Putin Ordered 'Influence Campaign' To Help Trump, U.S. Intelligence Report Says
The public version of the intelligence report on the investigation into Russia's interference in the U.S. elections concludes that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally ordered the "influence campaign."
"Russia's goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency," the report states. "We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump."
We are still reading through the report, which you can see here.
On Oct. 7, the U.S. first formally accused Russia of hacking the computers of the Democratic National Committee and other U.S. political organizations. "We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia's senior-most officials could have authorized these activities," the joint statement from Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said.
Since then, intelligence officials have doubled down and expanded upon the accusations. "We stand more resolutely on that statement," Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said yesterday during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, as NPR's Brian Naylor reported.
In December, the FBI threw its weight behind the CIA's assessment, as NPR's Carrie Johnson reported: "The entire intelligence community, in fact, is now in alignment that the hacks were partly motivated to try and install Trump as president."
President-elect Donald Trump has repeatedly dismissed the assessment. Earlier this afternoon, he received a briefing on the intelligence report from Clapper, CIA Director John Brennan, and FBI Director James Comey at Trump Tower in New York.
In a statement, Trump called the meeting "constructive" and added that he has "tremendous respect" for the work of the intelligence community. He did not specifically blame Russia, saying it was one of a number of countries including China that are "consistently trying to break through the cyber infrastructure of our government institutions, businesses and organizations."
Trump also stated that the hacks had "absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election." Clapper testified that the intelligence community does not believe the hacking changed vote tallies, as Brian reported.
Prior to that briefing, Trump told The New York Times he believes the continued attention on the cyberattacks is politically motivated.
"They got beaten very badly in the election. I won more counties in the election than Ronald Reagan," Trump told the Times. "They are very embarrassed about it. To some extent, it's a witch hunt. They just focus on this."
The White House announced sanctions against Russia last month in response to the cyberattacks.