Senate Panel Agrees With Intelligence Findings on Russian Election Meddling

Senate Intelligence Committee Russia meddled in 2016 to hurt Clinton and help Trump

Breaking with their House Republican counterparts, the Senate Intelligence Committee said Tuesday that the intelligence community properly concluded in January of a year ago that Russian President Vladimir Putin was trying to help Donald Trump when Moscow meddled in the 2016 election.

Congress' leading probe into the Russian meddling issue released a summary of its initial findings, which found that the "overall judgments" made by the country's leading intelligence agencies "were well-supported and the tradecraft was strong".

Of note, the committee's report also says that it "finds the difference in confidence levels between the NSA and the Central Intelligence Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation on the assessment that "Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump's election chances" appropriately represents analytic differences and was reached in a professional and transparent manner".

"The Russian effort was extensive, sophisticated and ordered by President Putin himself for the objective of helping Donald Trump and hurting Hillary Clinton", top Senate committee Democrat Mark Warner said in a joint statement at the time.

Announced in an unclassified summary, the Senate committee assessment is a firm repudiation of its counterpart in the House and Trump himself, who has rejected assertions that Moscow sought to bolster his candidacy through election meddling, The Hill noted.

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.

Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee said at the time of the majority's report's release that they had found no fault with any of the tradecraft underlying the ICA. "So many questions, so much corruption!"

The Senate panel determined the ICA is a "sound intelligence production". Richard Burr, R-N.C., said in a statement. Trump tweeted on June 28. Putin last week met with Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, and told him that there had been no interference "by the Russian state", Bolton said in a Fox News interview over the weekend.

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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.

Trump and Putin are scheduled to meet for a summit in Helsinki, Finland, on July 16.

Trump and his allies have also floated the theory - without evidence - that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and intelligence community relied extensively on an unverified dossier a former British spy Christopher Steele compiled to inform their conclusions and embark on a politically motivated "witch hunt". The document, which was compiled by a British ex-spy, did not inform the intelligence community's assessment "in any way", the Senate committee found.

The Senate committee is still in the process of preparing the classified report detailing its conclusions about the ICA, which when completed will go through a classification review with an eye towards making a version public.

Trump and his associates are the focus of an FBI investigation into whether his campaign colluded with Moscow to influence the election - something the president and his allies have vehemently denied.

According to the document, the Committee had to "rely on the Agency that classified the information and scores were reported correctly", it was questioned senior intelligence officials who are familiar with the information.

The House Intelligence Committee has been split along partisan lines, releasing Republican and Democratic versions of various reports.

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