Trump repeats debunked Ukraine claim a day after Hill's tough testimony

President TrumpDonald John TrumpMilitary personnel to handle coronavirus patients at facilities in NYC, New Orleans and Dallas Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort has total of 20 patients: report Fauci says that all states should have stay-at-home orders MORE on Friday repeated his debunked claim that Ukraine is connected to a hacked Democratic server from the 2016 election, the same assertion that he raised on his call with the Ukrainian president at the heart of an impeachment inquiry.
 
Trump made the claim a day after a former White House official with expertise on Russia, Fiona Hill, chastised Republicans for giving air in the impeachment hearings to conspiracy theories that Ukraine, and not Russia, was a driver of foreign interference in the 2016 presidential election. 
 
Hill's statements to the House Intelligence Committee essentially rebuked her former boss, as Trump has repeatedly floated the theory — and did so again on Friday.

"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," Trump told the hosts of "Fox & Friends."

"A lot of it had to do, they say, with Ukraine," he said. "Why did they give it to a Ukrainian company?"

"Are you sure they did that?" co-host Steve Doocey asked.

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"That’s what the word is," Trump responded. "That’s what I asked actually on my phone call, you know. I asked it very point-blank because we’re looking for corruption. There’s tremendous corruption. Why should we be giving hundreds of millions of dollars to countries when there’s this kind of corruption?"

CrowdStrike is a U.S. company that was hired to investigate the hack of Democratic servers. The comments reflect Trump's insistence on clinging to a conspiracy theory that some of his top advisers have called baseless and that has helped land him in an impeachment inquiry.

Trump's remarks on Friday were remarkable given the high-profile testimony of Hill, who has authored a book about Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinHow oil tariffs can unite strange political bedfellows Overnight Energy: Trump says global oil production could be cut by 15M barrels | Trump to rent storage space to oil producers | EPA defends move to suspend pollution monitoring Putin tells Russians to stay home all month amid coronavirus threat MORE

Hill on Thursday asked lawmakers on the Intelligence Committee that in the course of their work they "please not promote politically driven falsehoods that so clearly advance Russian interests."

"The fictions are harmful even if they are deployed for purely domestic political purposes," she testified.

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"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 said in a statement. "This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves."

In a July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that helped trigger the impeachment inquiry, Trump directly raised CrowdStrike.

"I would like you to do us a favor though," Trump said, and "find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say CrowdStrike."

Democrats have seized on the exchange to argue that Trump was pressuring Ukraine for an investigation into the 2016 election.

Tom Bossert, who previously served as Trump's homeland security adviser, said earlier this year that the CrowdStrike claim had "no validity" and was pushed by Trump's personal attorney Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiGoogle to spend .5 million in fight against coronavirus misinformation Hillicon Valley: FCC chief proposes 0M telehealth program | Twitter takes down posts promoting anti-malaria drugs for coronavirus| Whole Foods workers plan Tuesday strike 12 things to know today about coronavirus MORE.

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"It’s not only a conspiracy theory, it is completely debunked," Bossert said, adding that he communicated this to Trump during his time working in the administration.

Lt. Col. Alexander VindmanAlexander VindmanAmerica's diplomats deserve our respect White House withdraws nomination for Pentagon budget chief who questioned Ukraine aid hold Juan Williams: Will the GOP ever curb Trump? MORE, another White House expert on the issue, also testified this week that the idea Ukraine interfered in the U.S. election is a theory propagated by Russia.

Tim Morrison, another former member of the National Security Council, told lawmakers that CrowdStrike was not part of official talking points prepared for Trump before the July 25 call.