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George Kent Demolishes Trump’s 4Chan-Inspired Crowdstrike Conspiracy: ‘No Factual Basis’

Top State Department official George Kent shot down conservative conspiracies about CrowdStrike — a company at the heart of a theory pushed by President Donald Trump and his allies alleging a hacked DNC server was secretly shipped to Ukraine for hiding — while publicly testifying before the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday.

During the July 25 phone call between Trump and President Volodymyr Zelensky, the U.S. president requested that his counterpart launch an investigation into the family of Vice President Joe Biden and asked that he also look into CrowdStrike, a California-based cybersecurity firm that investigated the DNC breach. Trump made the latter solicitation while claiming that “Ukraine has” the hacked server, but this theory — which boils down to the idea that Democrats colluded with the company to frame Russia as the culprit in the 2016 DNC hack — is easily debunked, as there are no such physical machines that could have been sent to Ukraine given that the DNC’s data was stored on a digital cloud system. Additionally, both the Department of Justice and FBI looked into the DNC breach and concluded that Russia carried out the whole operation.

“When he talks about this crowd strike and the server, what do you understand this to be in reference to?” House Intel counsel Daniel Goldman asked Kent, who said he had never “heard of CrowdStrike until I read this [Trump-Zelensky] transcript on September 25th.”

“I understand it has to do with the story that there’s a server with missing e-mails,” the witness added. “I also understand that one of the owners of CrowdStrike is a Russian-American. I’m not aware of any Ukrainian connection to the company.”

After Goldman asserted that Republican claims about CrowdStrike are “part of a larger allegation that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election,” the counsel asked Kent if there is “any factual basis to support the allegation that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election?”

“To my knowledge, there is no factual basis, no,” replied the deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs. “It’s amply clear that Russian interference was at the heart of the interference in the 2016 election cycle.”

While it has long been popular on fringe cesspools like The_Donald subreddit and 4chan — where a poster defending Russia hatched the idea, per NBC News — the conspiracy rose to relatively mainstream prominence in conservative circles after The Federalist, a pro-Trump blog, published a post in August 2017 theorizing that Democrats “won’t let the FBI examine [the hacked server] because it would expose their elaborate plot.” The article was released amid former special counsel Robert Mueller’s escalating probe into 2016 election foul play.

“Back at the DNC, between April, when the Russian hacking was allegedly discovered, and June, when news of the hacking went public, CrowdStrike proceeded to clean or replace all of the DNC servers. Because of this, direct confirmation of the DNC hack did not come from the FBI, but only from CrowdStrike,” stated a Federalist contributing writer, before accusing the firm of acting in a suspicious manner by “checking out the DNC servers” with “a clear incentive to report whatever the DNC wanted it to report,” all while “the DNC had a political incentive to blame the hacking on Russia.”

While it is true that the DNC initially pushed back on one FBI appeal to comb through their servers in 2016, likely because U.S. agents using their back end as a battlefield in a cyber war against Russia is not an ideal pre-election scenario, the organization eventually granted the agency the exact same sever data CrowdStrike used to investigate the hack. For their part, CrowdStrike stated in September that they “provided all forensic evidence and analysis to the FBI.”

The Federalist article went on to insist that CrowdStrike’s involvement warrants “more investigation and explanation,” which is exactly what Trump frivolously attempted to do during his phone call with Zelensky — a request that has forced adults in the room like Kent to debunk a fringe conspiracy theory that somehow made its way into the Oval Office.

Watch above, via CNN.

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Caleb Ecarma was a reporter at Mediaite. Email him here: [email protected] Follow him on Twitter here: @calebecarma