Trump’s Sordid History of Accepting, Requesting, and Encouraging Foreign Interference in US Elections

Susan Walsh/AP

Here’s a good one from David Corn at Mother Jones

One of the key lines in the House Democrats’ impeachment report distills the Trump-Ukraine scandal to a simple idea: “[T]he impeachment inquiry has found that President Trump, personally and acting through agents within and outside of the U.S. government, solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, to benefit his reelection.”

And in the report’s preface, the Democrats place Trump’s Ukrainian caper within the larger context of foreign intervention in US elections, namely Russia’s covert attack on the 2016 contest, which was mounted in part to help Trump win the White House: “we were struck by the fact that the President’s misconduct was not an isolated occurrence, nor was it the product of a naïve president. Instead, the efforts to involve Ukraine in our 2020 presidential election were undertaken by a President who himself was elected in 2016 with the benefit of an unprecedented and sweeping campaign of election interference undertaken by Russia in his favor, and which the President welcomed and utilized.”

The point was clear. Trump muscling Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to produce political dirt that could influence the 2020 election for Trump’s personal advantage was a continuation of Trump’s behavior in 2016. This contextualization brings back into the spotlight Vladimir Putin’s clandestine assault on American democracy—and how Trump encouraged and exploited that attack. So now, as Trump is under scrutiny for pressing Ukraine to influence the 2020 race, it’s a good time to review all the ways that Trump aided and abetted a foreign adversary’s scheme to subvert a US election the last time the nation was choosing a president.

Read the whole sordid history here.

Putin Said to Be Source of Trump’s Bogus Ukrainian Conspiracy Theory

Putin, left, with Hungarian Strongman Viktor Orban

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:

[…]

Trump and Putin Have Met Privately Five Times

5

New York Times: “Mr. Trump has adamantly insisted there was ‘no collusion’ with Russia during his 2016 presidential campaign. But each of the five times he has met with Mr. Putin since taking office, he has fueled suspicions about their relationship. The unusually secretive way he has handled these meetings has left many in his own administration guessing what happened and piqued the interest of investigators.”

Trump Claims He Didn’t Conceal Contents of Putin Meetings

“I’m not keeping anything under wraps, I couldn’t care less. I mean, it’s so ridiculous. These people make it up. I have many one-on-ones, nobody ever says anything about it, but with Putin they say, ‘Oh what did they talk about?’ We talked about very positive things. … Anybody could have listened to that meeting, that meeting is open for grabs. The whole Russia thing it’s a hoax, it’s a terrible hoax, everybody knows it.

— ”President Trump, telling Fox News that he did not try to conceal conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.