Every conspiracy theory has a source. More often than not, however, the source is impossible to track down. Not so with Trump’s pet theory that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that interfered in the 2016 election.
The source of that thoroughly disproved assertion was Trump’s handler, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. Putin first mentioned it in public during a news conference with right-wing Hungarian leader Viktor Orban, in 2017:
“We all know, during the presidential campaign in the United States, the Ukrainian government adopted a unilateral position in favor of one candidate. More than that, certain oligarchs, certainly with the approval of the political leadership, funded this candidate, or female candidate, to be more precise.”
– Vladimir Putin, Feb. 2, 2017
After a thorough investigation, U.S. intelligence services are certain it was Russia, not Ukraine, that meddled in the election — and it was Trump, not the “female candidate,” who was the intended beneficiary.
This quote came up again on Friday, during testimony by former Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch. Asked about Putin’s statement Yovanovitch said it was a “classic” move by Putin, a top KGB operative, “to try to throw off the scent and create an alternative narrative that maybe might get picked up and get some credence.”
And, of course, few if any world leaders are as easily duped as Trump.