Scalise says Trump's Ukraine quid pro quo was about Hillary's emails


Steve Scalise rehashed a debunked conspiracy theory to defend Trump's actions at a recent pro-Trump rally.

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), the second-highest-ranking Republican in the House and a key Donald Trump ally, embraced a conspiracy theory espoused by Trump and Fox News at a rally on Thursday.

Speaking at the pro-Trump event outside the Capitol, Scalise regurgitated the conspiracy while defending Trump against impeachment.

According to Scalise, Trump asked the president of Ukraine to "help us investigate what happened in that 2016 election."

"[Hillary Clinton] beat the server down like a drum, she put bleach on it, she put it in a shredder. It could be in the bottom of the Potomac for all we know, but we never got to find out the details," he said.

In response, the audience made the now familiar "lock her up" chant.

The story Scalise is pushing has repeatedly been debunked and has only stayed in the public consciousness due to Trump's obsession with the tale, driven by repeated segments on Fox News.

After its servers were hacked in 2016, the Democratic National Committee had them examined by the security firm Crowdstrike. It turned over the copies of its server that had been made by the firm to the FBI as part of its investigation.

Despite that, conservatives have claimed that Crowdstrike's purported connection to Ukraine means that a server is in that country. But that simply isn't true.

"A publicly-traded company headquartered in California, Crowdstrike has nothing to do with Ukraine, except in conspiracyland, which pretends that Crowdstrike co-founder Dmitri Alperovitch is Ukrainian, and that he framed Russia for election interference both on the DNC’s orders and to punish Putin for invading his homeland," the Daily Beast reported last month, debunking the tale.

Scalise also mixed the Crowdstrike story with another conservative obsession: how Clinton's email server was handled after the investigation during the 2016 election.

Scalise, Trump, and others have claimed that the machine was somehow physically treated with bleach.

"The software used to delete Clinton's emails is free, and no chemicals were used," noted in 2015. "The FBI said that Platte River Networks, which set up and maintained Clinton’s server, used an open-source software program called BleachBit."

Despite the claims lacking validity, they have been at the center of Trump's political activities. Seeking to deflect attention away from Trump's misdeeds, Scalise invoked these same falsehoods.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.