Brian Kilmeade of Fox and Friends: Are you sure they did that? Are you sure they gave it to Ukraine?
Trump: Well, thats what the word is.
exchange on Fox and Friends, Nov. 22, 2019
The president persists in pursuing a debunked conspiracy theory. Somehow, weve never gotten around to assigning a Pinocchio rating for this claim. Maybe thats because there arent enough Pinocchios available in our system to truly do this justice.
Note to the president: When even one of your strongest TV allies expresses skepticism about a claim, its probably time to drop it.
Trump made these comments the day after Fiona Hill, his former top Russia adviser, told Congress that any notion that Ukraine intervened in the 2016 election was a hoax hatched by Russia to deflect from its well-documented efforts to interfere in the vote.
Some of you on this committee appear to believe that Russia and its security services did not conduct a campaign against our country and that perhaps, somehow, for some reason, Ukraine did, Hill said. This is a fictional narrative that is being perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves.
Trumps GOP allies on the committee reacted with some outrage at her comments, insisting that they did not deny Russian involvement. Yet just hours later, Trump once again insisted the real culprit was Ukraine.
Lets deconstruct Trumps remarks:
They [Ukraine] have this server, right? From the DNC, Democratic National Committee.
The server is not in Ukraine; its in Washington, displayed at the DNCs offices beside a filing cabinet the Watergate burglars pried open in 1972. (Heres a photo of the server and the filing cabinet that ran on the front page of the New York Times in 2016.)
Trump first publicly raised this strange theory shortly after he became president, in an April 2017 interview with the Associated Press. He brought it up again in his July 25 phone call with Ukraines apparently nonplussed president, Volodymyr Zelensky: The server, they say Ukraine has it, Trump told Zelensky.
Thomas P. Bossert, who served as Trumps first homeland security adviser, said Sept. 29 that the president has been repeatedly told by White House aides that the story has been completely debunked.”
The DNC server and that conspiracy theory has got to go, Bossert said on ABC Newss This Week. If he continues to focus on that white whale, its going to bring him down.
But Trump keeps pursuing the white whale.
The FBI went in and they told them, Get out of here. Youre not getting it. Were not giving it to you.
Trump has been obsessed with the idea that the FBI never took physical possession of the servers at the DNC that were hacked. (Our database of Trumps false and misleading claims shows that he has brought this up more than 20 times.)
But the FBI felt it was not necessary to enter the DNCs premises and take custody of the affected servers, as agents were able to obtain complete copies of forensic images made by CrowdStrike, which first identified that the DNC had been hacked by Russian operatives. Then-FBI Director James B. Comey testified that his staff told him that this arrangement was an appropriate substitute.
In any case, special counsel Robert S. Mueller IIIs investigation confirmed CrowdStrikes findings and even indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers in 2018 over their alleged role in the breach.
They gave the server to CrowdStrike or whatever its called, which is a company owned by a very wealthy Ukrainian.
CrowdStrike co-founder Dmitri Alperovitch is a cyber and national security expert who was born in Russia and now is a U.S. citizen; he is not Ukrainian.
You know, the FBI has never gotten that server. Thats a big part of this whole thing. Why did they give it to a Ukrainian company?
Nope. CrowdStrike is a California company, founded in 2011 in Sunnyvale. It trades on Nasdaq under the ticket symbol CRWD. In fact, it went public about a month before Trumps call with Zelensky, earning headlines for popping as much as 97 percent in its first day of trading.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment.
In the space of 10 sentences, Trump told Four Whoppers. Ukraine does not have the server, the FBI did not need physical possession to investigate, CrowdStrike was not founded by a Ukrainian, and it is not a Ukrainian company. It is dismaying that despite all of the evidence assembled by his top aides, Trump keeps repeating debunked theories and inaccurate claims that he first raised more than two years ago.
There are some days when we wish we were not limited to just Four Pinocchios. We were tempted to display 16 Pinnochios, four for each false statement. But this claim will certainly end up on our list of the Biggest Pinocchios of 2019.
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