Russian election meddling meant to help Trump, hurt Clinton, Senate Intelligence Committee finds

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Russia intended to help Donald Trump secure the presidency when it meddled in the 2016 election, Senate Intelligence Committee leaders said after a closed hearing Wednesday.

Committee heads Mark Warner, D-Va., and Richard Burr, R-N.C., arrived at the conclusion after the committee completed its review of the U.S. intelligence community’s analysis of the Kremlin’s interference in the election.

“After a thorough review, our staff concluded that the [Intelligence Community Assessment] conclusions were accurate and on point,” said Warner, the committee’s vice chairman. “The Russian effort was extensive, sophisticated, and ordered by President [Vladimir] Putin himself for the purpose of helping Donald Trump and hurting Hillary Clinton.”

Burr said in the statement: “We see no reason to dispute the conclusions. There is no doubt that Russia undertook an unprecedented effort to interfere with our 2016 elections.”

The Senate committee’s takeaways on this facet of its Russia inquiry stand in contrast to the House Intelligence Committee, which had taken exception to the intelligence community’s judgment that Putin favored Trump in a summary released prior to its final report.

Trump had celebrated the House committee majority’s final assessment, announcing in an all-caps tweet that the probe had found “NO EVIDENCE OF COLLUSION OR COORDINATION” between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Democrats on the House committee, led by ranking member Adam Schiff, D-Calif., denounced the majority’s decision to end the probe and vowed to continue to investigate.

The Senate committee’s closed-door hearing Wednesday included the testimony of former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former CIA Director John Brennan and former NSA Director Mike Rogers.

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