Trump's favorite daddies
Look who's whispering in his ear:
President Trump’s effort to pressure Ukraine for information he could use against political rivals came as he was being urged to adopt a hostile view of that country by its regional adversaries, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, current and former U.S. officials said.
Trump’s conversations with Putin, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and others reinforced his perception of Ukraine as a hopelessly corrupt country — one that Trump now also appears to believe sought to undermine him in the 2016 U.S. election, the officials said.
Neither of those foreign leaders specifically encouraged Trump to see Ukraine as a potential source of damaging information about Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, nor did they describe Kyiv as complicit in an unsubstantiated 2016 election conspiracy theory, officials said.
I do not believe that last. Why? Well, ask yourself why Trump had a 2 hour private meeting with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki and started babbling feverishly about "the server" at the press conference when they asked him about Russian meddling in the election:
REPORTER (Jonathan Lemire from AP): Thank you. A question for each president. President Trump, you first. Just now President Putin denied having anything to do with the election interference in 2016. Every US intelligence agency has concluded that Russia did.
My first question for you, sir, is who do you believe? My second question is would you now with the whole world watching tell President Putin — would you denounce what happened in 2016 and would you warn him to never do it again?
TRUMP: So let me just say that we have two thoughts. You have groups that are wondering why the FBI never took the server. Why haven’t they taken the server? Why was the FBI told to leave the office of the democratic national committee? I’ve been wondering that. I’ve been asking that for months and months and I’ve been tweeting it out and calling it out on social media. Where is the server? I want to know, where is the server and what is the server saying? With that being said, all I can do is ask the question. My people came to me, Dan Coats came to me and some others and said they think it’s Russia.
I have President Putin. He just said it’s not Russia. I will say this. I don’t see any reason why it would be, but I really do want to see the server. But I have confidence in both parties. I really believe that this will probably go on for a while, but I don’t think it can go on without finding out what happened to the server. What happened to the servers of the Pakistani gentleman that worked on the DNC? Where are those servers? They’re missing. Where are they? What happened to Hillary Clinton’s emails? 33,000 emails gone — just gone. I think in Russia they wouldn’t be gone so easily. I think it’s a disgrace that we can’t get Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 emails. So I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that president Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today. And what he did is an incredible offer. He offered to have the people working on the case come and work with their investigators, with respect to the 12 people. I think that’s an incredible offer. Okay thank you.
Whether he mentioned Ukraine specifically is unknown but it's almost certain that stupid server thing came up. And if Putin didn't mention it to Trump, Trump almost certainly mentioned it to Putin. Do you suppose old Vlad just kept silent on that issue?
As for Orban, who knows? But he is a malevolent wingnut so whatever he said to Trump was bound to be something bad:
Just 10 days before a key meeting on Ukraine, President Trump met, over the objections of his national security adviser, with one of the former Soviet republic’s most virulent critics, Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary, and heard a sharp assessment that bolstered his hostility toward the country, according to several people informed about the situation.
Mr. Trump’s conversation with Mr. Orban on May 13 exposed him to a harsh indictment of Ukraine at a time when his personal lawyer was pressing the new government in Kiev to provide damaging information about Democrats. Mr. Trump’s suspicious view of Ukraine set the stage for events that led to the impeachment inquiry against him.
The visit by Mr. Orban, who is seen as an autocrat who has rolled back democracy, provoked a sharp dispute within the White House. John R. Bolton, then the president’s national security adviser, and Fiona Hill, then the National Security Council’s senior director for Eurasian and Russian affairs, opposed a White House invitation for the Hungarian leader, according to the people briefed on the matter. But they were outmaneuvered by Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, who supported such a meeting.
It's so obvious that Trump is being manipulated by these strongmen. They instinctively get that he's a clueless, blustery, bully who is in way over his head and they aren't afraid to take him in hand. It's hard not to psychoanalyze Trump because it's endlessly challenging to try to understand him. But at this point, it seems pretty obvious that he's got serious daddy issues. The despots and tyrants know just how to make him mind.
Oh look another wingnut imbecile cozying up to Orban:
The annual Independence Day celebration at the United States Embassy in Budapest is usually a modest garden party, a chance for the ambassador to celebrate American freedom, democracy and the rule of law.
This year, the ambassador, David B. Cornstein, spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a blowout gala for 800 guests. He flew in the singer Paul Anka from California. The guest of honor was Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary, who has curtailed the very freedoms the event was meant to highlight.
Standing at a lectern, Mr. Cornstein declared Mr. Orban “the perfect partner” and “a very, very strong and good leader.” Mr. Anka serenaded the Hungarian leader with a personalized rendition of “My Way.”
For many in the room, it was a bewildering spectacle: an American ambassador lavishing praise on a far-right leader whose party has methodically eroded Hungarian democracy and pushed anti-Semitic tropes. But it was just another demonstration of Mr. Cornstein’s pattern of emboldening Mr. Orban.
Since becoming ambassador in June 2018, Mr. Cornstein has assiduously courted Mr. Orban, giving the Hungarian leader unexpected influence in the Trump administration. Mr. Cornstein used his decades-long friendship with President Trump to help broker a coveted Oval Office meeting for Mr. Orban last May — a meeting now under scrutiny by impeachment investigators in Washington.
At the time, some White House officials tried to stop the meeting, citing Mr. Orban’s anti-democratic record in Hungary and his growing closeness to Russia. The meeting went ahead, and Mr. Orban is said to have used it to fuel the president’s suspicions about Ukraine.
As yet, Mr. Cornstein’s role in that meeting does not appear to be part of the impeachment inquiry. But his freewheeling diplomacy and courtship of Mr. Orban have alarmed career civil servants and contributed to broader criticism, even among Republicans, that some members of the president’s foreign policy team are dangerously unprepared for the job.
During the past year, Mr. Cornstein, an 81-year-old jewelry magnate, has developed unusually close relationships with Mr. Orban and his advisers, according to several American and Western officials. He exchanges text messages with them, occasionally from personal devices, and boasts about his contacts — even as American security officials warn that Mr. Orban is trying to manipulate him.