Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., Monday walked back claims he made during an on-air interview that Ukrainians could have been behind the hack of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Clinton campaign during the 2016 presidential election cycle.
“I was wrong. The only evidence I have and I think it overwhelming
is that it was Russia who tried to hack the DNC computer,” the senator told
CNN’s Chris Cuomo regarding remarks he had made Sunday to Fox News host Chris
After Wallace asked him who he thought was responsible for
hacking the DNC and Clinton campaign and pilfering emails, Kennedy replied, “I
don’t know. Nor do you. Nor do any of us.” When the news host pointed out that
the whole intelligence community agreed the culprit was Russia, Kennedy said, “Right.
But it could also be Ukraine. I’m not saying I know one way or the other.”
On Monday, though, Kennedy said he misheard Wallace, believing
he was speaking about election interference. On the more narrow issue of the
DNC and Clinton campaign hacks, the senator said, “I’ve seen no indication that
Ukraine tried to do it.”
Kennedy’s initial remarks came after Fiona Hill, the former
senior White House adviser on Russia, asked lawmakers during
an impeachment hearing to stop spreading “a
fictional narrative” about Ukraine meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential
election and report revealed that senators and their aides recently were told
by U.S. intelligence officials that the tale was part of a multiyear Russian
“The Russians have a
particular vested interest in putting Ukraine, Ukrainian leaders in a very bad
light,” Hill said. “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.”
But that warning has not stopped many GOP lawmakers from
repeating the narrative in defense of President Trump’s pressure on Ukraine to
investigate political foe former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter,
who sat on the board of a Ukrainian energy company.
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