During the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump was always a little weird about Russia. He claimed to know Russian President Vladimir Putin, and then denied knowing him about a dozen different times. He insisted that the Russian president believed he was a genius based on the wrong comment. We already know that the entire top ranking of Trump's campaign was eager to accept "dirt" from Russia over his democratic opponent in June 2016. But in real time, one of the first clues is that something is strange with Trump and Russia, is the fact that his campaign changed only one aspect of the Republican platform: Ukraine's military assistance, of all things.
Robert Mueller failed to prove that there was anything wicked about this request, only to conclude that the Trump campaign adviser who did so had a conversation with the Russian ambassador and at that time called the top advisor to Trump, Jeff Session. Why this was the only policy change in the entire convention remains a great mystery.
It has already been reported that Ukraine has been in Trump's mind since at least June 201
According to interviews with Manafort's deputy Rick Gates, who participated in the highest-level campaign, this theory was first shared by none other than Konstantin Kilimnik, a pro-Russian Ukrainian with explicit links to Russian intelligence who serves as Manafort's conductor to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, to whom Manafort owed millions of dollars. This theory was apparently accepted in meetings with senior campaign officials as they tried to figure out how to gain access to the hacking material themselves.
Gates also told Mueller's team that Gen. Michael Flynn, Trump's first national security adviser, agreed that Ukraine may have made the hack because US intelligence agencies were so incompetent that their conclusion that they were Russians must be wrong. Apparently Flynn believed that he could use his intelligence sources to get those "missing emails." It has never occurred to any of them, obviously, that Russia is not trying very hard to hide its tracks for a reason.
Just after the Republican convention in July 2016, Trump was asked about the Russian invasion of the Crimea. In fact, at the same press conference when he made the famous comment, "Russia, if you listen," he said this:
Trump may just not know what he's talking about. But now that we know that campaign officials obsessively spoke about Ukraine during this period, it seems less likely. In addition, it seems less likely that a change in platform is just a weird solution from a low-level employee. Trump and his campaign have already made their case that Russia is not behind the hacking. It's easy to see why Manafort would insist on this. He was then under investigation by the Ukrainians. And Flynn was openly hostile to the intelligence community because he had correctly understood that he was insane and had succeeded in removing him from his highly sensitive position as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency.
Why was Trump so eager to blame Russia? This can be explained in many ways. He wanted a deal with Trump Tower Moscow so bad he could taste it. Rumors that the Russians were helping his campaign spread almost immediately after the DNC hack became public. Despite his desire to work with them, Trump was not so naive that he did not realize that he might not look good to the public. (He has been much less cautious since he became president, going out of his way to please Putin, and consistently resists those who tell him that it is not a good idea, neither on a political or political basis.)  Why Trump has leaned so heavily on Russia remains a hot question from the Trump era and we can never know the answer. But whatever motivated him, it pushed him to make the decisions that led to him being included in the exclusive club of presidents being investigated for imminent crimes.
Probably the extent of Trump's experience with Ukraine before the 2016 Miss Ukraine campaign in the Miss Universe dressing room. But according to the Washington Post, his hostility to a country fueled by meek people like Manafort, Julian and Flynn (along with some possible whispered sweet remarks from a certain strong man) is intense:
Three of President Trump's top advisers met with him in the Oval Office in May, determined to convince him that the new Ukrainian leader is an ally deserving of US support.
The field had just begun when Trump landed with them, according to current and former US officials familiar with the meeting. According to Trump, according to officials, the entire leadership of Ukraine has conspired with the Democrats to undermine his 2016 presidential campaign.
"They tried to oust me," Trump invaded.
Energy Secretary Rick Perry, a senior member of the group, assured Trump that the new Ukrainian president is different – a reformer in the form of Trump, who even quoted President Ronald Reagan in his opening address, attended by the three advisers. But the harder they push in the Oval Office, the more Trump resists.
"They are horrible, corrupt people," Trump tells them.
These Trump advisers seem to accept him in his words, as others quoted in history do. But we know that Trump had the last motive to oppose aid to Ukraine, right? He needed something to bribe Ukrainian leaders so they would announce that they would investigate the 2016 election and Joe Biden's alleged corruption deal. This pretty well served him to say that he actually believed they were "horrible and corrupt people". Even he is not so arrogant as to tell his advisers that he wants Ukraine to smear a political opponent and remove Russia from the hook for its sabotage in the 2016 elections, so it may refuse to provide aid to the Ukrainians, until they do
Rudy Giuliani, who has been meeting with representatives of Ukraine since 2017 on this matter and admitted to consulting with Manafort, has apparently been spinning this conspiracy theory of Ukraine since Trump in 2016, in Mueller's expectation is that he will be released to put the screws on the Ukrainian government o. But Habris came to Trump, who foolishly asked himself the question, setting alarms that couldn't be off.
One wave on Twitter summarized the case perfectly:
If you think of Trump's conspiracy theory in Ukraine as a cover-up for his crime scene in 2016, the whole thing makes a lot more sense.