WASHINGTON (AP) – A new declassified report says Russian President Vladimir Putin “ordered” an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election.
The newly declassified report on Russian hacking during the U.S. election says the Russian government developed a “clear preference for President-elect Donald Trump.”
The report says the goal of Moscow’s meddling was to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton and harm her electability and potential presidency.
U.S. intelligence officials released the 25-page public version of the report Friday, after they briefed President-elect Donald Trump and top lawmakers on Capitol Hill from a longer, classified version.
The report says Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election represent the most recent expression of Moscow’s long-standing desire to undermine the U.S.-led liberal democratic order. It says the scope of Russia’s activities was significantly larger compared with previous operations.
After his briefing, Trump stopped short of embracing the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia interfered in the presidential campaign, saying only that any hacking attempts had “absolutely no effect” on the outcome of the election.
Intelligence officials say in their new public report on Russian hacking that they believe with high confidence that Moscow’s intelligence services relayed to WikiLeaks material it hacked from the Democratic National Committee and senior Democratic officials.
The report says the emails disclosed by WikiLeaks did not appear to contain any forged material.
Intelligence officials say the Russians had access to the DNC from July 2015 to at least June 2016.
They say the Russian intelligence agencies probably began cyber operations targeting the U.S. election by March 2016 and had stolen large volumes of data from the DNC by May 2016.
(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)