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Russia interfered in 2016 to help elect Trump, Senate Intel report says

The Senate Intelligence Committee's report Tuesday confirmed Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election with the goal to help elect Donald Trump. Photo by Tasos Katopodis/UPI
The Senate Intelligence Committee's report Tuesday confirmed Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election with the goal to help elect Donald Trump. Photo by Tasos Katopodis/UPI | License Photo

April 21 (UPI) -- A Senate Intelligence Committee report confirmed Tuesday the U.S. intelligence finding that Russia interfered in the 2016 election with the goal to help Donald Trump become president.

Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., chairs the bipartisan committee, undercutting Trump's claims that the U.S. intelligence findings were a "hoax" led by Democrats.

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The January 2017 U.S. intelligence report provided "specific intelligence reporting to support the assessment that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and the Russian government demonstrated a preference for candidate Trump," the Senate Intelligence Committee found in its report Tuesday.

The committee also found that "specific intelligence" along with other assessments supported the finding that Putin "approved and directed aspects" of the Russian government's interference efforts.

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The 158-page report was heavily redacted, but it was clear that it supported the reasoning behind the intelligence committee's findings.

"The committee found no reason to dispute the intelligence community's conclusions," Burr said in a statement, adding that the intelligence community's findings showed "sound analytical reasoning."

There was "no reason to doubt that the Russians' success in 2016 is leading them to try again in 2020," Senator Mark Warner, D-Va., the committee's vice chairman, warned.

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Warner also praised the agencies reviewing the matter for their "unbiased and professional work."

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., added that the report also negated "false assertions" that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 elections.

"The report also provides additional evidence against Donald Trump's false assertions regarding Ukraine," by delving further into Russia's inference in Democratic National Committee networks, Wyden said. The committee confirmed the U.S. intelligence community's findings, which are "fundamentally incompatible with Trump's conspiracy theories about Ukrainian involvement."

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The report is the fourth of five committee reports on the Russian government's interference in the 2016 presidential election campaign.

"Russia's goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary [Hillary] Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency," the January 2017 assessment found.

The fifth and final report will address allegations that Trump campaign officials coordinated with Russian operatives.

Former special counsel Robert Mueller said last year that he did not find collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign before the 2016 election, but there were several "episodes" where Trump may have obstructed justice with attempts to disrupt the investigation.

Former British spy Christopher Steele's unverified claims about Trump's ties to Russia are also expected to be addressed in the fifth and final report.

A release date for the final report has not been set yet.

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