Dec. 2, 2019 at 1:00 a.m. MST
President Trump: “The Democrats, a lot of it had to do, they say, with Ukraine. It’s very interesting. It’s very interesting. They have this server, right? From the DNC, Democratic National Committee. The FBI went in and they told them, ‘Get out of here. You’re not getting it. We’re not giving it to you.’ They gave the server to CrowdStrike or whatever it’s called, which is a company owned by a very wealthy Ukrainian. 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?”
Steve Doocy of “Fox and Friends”: “Are you sure they did that? Are you sure they gave it to Ukraine?”
Trump: “Well, that’s what the word is.”
The president persists in pursuing a debunked conspiracy theory. Somehow, we’ve never gotten around to assigning a Pinocchio rating for this claim. Maybe that’s because there aren’t 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, it’s 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.” <snip>
“The FBI went in and they told them, ‘Get out of here. You’re not getting it. We’re not giving it to you.’ ”
But the FBI felt it was not necessary to enter the DNC’s 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 III’s investigation confirmed CrowdStrike’s findings and even indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers in 2018 over their alleged role in the breach. <snip>
The Pinocchio Test
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.