From the earliest days in the White House, President Donald Trump has unleashed a lot of unsupported assertions that aimed one concrete fact. His claims about Ukraine can also be traced directly to the 2016 election interference of Russia.
“It’s not only a conspiracy theory, it is completely debunked,” Tom Bossert, Trump’s former homeland security and counterterrorism adviser, told ABC News in September.
Indeed, U.S. intelligence officials concluded nearly three years ago that Russian President Vladimir Putin was culpable.
“Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election,” says a January 2017 report from the Director of National Intelligence. “Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.”
Trump’s ‘spying’ theory
Trump has accused the FBI at that time for spying on his 2016 presidential campaign. “My Campaign for President was conclusively spied on,” he tweeted in May of this year. “… this was TREASON!”
“They were spying on my campaign,” Trump said to Fox & Friends in Nov. 22 interview. “I think this goes to the highest level. I hate to say it, I think it’s a disgrace. They thought I was going to win and they said, ‘How can we stop him?'”
What we know
Although there is no evidence of FBI spied on Trump’s campaign, the Department of Justice’s Michael Horowitz is expected to confirm that they did not place any pieces of information inside the campaign.
Trump’s ‘witch hunt’ theory
The president has repeatedly said the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election a “witch hunt,” started under false pretences by his political enemies also.
“We have a lot of information that a lot of bad things happened,” Trump told Fox in Nov. 22 interview. “The insurance policy, that was a very big find. Finding that text,” Trump said.
What we know
There is no question who served as the FBI’s assistant general counsel, and Strzok, who was the deputy assistant director of the FBI’s counterintelligence division. ”No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it,” Strzok replied.
Page argued that “we don’t need to go at a total breakneck speed because so long as he doesn’t become president, there isn’t the same threat to national security, right,” according to a transcript as well.
“But if he becomes president, that totally changes the game,” she recounted. “He’s going to immediately start receiving classified briefings. He’s going to be exposed to the most sensitive secrets imaginable. And if there is somebody on his team who wittingly or unwittingly is working with the Russians, that is super serious.”
“There’s no conspiracy to unseat Mr. Trump or defeat him. There was no treason. There was no sedition,” James Baker, the FBI’s former general counsel who oversaw the launch of the Russia investigation, told USA TODAY earlier this year. “Totally false. I would never have allowed such a thing.”
Trump’s DNC server theory
“I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say CrowdStrike … the server, they say Ukraine has it,” Trump said to Zelensky.
What we know
CrowdStrike is a private cybersecurity firm which investigated the breach of the DNC’s computers in 2016. The firm added that it was the work of hackers connected to Russian intelligence services.
Trump’s Ukraine 2016 meddling theory
In a May 23 meeting at the White House, Trump said to Kurt Volker, then his special envoy for Ukraine, that his place was full of “terrible people” who “tried to take me down.”
“They say a lot of it started with Ukraine,” Trump said to Zelensky, after mentioning Mueller’s probe. “Have you seen any intelligence assessment or any open-source reporting that would support the idea that Ukraine interfered in our 2016 election?” Sen. Christopher Coons, D-Del., asked Hale during the hearing. I’ve seen nothing that’s credible along those lines,” he responded.