A Senate Intelligence Committee report detailing how Russia’s 2016 election interference was encouraged by President Donald Trump and his campaign raises the stakes for the current campaign at a time when Trump is openly amplifying Russian disinformation.
The newly released findings and recommendations add to US intelligence officials’ warnings that Russia continues to target the 2020 election, specifically Trump’s 2020 opponent Joe Biden.
Russian intelligence operatives were closer to top Trump campaign efforts than was previously known in 2016, the report states. The committee also documented continued disinformation from Russia-linked people well past the 2016 election –findings so alarming that the bipartisan Senate committee called for several changes to protect national security in 2020.
“Campaigns should recognize that campaign staff are attractive targets for foreign intelligence services,” the committee said.
“The threat is ongoing,” Republican Sen. Richard Burr, who chaired much of the committee’s investigation, said in a statement Tuesday. “My hope is that this report and the Committee’s work will provide the American people with more insight into the threats facing our nation and the steps necessary to stop them.”
For Democrats, the report promoted a new round of calls for national security reform and diligence in American elections.
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort passed internal Trump campaign information to a Russian intelligence officer during the 2016 election, a new bipartisan Senate report concludes.
The findings draw a direct line between the president’s former campaign chairman and Russian intelligence during the 2016 campaign.
Manafort, who was later convicted for financial fraud crimes, briefed Russian intelligence officer Konstantin Kilimnik on the campaign’s polling data and how the Trump campaign sought to beat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election.
Manafort’s connection with Kilimnik was a “grave counterintelligence threat,” the report reads, adding that it found evidence the Russian intelligence officer may have been linked to the Russian government’s efforts to hack and leak Democratic Party emails.
The findings are part of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s fifth and final bipartisan report investigating Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 election. This volume is primarily focused on counterintelligence threats and the wide range of Russian attempts to influence both the Trump campaign and the election.
The report builds on special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation — and while it was consistent with the Mueller Report, it in fact goes further.
Read more at NPR