The fact-checkers went into overdrive after President Trump’s joint press conference with Vladimir Putin Monday, with The New York Times, for example, publishing “8 Suspect Claims From the Trump-Putin News Conference.”

Among those suspect claims was Trump’s assertion that the DNC never handed over its hacked servers to the FBI. Linda Qiu said Trump’s claim was misleading:

Mr. Trump is conflating two issues and referring to conspiracy theories that the Justice Department has rejected.

He is right that F.B.I. agents never examined the Democratic National Committee servers themselves. However, agents instead coordinated with the D.N.C. to obtain forensics from a third-party security firm that James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, described to Congress last year as an “appropriate substitute.”

Oh, so agents coordinated with a third-party security firm that James Comey said was an appropriate substitute. Well, as long as Comey was satisfied. The Washington Examiner’s Byron York, however, took notice of the “he is right” part of those fact-checks.

It’s right there in the transcript: the DNC didn’t turn over the servers. And as Comey noted, best practice is to get access to the machines themselves. So why the end-run around the easiest and best possible course of action? Was the FBI somehow incapable of doing the work?

So, was Trump lying when he said, “You have groups that are wondering why the FBI never took the server”?

Reminds us of Hillary’s IT guy who “accidentally” ran BleachBit on her email server, wiping the drive — after asking around on Reddit if there was some way to “remove or replace [the] to/from address on archived emails.” He pleaded the Fifth, by the way.

To be fair, there are plenty arguing that this is a tech issue and disk images are as good if not better than the actual machines (even if Comey testified otherwise).

But before anyone jumps on us for pushing a conspiracy theory, we’d just like to say we’d have much more confidence if the FBI had examined the servers themselves rather than asking permission and relying on a third-party. Is that wrong?

Maybe DNC Chair Tom Perez can clear all this up once and for all … or maybe not.


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