Trump – impeached for trying to blackmail Ukraine – hits out at Biden over Russia crisis

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Former president Donald Trump said the crisis in Ukraine would not have happened during his administration, despite the fact he was impeached for trying to use Ukraine to dig up dirt on President Joe Biden.

Mr Trump released the statement as the United States and its international allies hope to stave off a potential Russian military invasion into Ukraine.

Trump and Putin meeting in Helsinki, Finland in 2018 (AFP)
Trump and Putin meeting in Helsinki, Finland in 2018 (AFP)

“What’s happening with Russia and Ukraine would never have happened under the Trump Administration,” Mr Trump said. “Not even a possibility!”

But the House of Representatives first impeached Mr Trump after it was revealed he tried to have Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky investigate Mr Biden’s son Hunter over potential impropriety by threatening to withhold military aid to the former Soviet republic.

“The other thing, there’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great,” Mr Trump told Mr Zelensky in a phone call in July 2019. “Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it ... It sounds horrible to me.”

Mr Trump’s move was largely seen as an attempt to sabotage the campaign of the man whom he considered his most formidable Democratic opponent. Mr Biden would eventually beat Mr Trump in 2020.

The call triggered the events that led to Mr Trump’s first impeachment, though the Senate acquitted him in 2020. He is the first president to be impeached on two occasions. He was impeached a second time in 2021 for his actions inciting the assault on the US Capitol on January 6 of that year.

Mr Trump was criticised for his close relationship to Vladimir Putin, particularly following a joint news conference in Helsinki in 2018 when the then US president publicly sided with the Kremlin over his own intelligence services on the subject of Russian interference in the 2016 US election.

The following year the Mueller Report into links between Mr Trump’s 2016 election campaign and the Kremlin found that he welcomed help from Russia and may have tried to obstruct justice in the investigation up to 11 times, although it did not find enough evidence to determine there had been an organised conspiracy.

Mr Trump also complimented Mr Putin’s leadership, telling then-Fox News host Bill O’Reilly that “you think our country’s so innocent?” after being asked whether it bothered him that the Russian leader was “a killer”.