On the one year anniversary of Russia’s War on Ukraine, Ali Velshi explores Donald Trump‘s role in the invasion. Velshi begins in July 2018 in Helsinki, Finland, when Trump met with Vladimir Putin. Trump declared that, despite all U.S. intelligence reports to the contrary, based on Putin’s word alone, Russia had not interfered in the 2016 U.S. election.
Instead, Trump’s allies promoted the unfounded rumors that it was, in fact, Ukraine that had interfered in the election. Next came the former president’s infamous phone call with then-new Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. In a conversation that Trump would go onto describe as “perfect,” he asked Zelensky to investigate his political rival Joe Biden and Biden’s son in exchange for receiving Congressionally approved aid. During the call, Trump called his international scheme “a favor.”
Velshi says that Trump’s improper ask “cost Zelensky in terms of power and respect and his authority against Putin.” This put Ukraine on “shaky ground,” he says, “Ukraine appeared not to have the universal backing of the U.S.” This primed the young country for invasion which has led to the war in Ukraine.
LISTEN: ALI VELSHI ON HOW DONALD TRUMP DIMINISHED UKRAINE’S POWER
WATCH ALI ON MSNBC
MORE FROM MSNBC’S ALI VELSHI