Senate Panel Upholds Intelligence Community Findings That Russia Backed Donald Trump During 2016 Election
An unclassified summery released on Tuesday by the Senate Intelligence Committee upheld the assumptions of the intelligence community in determining that Russia had a “clear preference” for candidate Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election, a direct contradiction from the House Committee’s findings and the president’s own repeated assertions.
The Senate Intelligence Committee, which said it had reviewed “thousands of pages of source documents” and had conducted interviews of all the relevant officials involved in drafting the “intelligence community assessment” or ICA, said it had “heard consistently that analysts were under no politically motivated pressure to reach any conclusions.”
“The Committee has spent the last 16 months reviewing the sources, trade-craft and analytic work underpinning the Intelligence Community Assessment and sees no reason to dispute the conclusions,” said Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) in a statement.
According to the Senate Panel the ICA released by the intelligence community is a “sound intelligence production,” which relied not only on public statements by Russian leadership and state-run media reports, but also from “intelligence reporting to support the assessment that Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for Trump.”
Investigators on the Senate Intelligence Committee also rejected the idea that the ICA was influenced by politics as some supporters of the president have alleged. The subtle differences in confidence between the CIA, FBI and the NSA the Senate Panel said “appropriately represents analytic differences and was reached in a professional and transparent manner.”
The panel also found that the Democratic-funded opposition research known as the Steele Dossier did not “in any way [effect] the analysis in the ICA – including key findings. . . because it was unverified and had not been disseminated as serialized intelligence reporting,” the Senate report found.
In March, the Senate committee’s counterpart in the House released their report into 2016 election meddling and found that a small group of intelligence officials in 2017 failed to meet the appropriate evidence standards to make such a conclusion. However, the House committee declined to look into and asses the intelligence community’s claim that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government developed a clear preference for Trump.
Rep. Mike Conaway (R- Texas), who was asked to lead the House Intelligence Committee after it’s chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calf.) temporarily recused himself after allegations arose that he had disclosed classified information to the public, said his committee was more interested in “how they came to it and the underlying documents they used.”
The Senate committee is still undergoing the motions of preparing the classified report detailing its conclusions about the ICA, its overall investigation into Russian election meddling is still ongoing.