Trump-Russia investigation: Further evidence Kremlin meddled in 2016 presidential election, says Republican-controlled Senate committee

'Russian effort was extensive and sophisticated, and its goals were to undermine public faith in the democratic process'

Tom Embury-Dennis
Wednesday 04 July 2018 09:42 BST
Russian state TV brags about electing Trump

Further evidence has been found to support three US intelligence agencies' conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, the Republican-controlled Senate intelligence committee said.

According to a report released on Tuesday, the committee found "further details" that had "come to light" showing the Kremlin attempted to discredit Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and support Donald Trump.

It added: "The Committee found that the ICA [intelligence community assessment) provided intelligence and open source reporting to support this assessment, and information obtained subsequent to publication of the ICA provides further support."

The committee's finding suggests the panel continues to conduct a bipartisan inquiry into the issue amid political rancour between Republicans and Democrats on allegations of Moscow interference.

"As numerous intelligence and national security officials in the Trump administration have since unanimously re-affirmed, the (Intelligence Community Assessment's) findings were accurate and on point," said committee vice chairman Mark Warner, a Democrat.

"The Russian effort was extensive and sophisticated, and its goals were to undermine public faith in the democratic process, to hurt secretary Clinton and to help Donald Trump," Mr Warner said.

Separate from congressional inquiries, US special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating whether any of Mr Trump's election campaign members coordinated with Moscow officials.

Republican Matt Gaetz says he thinks there may have been intelligence collected against the Trump campaign

Neither the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which reported the intelligence agencies' findings in January 2017, nor the Senate committee, has concluded that Mr Trump's campaign or aides colluded with Russia.

The committee is still investigating any possible collusion, interviewing witnesses and collecting evidence, officials said.

White House spokesman Hogan Gidley, asked by reporters on Tuesday about the Senate panel's report while travelling with Mr Trump on Air Force One to West Virginia, said: "The president has been very clear and has said it many times that he feels the Russians meddled in the election."

The US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, dominated by Republicans sympathetic to Mr Trump, found no conclusive evidence proving collusion. But House panel Republicans, in a report on 27 April, did say that Russia ran an information warfare campaign to disrupt the election.

The Kremlin denies meddling and Mr Trump denies collusion. On 28 June, Mr Trump said on Twitter that "Russia continues to say they had nothing to do with Meddling on Our Election!".

The following day, however, he told reporters he planned to raise the issue with Russian president Vladimir Putin when they meet on 16 July in Helsinki.

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.

Earlier, the committee held a public hearing and issued a report on the security of US election systems, on which there was no partisan dissent.

Committee Democrats are also collaborating with Republicans on an inquiry that is likely to cite former president Barack Obama and his administration for moving too slowly to probe evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Committee Democrats and Republicans also are working together on an examination of the role social media played in influencing US voters, and may hold hearings on that issue.

Additional reporting by Reuters.

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