Fox News host Chris Wallace pushed back against Louisiana GOP Sen. John Kennedy, who repeated a debunked conspiracy theory promoted by President Trump that suggests Ukraine interfered in the 2016 presidential election on behalf of Trump’s Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.
"Senator Kennedy, who do you believe was responsible for hacking the DNC and Clinton campaign computers — their emails? Was it Russia or Ukraine?" Wallace asked.
‘I don't know. Nor do you. Nor do any of us," said Kennedy.
"Let me just interrupt to say that the entire intelligence community says it was Russia,” Wallace said. U.S. intelligence, private investigators and the Office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller all attribute the hacking to Russian agents.
“Right, but it could also be Ukraine,’” Kennedy said. “I'm not saying that I know one way or the other.”
Kennedy dismissed testimony from a former top national security adviser to Trump, Fiona Hill, who told Republicans in last week’s impeachment hearings to stop advancing a “fictional narrative” that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 U.S. elections rather than Russia.
“Based on questions and statements I have heard, 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. This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves,” said Hill, who until July was the deputy assistant to the president and senior director for Europe and Russia on the National Security Council.
“The unfortunate truth is that Russia was the foreign power that systematically attacked our democratic institutions in 2016,” she added. “This is the public conclusion of our intelligence agencies, confirmed in bipartisan congressional reports. It is beyond dispute, even if some of the underlying details must remain classified.”
“Ms. Hill is entitled to her opinion but no rebuttal evidence was allowed to be offered,” Kennedy told Wallace. “Republicans in the House wanted to call a witness, a DNC political operative who lobbied the Ukrainian Embassy to be involved, to get involved in the 2016 election.”
“We don’t know if Ukraine did that, we don’t know to what extent because they won’t let the president offer his evidence,” Kennedy continued. “And that’s why I’ll say once again, the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence if you’re not allowed to call your own witnesses,”
Trump, in an interview on “Fox & Friends” on Friday following Hill’s testimony, doubled down on his belief in the unfounded conspiracy theory circulated by Fox News and conservative media, that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the previous presidential election.
“They have this server right from the DNC Democratic National Committee,” he told host Brian Kilmeade. “And I still want to see that server. You know, the FBI has never gotten that server. That's a big part of this whole thing. Why did they give it to a Ukrainian company?”
“Are you sure they gave it to Ukraine?” asked Kilmeade.
“Well, that's what the word is,” the president replied.
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