A secret assessment by the CIA has just concluded, and it has reportedly determined that Russia meddled in the 2016 election to help propel Donald Trump to a White House victory. Officials briefed on the matter claim that while it was previously suspected that Russia had intervened in the election simply to “undermine” voter confidence, what happened went beyond that.
As the Washington Post reports, certain individuals with Russia ties (most notably, connections to the Russian government) have allegedly been identified by multiple U.S. intelligence agencies. Those identified, who haven’t been publicly named, reportedly handed over thousands of emails to the notorious whistleblowing organization WikiLeaks. The emails in question were hacked from several prominent sources ranging from John Podesta (Hillary’s campaign chairman) to the DNC.
CIA says that the Russians interfered in our election. https://t.co/1CkaIDHv3L— Billy B (@billybsea) December 10, 2016
According to U.S. officials briefed on the CIA assessment into the potential connection between Donald Trump and Russia, the newly identified individuals involved in the widespread email hacking have been determined to already be known to the U.S. intelligence community. Reportedly, they were part of a widespread operation based out of Russia intended to “boost Trump” while diminishing Democratic rival Hillary Clinton’s chances at winning the U.S. presidency.
“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 That’s the consensus view.”
The Washington Post cites their information source of the Donald Trump/Russia CIA assessment information as “a senior U.S. official briefed on an intelligence presentation made to U.S. senators.”
Reportedly, the secret CIA assessment about the alleged connection between Russia and Donald Trump was revealed to select senators last week. The setting was a closed-door Capitol Hill briefing, and multiple intelligence sources were cited to those in attendance. According to the CIA officials doing the briefing, they have determined that it is “quite clear” that Russia had a primary goal of getting Donald Trump elected POTUS.
At this point, the officials who spoke to the media regarding the CIA’s assessment of the potential connection between Russia and the election of Donald Trump have remained publicly unnamed. Reportedly, they demanded anonymity in exchange for speaking to the media regarding “intelligence matters.”
According to said sources, last week’s Capitol Hill CIA briefing pertaining to Donald Trump and Russia “fell short” of being classified as a “formal U.S. assessment.” In order to meet that lofty benchmark, all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies would have had to be in agreement about the determination of the assessment. Reportedly, there are still “minor disagreements,” partly due to as-yet unanswered questions about the full nature of the the relationship between Russia and Donald Trump and/or the intent of the alleged Russian election intervention.
Namely, according to the CIA assessment, U.S. agencies are still lacking the “smoking gun” that ties Kremlin officials directly to the individuals that have been identified as those who handed off the hacked emails to WikiLeaks. While the CIA assessment claims that multiple “actors” involved in the scheme have been identified, the organization also claims that Russia has a history of keeping itself “one step removed” from such actors, a trend that has reportedly continued in the current alleged Donald Trump situation.
@washingtonpost This country wanted a fool as leader instead of someone who was intelligent, knowledgeable and prepared. We are doomed!.— kakes ground (@ground_kakes) December 10, 2016
The CIA concluded in its assessment that Russia actively interfered to help Trump win. This should concern all Americans. We want answers.— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) December 10, 2016
@Green_Footballs it should now, more than ever show it’s commuted to be integrity of our election process and re-vote.— Sharky guns (@jram305) December 10, 2016
At this point, Russia has officially denied all allegations that the Kremlin in any way influenced the Donald Trump win or the U.S. election.
The news of the CIA’s assessment regarding Trump, the 2016 election, and alleged Russian meddling came just hours after the news broke that President Obama has demanded a “full review” of potential Russian hacking involving the U.S. election process. According to the earlier report, Obama wants answers regarding the involvement of Russia in U.S. elections dating back to 2008.
“The President has directed the Intelligence Community to conduct a full review of what happened during the 2016 election process. It is to capture lessons learned from that and to report to a range of stakeholders. This is consistent with the work that we did over the summer to engage Congress on the threats that we were seeing.”
The newly ordered review is expected to be completed quickly, as President Obama has stated that he wants a report on the investigation before he leaves office in January.
While WikiLeaks has been widely implicated as working either with or on behalf of the Russian government, Julian Assange has denied that connection. When discussing the source of the emails the organization “dumped” at regular intervals during (as well as before and after) the U.S. presidential election during a TV interview, Assange flatly decried the ties.
“The Russian government is not the source.”
While U.S. intelligence agencies have repeatedly alleged that they believe that Russia deliberately intervened in the 2016 election with the purpose of helping nudge Donald Trump into the White House, it has not been alleged that Trump was a part of the alleged Russian plot or even that he was aware of it.
Trump has flatly denied that he is convinced that Russia hacked or otherwise meddled in the current election cycle, whether for his benefit or anyone else’s.
“I don’t believe they interfered [in the election]. [The hacking] could be Russia. And it could be China. And it could be some guy in his home in New Jersey.”
So far, neither Donald Trump (or his transition team), the White House, nor CIA officials have opted to publicly comment on the report regarding the CIA’s assessment of the alleged connection between Russia and the rise of Donald Trump to presidential power.
[Featured Image by Sergei Karpukhin/Pool Photo/AP Images]