Senate Intel Panel Just Dropped a Truth Bomb About Trump And Russia Election Interference
In a stunning break from their colleagues in the House of Representatives, Republican leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee said Wednesday that they agree with the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election and sought to help President Trump win the White House.
“There is no doubt that Russia undertook an unprecedented effort to interfere with our 2016 elections,” Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) said in a statement, The Hill reports. “We see no reason to dispute U.S. intelligence agencies conclusions,” he added.
The committee has been reviewing the January 2017 assessment compiled by top U.S. intelligence officials, as part of its investigation into Russian meddling.
The assessment found that Russia sought to interfere in the election for three reasons: to undermine U.S. democracy, to damage Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and to help Trump win the White House.
On Wednesday, committee lawmakers met behind closed doors with former top intelligence officials who played a major role in compiling the assessment. In a joint statement following that meeting, Burr and Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.) signaled their agreement with the findings.
The Senate Intelligence Committee has been investigating Russia’s interference plot for more than a year. Burr told reporters earlier this month that he expects the inquiry to be completed by August.
“After a thorough review, our staff concluded that the [intelligence community assessment] conclusions were accurate and on point,” Warner said. “The Russian effort was extensive, sophisticated, and ordered by President Putin himself for the purpose of helping Donald Trump and hurting Hillary Clinton.”
Their statement represents a break with the Republican-led House investigation, which concluded that Russia did not seek to help Trump win.
Meanwhile, special counsel Robert Mueller is spearheading the federal investigation into Russian interference — including whether their was coordination between President Trump’s campaign and Moscow.
The Senate panel has already released its initial findings on Russian cyberattacks against U.S. voting infrastructure, finding that Moscow conducted an “unprecedented, coordinated cyber campaign” against the nation’s digital election systems.
According to the report, the senators met with former National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers, former CIA Director John Brennan, and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper earlier Wednesday. The committee had also invited former FBI Director James Comey, who ultimately declined to attend, citing a conflict.