Facts Matter: Trump's claims during Helsinki summit: What about the server?

 
 
Updated 7/21/2018 5:34 PM
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  • President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrive Monday for a joint news conference at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland.

    President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrive Monday for a joint news conference at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland. Associated Press

  • North Dakota Democrats criticized GOP Senate candidate Kevin Cramer's mileage claims, but The Associated Press said they check out.

    North Dakota Democrats criticized GOP Senate candidate Kevin Cramer's mileage claims, but The Associated Press said they check out.

Amid questions about Russia's interference in U.S. elections during a joint news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin last week in Helsinki, Finland, President Donald Trump frequently brought up "the server."

"I wanna know, where is the server?" Trump said.

The server is connected to conspiracy theories involving Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party the president pushed during the summit, according to NBC News.

Is there any accuracy to those theories?

The FBI said the Democratic National Committee rejected efforts by the FBI to examine its servers after allegations of Russian hacking, NBC News reported. The DNC claims the FBI never asked to see the server. The DNC reportedly had a private security firm look into FBI information pointing to a breach of the servers.

It's unclear what Trump was referring to when he said the FBI "was told to leave" the DNC office, NBC News said.

"What happened to Hillary Clinton's emails?" Trump asked during the news conference. "33,000 emails gone, just gone."

Clinton was investigated after using a private email server while serving as secretary of state, according to NBC News. While 33,000 emails were indeed deleted from that server, thousands were recovered by the FBI.

'No evidence' of Awan role

"What happened to the servers of the Pakistani gentleman that worked on the DNC?" Trump said last week in Helsinki.

Imran Awan, a Pakistani-American information technology aide to Democratic members of Congress, was denied access last year after he and four other IT specialists were accused of violating House security rules, according to The Washington Post. The president called for the prosecution of Awan, referenced in a Trump tweet as the "Pakistani mystery man."

An 18-month investigation that concluded earlier this month found "no evidence" Awan had "violated federal law with respect to the House computer systems," officials said, according to the Post.

Trump had tried to tie Awan to the hacking of the DNC server, the Post said.

On July 3 Awan pleaded guilty to an unrelated felony charge of supplying false information on an application for a home-equity loan, the Post said. At that time, officials said prosecutors investigated and debunked an exhaustive list of "public allegations" against Awan.

Mileage reimbursement checks out

A North Dakota Republican has been criticized by state Democrats for "implausible" mileage reimbursements.

But GOP Senate candidate Kevin Cramer actually did travel the more than 2,000 miles he claimed in the first quarter of the year, according to The Associated Press.

Cramer, the state's only U.S. House representative, expensed $1,152 while traversing the 69,001 square land miles of North Dakota's campaign trail, AP said. Cramer is challenging Democratic incumbent Sen. Heidi Heitkamp in the November election.

Cramer's claims were substantiated by the Associated Press, which mapped his travels and verified his attendance at events, including a 420-mile trip for an appearance by Vice President Mike Pence in Fargo, North Dakota.

The state's Democratic-Nonpartisan League Party had created a satirical video game, titled "Crooked Cramer's Road Trip," featuring an animation of Cramer driving a pickup truck, AP said.

Baby sitter didn't suspend infant

A fake story hit social media this month purporting that a Florida baby sitter had been arrested after the parents arrived home to find their 1-month-old suspended from a ceiling fan.

The World News Daily Report, an "entertainment" website with a "penchant for junk news," published the false story, according to Snopes.com.

The World News Daily Report website claims its content is "entirely fictional," Snopes said.

Another clue the account isn't true would be the images included with the story, Snopes said. The mug shot of the baby sitter was taken from a 2015 arrest of several employees at Desyre's Gentlemen's Club in Houston on charges of prostitution and gambling. The photo of police officers is from a New York Times story after the June 2016 shooting that left nearly 50 people dead at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

• Bob Oswald is a veteran Chicago-area journalist and former news editor of the Elgin Courier-News. Contact him at boboswald33@gmail.com.

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