Senate panel finds Russia’s 2016 election meddling ‘far more extensive’ than IC

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has endorsed the findings of several U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election to aid President Trump’s bid to win the White House.

In an appraisal of its 16-month probe looking into allegations Russia meddled in the presidential election released on Tuesday, the Senate committee found the conclusions drawn by the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) in early 2017 were correct.

In a seven-page report released by Senate Intelligence Committee chairman, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), the committee determined:

“While the ICA briefly discussed the activities of the Internet Research Agency, the Committee’s investigation has exposed a far more extensive Russian effort to manipulate social media outlets to sow discord and to interfere in the 2016 election and American society.”

In a joint statement describing the ICA evaluation as “accurate and on point,” the ranking Democrat on the committee, Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, said:

“The Russian effort was extensive and sophisticated, and its goals were to undermine public faith in the democratic process, to hurt Secretary Clinton and to help Donald Trump.”

The Senate panel drew conclusions despite acknowledging variations in opinion between three intelligence-gathering agencies, the CIA, FBI and the NSA.

The report characterizes discrepancies between the CIA and FBI, both of which determined a “high confidence” in Russia’s desire to help Mr. Trump and the NSA, which found only a “moderate confidence” in the Kremlin’s desire to abet Trump’s bid for the White House, to be the result of “reasonable and transparent analytical disagreement.”

The Senate update did not broach the question of alleged collusion with the Trump campaign, but did pledge to eventually address the so-called Trump Dossier.

The panel’s account of alleged Russian election meddling follows a House Select Committee on Intelligence report released in April.

The conclusion of the House report stated no evidence existed to support the claim the Trump campaign colluded with Russia or Russian officials to win the 2016 presidential election.

Similarly, the House report concluded Trump campaign officials were not involved with the theft or publication of Clinton campaign emails.  The House report did however determine some Trump officials maintained “ill-advised” contact with whistleblowing platform, Wikileaks.

 

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