On Friday evening, Donald Trump found his ultimate supporter in his claims that he was completely right to extort Ukraine—Vladimir Putin. Trump presented a statement from Putin as proof that his impeachment was a “witch hunt.” And apparently an imaginary witch hunt, as Trump posted later tweets claiming he had not “really” been impeached. Not … not really.
The love affair is mutual; at least to the extent that Putin loves how Trump is weakening America, defending Russia, and attacking Ukraine. As The Independent reports, Russian state TV was also too happy to repeat an interview that Rudy Giuliani did for alt-Reich outlet OAN. Because the message that Trump and Giuliani are putting out is one that doesn’t just give Trump an excuse to squeeze Ukraine for investigations, but also one that exonerates Putin, repudiates the universal conclusion of U.S. intelligence agencies, and places the blame for hacking DNC email on Ukraine and Hillary Clinton.
All of this is especially head-smacking in light of reporting on Friday that Trump told White House staffers he “knew” that Ukraine, not Russia, was behind DNC hacking because “Putin told me.” So Trump is now claiming innocence over his involvement in extorting an investigation into a conspiracy theory, by citing the man who convinced him of the conspiracy theory.
Excerpts from Giuliani’s OAN interview, in which he supported both the theory that Hillary Clinton hired Ukrainian hackers to pretend to be Russians and steal emails from the DNC as part of an elaborate plot to set up Trump’s impeachment before he was ever elected, were run on Russia-1 on Friday. So were statements from Giuliani in which he claimed to have evidence of multiple “crimes” committed by Joe and Hunter Biden.
Journalist Rachel Maddow previously referred to OAN as “paid Russian propaganda,” after which she was sued for $10 million. However, Maddow wasn’t making up facts. She was reporting on a Daily Beast story showing that OAN reporter Kristian Brunovich Rouz was also a reporter for the Kremlin-owned Sputnik wire service. Maddow is seeking dismissal of the suit.
Published with permission from Daily Kos.