Analysis: Trump Advanced Russian Propaganda During His Morning Appearance On Fox
President Donald Trump phoned in to Fox & Friends on Friday morning to continue pushing a conspiracy theory that his former top aide testified the day before is a “fictional narrative” propagated by Russia.
This “fictional narrative,” TIME noted, involves Ukraine colluding with Hillary Clinton in 2016 to frame Russia for election interference in an effort to keep Trump from winning the election.
“The theory claims that CrowdStrike, a security firm hired to investigate the hacking of emails from the DNC, covered up Ukraine’s role and framed Russia instead,” the magazine reported, adding that this is one of the investigations Trump sought from Ukraine’s president in his infamous July 25 phone call.
The far-right conspiracy theory — which has no basis in reality — made its way into Trump’s circle and has been pushed extensively by his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani.
Trump has been repeating the theory since at least April 2017, and he continues to say that Crowdstrike is “owned by Ukrainians or based there, despite the fact that it is a U.S. company based in Sunnyvale, Calif., with no known ties to Ukraine.”
That is precisely what the president said again on Friday.
“They have the server from the DNC,” Trump told the co-hosts of Fox & Friends.
“Who has the server?” asked co-host Brian Kilmeade.
“They gave the server to Crowdstrike or whatever it’s called, which is a company owned by a very wealthy Ukrainian,” Trump said. “And I still want to see that server. That’s a big part of this whole thing. Why did they give it to a Ukrainian company?”
Co-host Steve Doocy asked Trump if he was certain his information is correct: “Are you sure they did that? Are you sure they gave it to Ukraine?”
“Well, that’s what the word is,” Trump responded, in true conspiracy theorist style. “That’s what I asked actually in my phone call, as you know.”
But if the president would listen to his advisers — like former Homeland Security adviser, Tom Bossert — he would know there is nothing to his theory.
“It’s not only a conspiracy theory, it is completely debunked,” Bossert told ABC News in September. “At this point, I am deeply frustrated with what he and the legal team is doing in repeating that debunked theory to the President. It sticks in his mind when he hears it over and over again… It has no validity. The United States government reached its conclusion on attributing the DNC hack to Russia in 2016 before it even communicated it to the FBI, long before the FBI ever knocked on the door of the DNC.”
Fiona Hill offered a similar assessment during her testimony before impeachment investigators this week, saying Trump is pushing “a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services.”
“In the course of this investigation, I would ask that you please not promote politically driven falsehoods that so clearly advance Russian interests,” she said. “The fictions are harmful even if they are deployed for purely domestic political purposes.”