How a debunked Ukraine theory endures against all evidence

Never mind that the notion has since been amplified by the president of Russia, the country that U.S. intelligence agencies unequivocally blame for interfering in that year’s presidential race. Or that Trump’s hand-picked FBI director and other American officials have said there’s no information pointing to Ukraine interference. Or that 25 Russians stand charged in U.S. courts with hacking into Democratic emails and waging a covert social media campaign to sway American public opinion.

The discredited theory, spread online by GOP allies in interviews and tweets, has been embraced by a president reluctant to acknowledge the reality of Russian election interference, and anxious to show he had reason to be suspicious of Ukraine as the U.S. withheld crucial military aid last year.

The effect: blurring the facts of the impeachment case for many Americans even before it reaches a trial that could begin with days.

Hill, a Russia expert, told Congress in November that political leaders who spread such falsehoods about Ukraine are only polarizing the U.S. further and turning it into an easy target for misinformation campaigns by such foreign powers as Russia.


She warned: “These fictions are harmful even if they are deployed for purely domestic political purposes.”


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