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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Video: Trump on DNC Server

In this week’s fact-checking video, CNN’s Jake Tapper reviews a statement that President Donald Trump made about the FBI investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

At a July 16 press conference in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump was asked by a reporter, “Who do you believe?” — Putin, who denies that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, or U.S. intelligence agencies, which have concluded that Russian agents hacked into the Democratic National Committee computer server and released hacked DNC emails to help Trump’s election chances.

In response, Trump suggested that the FBI’s investigation was compromised because its investigators did not get access to the DNC server. 

“I’ve been asking that for months and months and I’ve been tweeting it out and calling it out on social media. Where is the server?” Trump said. “I want to know where is the server and what is the server saying?”

Then-FBI Director James Comey testified last year that the FBI did not get access to the server, but the DNC hired a private cybersecurity firm that shared its forensic analysis of the DNC server with the FBI.

“[W]e got the forensics from the pros that they hired which — again, best practice is always to get access to the machines themselves, but this — my folks tell me was an appropriate substitute,” Comey said in a March 20, 2017, exchange with Rep. Will Hurd of Texas about the DNC server.

Comey’s testimony that the private forensic analysis was “an appropriate substitute” has since been borne out by the July 13 indictment of 12 members of GRU, the Russian military intelligence agency. 

The GRU officers “engaged in a sustained effort to hack into the computer networks of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Democratic National Committee, and the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton, and released that information on the internet under the names ‘DCLeaks’ and ‘Guccifer 2.0’ and through another entity,” according to the Justice Department.

Tapper’s latest video, which is based on our story “Trump’s Remarks on Putin and the Russia Investigation,” is part of a collaboration with CNN’s “State of the Union with Jake Tapper.” Previous videos can be found on our website.