Sorry, Donald. The GOP-led Senate Intelligence Committee released a report Tuesday backing the very conclusions of the U.S. intelligence community that have driven Donald Trump nuts for nearly three years: Russia’s efforts “overtly and almost invariably” sought to help Trump and damage Hillary Clinton’s candidacy.
“The Committee found, that the IRA [Internet Research Agency] sought to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election by harming Hillary Clinton’s chances of success and supporting Donald Trump at the direction of the Kremlin,” concludes the bipartisan report. “Further, the Committee’s analysis of the IRA’s activities on social media supports the key judgments of the January 6, 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment, ‘Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections,’ that ‘Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency.'”
The report also concluded that the Kremlin’s 2016 attack was a smaller part of a much broader effort to “sow discord in American politics and society” that is ongoing to this day. Investigators also found that Russia sought to tarnish some of Trump’s GOP rivals in the primary, including Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, along with Jeb Bush.
But in terms of political issues, race was the primary fixation of the Kremlin-directed IRA and African Americans were blanketed with messages more than any other demographic group.
The report ends by making recommendations to both Congress and the Executive Branch moving forward. “The Committee recommends that the Executive Branch should, in the run up to the 2020 election, reinforce with the public the danger of attempted foreign interference in the 2020 election.” Looks like Americans are on their own there.
On a side note, by rejecting Trump’s repeated efforts to discredit the intelligence community’s conclusions regarding Russia’s efforts to get him elected, the bipartisan report may be bad news for Trump and especially vulnerable GOP senators up for re-election in 2020. If they are hoping the Senate Intelligence panel’s ongoing probe into Trump’s Ukraine pressure campaign will buy them some cover for looking the other way, this little slice of honesty certainly isn’t boosting their mood.