Updated at 5:41 p.m. ET
President Trump tweeted some unexpected news Friday morning from the Group of 20 summit underway in Hamburg, Germany: “Everyone here is talking about why John Podesta refused to give the DNC server to the FBI and CIA. Disgraceful!” Trump wrote.
There is a lot on the agenda at the global economic conference — including trade, climate and Trump’s own meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin — so it came as a surprise that world leaders at the economic forum might be discussing Podesta, the man who served as Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman in 2016.
In fact, in a string of tweets in response to Trump, Podesta — mincing no words — seemed surprised, too. He ended with this thought: “Dude, get your head in the game. You’re representing the US at the G20.”
Trump’s account conflated a few details. Podesta’s emails were indeed compromised by hackers connected to Russia’s intelligence agencies, but they were not on the Democratic National Committee’s server.
Plus, as Clinton’s campaign chairman, Podesta was not involved with the DNC’s decision not to turn over its hacked servers to federal investigators. And the CIA, which spies on foreign governments, is not investigating the cyber-intrusions during the 2016 campaign — that is the FBI.
But the CIA, like the FBI and other U.S. intelligence agencies, did conclude the hacking was the work of the Russian government, even if Trump continues to have his doubts.
Later on Friday, Podesta published an op-ed on the Washington Post’s website. Podesta wrote “I had nothing to do with the Democratic National Committee. . . So there was no DNC server for me to refuse to give, and I was never asked for one.”
Podesta’s piece is headlined: “Why is Trump tweeting about me when he should be doing his job?”