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Fiona Hill, former official at the National Security Council specialising in the former Soviet Union and Russian and European affairs, at her hearing on the impeachment of President Trump. Photo: Michael Brochstein / Echoes Wire / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Intelligence officials recently briefed senators and their aides on Russian efforts to pin interference in the 2016 U.S. election on Ukraine, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: As part of their defense of President Trump amid the impeachment inquiry, Republicans have tried to advance the now-debunked conspiracy theory that the government in Kiev was responsible for hacking the 2016 election.

But the intelligence briefing is consistent with Fiona Hill's impeachment testimony this week. On Thursday, Trump's former top Russia adviser said the notion that Ukraine, rather than Russia, meddled in the 2016 election is "a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves."

  • Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman called the same, so-called CrowdStrike server conspiracy theory "a Russian narrative that President [Vladimir] Putin has promoted."

Reality check, via Axios' Joe Uchill: CrowdStrike is not and has never been owned by a Ukrainian, as Trump and GOP lawmakers have suggested. It was founded in America by a Russian-born American, and funded by U.S. venture capital.

  • CrowdStrike co-founder Dmitri Alperovitch is an Russian-born American, not a Ukrainian.
  • The firm was not funded by Ukrainian oligarchs.
  • CrowdStrike was hired by the Democratic National Committee to investigate and expunge the hackers responsible for the 2016 breach.
  • Since the 2016 election, the firm has become publicly traded.
  • The firm has been at the center of a number of right-wing conspiracy theories because it was the first to publicly release evidence that Russia perpetrated the digital trespass.

But, but, but: Trump continued to push the Ukraine theory as late as Friday morning, when he spent a portion of a 53-minute phone call with Fox & Friends repeating the debunked idea.

  • Trump has previously cited CrowdStrike as an explanation for why he wants Ukraine to investigate meddling in the 2016 election, and he mentioned it in the July 25 phone call in which he appeared to press the president of Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

CCP releases two jailed Canadians after Huawei CFO deal with DOJ

Photo: Sheldon Cooper/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Two Canadians imprisoned by the Chinese government for over 1,000 days have been released and are expected to arrive in Canada on Saturday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday.

Why it matters: Their release comes hours after Huawei Technologies CFO Meng Wanzhou reached a deal with the U.S. Department of Justice that resolves the criminal charges against her and could pave the way for her to return to China.

Updated 20 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona GOP's private recount of 2020 election confirms Biden's win

Contractors working on behalf of the GOP examine and recount 2020 ballots at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix in May. Photo: Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

In an odd coda to the 2020 election, private contractors conducting a GOP-commissioned recount in Arizona confirmed President Biden’s win in Maricopa County.

Why it matters: The unofficial, party-driven recount has been heavily covered on cable news as part of former President Trump's continued effort to sow doubt about the election result.

Del Rio bridge camp empty following Haitian migrant surge

A boy bathes himself in a jug of water inside a migrant camp at the U.S.-Mexico border on Sept. 21 in Del Rio, Texas. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The last migrants camping under the Del Rio International Bridge, which connects Texas and Mexico, departed on Friday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced during a White House press briefing.

Driving the news: Thousands of migrants, mostly from Haiti, had arrived to the makeshift camp after crossing the southern border seeking asylum. Roughly 1,800 migrants will now head to U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing centers.