An senior U.S. diplomat informed Congress he was briefed on discussions President Donald Trump had Russia’s President Vladimir Putin along with Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban where both foreign leaders spoke Trump to a negative opinion concerning Ukraine and its new president.
George Kent, a senior State Department official responsible for Europe, advised House researchers who Putin and Orban, together with Trump private lawyer Rudy Giuliani, had”formed the president’s opinion of Ukraine and (President Volodymyr) Zelenskiy.” He explained Trump’s discussions with the two leaders accounted for the shift in Trump’s opinion of Zelenskiy by”very optimistic” following their initial telephone on April 21 to”adverse” only 1 month afterwards after he met with advisers about Ukraine from the Oval Office.
In the meantime, Trump talked by telephone with Putin on May 3, also hosted Orban in the White House on May 13.
Kent’s description of these discussions, contained in the transcript of his deposition from the House published Thursday, feeds to longstanding concerns from federal security specialists that the president’s perspectives on key foreign issues are being affected by Putin and other autocratic leaders like Orban. The far-right chief of Hungary was at the helm of a civic movement in Europe which has occasionally found common cause with Trump’s international policy.
In that function Hill often participated directly in Trump’s meetings and telephone calls with foreign leaders, and Kent explained that Hill explained to him exactly what had happened in either the Putin call along with the Orban assembly.
“Fiona evaluated the discussions as being similar in approach and tone. And the two leaders, both Putin and Orban, broadly talked Ukraine down, stated it was corrupt,” said Zelenskiy was at the thrall of oligarchs,” Kent explained. “Notably mentioning this 1 oligarch Kolomoisky, negatively affecting a photo of Ukraine as well as President Zelenskiy himself”
Ihor Kolomoisky, a significant Ukrainian entrepreneur, has close ties to Zelenskiy pre-dating his presidency which have been regularly mentioned by Zelenskiy’s critics.
But in her deposition before the House, Hill clarified how ordinary White House stations on Ukraine were circumvented by other people in and from the U.S. authorities who conducted a”shadow” foreign policy on Ukraine.
Kent’s testimony can be pointed in stating that Orban and also Putin’s perspectives apparently wore off Trump and succeeded in shifting his perspective of Ukraine.
Kent testified that leading Trump government officials who’d attended Zelenskiy’s inauguration in May were”very optimistic” about the new Ukrainian leader, who’d come into office pledging to clean up corruption.
“We had been cautiously optimistic that this has been an chance to push ahead the reform which Ukraine should be successful in resisting Russian aggression, developing a prosperous market, and, honestly, a justice system which could treat American investors and Allied citizens equally before the law,” Kent explained.
He explained that was a”distinct” evaluation of Zelenskiy compared to Trump obtained from Putin, Orban and his private lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.
Kent, whose portfolio consists of several former Soviet Union states, said Putin’s motivation for turning Trump against Ukraine has been”very clear” Putin denies Ukraine’s autonomous existence and needs to fail as an independent country.
“I’d say that that’s Putin’s place,” Kent explained. “I believe 0rban is merely pleased to ditch Ukraine.”