Republican Senator John Kennedy walked back comments he made Sunday supporting the debunked theory that Ukraine hacked the Democratic National Committee server in 2016, acknowledging that all evidence points to Russia as the culprit.
"I was wrong," Kennedy said in an interview on CNN Monday evening. "The only evidence I have, and I think it's overwhelming, is that it was Russia to tried to hack the DNC computer."
Kennedy claimed that he misheard a question from Fox News anchor Chris Wallace on Sunday evening, after Wallace asked whether he believed Russia was responsible for the 2016 hack. Wallace noted that the U.S. intelligence community has overwhelmingly concluded that Russia, and not Ukraine, hacked the DNC server.
Kennedy responded that "it could also be Ukraine," and added that "I don't know, nor do you, nor do any of us," whether Ukraine was responsible for the hack.
Kennedy told CNN anchor Chris Cuomo on Monday evening that he misunderstood Wallace's question, saying that he thought Wallace had asked whether Russia was the only actor to interfere in the 2016 election, and Kennedy did not want to rule out potential Ukrainian involvement.
Kennedy's comments echo a conspiracy theory promoted by President Trump and his allies, that Ukraine hacked the server and still possesses thousands of DNC emails. Several witnesses who have testified in open hearings as part of the impeachment inquiry have vehemently objected to this belief, saying there is no evidence of any Ukrainian involvement.
Fiona Hill, a former National Security Council adviser on Russia, told the House Intelligence Committee last week that the idea Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election was "a fictional narrative being propagated by the Russian security services themselves." She added that the "impact of the successful 2016 Russian campaign remains evident today."
"Our nation is being torn apart," she said. "Truth is questioned. Our highly professional and expert career foreign service is being undermined.