Senate Intelligence Committee Says Russia Favored Trump in 2016 Election

Senate Intelligence Committee leaders Mark Warner (D-Va.), left, and Richard Burr (R-N.C.) release a joint statement May 16 on the panel’s conclusions in the Russia investigation. (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)

The Senate Intelligence Committee has determined that the intelligence community was correct in assessing that Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. election with the aim of helping then-candidate Donald Trump, contradicting findings House Republicans reached last month.

“Our staff concluded that the [intelligence community’s] conclusions were accurate and on point,” the panel’s vice chairman, Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), said Wednesday in a joint statement with Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), its chairman. “The Russian effort was extensive, sophisticated, and ordered by President Putin himself for the purpose of helping Donald Trump and hurting Hillary Clinton,” Warner continued.

But that last determination — that Russia intended to help Trump — sets up a clash within the GOP over which record of events is most accurate, a dispute that could complicate the party’s messaging surrounding the Russia investigations as it heads into the 2018 election season. While the House Republicans’ report also concurred with the bulk of the intelligence community’s findings about Russian meddling, it accused officials of not following their own best practices in determining that Moscow hoped Trump would win.

Trump has taken umbrage at the intelligence community’s determination that the Kremlin favored his candidacy over that of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The president cheered the House Intelligence Committee’s findings and report on Twitter, claiming it vindicated him by finding there was no evidence of collusion or coordination with Russia.

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SOURCE: The Washington Post, Karoun Demirjian