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Republicans float Ukraine meddling theory in Trump impeachment defense

WASHINGTON  – Former White House Russia adviser Fiona Hill warned House  lawmakers last month not to buy into the “fictional narrative” that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election

This week, FBI Director Christopher Wray sought to debunk the theory of election meddling by Ukraine. “We have no information that indicates that Ukraine interfered with the 2016 presidential election,” Wray told ABC in an interview that aired on Monday.

Yet several Republican senators, who will serve as jurors in a likely impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, have pushed the notion of Ukrainian meddling. The strategy, experts said, was to sow enough doubts about Ukraine’s actions to build a case that Trump’s pressure on the country stemmed from legitimate policy concerns, and was not part of a politically motivated shakedown, as Democrats contend.

“I don’t think they need to have a coherent counter-narrative as much as they need to say there’s reason for Trump to worry about corruption in Ukraine and that there’s a long history of corruption there,” said William Howell, a political scientist at the University of Chicago,

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