Breaking with their House Republican counterparts, the Senate Intelligence Committee said Tuesday that the intelligence community properly concluded in January of last year that Russian President Vladimir Putin was trying to help Donald Trump when Moscow meddled in the 2016 election.
The Senate panel released a summary Tuesday of its examination of the intelligence community's January 2017 assessment, which laid out the case of Russia's election meddling and concluded that Putin was trying to help Trump win.
The Senate report said that the intelligence community's assessment of Russia's intentions were sound, which is at odds with the House Intelligence Committee Republicans' report that found "significant intelligence tradecraft failings" in the assessment of Putin's objectives.
"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," Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr said in a statement, reiterating what he had initially said in May.
The report, released Tuesday, confirmed conclusions by the U.S. intelligence community that Russia interfered in the 2016 election to help Trump win the White House.
“I think it’s a given in the United States, in both parties, that Russia tried to meddle and probably did meddle in the election,” Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) told the AP.
The lawmakers did not meet with Putin, but offered a warning for Russia against meddling in the 2018 U.S. elections.
“We made the point that if Russia persists in trying to influence our elections, it's going to be very difficult, if not impossible, for us to establish a better relationship,” Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) said to NPR.
Speaking at a campaign-style rally in Montana, Trump attacked critics who have questioned his preparedness for the July 16 summit with Putin and made light of Putin's past as a top-ranking intelligence official.
"They’re going ‘Will President Trump be prepared, you know, President Putin is KGB and this and that,’" Trump said. "You know what? Putin’s fine. He’s fine. We’re all fine. We’re people. Will I be prepared? Totally prepared. I’ve been preparing for this stuff my whole life."
In fact, Putin served for years in the KGB, the now-defunct Soviet intelligence agency, before becoming the director of its successor, the FSB.
Trump has long insisted that he wants to improve U.S. relations with Russia – a task that has been complicated by the U.S. intelligence community's determination that Moscow sought to meddle in the 2016 presidential election.
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