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Russian leader Vladimir Putin grew frustrated with Donald Trump's inability to understand foreign policy issues, his former top National Security Council advisor on the country said.
Fiona Hill explained the dynamics during a Tuesday Chicago Council on Global Affairs event.
Business Insider reports, "One of the reasons Putin invaded Ukraine with President Joe Biden in the White House is because he expected the US to 'sue for peace' and thought it would be better to deal with Biden than trying to negotiate with someone like Trump, who the Russian leader had 'to explain everything to all the time," said Hill, who served as the top Russia advisor on the National Security Council under Trump."
Hill currently serves as a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
"He thought that somebody like Biden — who's a Transatlanticist, who knows all about NATO, who actually knows where Ukraine is, and actually knows something about the history, and is very steeped in international affairs — would be the right person to engage with," she explained. "You could see that he got frustrated many times with President Trump because he had to keep explaining things, and Putin doesn't like to do that."
Trump praised Putin prior to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
"I went in yesterday and there was a television screen, and I said, 'This is genius,'" Trump told a far-right podcaster. "Putin declares a big portion of the Ukraine — of Ukraine -- Putin declares it as independent. Oh, that’s wonderful."
"I said, 'How smart is that?'" Trump continued. "And he’s gonna go in and be a peacekeeper. That’s the strongest peace force… We could use that on our southern border. That’s the strongest peace force I’ve ever seen. There were more army tanks than I’ve ever seen. They’re gonna keep peace all right. No, but think of it. Here’s a guy who’s very savvy."
Following public pressure, Trump sought to clarify his views in a statement emailed to reports.
"The Fake News is also saying I called Putin a 'genius,' when actually, and to be precise, I called his build-up on the Ukraine Border before the war started genius because I assumed he would be easily able to negotiate a great deal for Russia," Trump said. "TThe Fake News said I called him a genius during the war. No, I was describing the great negotiating posture he had prior to the unfortunate decision to enter Ukraine and fight. There was nothing 'genius' about that!"
Fiona Hill on Russia, Ukraine, and the Outcome of the War www.youtube.com
Is Donald Trump still the ultimate power player in the Republican Party? That question is unanswered after mixed results for candidates endorsed by the former president in key primary elections across the United States.
In the wake of Tuesday's contests to choose candidates to run for Congress or state governorships in November, Trump took to his own Truth Social -- which he launched after being barred from Twitter -- to emphasize the positive.
"A big night for Trump Endorsed candidates last night," he wrote early Wednesday.
Since the start of this month, when primary season kicked into high gear ahead of the crucial midterm elections, in which Republicans are seeking to seize control of Congress from President Joe Biden's Democrats, Team Trump has been riding high.
The vast majority of his candidates, from West Virginia to best-selling author J.D. Vance in Ohio, have won their races.
And on Tuesday, the Trump camp notched some signature wins: his choices earned the Republican nomination for governor in Pennsylvania and the party's Senate nod in North Carolina.
The Pennsylvania candidate, state senator Doug Mastriano, appeared at Trump's now-infamous Stop the Steal rally on January 6, 2021 -- which preceded the deadly Capitol riot by a pro-Trump mob.
But there were setbacks: scandal-plagued Trump darling Madison Cawthorn, 26, conceded defeat in his bid to seek reelection to the House of Representatives in his North Carolina district.
On Wednesday, all eyes were still on the Rust Belt battleground state of Pennsylvania, where television doctor Mehmet Oz -- initially seen as a shoo-in to be the Republican Senate candidate thanks to Trump's backing -- was locked in a nail-biter.
Despite the lack of a final count in the race, Trump weighed in to congratulate Oz, who became famous for his regular appearances on "The Oprah Winfrey Show."
"Oz won!" he wrote on Truth Social.
- 'Ultra MAGA' -
Of course, he then covered his bases an hour later, explaining away an eventual loss.
"Remember, all three candidates in Pennsylvania were 'Ultra' MAGA!" he wrote, referring to his trademark Make America Great Again slogan.
Subtext: the billionaire real estate mogul turned populist politician has the party in his grip, for better or worse.
A few minutes later, still without a final result, Trump decries the vote count.
"Here we go again! In Pennsylvania they are unable to count the Mail-In Ballots. It is a BIG MESS," he wrote.
Trump often blamed write-in votes for his loss to Biden in November 2020.
In other primary races, Pennsylvania lieutenant governor John Fetterman -- the tattooed, hoodie and shorts-wearing frontrunner in the race for the Democratic Senate nomination, won despite suffering a stroke just days before the vote.
Fetterman said he had suffered no cognitive damage and was expected to make a full recovery but he remains hospitalized. His camp said Tuesday as the primary was unfolding that he would have a pacemaker implanted.
On Wednesday, POLITICO reported that an argument broke out on the floor of the House between two key Republican lawmakers over how much the GOP caucus should abuse legislative procedure to slow down the passage of noncontroversial bills.
"Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee and a self-described Freedom Caucus critic, confronted certain members, including the group's chair, Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), warning them that they were burning bridges with their own colleagues, according to a Republican source familiar with the back-and-forth," reported Olivia Beavers. "Rogers suggested if they keep causing headaches with their colleagues, it will come back to bite Freedom Caucus members later on."
At issue is the use of a specific procedure to allow quick passage of bills with overwhelming support. Far-right Republicans want leadership to abandon decorum and stop the use of this procedure.
"Reps. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), the former Freedom Caucus chair, and Chip Roy (R-Texas) joined Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) on his podcast this week to discuss how they have hamstrung the House's ability to quickly pass popular bills. Essentially, certain Republicans have stopped allowing Democrats to quickly pass noncontroversial legislation by voice vote, making them take recorded votes on nearly every bill," said the report. "Biggs and Roy knocked leadership and their colleagues for allowing voice votes — a generally accepted practice that saves members hours on passing legislation. Their pushback on voice votes has even split members within the Freedom Caucus, with some opposing their colleagues’ frequent push for recorded votes."
"Biggs recalled a Republican member getting 'in my face last night,' telling him he had better things to do than spend hours more voting on a bill that was expected to pass with ease," the report continued.
This comes as Biggs and Perry are among a handful of Republicans subpoenaed by the House Select Committee over their roles in the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.