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Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) reiterated a debunked conspiracy theory on "Fox News Sunday" that Ukraine may have interfered in the 2016 presidential election by hacking the Democratic National Committee's computer servers, despite consensus in the U.S. intelligence community that Russia was responsible for the attacks.

The exchange:

CHRIS 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 of us."
WALLACE "Let me just interrupt to say that 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."

Why it matters: Kennedy's comments come after former National Security Council official Fiona Hill publicly testified in an impeachment hearing last week that the conspiracy is "a fictional narrative that is being perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves."

  • "The unfortunate truth is that Russia was the foreign power that systematically attacked our democratic institutions in 2016," Hill said. "This is the public conclusion of our intelligence agencies, confirmed in bipartisan congressional reports."

Between the lines: Some Republicans have offered the Ukraine interference conspiracy as a justification for the Trump administration's decision to freeze military aid until Ukraine carried out an investigation into the 2016 election — an allegation now at the heart of the impeachment inquiry.

  • Trump brought up the conspiracy theory in his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and repeated the claim in an interview on "Fox and Friends" last week.
  • "A lot of it had to do, they say, with Ukraine," Trump said. "The FBI went in and they told them get out of here, we’re not giving it to you. They gave the server to CrowdStrike ... which is a company owned by a very wealthy Ukrainian, and I still want to see that server."

Reality check:

  • The CEO and co-founder of CrowdStrike, George Kurtz, was born in New Jersey.
  • There is no single server to hide in Ukraine. With modern computing, what people experience as a single server is actually dozens of different systems. Court documents show that the DNC decommissioned well over 100.
  • The FBI received a digital image of the servers — a complete record of what was on the unwieldy farm of physical computers. Physically obtaining the servers would provide no new information.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

In photos: Scenes from some of the worst fires raging in the U.S.

A home explodes into flames as the Dixie Fire rips through the Indian Falls neighborhood of unincorporated Plumas County, California, on July 24. The blaze started near the origin of the deadly 2018 Camp Fire and has churned burned over 185,000 acres. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

Out-of-state crews went to Montana to tackle a wildfire that wounded five firefighters as Australia sent a large air tanker to help Californian firefighting efforts, as 88 large blazes raged in the U.S. Saturday.

The big picture: Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) tweeted his thanks to Utah and California for sending crews over the weekend, as the two states battle their own blazes. The Australian tanker arrived in Calif., this week, where Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) proclaimed a state of emergency for four northern counties Friday.

Updated 3 hours ago - Sports

Swimmer Chase Kalisz first American to win Tokyo Olympics gold medal

Chase Kalisz of Team United States celebrates after winning the Men's 400m Individual Medley Final on day two of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Tokyo, Japan. Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images

Swimmer Chase Kalisz has become the first Team United States Olympian to win gold at the Tokyo Games.

The big picture: The Rio 2016 silver medalist's winning time in the men's 400 meters Individual Medley Final was 4 minutes 9.42 seconds. His teammate Jay Litherland took silver, .86 seconds behind him. Moments later, Kieran Smith grabbed a third medal for the U.S. when he won bronze in the 400-meter freestyle.

Go deeper: Full Axios coverage

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

4 hours ago - Sports

Gymnast Suni Lee to make historic debut at Olympics

USA's Sunisa Lee performs at the FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany, on Oct. 13, 2019. Photo: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP via Getty Images

When Sunisa "Suni" Lee steps up to the mat at the Tokyo Olympics, she'll be thinking of her father's pep talks even as he watches from thousands of miles away.

The big picture: The 18-year-old made history this year when she became the first Hmong American to be named to a U.S. Olympic team. Even more special was her dad's presence in the crowd at the Olympic trials — it was only the second time he watched her compete in person since a 2019 accident paralyzed him from the chest down.