Declassified report: Putin ordered election interference to help Trump
Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a widespread influence campaign intended to help elect Donald Trump, the Intelligence Community (IC) said in a declassified report released Friday afternoon.
“Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary [Hillary] Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump,” the report reads.
“We also assess Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him.”
The document is made up of publicly available information, painting a portrait of Moscow as making a shrewd decision to back a candidate it saw as friendlier to its interests.
According to document, Putin “most likely” wanted to discredit Clinton because “he has publicly blamed her since 2011 for inciting mass protests against his regime in late 2011 and early 2012, and because he holds a grudge for comments he almost certainly saw as disparaging him.”
But the former KGB agent saw Trump as having “Russia-friendly positions on Syria and Ukraine” and and approved of his stated policy to work with Russia.
Officials note that Putin publicly contrasted the President-elect’s approach to Russia with Clinton’s “aggressive rhetoric” — but the report offers no previously unknown information.
The CIA and FBI have high confidence in the judgment, while the National Security Agency has moderate confidence, the report acknowledges.
Trump has repeatedly refused to accept the IC’s conclusions and has treated its assessment as an attack on the legitimacy of his presidency.
Declassified report: Putin ordered election interference to help Trump | TheHill