Republican-Led Senate Investigation Finds Russia Helped Donald Trump In 2016 ‘At The Direction Of The Kremlin’

Senate committee report says Russian social media campaign intended to help Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton by exploiting American racism.

Donald Trump is touched by Vladimir Putin.
Chris McGrath / Getty Images

Senate committee report says Russian social media campaign intended to help Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton by exploiting American racism.

Donald Trump now faces impeachment in part over his reported pressure on the president of Ukraine to help him show that it was Ukraine, not Russia, who interfered in the 2016 presidential election. As The Inquisitr reported, the purported theory appears to have started on the extremist internet message board 4Chan.

Even as Trump and his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, reportedly attempt to recruit other governments to back up their theory exonerating Russia in the 2016 election sabotage campaign, a bipartisan report issued and posted online Tuesday by the Senate Intelligence Committee says that the result of the committee’s two-and-half-year investigation shows otherwise.

The report, which focuses on an extensive campaign of social media propaganda and fabricated “news” stories by Russia’s Kremlin-linked Internet Research Agency (IRA), concludes that Russia’s extensive efforts online were designed to exploit divisions in United States society, mainly over racism and racial issues.

The goal of Russia’s “information warfare” effort, the Senate panel found, was to “influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election by harming Hillary Clinton’s chances of success and supporting Donald Trump.”

The Senate Intelligence Committee, which is chaired by Republican Richard Burr, who during the 2016 campaign was an outspoken supporter of Trump, also concluded that the pro-Trump social media Russian propaganda effort was carried out “at the direction of the Kremlin.”

Mark Warner stands with Richard Burr.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (r) and committee Vice Chair Mark Warner (l). Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

The Senate Intelligence Committee is now the third major investigative body to conclude after a lengthy investigation that Russia helped Trump win the election. Previously, an assessment by the U.S. intelligence community, as the report issued by special counsel Robert Mueller, both came to the same conclusion.

The 85-page report is the second of five reports planned by the Senate Intelligence Committee based on its investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 campaign. In the first report, as reported by The Inquisitr, the committee focused on Russian infiltration of America’s “election infrastructure,” revealing that Russian hackers infiltrated election computer systems in “all 50 states.”

One Intelligence Committee member, Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden, warned in an addendum to the earlier report that if Trump loses the 2020 presidential election, Russia will not give up and will wage an all-out effort to “delegitimize” the election results.

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Burr told The Washington Post that Russia’s efforts to create “discord” within American society continue to the present day and will continue even after the 2020 election.

“By flooding social media with false reports, conspiracy theories, and trolls, and by exploiting existing divisions, Russia is trying to breed distrust of our democratic institutions and our fellow Americans,” Burr said.

The report concludes, according to analysis by The Daily Beast, that the primary tool used by the Russians on social media to exploit existing divisions in U.S. society as part of its effort to help Trump was racism.

“No single group of Americans was targeted by IRA information operatives more than African-Americans,” the report states. “By far, race and related issues were the preferred target of the information warfare campaign designed to divide the country in 2016.”