Mitt Romney and Lindsey Graham say Ukraine didn't meddle in 2016 election

Sen. John Kennedy, arrives at the Capitol in Washington on Oct. 4 2018

While U.S. intelligence services have repeatedly pointed to Russian Federation as the entity behind the DNC hack, some Republicans and Trump media allies have pushed unvetted claims about Ukraine also being involved in an attempt to justify the president's delay of $400 in military aid to the country.

Asked by another senator if Giuliani remained involved in Ukraine diplomacy, Hale replied, "Not that I'm aware of".

Republican Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah and Lindsey Graham of SC insisted on Tuesday that Ukraine had not meddled in the 2016 presidential election, pushing back against a debunked conspiracy theory being promoted by President Donald Trump and many of his supporters, including the authors of the recent Republican impeachment report.

"It doesn't mean that Russian Federation didn't, but I think North Korea did", he said.

"No", he replied when Menendez asked him if Russian meddling in the election was a "hoax", a word often used by Trump. "They did try to undercut Clinton".

In a Senate Foreign Relations hearing on US policy toward Russia, David Hale, the department's undersecretary for political affairs, succinctly summed up the findings of the USA intelligence community in response to questioning from the panel's top Democrat, Sen. "I have no knowledge that the Ukraine did anything to interfere with our elections other than press reports and to suggest that we know that I think would be a stretch because I don't think anybody knows that". To Graham's dismay, this false narrative is now being championed by his Republican colleagues in the House and Senate as they strive to defend Trump against impeachment. The committee went so far as to interview former Democratic National Committee operative Alexandra Chalupa - a central figure in theories that say Ukraine interfered in the election - before closing that aspect of their probe, according to the sources.

Menendez then quoted from the public impeachment testimony of Fiona Hill, the former top Russia expert on the White House National Security Council, who two weeks ago described the theory pushed by Trump and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani as a "fictional narrative that is being perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves".

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