Senate Report Provides New Details of Russian Meddling in 2016 Presidential Election

A bipartisan investigation into Russian efforts to influence the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election found that Moscow successfully used a complex web of operatives and active measures to ensnare members of President Donald Trump’s campaign, in some cases, leaving the incoming administration open to manipulation. The report concluded, among other things, that Trump’s 2016 campaign chairman Paul Manafort posed a “grave counterintelligence threat” because of his dealings with people close to the Kremlin. But it also found that the FBI’s investigation of the Russian meddling in the election was “flawed.” FILE – Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort talks to reporters on the floor of the Republican National Convention at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, July 17, 2016.Released Tuesday by the Senate Intelligence Committee, the report is the fifth on the subject by the committee and the culmination of more than three years of work. It includes hundreds of witness interviews and the review of more than 1 million pages of documents.The report focuses on key players from Russia and the Trump campaign, as well as efforts undertaken by Russian intelligence and organizations like the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, which according to the report, “likely knew it was assisting a Russian intelligence influence effort.” Although the report does not find evidence that Trump campaign officials willingly and knowingly worked with Russia to win the election, committee investigators concluded that whether due to ambition or naivety, key officials were indifferent to the possibility help was coming from the Kremlin. With WikiLeaks and its release of documents obtained during Russia’s hack of the Democratic National Committee’s computer services, for example, the report found the Trump campaign, “sought to maximize the impact of those leaks to aid Trump’s electoral prospects.” “The Trump Campaign publicly undermined the attribution of the hack-and-leak campaign to Russia and was indifferent to whether it and WikiLeaks were furthering a Russian election interference effort,” the report added. The Senate report raises especially deep concerns about the role of Manafort, a Republican political operative and international lobbyist who joined the Trump campaign in March 2016.  “Manafort’s presence on the Campaign and proximity to Trump created opportunities for Russian intelligence services to exert influence over, and acquire confidential information,” the report said. Manafort was convicted of tax and bank fraud charges during a separate investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller. He was released from prison to home confinement earlier this year.  FILE – Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks during a Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill, May 5, 2020.“We can say, without any hesitation, that the Committee found absolutely no evidence that then-candidate Donald Trump or his campaign colluded with the Russian government to meddle in the 2016 election,” said acting chairman, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio. No Hoax: Bipartisan Probe Says US Intelligence Made Right Call on Russian Election MeddlingA newly issued bipartisan report says the top US intelligence agencies made the right call when they traced the plot back to Russian President Vladimir Putin 


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