Shortly after taking office, Donald Trump asked his aides whether Ukraine, and not Russia, might have hacked Democratic National Committee emails as part of a false-flag operation. Then–Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert tried to stop the idea in its tracks.
“It’s not only a conspiracy theory, it is completely debunked,” Bossert said on ABC’s This Week on Sunday. Bossert brought in the director of the National Security Agency to brief Trump, according to The New York Times. The president, Bossert thought, seemed to grasp the truth.
But in July 2019, more than a year after Bossert left the White House, Trump raised the theory in a call with the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which resulted in a whistle-bower complaint and the release of an incriminating reconstructed transcript of the call. Now Trump’s recalcitrance has landed him in perhaps the most serious peril of his presidency, with Democrats moving forward with an impeachment inquiry, and polls showing strong public support.
The latest Trump scandal demonstrates how incapable Trump is of learning—either facts or lessons—and how dangerous that is. Trump’s refusal to accept the truth about Ukrainian hacking (which did not happen) arose from his refusal to accept the truth about Russian hacking (which did happen). That is, Trump’s obsession with Ukraine began as a search for vindication over allegations of foreign interference in the 2016 election, and led directly to Trump importuning foreign interference in the 2020 race.