Panel calls intel assessment on Russia meddling 'sound'

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The Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday backed up conclusions from USA intelligence agencies that Moscow interfered in the 2016 election with the aim of helping President Donald Trump win, releasing an unclassified report that called the intelligence assessment solid.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has unequivocally upheld the conclusion of the intelligence community that Russian Federation developed a "clear preference" for then-candidate Donald Trump in the 2016 election and sought to help him win the White House.

It also said that further details have come to light that "bolster" the ICA's findings about the extent of Russia's efforts to undermine the USA -led liberal global order and hinted at new findings by the committee that have "exposed a far more extensive Russian effort to manipulate social media outlets to sow discord".

Richard Burr, the Republican chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, said in a statement that it "sees no reason to dispute the conclusions" of the January 2017 intelligence report.

A subtle difference in confidence between the NSA and the Central Intelligence Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation on the assessment that Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted to help Trump's election chances "appropriately represents analytic differences and was reached in a professional and transparent manner", the Senate panel found.

In a new document on the panel's progress, the Intelligence Committee also said it would release its review of the US government's handling of the so-called "Dossier" in a future part of its investigation.

In a press release Tuesday, the panel added that the ICA's conclusions were "well supported and the tradecraft was strong". "So many questions, so much corruption!"

"The committee believes the conclusions of the [intelligence community assessment] are sound and notes that collection and analysis subsequent to the [intelligence community assessment's] publication continue to reinforce its assessments", the panel said in a summary of its initial findings.

The ICA said that while Moscow has long sought to undermine the western world order, its election meddling represented "a significant escalation in directness, level of activity, and scope of effort compared to previous operations".

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According to public records and congressional officials, the Senate Intelligence Committee report is the latest of four election-related inquiries on which the panel's Republicans and Democrats continue to cooperate.

The Senate committee's bipartisan conclusion comes as Trump is scheduled to meet with Putin on July 16 in Helsinki, Finland.

On Tuesday, Warner said the committee's review had confirmed those findings.

Authored by the CIA, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the National Security Agency, the report did not conclude whether the Kremlin had a clear preference for Trump or his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.

A special counsel, Robert Mueller, is investigating possible collusion between Russian Federation and members of Trump's campaign team.

House Republicans have contended that the Russian Federation investigation went awry well before Mueller's appointment because it depended on an anti-Trump dossier gathered by former British spy Christopher Steele and financed by Democrats and Clinton's campaign. The document, which was compiled by a British ex-spy, did not inform the intelligence community's assessment "in any way", the Senate committee found.

Trump and his associates are the focus of an FBI investigation into whether his campaign colluded with Moscow to influence the election - something the president and his allies have vehemently denied.

Intelligence Committee members and staff have been reviewing documents and interviewing people involved in developing the reporting. Democrats rejected its March report on Russia's activities.

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