CrowdStrike: The Ukraine conspiracy theory
When President Trump had his infamous July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, he wasn’t just looking for dirt on Joe Biden, said Scott Shane in The New York Times. Trump was also chasing proof of a right-wing conspiracy theory that Russia never actually hacked the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 election. Trump has become obsessed with the idea that Ukraine did the hacking and then framed Russia, with the help of the DNC and CrowdStrike, the cybersecurity firm hired to investigate the attack. The theory has been eagerly promoted by Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, as well as by far-right websites and Russian state news outlets. Trump’s White House advisers have repeatedly tried to convince Trump the theory is bogus. Nevertheless, Trump pressed Zelensky to “find out what happened” with CrowdStrike, adding that he believed the DNC server itself might be in Ukraine.
Behold the “full majesty” of this byzantine conspiracy theory, said Tim Miller in TheBulwark.com. A cabal of Democratic operatives and deep state intelligence agents allegedly plotted with Ukraine to create dirt on Trump. First, they fed a low-level Trump staffer George Papadopoulos false stories that the Russians hacked Hillary Clinton’s emails, knowing he’d boast about it and give the FBI an excuse to investigate. For the theory to work, you have to believe the Democrats willingly leaked their own embarrassing emails. You also have to explain why the FBI publicly reopened the investigation into Clinton just days before the election, while saying nothing about investigating Trump. Apparently, MAGA-heads think “the intel community was going to stop Trump by getting him elected and then making his life miserable” with endless investigations. “Mind. Blown.”
Let’s not mince words here: The president is spouting “a baseless conspiracy theory,” said Noah Rothman in CommentaryMagazine.com. The special counsel investigation proved in “excruciating detail” that Russia interfered in the U.S. election, leading to criminal charges against a dozen named Kremlin agents. Trump has always loved conspiracy theories, said Peter Beinart in TheAtlantic.com, such as the ones accusing President Obama of being born abroad and Ted Cruz’s father of being involved in the John F. Kennedy assassination. But in leaning on Ukraine to confirm CrowdStrike, Trump “made a conspiracy theory the basis of American foreign policy.”