Secret CIA Report Says Russia Intervened to Help Elect Trump

And during the campaign GOP leaders dismissed secret intelligence on Russian hacking.

Sergey Guneev/AP, TriggerPhoto/iStock, photo illustration by AJ Vicens

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


Update, 11:48 p.m.: The New York Times reports that American intelligence officials found with “high confidence” that Russians also hacked the Republican National Committee but did not release any information. Based in part on this finding, intelligence officials were able to conclude that Russia intended to harm Hillary Clinton’s campaign and bolster Donald Trump’s.   

Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency, according to a secret assessment by the CIA, the Washington Post reported late Friday. In a closed-door meeting last week, according to officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the agency told US senators that it had identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who had provided WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked Democratic National Committee emails. The agency described them as “part of a wider Russian operation to boost Trump and hurt Clinton’s chances.”

“It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected,” a senior US official told the Washington Post. “That’s the consensus view.”

The Post story comes after numerous calls from both members of Congress and President Barack Obama to investigate Russia’s role in the election. Earlier today, Obama ordered the national intelligence community to conduct a “full review” of Russian interference in the campaign. According to the Post, the White House had attempted to gain bipartisan support for investigating Russian hacking as early as September, but Republicans resisted making such a public challenge.

There were also disagreements from intelligence officials on the CIA’s assessment:

A senior US official said there were minor disagreements among intelligence officials about the agency’s assessment, in part because some questions remain unanswered.

For example, intelligence agencies do not have specific intelligence showing officials in the Kremlin “directing” the identified individuals to pass the Democratic emails to WikiLeaks, a second senior US official said. Those actors, according to the official, were “one step” removed from the Russian government, rather than government employees. Moscow has in the past used middlemen to participate in sensitive intelligence operations so it has plausible deniability.

The Trump transition team issued the following response to the story late Friday:

Dear Reader,

This feels like the most important fundraising drive since I've been CEO of Mother Jones, with staggeringly high stakes and so much uncertainty. In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," I try to unpack the reality we all face and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support Mother Jones’ nonprofit journalism: We need to raise $400,000 to help cover the vital reporting projects we have planned, and right now is no time to pull back.

Monika Bauerlein, CEO, Mother Jones

Dear Reader,

This feels like the most important fundraising drive since I've been CEO of Mother Jones, with staggeringly high stakes and so much uncertainty. In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," I try to unpack the reality we all face and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support Mother Jones’ nonprofit journalism: We need to raise $400,000 to help cover the vital reporting projects we have planned, and right now is no time to pull back.

Monika Bauerlein, CEO, Mother Jones

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate