Trump’s Crowdstrike Conspiracy Isn’t Striking with the Crowd

Keith Srakocic/AP

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.

President Trump made an appearance at a pro-fracking conference in Pittsburgh yesterday, and I went downtown to keep an eye on the protests and demonstrations.

One thing that I’ve been reporting on a bit lately is the crazy Crowdstrike conspiracy theory that President Trump apparently believes. To recap: When the White House released its account of the July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, people were scratching their heads at Trump’s request that his counterpart “find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike…the server, they say Ukraine has it.”

Crowdstirke, a California-based cybersecurity firm, has been a particular focus of Trump’s since at least early 2017 when, in an interview scheduled to mark his hundredth day in office, he aired thoroughly debunked conspiracy theories suggesting that the company was part of some plot to hide who really hacked the Democratic National Committee. Although the US intelligence community has concluded Russia was responsible, if someone else had done it, it would dispel a cloud hanging over his 2016 election and undermine a key rationale that animated special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Even though his former senior advisers have told him it’s not true, and his own Department of Justice has said it’s not true, the theory hangs on with the president and his supporters in Congress, two of whom brought it up in an election security hearing this week.

The president cared enough about the theory to include it in the broader push for Ukrainian investigations that now imperils his presidency. But are his supporters anywhere near as interested? While I was downtown, I asked a few Trump supporters demonstrating on the president’s behalf outside the event about Crowdstrike, to find out. And in short, they’re not.

Joe Herman of Pittsburgh told me that “there’s lots of issues concerning the whole horizon of what’s going on in this country politically and socially… I wouldn’t say it’s one of the big, main focal points among Trump supporters that I’ve heard.”

Randy Rodosky, a Trump supporter from Munhall, Pennsylvania, claimed he’d heard about it “on basic news, and I’ve heard it on Fox News.” But when I asked him for details he didn’t have any, and instead performed a familiar pivot. “What Hillary Clinton did was absolutely beyond excuse, and that’s all I can say. I don’t think Trump did anything wrong…Hillary Clinton’s 30,000 deleted emails tell it all.”

“I don’t really know anything about computers,” said one man I spoke to about the Crowdstrike theory. That may have been true, but the next thing he told me illustrated the value of the president’s conspiracies, even if his supporters don’t grasp the details: “I do definitely believe that he wouldn’t have brought it up if there wasn’t something there.”

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.