Declassified Report on Russia and US Election Is 'Damning'

Report says Putin ordered an 'influence campaign' to help Trump get elected
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 6, 2017 5:11 PM CST
Putin Ordered US Election 'Influence Campaign': Report
A part of the declassified version Intelligence Community Assessment on Russia's efforts to interfere with the US political process is photographed in Washington, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017.   (AP Photo/Jon Elswick)

A report declassified Friday by the US intelligence community states Vladimir Putin ordered an "influence campaign" during the 2016 US election to hurt Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump, CNN reports. According to NBC News, the CIA and FBI have "high confidence" in that conclusion, and the NSA "has moderate confidence." The New York Times calls the report "damning and surprisingly detailed." The report says Russia's campaign started out as an effort to undermine American democracy but mutated into a push to get Trump elected. "Putin and the Russian government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump," the report states. At the same time, it sough to "undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency."

To do that, the report says Russia's military intelligence arm GRU leaked hacked information from the DNC, John Podesta, and others to WikiLeaks and other third-party websites. Russia also "obtained and maintained access to elements of multiple US state or local electoral boards," according to the report. It used paid social media users and state-sponsored media for propaganda purposes, or "trolling" and "fake news." The report says Russia even had a #DemocracyRIP hashtag ready to go on election night if it looked like Clinton was going to win. Intelligence officials briefed Trump on the contents of the report. The president-elect maintained that possible Russian actions had no effect on the election. (Read more Russia stories.)

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