukraine — and not Russia — that had interfered in the 2016 election. Still, officials said that treating Ukraine as a pawn is consistent with Putin’s approach toward the former Soviet republic.

American policy has for years been “built around containing malign Russian influence” in Eastern Europe, a U.S. official said. Trump’s apparent susceptibility to the arguments he hears from Putin and Orban is “an example of the president himself under malign influence — being steered by it.”

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Original post)

Tue Oct 22, 2019, 12:05 PM

2. Trumpy is as pliable as a ball of clay when confronted by dictators.

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