Trump Was Repeatedly Warned That Ukraine Conspiracy Theory Was ‘Completely Debunked’ – The New York Times

While his focus on Mr. Biden has drawn the most attention, Mr. Trump also urged Mr. Zelensky to look into a theory about the 2016 election that holds that Ukraine hacked the Democratic National Committee and then framed Moscow, possibly at the behest of Democratic operatives.

He specifically cited an American cybersecurity firm, CrowdStrike, which he seemed to believe was a Ukrainian company, and brought up a Democratic National Committee computer server, which he suggested might be in Ukraine.

While serving Mr. Trump, Mr. Bossert repeatedly told him that his questions about the server were without merit, according to a former senior administration official. In fact, the main server for the committee was in the party’s headquarters in Washington, and was later displayed there, next to a file cabinet that was broken into by the Watergate burglars nearly a half-century ago.

The first time Mr. Bossert and other aides refuted the server theory came before the inauguration when intelligence agency directors briefed him on Russia’s election interference operation. Mr. Trump may not have absorbed it because he was thrown off guard when told about a Democratic-financed dossier that included unproven allegations about his ties to Russia.

Shortly before Valentine’s Day in 2017, Mr. Bossert brought in Mike Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, to brief Mr. Trump not only on the summary about the conclusion that it was Russia, but with the technical mechanics that led to the conclusion. At that point, Trump appeared to register that it was Russia. But periodically after that, he would say at rallies that he wondered about the server. Mr. Bossert would not re-educate him each time.

Another former senior official said it was a constant struggle to convince Mr. Trump that Russia, not Ukraine, had interfered in the election. The president would accept it after speaking with his more grounded aides, this official said, but then revert to believing it was a plot by Democrats or Ukrainians or others after speaking with associates outside the administration like Mr. Giuliani.

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