The Senate intelligence committee said Wednesday that it agrees with the U.S. intelligence agencies’ assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 presidential election to hurt the candidacy of Democrat Hillary Clinton and help President Donald Trump...
Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., chairman of the Senate panel, said his staff spent 14 months “reviewing the sources, tradecraft and analytic work” conducted by the intelligence agencies. He said the committee uncovered no reason to dispute the conclusions of the intelligence assessment released in 2017.
Burr issued his statement after members of the committee met in a closed session with former National Intelligence Director James Clapper, former CIA Director John Brennan and former director of the National Security Agency, Mike Rogers. All three were deeply involved in issuing the intelligence assessment of Russian meddling in the election.
“The Russian effort was extensive, sophisticated and ordered by President Putin himself for the purpose of helping Donald Trump and hurting Hillary Clinton,” said Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the ranking Democrat on the committee. “In order to protect our democracy from future threats, we must understand what happened in 2016. And while our committee’s investigation remains ongoing, one thing is already abundantly clear: We have to do a better job in the future if we want to protect our elections from foreign interference.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee said Wednesday that the Russian government apparently used the National Rifle Association to help Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016.
Documents suggest the Kremlin used the NRA to offer the campaign a back channel to Moscow—including a potential meeting between Trump and Vladimir Putin—and might have secretly funded Trump’s campaign, the committee said. One of the Russians named in the report even bragged she was part of the Trump campaign’s communications with Russia, The Daily Beast reported last year.
The NRA spent a record $30 million on Trump and the FBI is reportedly investigating whether any of the money came from Russia. U.S. law prohibits foreign money to be spent on elections.
Two Russian nationals figure prominently in the alleged scheme: Alexander Torshin, deputy governor of the Kremlin’s central bank, and his then-deputy Maria Butina.
Torshin met Donald Trump Jr. at the NRA’s 2016 convention in Kentucky and hosted an NRA delegation in Moscow in 2015. Torshin was previously accused by Spanish investigators of laundering money for Russian mobsters, an allegation he denied. (Last month he was sanctioned by the U.S.)
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