Senate panel backs intelligence agencies on Russia-Trump conclusions

Senate panel backs up intelligence agencies says Russia aimed to help Trump in election

Senate panel backs up intelligence agencies says Russia aimed to help Trump in election

The Senate Intelligence Committee continues to back up the findings of the intelligence community about Russia's efforts to meddle in the 2016 presidential election, according to a new update.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has a report out today backing up the conclusions of the intel community assessment (ICA) on Russian meddling and the Russians' preference for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton.

The update includes a finding of inconsistency in confidence level between the National Security Agency, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and CIA with respect to Russian President Vladimir Putin's efforts to help the prospects for electing Donald Trump by denigrating Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Photo/Susan WalshThe Senate Intelligence Committee's initial report on the January 2017 ICA on Russian election meddling found the assessment was "well supported".

Vice Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) speaks to the media about the committee's findings and recommendations on threats to election infrastructure on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 20, 2018. "So many questions, so much corruption!"

In a statement from Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.), the committee wrote that the "overall judgments" made by agencies that make up the US intelligence community "were well-supported and the tradecraft was strong".

The committee found that the assessment was a "sound intelligence product" and that the conclusions were "reached in a professional and transparent manner". Burr (R-N.C.), the panel's chairman, said in a statement.

The ICA said that while Moscow had long sought to undermine the Western world order, its election meddling represented "a significant escalation in directness, level of activity, and scope of effort compared to previous operations".

The report puts the panel at odds with Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, who issued their own report this year, and the president, who has continued to question the intelligence agencies' assessment.

Trump and Putin are scheduled to meet for a summit in Helsinki, Finland, on July 16. Trump tweeted last week. It also concluded the Russian government had "developed a clear preference" for Trump.

The Senate's report said none of the analysts contributing to it provided any indication their findings resulted from political or other demands, saying it "heard consistently that analysts were under no politically motivated pressure to reach any conclusions". The committee is also expected to issue findings on how Russian Federation manipulated social media to influence American voters and whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Kremlin to win the election.

House Republicans have contended the Russian Federation probe went south because it depended on an anti-Trump dossier gathered by former British spy Christopher Steele and financed by Democrats and Clinton's campaign. "All individuals the Committee interviewed verified that the dossier did not in any way inform the analysis in the ICA", the report says.

Separate from congressional inquiries, U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating whether any Republican Trump's election campaign members coordinated with Moscow officials.

The report is another example of how the Senate Intelligence Committee has diverged from its House counterpart.

Russia's hack of the Democratic National Committee before the election.

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