Documents from Robert S. Mueller’s Russia investigation released over the weekend revealed that Trump’s Ukraine conspiracy theory was pushed by Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn, the top aides now labeled as Russia-tied criminals, according to The Washington Post.
Despite what both Mueller and the U.S. intelligence community have concluded, the two of them, along with Manafort associate Konstantin Kilimnik, played an influential role in convincing Trump that Russia did not actually interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, but that it was actually Ukraine.
This led President Trump and his personal lawyer Rudolph Giuliani to direct their efforts into getting Ukraine to investigate the allegations, which included leveraging military aid and a highly-sought after meeting for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
According to the recently released Mueller documents, investigators were told that “Flynn was adamant the Russians did not carry out the hack” while he had simultaneously voiced his concern that U.S. intelligence “was not capable of figuring it out.” Manafort allegedly said the hack of Democratic emails “was likely carried out by the Ukrainians, not the Russians.”
Despite the theory’s baselessness, Trump has pushed it so far as to put him on the course for impeachment.