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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Senators Report on Russia


A release from Senator Richard Burr (R-NC):
 Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, today held a closed hearing to complete its review of the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) on “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections.”  The testimony of former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former Director of CIA John Brennan, and former Director of NSA Mike Rogers will inform the Committee’s final report on this “chapter” of its Russia inquiry.
Chairman Burr said, “The first task in our inquiry was to evaluate the Intelligence Community’s work on this important piece of analysis.  Committee staff have spent 14 months reviewing the sources, tradecraft, and analytic work, and we see no reason to dispute the conclusions.  There is no doubt that Russia undertook an unprecedented effort to interfere with our 2016 elections.  I look forward to completing the Committee’s inquiry and issuing our findings and recommendations to the American people.” 
“Despite the short time frame they had to prepare it, the intelligence community did a very good job with the ICA,” said Vice Chairman Warner. “After a thorough review, our staff concluded that the ICA conclusions were accurate and on point. The Russian effort was extensive, sophisticated, and ordered by President Putin himself for the purpose of helping Donald Trump and hurting Hillary Clinton. In order to protect our democracy from future threats, we must understand what happened in 2016. And while our Committee’s investigation remains ongoing, one thing is already abundantly clear – we have to do a better job in the future if we want to protect our elections from foreign interference.”
Today’s closed hearing is a bookend to the hearing the Committee held in January 10, 2017, on Russian Active Measures.  Staff will finalize this chapter of the report on the Intelligence Community’s work and submit it for a classification review.
A release from Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA):
Senate Judiciary Democrats today released preliminary findings from the Committee’s investigation into the June 9, 2016, Trump Tower meeting where top Trump campaign officials sought incriminating information on Hillary Clinton from a Russian lawyer.
Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Cory A. Booker (D-N.J.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) released the following statement along with the findings:
The June 9, 2016, meeting is one piece of a much larger puzzle and confirms that the Trump campaign was willing to accept Russia’s assistance. The Committee’s staff interviews reveal that top Trump campaign officials were frustrated and angry that the meeting did not produce enough damaging information on their opponent. Their efforts to conceal the meeting and its true purpose are consistent with a larger pattern of false statements about the Trump campaign’s relationship with Russia.”

“We still do not know the full story about the June 9 meeting or, more broadly, the degree to which the campaign cooperated or communicated with Russia. While Senate Judiciary Democrats have sought to conduct a robust and independent investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, there are more questions than answers given the lack of cooperation by many of the individuals involved. The investigation has yet to be completed and dozens of witnesses’ testimony as well as critical documents have yet to be obtained. In addition, without the cooperation of Republicans and the ability to subpoena witnesses, much of the truth remains hidden.”

In its investigation so far, the Committee has found evidence of multiple contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian government officials or their intermediaries, including offers of assistance and purported overtures from Vladimir Putin, which warrant further investigation. The transcripts released today represent limited examples of Committee interviews with just five of the eight participants in one such meeting.
The Committee’s investigation remains incomplete, including review of this meeting. Nonetheless, the following preliminary findings are clear and described in more detail here.
  • The Trump campaign was willing to accept Russia’s assistance.
  • Top campaign officials Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner accepted the offer of incriminating information on the campaign’s opponent from a hostile foreign government.
  • These Trump campaign officials did not report the offer of Russian assistance to proper authorities.
  • Top campaign officials made clear their frustration that more damaging information was not produced at the June 9 meeting in Trump Tower.
  • Donald Trump Jr. and the White House misled the public about the June 9 meeting with Russians and other campaign contacts with Russia.
  • Several significant questions remain unanswered about this meeting and the numerous other contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian associates.
To read the preliminary findings of the Senate Judiciary Democrats in full, click here. To read the appendix of pending requests, click here.