President Donald Trump talks to the media on his way to the Marine One helicopter, Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019, as he leaves the White House in Washington, en route to Texas. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Trump insists on debunked Ukraine theory, despite testimony

CrowdStrike, an internet security firm based in California, investigated the DNC hack in June 2016

President Donald Trump on Friday promoted a debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election, a day after a former White House adviser called it a “fictional narrative” and said it played into Russia’s hands.

Trump called in to “Fox & Friends” and said he was trying to root out corruption in the Eastern European nation when he withheld aid over the summer. Trump’s July 25 call with Ukraine’s president is at the centre of the House impeachment probe, which is looking into Trump’s pressure on Ukraine to investigate political rivals as he held back nearly $400 million.

But he repeated his assertion that Ukrainians might have hacked the Democratic National Committee’s network in 2016 and framed Russia for the crime, a theory his own advisers have dismissed.

“They gave the server to CrowdStrike, which is a company owned by a very wealthy Ukrainian,” Trump said. “I still want to see that server. The FBI has never gotten that server. That’s a big part of this whole thing.”

The president in the wide-ranging interview also claimed that he knows the identity of the whistleblower who filed the formal complaint that spurred the impeachment inquiry.

“You know who the whistleblower is. So do I,” Trump told the hosts.

Trump said he didn’t believe House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff, D-Calif., who has maintained that he doesn’t know the identity of the whistleblower.

“If he doesn’t, then he’s the only person in Washington who doesn’t,” Trump said.

ALSO READ: Trump suggests he may give written testimony in House probe

Trump said he does not expect to be impeached, claiming Democrats have “absolutely nothing” incriminating, despite days of public testimony by witnesses who said Trump withheld aid from Ukraine to press the country to investigate his political rivals.

“I think it’s very hard to impeach you when they have absolutely nothing,” Trump said, adding that if the House did vote to impeach him, he would welcome a trial in the Senate.

Trump’s claim on Ukraine being behind the 2016 election interference has been discredited by intelligence agencies and his own advisers.

CrowdStrike, an internet security firm based in California, investigated the DNC hack in June 2016 and traced it to two groups of hackers connected to a Russian intelligence service — not Ukraine.

One version of the debunked theory holds that CrowdStrike is owned by a wealthy Ukrainian. In fact, company co-founder Dmitri Alperovitch is a Russian-born U.S. citizen who immigrated as a child and graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

The president repeated his claim one day after Fiona Hill, a former Russia adviser on the White House National Security Council, admonished Republicans for pushing unsubstantiated conspiracy theories about Ukrainian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

“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,” Hill testified before the House impeachment inquiry panel. “This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves.”

Trump told “Fox & Friends” that “there was no quid pro quo,” in his efforts to push Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to open investigations of former Vice-President Joe Biden and his son’s dealings in Ukraine.

The president’s assertion is at odds with sworn testimony by impeachment witnesses.

Aamer Madhani, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIDEO: Not business as usual as Nelson slowly reopens

Local owners talk about the pandemic has changed how they operate

City of Nelson takes over farmers’ markets from EcoSociety

Markets start June 13 and will be run by the Nelson and District Youth Centre

School District announces Rick Hansen Foundation difference-maker award winners

Creston student Alexis Folk and Nelson teacher Chris Mieske recognized by the Rick Hansen Foundation

Nelson offers financing for homeowners to purchase electric bikes

Loan payments will be applied to hydro bills as part of the EcoSave home retrofit program

Pay guarantee removed for some Kootenay on-call paramedics

Guarantee phased out as BCEHS introduces a new “scheduled on call” model

Trudeau offers $14B to provinces for anti-COVID-19 efforts through rest of year

Making a difference in municipalities is a pricey proposition

Help the Nelson Star continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Black Press is now accepting donations to keep its papers operating

Friends, family mourn Salt Spring Island woman killed in suspected murder-suicide

A GoFundMe comapaign has been launched for Jennifer Quesnel’s three sons

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

‘Alarmed’: Health critic calls for more data on COVID-19 in trucking industry

Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec said that level of detail is not being collected

UPDATED: Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park arrested

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Most Read