Tags: Donald Trump | Russia | Trump Administration | Ukraine | vladimir putin | viktor orban | hungary

Putin, Hungary's Orban Reinforced Trump's Beliefs on Ukraine

victor orban and vladimir putin shake hands
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Russian President Vladimir Putin (Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP)

By    |   Monday, 21 October 2019 07:20 PM

President Donald Trump's conversations with Ukraine's regional adversaries, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban, reinforced his belief Ukraine was corrupt, as he was pressuring the country for dirt he could use against his political rivals, according to current and former U.S. officials. 

Putin and Orban did not specifically encourage Trump to either see Ukraine as a source of information about former Vice President Joe Biden, and they did not describe the country as being complicit in interfering in the 2016 presidential election, the sources told The Washington Post. However, they did create an atmosphere that led Trump to exploit Ukraine's government for political purposes rather than support it, according to the sources.

According to the officials, George Kent, the deputy assistant secretary of state who was grilled last week by House impeachment investigators, told lawmakers about the role Putin and Orban played in helping to shift Trump on newly elected Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

But while Putin and Orban criticized Ukraine, Trump chose to seek damaging information on Biden, a frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination based on his own theories and conspiracies promoted by his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani. 

"He has always said Ukraine is just a den of corruption," said one of the officials. 

Two of Trump's former Cabinet members, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and chief of staff John Kelly had backed U.S. military assistance to Ukraine, but neither were still in power before the Trump-Zelenskiy call July 25. In addition, National Security Adviser John Bolton was also falling out of favor at that time.

"Over time you just see a wearing down of the defenses," one former White House official said, which led to the growing influence of Giuliani, Putin, and Orban.

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President Donald Trump's conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban reinforced his belief Ukraine was corrupt, according to The Washington Post.
vladimir putin, viktor orban, hungary, prime minister, corruption
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2019-20-21
Monday, 21 October 2019 07:20 PM
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