Fox News host Chris Wallace on Sunday was forced to fact-check Republican Sen. John Kennedy (LA) after he said, falsely, that Ukraine could have been behind interference in the 2016 U.S. election.
Wallace began by asking Kennedy whether he accepted that Russia, rather than Ukraine, hacked the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) server in 2016 in the wake of testimony by ex-National Security Council (NSC) official Fiona Hill, who said blaming Ukraine was the result of a Russian disinformation campaign.
“Finally, the president and his supporters have said that Ukraine was behind the hacking of the DNC computers and that it wasn’t Russia,” Wallace noted. “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.”
Wallace then played a clip of Hill on Thursday asking lawmakers on the House Intelligence Committee that in the course of their work they “please not promote politically driven falsehoods that so clearly advance Russian interests.”
“The fictions are harmful even if they are deployed for purely domestic political purposes,” she testified. “Based on questions and statements I have heard, some of you on this committee appear to believe that Russia and its security services did not conduct a campaign against our country — and that perhaps, somehow, for some reason, Ukraine did. This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves.”
Wallace then played a clip of Trump promoting the debunked Russian-backed conspiracy theory on ‘Fox & Friends’ the morning after Hill’s testimony.
“Senator Kennedy, who do you believe was responsible for hacking the DNC and Clinton campaign computers – their emails. Was it Russia or Ukraine?” Wallace asked Kennedy.
“I don’t know,” Kennedy replied. “Nor do you, nor do any of us, nor do any of us.”
“The entire intelligence community says it was Russia!” Wallace fired back.
“Right,” Kennedy agreed. “But it could also be Ukraine. I’m not saying that I know one way or the other. I’m saying that [Fiona Hill] is entitled to her opinion but no rebuttal evidence was allowed to be offered.”
“Republicans in the House wanted to call a witness, a DNC political operative who lobbied the Ukrainian Embassy to be involved, to get involved in the 2016 election,” Kennedy remarked. “We don’t know if Ukraine did that, we don’t know to what extent because they won’t let the president offer his evidence.”
“And that’s why I’ll say once again, the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence if you’re not allowed to call your own witnesses,” the senator complained.
Watch the interview, below: