Congress

Whistleblower can’t explain Trump’s DNC missing server theory

President has alleged that a DNC server somehow ended up in Ukraine

President Donald Trump’s request for help from Ukraine locating a server used by the DNC during the 2016 election befuddled the whistleblower. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The whistleblower accusing President Donald Trump of pressuring the president of Ukraine to influence the 2020 U.S. election wrote in a complaint that he or she was unsure why Trump also asked the foreign leader to turn over a hacked computer server belonging to the Democratic National Committee.

In the complaint, released publicly on Thursday following a prolonged struggle between the White House and Democrats in Congress, the whistleblower said he or she did not understand Trump’s request that Ukraine locate and turn over a server used by the DNC during the 2016 presidential election and subsequently examined by CrowdStrike, a U.S. cybersecurity firm.

CrowdStrike helped the DNC investigate an intrusion of its systems that the firm eventually blamed on two Russian hacking groups, but there are no missing servers despite Trump’s allegation that one somehow ended up in Ukraine, a theory popular among conservative conspiracy theorists.

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According to a transcript of the July call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, which was released by the White House on Wednesday, Trump asked Zelenskiy to “find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine” as it relates to CrowdStrike and the purported missing server.

“They say CrowdStrike … I guess you have one of your wealthy people. … The server, they say Ukraine has it,” Trump said, according to the transcript.

Trump has peddled the theory that a missing server is in Ukraine. The whistleblower cited one such statement by Trump to Fox News on July 20, five days before his call with Zelenskiy: “Take a look at Ukraine. How come the FBI didn’t take this server? [Hillary Clinton 2016 campaign chairman John] Podesta told them to get out. He said, ‘Get out.’ So, how come the FBI didn’t take the server from the DNC?”

In a statement to MarketWatch on Wednesday, CrowdStrike said it had turned over all evidence in its investigation of the DNC hack to the FBI.

“With regards to our investigation of the DNC hack in 2016, we provided all forensic evidence and analysis to the FBI,” the company said. “As we’ve stated before, we stand by our findings and conclusions that have been fully supported by the U.S. Intelligence community.”

[Intel chief calls whistleblower complaint ‘unprecedented’]

DNC spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa called Trump’s allegation “complete nonsense” in a statement to the cybersecurity news site Cyberscoop.

“Trump still hasn’t accepted that Russia interfered in our election, and instead, is using a call with a foreign leader to push conspiracy theories,” she said. “This is surreal.”

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