Trump's long history of siding with Putin against Ukraine memorialized in brutal CNN story
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Donald Trump's history with Vladimir Putin was the focus of a new story by CNN's Marshall Cohen.

"The Russian invasion of Ukraine didn’t just happen out of nowhere," he noted. "Russian President Vladimir Putin has ratcheted up tensions with the West for the better part of the last decade – he annexed Crimea, meddled in US elections, poisoned an ex-spy on British soil, and more. Nearly every step of the way, former President Donald Trump parroted Kremlin talking points, excused Russian aggression and sometimes even embraced it outright."

Trump's views on Russia have persisted even after he left office following his 2020 loss to Joe Biden.

"Experts say Trump’s actions weakened Ukraine, divided NATO, emboldened Putin and helped get us to where we are today. And even with Trump no longer in office, his impact lives on in the form of Putin-friendly commentary in conservative media and from some Republican lawmakers," he wrote.

Cohen noted Trump sided with Russia even before he was president, following Putin's invasion of Crimea in 2014.

"Within weeks, Trump praised Putin for how he handled the takeover of Crimea and predicted that “the rest of Ukraine will fall … fairly quickly.” Echoing Kremlin propaganda, Trump said in a TV interview that the Crimean people “would rather be with Russia,” a position he also pushed in private," he wrote. "When Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine shot down a commercial airliner in 2014, killing 298 people, Trump sowed doubt about Russia’s involvement. He embraced Putin’s denials, even after US and European officials publicly concluded that Russia was complicit."

Cohen also explained how Trump smeared Ukraine.

"Throughout his presidency, Trump pushed a litany of false claims about Ukraine – in public and private. He rarely missed an opportunity to criticize the country," he wrote. "Trump’s biggest lie was about the 2016 election. He rejected the reality that Russia interfered to help him win. Instead, he falsely claimed it was Ukraine who meddled, and that he was the victim. These lies, which he repeated dozens of times, were a double boon to the Kremlin: they downplayed Russia’s brazen attack on US democracy, while simultaneously smearing Ukraine. These views quickly became the party line for GOP lawmakers and conservative pundits, even though top Russia experts like Fiona Hill publicly warned that it was all Russian propaganda."