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Wednesday, September 30, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Senate panel backs up intelligence agencies, says Russia aimed to help Trump in election

Robert Mueller on February 16, 2011, as he testifies before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in Washington, D.C. (James Berglie / Tribune News Service)
Robert Mueller on February 16, 2011, as he testifies before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in Washington, D.C. (James Berglie / Tribune News Service)
By Chris Megerian Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON – The Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday backed up conclusions from U.S. intelligence agencies that Moscow interfered in the 2016 election with the aim of helping President Donald Trump win, releasing an unclassified report that called the intelligence assessment solid.

“The Committee has spent the last 16 months reviewing the sources, tradecraft and analytic work underpinning the Intelligence Community Assessment and sees no reason to dispute the conclusions,” said a statement from Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., the panel’s chairman.

The bipartisan report diverges from an earlier one released by House Intelligence Committee Republicans, who said officials were mistaken to conclude that Moscow wanted Trump to win. The House report also emphasized the lack of evidence that Trump’s allies conspired with Russians, something that remains under investigation by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

The new Senate report does not address the issue of collusion. It did say, however, that intelligence agencies were on solid ground by saying Moscow developed a “clear preference” for Trump.

Officials relied on “public Russian leadership commentary, Russian state media reports, public examples of where Russian interests would have aligned with candidates’ policy statements, and a body of intelligence reporting,” the Senate report said.

In addition, the report said there were no signs that President Barack Obama’s administration improperly tried to interfere with intelligence agencies’ analysis.

“The Committee heard consistently that analysts were under no politically motivated pressure to reach any conclusions,” the report said.

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