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Senate report: Trump aide collaborated with Russian intelligence in 2016 elections

Former Trump presidential campaign chairman Paul Manafort conveyed inside information about the campaign to a Russian intelligence officer during the 2016 election, a new bipartisan Senate report says. NPR.

Photo: Shutterstock

The report draws a direct line between the former chairman of the presidential campaign and Russian intelligence during the 2016 campaign.

Manafort, who was later convicted of crimes of financial fraud, briefed Russian intelligence officer Konstantin Kilimnik on campaign poll data and how Trump's campaign sought to defeat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election.

Manafort's connection with Kilimnik was "a serious counterintelligence threat," the report said. It also said that evidence was found that a Russian intelligence officer may have been linked to attempts by the Russian government to hack Democratic Party emails.

The findings are part of the fifth and most recent bipartisan report by the Senate Intelligence Committee, which examines Russia's attempts to interfere in the 2016 elections. This report primarily focuses on counterintelligence threats and a wide range of Russian attempts to influence both Trump's campaign and elections.

The report is based on an investigation by Special Adviser Robert Mueller - and while consistent with Mueller's report, it actually provides more information.

On the subject: Russians involved in Trump's conspiracy case with Russia: who they are and what their role is

The committee found that Russian President Vladimir Putin was personally behind the hacking and breach operation that released the stolen Democratic Party emails, and that WikiLeaks - the website that published them - played a key role and “very likely knew he was helping Russian intelligence efforts to influence elections. "

The Trump campaign sought to exploit these leaks by requesting advance notice of WikiLeaks disclosures, developing public relations strategies around them, and even encouraging "further information theft and ongoing leaks."

It happened at critical moments in the 2016 campaign, the Senate Intelligence Committee concluded.

For example, when the Trump campaign learned that The Washington Post would publish a copy of the infamous Access Hollywood tape (a tape of Trump disparaging women), the news reached Trump's confidant Roger Stone, who tried to relay the message to WikiLeaks through an intermediary to posted hacked Democratic emails immediately.

WikiLeaks ended up posting the stolen emails about 30 minutes after the Access Hollywood story was posted online.

Trump campaign officials reacted to the report, saying it was proof that "there was no collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign," adding their assertion that "the collusion with Russia is the greatest political scandal in this country's history." ...

The report also cites the FBI: Regarding the Democratic email hack, the Senate Intelligence Committee concluded that the bureau had not acted aggressively enough in warning the Democratic National Committee of the hack.

But the report noted that the Committee did not take these warnings seriously enough and that there was ineffective communication on both sides.

On the subject: CIA and State Department veterans: on protests, Trump’s chances for re-election and Russian intervention

The report also accused the FBI of "unreasonably believing" information contained in Christopher Steele's dossier, a summary of reports from a former British intelligence officer. The Senate Intelligence Committee concluded that the dossier "lacked rigor and transparency regarding the quality of the sources."

In the wake of Mueller's report, the fifth and final volume of the Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation into Russian interference in some way turns a blind eye to years of research into this issue.

On this basis, there is a bipartisan consensus on the nature of the Russian threat. Both sides agree that the Russian government intervened in the 2016 elections and are calling for measures to protect campaigns from foreign interference in future campaigns.

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Miscellanea In the U.S. Paul Manafort Russia's intervention in US elections
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