• Follow NBC News

Fact check: Trump promoted conspiracy theories. Here's the truth.

At a joint news conference in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump brought up the DNC and Hillary Clinton.
President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin hold a joint news conference after meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki on Monday, July 16, 2018.Brendan Smialowski / AFP - Getty Images
  • Share this —
 / Updated 
By Jane C. Timm

Asked whether he believes the American intelligence community's conclusion that Russia meddled in the U.S election, President Donald Trump on Monday promoted two conspiracy theories and raised questions about his former Democratic rival Hillary Clinton's email server.

1. The DNC computer server

"Where is the server, I wanna know, where is the server? And what is the server saying?" Trump asked Monday during a joint news conference in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"We have groups wondering why the FBI never took the server, why haven't they taken the server?" Trump added. "Why was the FBI told to leave the office of the Democratic National Committee? I've been wondering that."

The FBI did not examine the DNC servers — after allegations that they had been hacked by the Russians — and says it was rebuffed by the DNC in efforts to do so. The DNC insists the FBI never asked to see the server.

The FBI had been warning the DNC that hackers were trying to compromise its servers for months, but DNC officials hired a private security firm to look into it, reportedly in hopes of handling the breach privately amid a presidential campaign and the FBI's investigation into Clinton's use of a private email server.

It is unclear what the president means when he says the FBI was asked to leave the DNC.

2. The former House staffer

Imran Awan, an information technology aide for Democratic lawmakers, including Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., a former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, was arrested last year and charged with bank fraud.

Conspiracy theories alleged that Awan inappropriately accessed government servers to steal government secrets on behalf of another country.

"What happened to the servers of the Pakistani gentleman that worked on the DNC, where are those servers? They're missing. Where are they?" Trump said Monday, apparently referring to Awan.

Prosecutors said they conducted a "thorough investigation" into the conspiracy claims, interviewing 40 witnesses and taking custody of the House Democratic caucus server, other computers and hard drives.

"The government has uncovered no evidence that your client violated federal law with respect to the House computer systems," prosecutors said in Awan's plea agreement after he pled guilty to lying on an application for a home equity loan.

3. Clinton's missing emails

"What happened to Hillary Clinton's e-mails? 33,000 e-mails gone, just gone, I think in Russia they wouldn't be gone so easily. I think it's a disgrace we can't get Hillary Clinton's 33,000 emails," Trump said alongside Putin.

Clinton used a private email server while secretary of state, and she was investigated for her handling of classified information with it; there is no allegation that her emails had anything to do with Russian election meddling, which intelligence officials said had sought to damage her campaign.

It's correct that 33,000 emails were deleted off the server, though thousands were later recovered by the FBI.

Some 113 emails of the tens of thousands that were reviewed by the FBI were found on the unclassified server, and the FBI determined in 2016 that she was "extremely careless" to use the server, but the FBI also said there was not enough evidence to charge her with any crime.

MORE FROM