She claims that the Trump campaign tried to change the RNC platform to help Russia.
Hillary Clinton, seeking to explain her loss to Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election, attempted to connect the current president to Russian efforts to swing the election in his favor.
In doing so, Clinton spreads a debunked and discredited narrative that the Trump campaign tried to make pro-Russian edits to the Republican Party platform.
On page 339 of her book, Clinton writes (emphasis added):
It did not occur to me at the time that anyone associated with Donald Trump might be coordinating with the Russians, but it seemed likely that Putin was trying to help his preferred candidate. After all, he disliked and feared me, and had an ally in Trump. This was underscored when the Trump campaign removed language from the Republican Party platform calling for the United States to provide Ukraine with “lethal defensive weapons” – a gift to Putin that might as well have come with a ribbon and a bow.
The mainstream media and liberal commentators like Rachel Maddow spread the misconception that the Trump campaign made pro-Russia edits far and wide, but the Washington Examiner’s Byron York looked into the claims and ripped apart the falsehood that had already shot around the world.
According to York, the claim stems from a Washington Post article, “Trump campaign guts GOP’s anti-Russia stance on Ukraine.” However, the left-wing narrative never specified which changes were actually made.
York reported that a delegate to the platform proposed an amendment to the party platform that would toughen the party’s stance on Russian aggression, and read as follows:
Today, the post-Cold War ideal of a “Europe whole and free” is being severely tested by Russia’s ongoing military aggression in Ukraine. Launched in 2014, Moscow’s offensive constitutes the first attempt since the end of World War II to change by force the sovereign boundaries in Europe. Ukraine’s government and people have shown a remarkable resolve to resist Russian pressure, including by mobilizing a military force that, together with European sanctions, has successfully thwarted further advances by the Russian military and its surrogates.
The Ukrainian people deserve our admiration and support in their struggle, and in their efforts to strengthen the rule of law, forge a free market economy, and expand democratic governance. We therefore support maintaining (and, if warranted, increasing) sanctions against Russia until Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are fully restored. We also support providing lethal defensive weapons to Ukraine’s armed forces and greater coordination with NATO on defense planning. Simultaneously, we call for increased financial aid for Ukraine, as well as greater assistance in the economic and humanitarian spheres, including government reform and anti-corruption.
The Trump campaign urged the platform committee to remove the line regarding lethal defensive weaponry and the first paragraph entirely, but ultimately, they approved the resulting amendment, which strengthened the party’s stance on Russian aggression.
York criticized the media narrative for misrepresenting the platform fight:
Not long after the platform subcommittee meeting, the Post’s “Trump campaign guts GOP’s anti-Russia stance on Ukraine” story was published, and a new conventional wisdom began to form: The Trump team, doing the bidding of Vladimir Putin, gutted the GOP platform’s position on behalf of Russia.
That is precisely the opposite of what happened. In the end, the platform, already fairly strong on the Russia-Ukraine issue, was strengthened, not weakened, as a result of the subcommittee meeting. The Trump campaign agreed to a platform condemning Kremlin belligerence, calling for continued, and perhaps increased, sanctions against Russia, for the full restoration of Ukrainian territory, for refusing to accept “any territorial change in Eastern Europe imposed by force, in Ukraine or elsewhere,” and pledging to aid Ukraine’s armed forces.
Liberals’ blatant disingenuity has also been proven wrong by Trump’s actual actions in office. The president’s administration is reportedly “actively reviewing” the current Ukraine policy, and Defense Secretary James Mattis announced that Trump is considering supplying the Ukrainians with lethal weaponry.
A 2015 New York Times report noted that President Obama refused to send lethal weaponry to Kiev’s struggle against Russia.
Throughout Trump’s time in office, relations with Moscow have deteriorated, not improved. The two countries have engaged in a diplomatic tit-for-tat, expelling various numbers of diplomats from the corresponding embassies.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev went as far as to declare a “trade war” between the two countries, after Trump signed a sanctions bill that hit key Russian industries.
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