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GOP senator backtracks on Ukraine hacking claim: ‘I was wrong’

Republican Sen. John Kennedy on Monday backtracked on claims he made a day earlier that no one can be sure it was only Russia that tried to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, saying he misunderstood the question and that he sees no evidence that Ukraine participated in the hacking.

“I was wrong,” Kennedy told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on “Cuomo Prime Time.” “It was Russia who tried to hack the (Democratic National Committee) computer. I’ve seen no indication that Ukraine tried to do it.”

The about-face comes a day after the Louisiana Republican boldly told host Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday” that he wasn’t sure who participated in the hacking of the DNC’s server in 2016, despite the fact that the intelligence community has unanimously said Russia was behind the election meddling.

“Who do you believe was responsible for hacking the DNC and Clinton campaign computers, their emails. Was it Russia or Ukraine?” Wallace asked.

“I don’t know. Nor do you. Nor do any of us,” Kennedy replied.

“The entire intelligence community says it was Russia,” Wallace said, giving the senator a chance to correct himself.

“Right. But it could also be Ukraine. I’m not saying I know one way or the other,” Kennedy said.

In October 2016, the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of National Intelligence on Election Security issued a statement declaring that the intelligence community was “confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of emails from US persons and institutions.”

The Department of Justice announced indictments against 12 members of the Russian intelligence agency, GRU, in July 2018, accusing the Russians of engaging in a “sustained effort” to hack emails and computer networks associated with the Democratic Party during the 2016 presidential campaign.

CNN