Trump reportedly blamed Ukraine for election interference because 'Putin told me'

Kathryn Krawczyk

President Trump may have gotten his opinions on Ukraine from a very biased source.

In an attempt to defend himself against impeachment, Trump has claimed that he was right to be skeptical of Ukraine because it interfered in the 2016 election. There's no credible proof of that claim, which has left current and former White House officials thinking Trump got it from Russian President Vladimir Putin himself, The Washington Post reports.

Trump was impeached Wednesday on charges of obstructing Congress and abusing power in the course of his dealings with Ukraine. Trump withheld security aid from the country because, as he directly told Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelensky, he wanted an investigation into the 2016 election. U.S. intelligence has repeatedly concluded that Russia, not Ukraine, was the force behind presidential election interference, and yet Trump and the GOP have attempted to deflect blame toward Ukraine.

This mindset, multiple former officials tell the Post, started back in July 2017 after Trump met with Putin at the G7 summit. That's when Trump began claiming Ukraine interfered in the election in an attempt to defeat him, leading "many of his advisers to think that Putin himself helped spur the idea of Ukraine’s culpability," the Post writes. Trump reportedly even said "Putin told me" about the Ukraine interference, one former senior White House official recalled. Two other officials remembered that senior official relaying Trump's comment to them, per the Post.

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