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Why did Trump mention CrowdStrike in a call with Ukraine’s President Zelensky?

Why did Trump mention CrowdStrike in a call with Ukraine’s President Zelensky?
[Photo: Joyce N. Boghosian/The White House/Flickr]

The document released by the White House on Wednesday summarizing President Trump’s conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky mostly drew attention for Trump urging Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden.

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But Trump also made a somewhat cryptic allusion to CrowdStrike, a Bay Area cybersecurity firm perhaps best known for its role in investigating the 2016 Democratic National Committee hack that has been attributed to Russia.

“I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say CrowdStrike . . . I guess you have one of your wealthy people . . . The server, they say Ukraine has it. There are a lot of things that went on, the whole situation,” Trump said, according to the document.

It’s unclear what server Trump is referring to, but it may tie into conspiracy theories he’s promoted before about a missing server with evidence related to the DNC hack. Right-wing commentators have occasionally suggested that CrowdStrike cofounder Dmitri Alperovitch, who was born in Moscow and is now a U.S. citizen, has ties to Ukraine that motivated the company to spot Russian ties to the hack where they didn’t exist.

“CrowdStrike is run by a Ukrainian who happens to hate Russia with a passion,” the conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh said on air in 2017. “CrowdStrike, in fact, sees Russia everywhere, and if they are sourcing things for the DNC, it would not be hard to imagine CrowdStrike telling the Democrats, ‘The Russians are involved with Trump.'”

CrowdStrike officials, reported Motherboard, were as surprised as anyone else to see the firm’s name in Trump’s comments, and a statement the company shared with Fast Company seemed designed to combat any claims that CrowdStrike was concealing evidence about the hack.

“With regards to our investigation of the DNC hack in 2016, we provided all forensic evidence and analysis to the FBI,” the company said. “As we’ve stated before, we stand by our findings and conclusions that have been fully supported by the US Intelligence community.”

Still, Trump supporters quickly took to Twitter to demand an investigation into CrowdStrike, turning the security firm’s name into a viral hashtag. CrowdStrike went public earlier this year, and its stock price appeared largely unchanged Wednesday after the presidential mention.

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