Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Senate Intelligence Committee: Russia Interfered and Backed Trump

While the Republican controlled House Intelligence Committee proved itself to be little more than a patsy for Donald Trump and claimed that it found no evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, the Senate counterpart found the exact opposite.   In a rebuke to Trump and Denin Nunes' farcical - if not treasonous - committee, the Senate found that (i) Russia had indeed interfered and had backed Trump, and (ii) the intelligence community's conclusion to that effect was accurate.  The take away on today, the 4th of July?  The stooge of a foreign power occupies the White House and is destroying the western alliance and framework that has held Russia in check for 70 years. Frighteningly, Trump's base, which claims to be the most patriotic of Americans, slavishly supports a likely traitor.  The Hill looks at the Senate Committee's conclusions. Here are excerpts:
The Senate Intelligence Committee has unequivocally upheld the conclusion of the intelligence community that Russia developed a "clear preference" for then-candidate Donald Trump in the 2016 election and sought to help him win the White House. 
The assessment, announced in an unclassified summary released Tuesday, represents a direct repudiation of the committee’s counterpart in the House — and of President Trump himself, who has consistently rejected assertions that Moscow sought to bolster his candidacy through its election interference. 
“The Committee has spent the last 16 months reviewing the sources, tradecraft and analytic work underpinning the Intelligence Community Assessment and sees no reason to dispute the conclusions,” said Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) said in a statement
The so-called "intelligence community assessment," or ICA, is a "sound intelligence production," according the Senate panel.
The ICA relied not only on public Russian leadership commentary and state media reports, but also "a body of intelligence reporting to support the assessment that Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for Trump," the committee found. 
Senate investigators also rejected the notion that the ICA was inappropriately influenced by politics, as some of Trump's supporters have alleged. 
In yet another contradiction to Trump allies claims, the Senate panel also found that a piece of Democratic-funded opposition research known as the Steele dossier did not "in any way inform the analysis in the ICA — including the key findings."
All in all, the Senate panel's report was a unflinching contradiction of many of the core claims made by Trump allies in the House. 
The Senate committee is still in the process of preparing the classified report detailing its conclusions about the ICA, which when completed will go through a classification review with an eye towards making a version public.
The Senate panel's overall investigation into Russian election meddling is also still ongoing, with interim reports like this one released on a rolling basis. 

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