Senate Panel Supports 2016 Russian Meddling Assessment

04 Juillet, 2018, 15:31 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau

According to public records and congressional officials, the Senate Intelligence Committee report is the latest of four election-related inquiries on which the panel's Republicans and Democrats continue to cooperate.

The report endorses the January 6, 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment, or ICA, finding Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 with the goals of undermining Americans' faith in the democratic process and denigrating former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

A special counsel, Robert Mueller, is investigating possible collusion between Russian Federation and members of Trump's campaign team. The panel previously issued election security recommendations, and separately announced that it concurs with the Intelligence Community finding that Russian Federation tried to help Trump.

Richard Burr, the Republican chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, said in a statement that it "sees no reason to dispute the conclusions" of the January 2017 intelligence report.

Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee charged that the Republican investigation was meant to help protect Trump, not uncover collusion, and they have questioned the Republicans' findings about the intelligence community report.

Earlier this year, Republicans on the House intelligence committee concluded there was no collusion or coordination between Trump's presidential campaign and Russian Federation. The committee said intelligence analysts they interviewed reported "no politically motivated pressure to reach any conclusions", and noted that the CIA and Federal Bureau of Investigation had "high confidence" that Russian Federation favored Trump, while the National Security Agency had "moderate confidence".

He is supported by a group of rightwing Republican congressmen led by Devin Nunes of California, the chairman of the House intelligence committee.

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The Senate committee's bipartisan conclusion comes at a potentially awkward time for Trump, who is scheduled to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 16 in Helsinki, Finland.

The committee said it perused thousands of pages of documents and conducted interviews with relevant parties that helped the CIA, FBI and National Security Agency compile its review about Russian meddling.

The committee found the assessment to be "a sound intelligence product".

"In all the interviews of those who drafted and prepared the ICA, the committee heard consistently that analysts were under no politically motivated pressure to reach any conclusions", the committee wrote.

The intelligence community determined that the Kremlin meant to "denigrate" and "harm" Clinton, and "undermine public faith in the US democratic process" while helping Trump.

The panel chose to release its latest update, reaffirming the process by which the intelligence community developed its assessment, less than two weeks before Trump and Putin are scheduled to hold a summit in Helsinki. "All analysts expressed that they were free to debate, object to content, and assess confidence levels, as is normal and proper for the analytic process".

She further declined to say whether the president would entertain a request by Russian Federation to lift election-related economic sanctions.

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