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MSNBC’s fearless Canadian-import, Ali Velshi called out members of the former Trump administration saying that when Ukraine, the fledgling democracy, most-needed American help, primarily through validation of the new government and its legitimacy, it got the Trump administration offering nothing but corruption. As per usual, Velshi is not only accurate in his assessment, there is a second, even more, sophisticated message just beneath the surface.

It might have been Rachel Maddow, who first said that Russia’s number one export it offered the world was corruption. If you were willing to play, Russia would be there with you. When Ukraine was under autocratic leadership answering to Moscow, it imported corruption. Under Zelensky, it desperately sought to import democracy, freedom, and the rule of law. Instead, it got Trump. Velshi called it out:

This was a moment when what Ukraine really needed was its biggest strongest partner, the United States, to step up and say that Ukraine and its new president had the full backing and respect and support of the United States, that the U.S. stood with Ukraine and with Zelenskyy against any Russian aggression.

But that’s not what’s Ukraine’s new president got. Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, got Donald Trump, which Trump refused to invite Zelenskyy to the White House for a show of solidarity that the new Ukrainian leader so desperately wanted. Trump and his allies instead pushed a conspiracy theory, actually a bit of Russian disinformation, that Ukraine had interfered in the 2016 U.S. election — not Russia, remember that?

Yes, yes, we do because we understood the dynamic even at the time! There was no way that our Russophile president was helping anyone standing up against Putin, who, according to the Mueller report, desperately helped elect Trump. Yes, we remember and it hurt at the time. Rudy was running around “representing the president of the United States and working with some of Ukraine’s most corrupt oligarchs, acting almost as a second ambassador.

Speaking of which, Velshi also reminded us:

When the American ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch was seen as a roadblock to that project, precisely because she was such a staunch opponent of the corrupt figures and Ukraine, who were helping Giuliani spin up this dirt, they trust her reputation. Donald Trump ultimately removed her and, of course, there was the infamous phone call in which Trump made military aid to Ukraine contingent upon Zelenskyy doing Trump a favor, announcing investigations into Joe Biden and his son. Trump froze congressionally approved military aid to Ukraine to pressure him.

Precisely.

When Ukraine needed to import real American constitutional legitimacy, the U.S. under Trump offered only the old product, in which Ukraine was awash, more corruption. The failures continue to hurt Ukraine today.

“We tend to see Trump’s Ukraine debacle in terms of its domestic political consequences in America. Consequences for Ukraine were far more serious.”

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