Former President Petro Poroshenko alternately flattered President Trump, signed deals with U.S. firms and met with Rudolph Giuliani.
There’s a lot to unpack in there: foreign leaders who had already figured out the way to manipulate Trump was to flatter him and offer him and his people goodies. Obstructing the Mueller report, Russian ties through Manafort, Giuliani running around, Clinton-Ukraine conspiracy theories, and more.
Reading it is like looking at a template for the Trump presidency on so many things: a stupid, ignorant man who goes with his gut, surrounded by stupid, ignorant people, all of them self-dealing and doing their best to manipulate Trump for their own interests even as he is trying to use them for his own.
When you see who Trump has been listening to, what they’ve been telling him, you can see why he seems so clueless about what was wrong, why the phone call was “perfect”. Also — Trump, ipso facto.
…Mr. Poroshenko’s campaign included trade deals that were politically expedient for Mr. Trump, meetings with Rudolph W. Giuliani, the freezing of potentially damaging criminal cases and attempts to use the former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort as a back channel.
From the start, Mr. Poroshenko’s aides also scrambled to find ways to flatter the new American president — advising their boss to gush during his first telephone call with Mr. Trump about Tom Brady, the star New England Patriots quarterback whom Mr. Trump has long admired.
An examination of the first year of Mr. Trump’s dealings with Ukraine shows how the White House also saw the relationship as a transactional one that could help Mr. Trump politically.
This is Ukraine — now ask about all those meetings and deals with Putin that Trump has kept secret as much as possible. Wonder about what’s been going on with North Korea and why Trump keeps gushing about their leader.
Josh Marshal and Talking Points Memo has been on the Ukraine-Russia connection for some time. He’s reviewing Mueller Probe document dumps, and this is what he has to say in full:
I am going to work my way through the docs, which are pretty voluminous. But they show what we’ve been saying for months and really years. The Trump/Ukraine and Trump/Russia story are the same story. And the “the real collusion was Ukraine and the DNC” storyline goes back to Paul Manafort (and his Russian intelligence associates) who has continued to provide back channel and guidance from prison to Giuliani and Trump.
There’s no bottom to any of this; the deeper we dig the worse it gets. Trump, the people he uses who also use him, the Russian connections, the self-dealing, the terrible judgment, the amorality — and the Republican Party has embraced it all.
They all must go.