Fact check: Trump's false claims about Ukraine, DNC server
President Donald Trump, hitting back after a marathon week of public impeachment hearings, continued to promote the debunked conspiracy that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election, falsely claiming that "a Ukrainian company" is harboring a hacked server belonging to the Democratic National Committee.
During a nearly hour-long phone interview with "Fox & Friends" Friday morning, Trump defended his administration's freeze on military aid to Ukraine earlier this year as well as his July 25 call with the Ukrainian president that prompted a whistleblower complaint, saying he was simply trying to root out corruption in the country.
"A lot of it had to do, they say, with Ukraine," he began, before alleging that the country has the DNC server that was hacked in 2016.
"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,” " Trump said of the DNC's actions upon learning that it had been hacked in the run-up to the election. "You know, the FBI has never gotten that server. That's a big part of this whole thing. Why did they give it to a Ukrainian company?"
Almost none of these claims are remotely true.
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Giuliani claims Zelenskiy mentioned him on July 25 call because of his record fighting crime
Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani tweeted Friday that his previous record fighting crime as New York City's mayor is what prompted Ukrainian President Zelenskiy to bring him up on the July 25 call with Trump.
Giuliani made the remark in a Twitter post after tweeting out Trump's defense of Giuliani's Ukraine dealings during a nearly hour-long interview with "Fox & Friends" on Friday morning.
Multiple witnesses have told House investigators that Giuliani ran a shadow policy effort to pressure Ukraine to announce investigations into the Bidens and a debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election. Giuliani was involved in the effort as early as last spring and summer, and Zelenskiy reportedly met with aids to discuss their concerns over the U.S. demands for an investigation of the Bidens in early May — well before the July phone call and a day after U.S. Amb. Marie Yovanovitch, whom Trump called "bad news" on the phone call with Zelenskiy, was recalled from Ukraine.
Mystery grows over Lebanon aid hold-up as impeachment looms
The Trump administration is withholding more than $100 million in U.S. military assistance to Lebanon that has been approved by Congress and is favored by his national security team, an assertion of executive control of foreign aid that is similar to the delay in support for Ukraine at the center of the impeachment inquiry.
The hold came up in impeachment testimony by David Hale, the No. 3 official in the State Department, according to the transcript of the closed-door hearing released this week. He described growing consternation among diplomats as the administration would neither release the aid nor provide an explanation for the hold.
“People started asking: What's the problem?” Hale told the impeachment investigators.
As with the Ukraine assistance, the Office of Management and Budget has not explained the reason for the delay. However, unlike Ukraine, there is no suggestion that President Donald Trump is seeking “a favor” from Lebanon to release it, according to five officials familiar with the matter. The White House and OMB have declined to comment on the matter.
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Senate Dems demand Pompeo recuse himself over 'profound conflict of interest' in Trump-Ukraine matters
Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee are demanding Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recuse himself from all Trump-Ukraine matters, saying in a letter that the secretary was on the July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and has "profound conflict of interest."
While Pompeo has acknowledged being on the call, in which Trump asked Zelenskiy to investigate his political rivals, Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland drew the secretary more deeply into the Trump-Ukraine effort than was previously known during his testimony on Wednesday. Sondland told the House Intelligence Committee about emails to the secretary and a top aide in which the basic contours of the quid pro quo alleged by Democrats — which include allegations of placing a hold on military aid — seem clear.
Pompeo, meanwhile, has continued to "impede the House impeachment inquiry, including by refusing to produce any State Department records on the Trump-Ukraine scandal — including those that may shed further light on your own complicity," the 10 Democrats on the committee wrote Thursday. They added that Sondland testified the State Department refused to give him access to his own materials as he prepared for the hearing, which the department has disputed.
"The only legitimate option is for you to recuse and to delegate the department's response to the Trump-Ukraine scandal to a senior career department official," the senators wrote. "We urge you to do so immediately."
Yovanovitch's lawyers rate Trump's embassy portrait claim Pinocchio worthy
Lawyers for former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch say President Donald Trump’s claim that she refused to hang his picture in the U.S. embassy in Ukraine is false.
“The Embassy in Kyiv hung the official photographs of the president, vice president, and secretary of state as soon as they arrived from Washington, D.C.,” a person connected to her legal team said,
Trump told "Fox & Friends" on Friday morning that he was angry with the former ambassador because “she wouldn’t hang my picture in the [U.S.] embassy [in Ukraine].” The president also told the talk show that Republican lawmakers had told him to be "kind to her" because "she's a woman."
The Washington Post reported in 2017 that pictures of Trump and Vice President Mike Pence still were not being displayed on thousands of federal buildings nearly eight months into Trump's term because the Government Publishing Office had yet to receive the images from the White House. The White House, in turn, said Trump and Pence hadn't decided when to sit for the portraits.
While Yovanovitch was testifying before the House Intelligence Committee on Friday, Trump tweeted negative claims about her, prompting Democrats to accuse him of witness intimidation.
Trump hits back against impeachment hearings, defends Giuliani's Ukraine dealings
Less than 24 hours after the House wrapped up a marathon round of public impeachment hearings, President Donald Trump on Friday hit back hard, denying all wrongdoing in his dealings with Ukraine, insulting witnesses and key Democrats involved in the inquiry and defending putting Rudy Giuliani in charge of a parallel policy process in Ukraine.
Over two weeks of public hearings, multiple witnesses have told the House Intelligence Committee that Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, ran a shadow policy team with the goal of pressuring the Ukrainian government to announce investigations into Burisma — the Ukrainian gas company that Hunter Biden joined as a board member in 2014 — and debunked conspiracies that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election.
Trump, however, defended his decision to put Giuliani, a private citizen, in the middle of Ukraine policy Friday, citing his experience, decades ago, in fighting corruption as a U.S. attorney and as the mayor of New York City.
He also rebutted the accounts of several key impeachment inquiry witnesses who testified publicly over the last two weeks — including Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, Kurt Volker, the former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine and Marie Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine.
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