Kennedy explains why he walked back comments about Ukraine election hack

Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.) on Sunday explained why he walked back comments indicating Ukraine may have been responsible for the 2016 hack of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). 

"I walked it back because I was wrong," Kennedy said on NBC's "Meet the Press." 

Kennedy had made the comments last Sunday on "Fox News Sunday" and on Monday walked them back on CNN. 

Kennedy told NBC's Chuck ToddCharles (Chuck) David ToddGOP divided over expected Cheney ouster Sunday shows - White House COVID-19 response coordinator says US is 'turning the corner' Hogan: GOP devolving into 'circular firing squad' with Cheney ouster MORE that he realized he was wrong when he reviewed a transcript of the interview. 


"Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallaceSunday shows - White House COVID-19 response coordinator says US is 'turning the corner' House Republican: Cheney has 'failed' GOP conference Facebook oversight board member on Capitol rioters: Trump was 'egging them on' MORE was interviewing me, and he asked me a question, I answered it. I thought he had asked me if Ukraine had meddled in the 2016 election, he didn't he asked me if Ukraine was responsible for hacking the DNC computer, which is of course a form of meddling," Kennedy said.

"I went back and looked at the transcript and realized Chris was right and I was wrong so I said, 'I was wrong,'" Kennedy said. 

Todd continued to push Kennedy, though, on his assessment that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election. 

Kennedy said he thinks "both Russia and Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election." 

Todd asked Kennedy if he had been briefed after testimony from an impeachment inquiry witness "that actually this entire effort to frame Ukraine for the Russian meddling of 2016 ....is an effort of Russia propaganda."

“Are you at all concerned you are doing Russian intelligence work here?" Todd asked. 

Kennedy said he was not briefed. He added that the witness, former National Security Council official Fiona Hill, is "entitled to her opinion." 

"When does opinion become fact?” Todd asked. “Does 17 intelligence services saying it, does every western intelligence ally saying Russia did this? I’m just sort of confused. At what point is it no longer an opinion for you?”

Kennedy pushed back that he "believes the reporting."

"You should read the articles, Chuck. They’re very well documented. And I believe that a Ukrainian district court in December of 2018 slapped down several Ukrainian officials for meddling in our elections, a violation of Ukrainian law," Kennedy said.