Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Washington, DC, United States (4E) – Russia did indeed launch a broad campaign to influence the 2016 presidential election by promoting the candidacy of Donald Trump and discrediting Hillary Clinton, concluded an official bipartisan report from the Senate Intelligence Committee. In so doing, the committee rejected Trump’s unfounded and relentless arguments that Russia did no such thing.
The slap to Trump’s face makes the committee the latest body to officially conclude that the Russian government interfered in the election. With full bipartisan support, the committee released an unclassified seven-page report based on an extensive investigation into the U.S. intelligence community’s January 2017 assessment that Russia carried out a campaign to get Trump elected president.
The committee concluded the assessment, which was ordered by former president Barack Obama, is a “sound intelligence product” prepared by analysts who “were under no politically motivated pressure to reach any conclusions.” The assessment was also based on a “range of all-source reporting,” most of which remains classified.
All the senators that reviewed the January 2017 intelligence community assessment (including the most senior officials of the Trump administration) endorsed the conclusions that the Russians hacked the Democratic National Committee and undertook a wide range of other measures to interfere in the U.S. election.
The committee emphasized the extent of its inquiry into the issue and the bipartisan nature of its findings.
“The committee has spent the last 16 months reviewing the sources, tradecraft and analytic work underpinning the Intelligence Community Assessment and sees no reason to dispute the conclusions,” said Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), the panel’s chairman.
Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), the committee’s vice chair, called the intelligence community findings “accurate and on point,” adding that the Russian effort was “extensive and sophisticated.”
The committee said that it learned about new intelligence and analysis that strengthened the case for the Kremlin’s election meddling, including additional information about Russia’s attempts to infiltrate state election systems and manipulate social media platforms.
Trump still believes otherwise and says he believes Russia when it said it didn’t interfere. After the release of the report, Trump tweeted, “Russia continues to say they had nothing to with meddling in our Election!”
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