When pressed on whether he believes that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election, CNN reported Tuesday afternoon that Graham told reporters that he doubts Ukraine was behind the hacking of the DNC and Clinton email computers.
“I don’t know. I do believe — I’ve got no doubt that it was the Russians who stole the DNC emails. It wasn’t the Ukraine,” Graham said, according to CNN. “Russia was behind the stolen DNC emails and [John] Podesta and all that good stuff.
Graham then mentioned “articles about Ukrainian officials talking to Democratic officials,” such as a Politico report, that he doesn’t know “if that’s true or not.”
“I’ve had nobody in the intelligence community verify that. I’m hoping somebody’s looking at that,” Graham said, according to CNN. “I just want to know, did it happen.”
Graham’s assurance that Russia was behind the hack stands in opposition to how he responded in 2016 when was asked to weigh in on election interference: “Are you making that shit up?” he asked a reporter.
“I don’t know if it’s true or not. But let somebody look, but when it comes to hacking into the DNC, that was all Russia. The Ukraine had nothing to do with it,” Graham said Tuesday, before arguing that “it wouldn’t be much of a stretch” to think that Paul Manafort dealt with Ukrainian enemies, according to CNN. “So as to the Ukraine, they had zero to do with the hacking of the DNC and the stealing of the emails. Whether or not people from the Ukraine met with DNC operatives, I don’t know. All I’ve seen is press reports that no one has validated.”
Graham’s remarks come hours after Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) appeared to retract his retraction of Trump’s DNC-Ukraine conspiracy theory, according to a CNN report. Kennedy dismissed the public testimony of former NSC senior director Fiona Hill, who testified last month that conspiracy theories about Ukraine meddling in the 2016 election formed a “fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves.”
Although he isn’t touting Trump’s DNC-Ukraine conspiracy theory, Graham launched a probe last week that gives credence to Republicans’ baseless conspiracy theory that Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden attempted to oust the top prosecutor in Ukraine to protect his son, Hunter, who was serving on the board of a Ukrainian company at the time.
Read CNN’s report here.