Intel report: Putin ordered ‘influence campaign’ to help Trump in presidential election

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(CNN) — The U.S. intelligence community concluded in a declassified report released Friday that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an “influence campaign” aimed at hurting Hillary Clinton and helping Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

A declassified version of the intelligence report concluded that “Putin and the Russian government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump … Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election. Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency.”

The Russian assault on the U.S. election used several different techniques blending “covert intelligence operations — such as cyber activity — with overt efforts by Russian government agencies, state-funded media, third-party intermediaries, and paid social media users or ‘trolls.'”

It also says “when it appeared to Moscow that Secretary Clinton was likely to win the election, the Russian influence campaign began to focus more on undermining her future presidency.”

Following his intelligence briefing Friday, the President-elect said in a statement “I had a constructive meeting and conversation with the leaders of the intelligence community this afternoon. I have tremendous respect for the work and service done by the men and women of this community to our great nation.”

Trump, however, made it clear he believes the hacks do not taint his election victory: ” … there was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election, including the fact that there was no tampering whatsoever with voting machines.”

The intelligence assessment confirmed that hacking was “not involved in vote tallying.”

In his statement, however, Trump never specifically acknowledged that Russia was behind the hacks, despite the clear intelligence assessment and overwhelming bipartisan agreement on Russia’s involvement.

Former CIA Director Leon Panetta said “I think that’s the one thing that he should’ve acknowledged. Whether you’re a Republican or Democrat, we are not going to allow a country like Russia trying to interfere in our election process.”

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