After reviewing the intelligence community (IC) assessment of Russian interference in the presidential election, the Senate Intelligence Committee said it agrees that the nation-state, under the direction of President Vladmir Putin, tried to help Donald Trump gain the White House.
“The Russian effort was extensive, sophisticated, and ordered by President Putin himself for the purpose of helping Donald Trump and hurting Hillary Clinton,” Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., the committee’s ranking member, said in a statement, noting that the IC analysis was “accurate and on point.”
Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., said his committee found “no reason to dispute the conclusions. There is no doubt that Russia undertook an unprecedented effort to interfere with our 2016 elections.”
The committee met behind closed doors Wednesday reviewing testimony of former CIA Director John Brennan, former National Security Agency (NSA) Director Mike Rodgers, Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper and others before Burr and Warner, who have led an investigation of Russian meddling for the last 14 months, issued their statements.
“In order to protect our democracy from future threats, we must understand what happened in 2016,” Warner said, calling for the U.S. “to do a better job in the future if we want to protect our elections from foreign interference.”
In February members of the IC told the committee that Russia has continued its assault on the underpinnings of U.S. democracy, sowing discord among the electorate in some instances by marshaling bots to mount disinformation campaigns, and will likely ply its cyber and propaganda skills to intrude on the 2018 midterm elections much as it did during the presidential election in 2016.