Senate intel panel breaks with Trump and House Republicans, concludes Russia meddled in the 2016 election to help Trump and hurt Clinton

  • The Senate Intelligence Committee leaders said Wednesday that they agreed with the US intelligence community’s assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 election to help President Donald Trump.
  • “The Russian effort was extensive, sophisticated, and ordered by President Putin himself for the purpose of helping Donald Trump and hurting Hillary Clinton,” Sen. Mark Warner, the committee’s vice chairman, said.
  • The findings depart from the House Intelligence Committee’s report last month, which implied that Russia’s goal was more to sow discord than specifically aid Trump.

Russia interfered in the United States’ 2016 presidential election with the intention of helping President Donald Trump and hurting his opponent Hillary Clinton, the bipartisan leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee said Wednesday.

Their statements affirmed the US intelligence community’s assessment, and departed from the findings of the House Intelligence Committee last month, which implied that Moscow’s goal was to sow discord in the US and not necessarily to help Trump.

The House report had argued that the intelligence community “did not employ proper analytic tradecraft” in gauging Russian President Vladimir Putin’s intentions.

“There is no doubt that Russia undertook an unprecedented effort to interfere with our 2016 elections,” Senate committee Chairman Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican, said in a statement. “Committee staff have spent 14 months reviewing the sources, tradecraft, and analytic work, and we see no reason to dispute the conclusions.”

The committee’s vice chairman, Democrat Mark Warner, added in the statement that the intelligence community’s assessments were “accurate and on point.”

“The Russian effort was extensive, sophisticated, and ordered by President Putin himself for the purpose of helping Donald Trump and hurting Hillary Clinton,” Warner continued. “One thing is already abundantly clear – we have to do a better job in the future if we want to protect our elections from foreign interference.”

Trump has long contested the intelligence community’s assertion that Russia favoured his candidacy, and shot down claims that his campaign colluded with Moscow.

“House Intelligence Committee rules that there was NO COLLUSION between the Trump Campaign and Russia,” he tweeted after the House Intelligence Committee released its report. “As I have been saying all along, it is all a big Hoax by the Democrats based on payments and lies. There should never have been a Special Counsel appointed. Witch hunt!”

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