The US intelligence community in a new declassified file today accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of ordering an “influence campaign” to help Donald Trump win the White House and denigrate his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in a bid to undermine public faith in the American democratic process.
“We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election,” the Director of National Intelligence said in a report.
he 31-page report alleges that Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and harm her electability and potential presidency.
“We further assess Putin and the Russian government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump. We have high confidence in these judgements,” the US intelligence community said in the which was submitted to outgoing US President Barack Obama on Thursday.
Obama had ordered a comprehensive probe into allegations of Russian hacking the Democratic party’s email system.
However, US President-elect Donald Trump was quick to refute the conclusion, saying hacking did not impact the November 8 presidential polls outcome. A team of intelligence officials also briefed Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence on the report in New York.
“I will appoint a team to give me a plan within 90 days of taking office. The methods, tools and tactics we use to keep America safe should not be a public discussion that will benefit those who seek to do us harm. Two weeks from today I will take the oath of office and America’s safety and security will be my number one priority,” Trump said in a statement after the meeting.
Pence said Trump has made it very clear that the US is going to take aggressive action in the early days of the new administration to combat cyberattacks and protect the security of its citizens from this type of intrusion in the future.
The report said Moscow’s approach evolved over the course of the campaign based on Russia’s understanding of the electoral prospects of the two main candidates.
“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,” it said.
Describing the intelligence community report on Russian hacking as stunning, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi wished that American people could have access to more details.
(With inputs from the PTI)