Nov 26, 2019 - Politics & Policy

GOP Sen. John Kennedy on Ukraine conspiracy theory: "I was wrong"

GOP Sen. John Kennedy told CNN Monday he was wrong in reiterating a debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine may have interfered in the 2016 presidential election by hacking the Democratic National Committee's computer servers.

KENNEDY: I did that interview yesterday with Chris Wallace, damn good reporter. I was answering one of his questions and he interjected a statement and asked me to react to it. What I heard Chris say was he made the statement that only Russia had tried to interfere in the election. And I answered the question. That's not what he said. I went back and looked at the transcript. He said only Russia tried to hack the DNC computer. Now, Chris is right. I was wrong. The only evidence I have and I think it's overwhelming is that it was Russia who tried to hack the DNC computer. 

CHRIS CUOMO: That's what the consensus is. 

KENNEDY: Yup. I've seen no indication that Ukraine tried to do it. 

Why it matters: Kennedy made the Ukraine interference comments after former National Security Council official Fiona Hill called the conspiracy "a fictional narrative that is being perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves" in a public impeachment hearing last week.

  • Republicans have attempted to use the theory as justification for President Trump withholding military aid until Ukraine agreed to carry out an investigation into the 2016 election.
  • The aid freeze is now a key sticking point for Democrats in the impeachment inquiry against Trump.

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