Former US ambassador to Ukraine: Trump ‘emboldened’ Putin in 2019

Former US ambassador to Ukraine: Trump ‘emboldened’ Putin in 2019

During former President Donald Trump’s first impeachment in 2019, one of the witnesses against him was Marie L. Yovanovitch — who had served as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and became the target of a sleazy smear campaign by Trump’s attorney, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Yovanovitch discussed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine during a March 14 appearance on CNN’s “New Day,” arguing that Trump’s actions in 2019 “emboldened” Putin.

Trump, the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice, was impeached the first time after trying to bully Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky into helping him find dirt on now-President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. And according to witnesses, Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine in the hope of getting that dirt.

“New Day” host John Berman asked Yovanovitch, now 63, how the Trump/Ukraine scandal of 2019 “affected” or “influenced” Putin — and she responded, “Well, I think it emboldened Putin because he could see that in the mind of the former president, Ukraine was just a pawn. And he was willing to use it to promote his own personal and political interest rather than the national good, our national security interests. I think this emboldened not just Putin, but bad actors around the world. And we’re seeing the results.”

Yovanovitch went on to argue that the U.S. should have done more for Ukraine militarily.

The former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine told Berman, “In retrospect, I wish we had provided more defensive weapons all along the way. And I think that right now, the Biden Administration is providing a lot of defensive weapons — and I think we need to think about, as I said before, how we can do more.”

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