Senate panel backs intel assessment that Russian Federation helped Trump win

Bipartisan Senate panel backs intelligence assessment of 2016 Russian election meddling and the Kremlin's efforts to help President Trump

Bipartisan Senate panel backs intelligence assessment of 2016 Russian election meddling and the Kremlin's efforts to help President Trump

The Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday backed up conclusions from US intelligence agencies that Moscow interfered in the 2016 election with the aim of helping President Donald Trump win, releasing an unclassified report that called the intelligence assessment solid.

The committee's report stated unequivocally that it concurred with the ICA's assessment that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign aimed at the election, and that he and the Russian government had developed "a clear preference for President-elect Trump".

In May, Senate Intelligence Committee leaders backed the 2017 intel community report that formally accused Russian Federation of trying to interfere in the election to the Trump campaign's benefit.

Tuesday's publication by the committee further isolates Trump, who has repeatedly cast doubt on the conclusion that his campaign was aided by Putin and highlighted denials by the Russian president.

While Republicans in the House have openly aimed to discredit the Justice Department's investigation into the Trump campaign's Russian ties, Tuesday's seven-page report saw the Senate committee's Republicans siding with U.S. intelligence and law enforcement, including the FBI.

Photo/Susan WalshThe Senate Intelligence Committee's initial report on the January 2017 ICA on Russian election meddling found the assessment was "well supported".

The committee is conducting one of two ongoing Capitol Hill probes into Russian interference in the 2016 election as well as possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

The Committee found that the ICA provided a range of all-source reporting to support these assessments. "So many questions, so much corruption!"

Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, the ranking Democrat on the committee, said the panel thoroughly reviewed all aspects of the intelligence agencies' work leading up to its assessment.

The Senate panel determined the ICA is a "sound intelligence production". Democrats have said that the panel's Republicans, led by Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., are trying to protect Trump.

"As numerous intelligence and national security officials in the Trump administration have since unanimously re-affirmed, the ICA findings were accurate and on point", Warner said.

The intelligence agencies found that Russians had engaged in cyber-espionage and distributed messages through Russian-controlled propaganda outlets to undermine public faith in the democratic process, "denigrate" Clinton and develop a "clear preference" for Trump.

The lawsuit was filed previous year by two major DNC donors - Roy Cockrum and Eric Schoenberg - and former DNC staffer Scott Comer, who accused Trump and his former adviser, Roger Stone, of engaging in a conspiracy with unidentified Russian agents and WikiLeaks to publish hacked emails in July 2016. The Senate report comes ahead of Trump's summit with Putin in Helsinki on July 16, at which Trump is expected to raise the issue of Russian interference in the polls.

The Senate's report said none of the analysts contributing to it provided any indication their findings resulted from political or other demands, saying it "heard consistently that analysts were under no politically motivated pressure to reach any conclusions".

Trump and his associates are now under FBI investigation over whether his campaign colluded with Moscow during the election, an accusation the president and his allies have vehemently denied.

House Republicans have contended that the Russian Federation investigation went awry well before Mueller's appointment because it depended on an anti-Trump dossier gathered by former British spy Christopher Steele and financed by Democrats and Clinton's campaign.

According to the document, the Committee had to "rely on the Agency that classified the information and scores were reported correctly", it was questioned senior intelligence officials who are familiar with the information.

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