On Sunday, GOP Sen. Kennedy of Louisiana falsely contended that both Russia and Ukraine might have hacked a Democratic National Committee server in 2016. Monday, he falsely contended that he misunderstood the question that he was asked.
Originally, Kennedy’s remarks from Sunday:
WALLACE: Finally, the president and his supporters have said that Ukraine was behind the hacking of the DNC computers and that it wasn’t Russia. That was a big issue this week because former NSC official Fiona Hill said that that is Russian disinformation. She debunked that.
But on the other hand, President Trump doubled down on that the very next day. Take a look, sir.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FIONA HILL, FORMER WHITE HOUSE NSC AIDE: This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves.
TRUMP: 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Senator Kennedy, who do you believe was responsible for hacking the DNC and Clinton campaign computers, their emails? Was it Russia or Ukraine?
KENNEDY: I don’t know, nor do you, nor do any others. Ms. Hill is entitled to her —
WALLACE: Well, let me interrupt to say — the entire intelligence community says it was Russia.
KENNEDY: Right, but it could also be Ukraine. I’m not saying that I know one way or the other. I’m saying that Ms. Hill is entitled to her opinion but no rebuttal evidence was allowed to be offered.
Monday night, Kennedy lied that he didn’t say what he, in fact, did say:
Kennedy claimed he’d misheard a question from Fox News anchor Chris Wallace while appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” causing him to answer incorrectly.
“I was answering one of his questions, and he interjected with a statement and asked me to react to it. What I heard Chris say was only Russia tried to interfere in the election, and I answered the question. That’s not what he said,” Kennedy said on CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time,” noting that Wallace’s question focused on DNC servers.
“Chris is right. I was wrong,” he said. “The only evidence I have, and I think it’s overwhelming, is that it was Russia who tried to hack the DNC computer. I’ve seen no indication that Ukraine tried to do it.”
Kennedy’s answer was no mere misunderstanding of the question he was asked – he answered ‘I don’t know’ on Sunday, which would have been knowingly false about either Russian hacking of the DNC server or other Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Kennedy’s mention of Ukraine repeats the conspiracy-theory about which Dr. Hill was concerned: “And as I told this Committee last month, I refuse to be part of an effort to legitimize an alternate narrative that the Ukrainian government is a U.S. adversary, and that Ukraine—not Russia—attacked us in 2016.”
Kennedy’s intentional mention of Ukraine creates a false equivalence diminishing Russian attacks (and Trump’s profit by them).