On the command of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, Russia unleashed a "sweeping and systematic" effort to influence the United States presidential election to benefit now-President Donald Trump.
Though the Mueller report released this past summer revealed correspondence between the Trump campaign and Russian assets, there wasn't sufficient evidence to establish that the Trump campaign knowingly worked with Russia to interfere in the 2016 election.
Now, Trump awaits a trial in the Senate for urging Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden, his possible opponent in the 2020 election.
Trump has been railing against his impeachment since the official vote last Wednesday, and he's quoted the endorsements of some interesting sources in an effort to defend himself.
Most recently? Vladimir Putin.
A total Witch Hunt! https://t.co/PEe35rewE9— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1576899048.0
Trump's association with Putin has been a stain on his campaign and presidency since before the 2016 election, when he urged Russia to find his 2016 opponent and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's "missing" emails.
He infamously sided with Putin over U.S. intelligence officials last year when, at a press conference with Putin in Helsinki, Trump insisted that the Russian leader was "extremely strong and powerful in his denial."
Even in the call that led to his impeachment, Trump was urging Zelensky to investigate the conspiracy theory that Ukrainians worked with American Democrats to purposely lose the election and frame Trump for election meddling.
This time, Putin used the same defenses Trump has to discredit the efforts to hold him accountable, saying:
"It's simply a continuation of internal political struggle. The party that lost the (2016) election, the Democratic Party, is trying to achieve results by other means."
So Putin's endorsement wasn't a vindication of Trump. Trump's quoting of Putin made it worse.
Revelation by former WH officials proves what we've known all along: Trump is #PutinsPuppet. Trump repeated Putin's… https://t.co/XKFvx1LmTm— Maxine Waters (@Maxine Waters) 1576896774.0
Can we at least, for a second, come to grips with the fact that the President of the United States is an obvious tr… https://t.co/rQEPB9pmIc— Aaron Astor (@Aaron Astor) 1576901265.0
I'm old enough to remember when the GOP proudly stood against Russian hegemony. @realDonaldTrump is a party to it a… https://t.co/rdisD3cC9I— Brian J. Karem (@Brian J. Karem) 1576921911.0
Does it bother any Republicans that Trump is quote tweeting Putin, after that country tried, and continues to try t… https://t.co/oSptxbjS0S— Amy Siskind 🏳️🌈 (@Amy Siskind 🏳️🌈) 1576901287.0
Trump is now quoting Putin to prove he’s not Putin’s stooge. https://t.co/aNBfwHPTxh— John Aravosis🇺🇸 (@John Aravosis🇺🇸) 1576902091.0
Every single time I think, "Naw, Trump wouldn't be *that* brazen, would he?" he does something even more brazen tha… https://t.co/FbF2VVcUdo— Rosa Brooks (@Rosa Brooks) 1576993037.0
Putin is a dictator who jails opponents, kills opponents, invades neighbors, interferes in democracies' elections,… https://t.co/3tUNJHPj8S— Jay Nordlinger (@Jay Nordlinger) 1576904031.0
This is not satire. This is not fake. This is a U.S. president citing a hostile foreign leader, who interfered in… https://t.co/0aVaObIhjr— Bob Geiger (@Bob Geiger) 1576966443.0
Did Donald Trump really retweet a quote from Vladimir Putin? The guy he is accused of conspiring with? https://t.co/qju7FenFzj— Christopher Bouzy (@Christopher Bouzy) 1576926460.0
Republicans continue to side with Trump over accountability, and Russia continues its efforts to interfere with the 2020 election.