Senate Intel Committee: Campaign Operation to Help Trump Was Ordered by Putin

Senate Intel Committee: Campaign Operation to Help Trump Was Ordered by Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin holds a meeting with Defense Ministry senior officials on May 15, 2018. (Sergey Guneev/Sputnik via AP)

WASHINGTON — Senate Intelligence Committee leaders said their review of the intelligence community assessment of Russia’s campaign influence operation found that the order to help the Trump campaign came from the top.

Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Vice-Chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.) have led a 14-month probe into Russian activities in the 2016 election season, including the intentions of the Kremlin.

The committee held a closed-door hearing on their final report this morning, with testimony from former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former Director of CIA John Brennan, and former Director of NSA Mike Rogers.

After the report is finalized by staff, it will be submitted for a classification review to determine which parts can be released to the public.

“The first task in our inquiry was to evaluate the Intelligence Community’s work on this important piece of analysis,” Burr said in a statement, stressing that committee staff reviewed the “sources, tradecraft, and analytic work” that went into the IC’s assessment, “and we see no reason to dispute the conclusions.”

“There is no doubt that Russia undertook an unprecedented effort to interfere with our 2016 elections,” Burr said. “I look forward to completing the committee’s inquiry and issuing our findings and recommendations to the American people.”

In a statement issued jointly with Burr, Warner said the intelligence community “did a very good job” with the January 2017 report, “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections,” despite being on a tight schedule.

“After a thorough review, our staff concluded that the ICA conclusions were accurate and on point,” Warner said. “The Russian effort was extensive, sophisticated, and ordered by President Putin himself for the purpose of helping Donald Trump and hurting Hillary Clinton.”

“In order to protect our democracy from future threats, we must understand what happened in 2016,” he added. “And while our committee’s investigation remains ongoing, one thing is already abundantly clear – we have to do a better job in the future if we want to protect our elections from foreign interference.”

The Senate Intelligence panel has maintained unity throughout their investigation, while only Republicans approved the House Intelligence Committee majority’s findings in April. The House report disputed the IC’s conclusion that Russia preferred Trump over Clinton, and tailored their influence operations toward that end.

Democrats objected to bringing the House investigation to a close, arguing that there were many investigative paths ignored or not followed by Republicans.

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