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House Republican resorts to defending Trump with brazen lie about Hillary’s emails

Scott DesJarlais won't let the facts get in the way of his false narrative.

CREDIT: Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call
CREDIT: Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call

On Saturday, Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) parroted one of President Trump’s talking points, and attempted to shift blame for Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election to former President Obama.

“Add hacking to long list of Obama Admin failures to counter Russia in Ukraine, Crimea, Syria,” DesJarlais tweeted. “Canceled E. Europe missile defense. Uranium One. Iranian nuke deal, all empowered Vladimir Putin. Also, ‘extremely careless’ Hillary Clinton’s servers compromised Democrats, rest of us.”

DesJarlais’ tweet in part represents an effort to throw a bunch of stuff against the wall and see what sticks. The Uranium One “scandal,” for instance, is frequently invoked by Republicans to suggest Hillary Clinton did something wrong, when in fact she didn’t.

As ThinkProgress has detailed:

The Uranium One scandal refers to the 2010 sale of a controlling interest in Uranium One, a Canadian mining company, to Rosatom, a state-owned Russian corporation. Since the sale involved control of 20 percent of uranium reserves in the United States it required approval from the U.S. government.

The claim here is that Hillary Clinton, who was the Secretary of State at the time, approved the sale of Uranium One to Rosatom in exchange for $145 million in donations from Uranium One investors to the Clinton Foundation.

Here’s the truth: Hillary Clinton lacked the power to approve the sale, nearly all of the donations came from people who already divested in Uranium One, and the mines themselves have little strategic importance.

But DesJarlais’ tweet also contains a blatant lie about how “Hillary Clinton’s servers compromised Democrats, rest of us.”

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In fact, there is no evidence that Clinton’s private email server was ever hacked. But that isn’t because Kremlin-connected hackers didn’t make an effort.

Mueller’s latest indictment indicates that on July 27, 2016 — the same day Trump urged Russia to try and obtain Clinton’s emails during a news conference — Russian hackers “attempted after hours to spearphish for the first time email accounts at a domain hosted by a third-party provided and used by Clinton’s personal office. At or around the same time, they also targeted seventy-six email addresses at the domain for the Clinton Campaign.”

There is no indication, however, that such efforts were successful. The hacked emails that were published by WikiLeaks as part of their pro-Trump propaganda campaign came from the personal account of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and the Democratic National Committee.

While DesJarlais resorted to straight-up lying, other Republicans responded to the latest Mueller indictment with desperate gaslighting.

Unfortunately for the GOP and Giuliani, Mueller’s investigation is not over. Just because this indictment didn’t accuse any Trump campaign officials of crimes doesn’t mean future ones won’t.

Trump, meanwhile, responded to the indictment by pushing debunked conspiracy theories about the DNC hack being an inside job, and posting a string of tweets blaming Obama for not doing more to stop Russian interference before the 2016 election.