WASHINGTON (AP) — For all the talk about Ukraine in the House impeachment inquiry, there’s a character standing just off-stage with a dominant role in this tale of international intrigue: Russia.
As has so often been the case since President Donald Trump took office, Moscow provides the mood music for the unfolding political drama.
“With you, Mr. President, all roads lead to Putin,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared last week, and not for the first time.
The impeachment investigation is centered on allegations that Trump tried to pressure Ukraine’s new leader over the summer to dig up dirt on Trump political rival Joe Biden, holding up U.S. military aid to the Eastern European nation as leverage.
In her testimony before the House impeachment panel last week, diplomat Marie Yovanovitch suggested that the president’s actions played into the hands of Vladimir Putin, whose government has backed separatists in a five-year-old war in eastern Ukraine.