Fox News' Chris Wallace Confronts GOP Senator for Believing Ukraine May Have Interfered in the 2016 U.S. Election

Fox News host Chris Wallace confronted a Republican politician on television Sunday who refused to openly disagree with President Donald Trump in saying that it was Russia, not Ukraine, that had interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

A clip of the interaction on Fox News Sunday between Wallace and Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana was shared on Mediaite. The two were discussing the ongoing Trump impeachment inquiry, which began because of the president's request of the Ukrainian government to investigate former Vice President and 2020 presidential contender Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

Wallace reminded Kennedy that the president and many of his supporters have maintained that it was the government of Ukraine, not Russia, that interfered in U.S. politics by hacking the Democratic National Committee and computers of Hillary Clinton campaign staffers during the 2016 presidential election.

Wallace played an audio clip in which the president suggested that Ukraine had interfered in the election. The Fox News host then asked Kennedy who he believed was to blame for hacking the DNC and Clinton campaign computers—Ukraine, or Russia?

"I don't know, nor do you, nor do any others," Kennedy answered.

"Let me just interrupt to say the entire intelligence community says it was Russia," Wallace said.

As Wallace said, the theory has been roundly rejected by the entire intelligence community of the United States. Dr. Fiona Hill, a former National Security Council official in the Trump administration and an expert on Russia, thoroughly dismissed it in her testimony on Thursday, when she served as an expert witness in the impeachment inquiry hearing. Hill said that the idea of Ukraine interfering in the election was a "fictional narrative" that the Kremlin has propagated in the hope of deflecting blame for itself.

But Kennedy would not say that he agreed with Hill's statement and American intelligence, but rather maintained that it could have really been Ukraine that tried to interfere in the U.S. presidential election. What Hill said on Thursday, according to Kennedy, was only her opinion.

"I'm not saying that I know one way or the other," he said. "I'm saying that Ms. Hill is entitled to her opinion, but no rebuttal evidence was allowed to be offered."

Some of the defenders of the president have claimed that the testimony of expert witnesses in the impeachment hearings is only their "opinion." For example, Brian Kilmeade, a colleague of Wallace on Fox News, said earlier this month that the testimony of another witness and expert on Ukraine, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, was only one person's "opinion."

Nevertheless, as CNN has reported, U.S. intelligence has repeatedly pointed to Russia as the election meddlers. At least nine witnesses in the impeachment inquiry have outright said that the theory that Ukraine is to blame was false or that they do not know of any evidence to corroborate the opinions of the president and his supporters.

At the conclusion of their conversation on Fox News Sunday, Wallace told Kennedy that it was "always interesting to talk to [him] and even more interesting to listen to [him]."

Senator John Kennedy
Senator John Kennedy, a Republican from Louisiana, leaves a meeting with Senate Republicans on Capitol Hill November 29, 2017 in Washington, DC. Zach Gibson/Getty