Factbox: Key Findings from Senate Inquiry into Russian Interference in 2016 U.S. Election
WASHINGTON (Reuters)t – Below are the main findings of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee’s final report released on Tuesday on Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election in which Republican Donald Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton.
The bipartisan report, which lasted three and a half years, found that Russia used Republican political operative Paul Manafort, the WikiLeaks website and others to try to influence the 2016 election to help the campaign of current US President Donald Trump.
Russia has denied such interference.
RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN
“The Committee found that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Russia to hack into computer networks and accounts affiliated with the Democratic Party and to disclose
information prejudicial to Hillary Clinton…”
“Moscow’s intent was to harm the Clinton campaign, tarnish an expected Clinton presidential administration, aid the Trump campaign after Trump became the presumptive Republican nominee, and undermine the American democratic process.”
Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman in 2016, engaged with a “Russian intelligence officer” named Konstantin Kilimnik and Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, with whom he said Moscow was coordinating foreign influence operations.
“On numerous occasions, Manafort has sought to secretly share internal Campaign information with Kilimnik…
“Manafort’s presence in the campaign and proximity to Trump created opportunities for Russian intelligence to exert influence on the Trump campaign and acquire confidential information about it.
“Taken together, Manafort’s high-level access and willingness to share information with people closely tied to Russian intelligence, particularly Kilimnik and Oleg Deripaska’s associates, posed a serious counter-attack threat. spying.”
CONTINUOUS INTERFERENCE EFFORTS
Russian interference in American politics continued at least until January 2020.
The panel “observed numerous Russian government actors from late 2016 through at least January 2020, consistently spreading overlapping false narratives and seeking to discredit investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election and disseminate false information about the events of 2016”.
Manafort and Kilimnik specifically sought to promote the claim that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 election.
WikiLeaks released thousands of hacked emails from Clinton’s campaign and a top aide, sparking widespread negative media coverage of the Democratic candidate ahead of the 2016 vote.
“WikiLeaks actively sought out and played a key role in the Russian influence campaign and most likely knew it was aiding a Russian intelligence influence effort…”
“Trump and senior campaign officials sought to obtain advance information about planned WikiLeaks releases through (Republican political operative) Roger Stone. Under their direction, Stone took steps to gain knowledge insiders for the campaign and has shared his purported knowledge directly with Trump and senior campaign officials on several occasions.
“Trump and the campaign believed that Stone had inside information…The committee could not reliably determine the extent of authentic, non-public knowledge about WikiLeaks that Stone obtained and shared with the campaign.”
The committee concluded that the FBI gave “unwarranted credibility” to a “dossier” of allegedly damaging information about Trump’s dealings with Russia prepared for Clinton campaign lawyers by former British spy Christopher Steele.
The Committee made referrals to law enforcement about “potential criminal activity” it uncovered, but an appendix on those referrals was redacted entirely.
Reporting by Mark Hosenball; Editing by Arshad Mohammed and Dan Grebler