This is the necessary context in which Americans should understand the gravity of President Donald Trump’s attempt to strong-arm Ukraine into becoming a subsidiary of his re-election campaign. In one gesture, Trump reduced the survival of Ukraine to a bargaining chip in an utterly petty pursuit; embroiled Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, in scandal and undercut his ability to defend the interests of his nation; and weakened the clout of U.S. leadership on Ukraine, the region and beyond.

The biggest beneficiary of this latest Trump-derived scandal is the Kremlin. This isn’t some theoretical future calculus. It has an immediate impact on U.S. security and our strategic outlook. And it enhances the ability of the Kremlin to keep stirring chaos inside the United States.

Trump is bargaining away U.S. security for conspiracy theories about Ukraine and the Bidens that he hopes will not only strengthen his position for his re-election, but will also erase the evidence that Kremlin intervention helped to elect him president. It’s actually hard to know which part of all this makes the Kremlin most happy.