Apr 21, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Senate Intel affirms that Russia interfered to help Trump in 2016

Left, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.); right, Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.)
Sens. Mark Warner (L) and Richard Burr. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

The Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday released the fourth volume of its report on Russian interference in the 2016 election, which focused on a December 2016 intelligence community assessment provided to President Obama.

Why it matters: The bipartisan report affirms the intelligence community's conclusion that Russia interfered in the election to help President Trump defeat Hillary Clinton, noting that the assessment "reflects proper analytic tradecraft despite being tasked and completed within a compressed timeframe."

The big picture: The highly redacted report breaks with an investigation by the GOP-led House Intelligence Committee in 2018, which disagreed with the intelligence agencies' assessment and concluded that the Russian government did not explicitly intend to help Trump win the election.

  • The Senate committee found "specific intelligence reporting to support the assessment that Putin and the Russian Government demonstrated a preference for candidate Trump," and that Putin "approved and directed" aspects of the interference.
  • The Senate committee also disagreed with the House's claim that the intelligence agencies did not comply with analytical standards, noting: "The Committee found the ICA presents a coherent and well-constructed intelligence basis for the case of unprecedented Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election."
  • "The Committee did not discover any significant analytic tradecraft issues in the preparation or final presentation of the ICA."

Worth noting: The report finds that U.S. intelligence agencies did not use information from the infamous Steele dossier to support its findings. The dossier was included in a highly classified annex to the assessment, which was in line with President Obama's directive.

Read the report.

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