Senate Panel Backs Spy Agencies on Russia’s Preference for Trump

(Bloomberg) -- The bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee concluded that the nation’s spy agencies correctly assessed that Russia interfered with the 2016 election in order to hurt Democrat Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump and weren’t subject to political pressure.

The panel Tuesday released the fourth volume of its review of Russian election meddling in the U.S., a review of the intelligence community’s assessments, and delivered a warning about continued attempts to interfere with U.S. politics by Russia.

Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican, and Vice Chairman Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, said the assessment was backed up by the intelligence that the committee reviewed.

“The Committee found no reason to dispute the Intelligence Community’s conclusions,” Burr said.

Warner said the intelligence assessment “correctly found the Russians interfered in our 2016 election to hurt Secretary Clinton and help the candidacy of Donald Trump. Our review of the highly classified ICA and underlying intelligence found that this and other conclusions were well-supported.”

Both senators warned about a threat to the 2020 elections.

“With the 2020 presidential election approaching, it’s more important than ever that we remain vigilant against the threat of interference from hostile foreign actors,” Burr said.

“There is certainly no reason to doubt that the Russians’ success in 2016 is leading them to try again in 2020, and we must not be caught unprepared,” Warner said.

Most of the 158-page report is blacked out to protect classified information.

Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat and committee member, criticized Trump directly in an addendum to the report, including his attitude regarding Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Russian interference in the 2016 election is a fact and Donald Trump’s deference to Putin only serves to further Russian disinformation and undermine efforts to defend the United States against ongoing attacks,” Wyden said.

Wyden also said the report undermines Trump’s assertions about Ukraine’s involvement in election interference, because the intelligence clearly showed Russia was responsible for the intrusion into the networks of the Democratic National Committee.

Wyden said their review is “fundamentally incompatible with Trump’s conspiracy theories about Ukrainian involvement, for which there is no supporting evidence of any kind.”

The committee’s final report is still being written. It has previously released reports on a Russian social media campaign, efforts by Russia to target state election-related computer systems in 2016 and the actions taken by President Barack Obama’s administration to counter Russian efforts.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.