Russian President Vladimir Putin "ordered" an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election, according to a newly declassified intelligence report.
- Declassified intelligence report concludes Russia influenced the U.S. election
- Says Russia wanted to undermine public faith in the election process and harm Hillary Clinton's electability
- Also says Russia relayed hacked material to WikiLeaks
- READ THE REPORT: Office of Director of National Intelligence
U.S. intelligence officials released the 25-page public version of the report Friday, after they briefed President-elect Donald Trump and top lawmakers on Capitol Hill from a longer, classified version.
The report says Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election represent the most recent expression of Moscow's long-standing desire to undermine the U.S.-led liberal democratic order. It says the scope of Russia's activities was significantly larger compared with previous operations.
According to the report:
- The Russian government developed a "clear preference for President-elect Donald Trump."
- The goal of Moscow's meddling was to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton and harm her electability and potential presidency.
- Before the election, Russian diplomats publicly denounced the U.S. electoral process and were prepared to publicly call into question the validity of the results.
- Based on Moscow's social media activity, pro-Kremlin bloggers had prepared a Twitter campaign — called #DemocracyRIP, or Rest in Peace — on election night because they anticipated that Hillary Clinton would beat Donald Trump.
- Intelligence officials believe with high confidence that Moscow's intelligence services relayed to WikiLeaks material it hacked from the Democratic National Committee and senior Democratic officials.
- Russia also hacked the Republicans -- but only released hacked material tied to the Democrats.
- Officials also predict Russia will continue to develop capabilities to target the United States. Russian intelligence began a spear-phishing campaign against U.S. government employees, think tanks and nonprofits.
House Speaker Paul Ryan said he strongly condemns Russian "interference" in last year's election.
Ryan also echoed Donald Trump's take on the intelligence report: that the hacking by the Russians didn't affect the outcome and that Trump "won this election fair and square."
Ryan says Russia "clearly tried to meddle in our political system."
The report also says Russian intelligence agencies probably began cyber operations targeting the U.S. election by March 2016 and had stolen large volumes of data from the DNC by May 2016, which was turned over to Wikileaks.
The report says the emails disclosed by WikiLeaks did not appear to contain any forged material.
Intelligence officials say the Russians had access to the DNC from July 2015 to at least June 2016.
Trump said he had a constructive meeting and conversation with intelligence leaders Friday, but did not say whether he agreed with the conclusions.
He has previously been sharply critical of allegations that Russia tried to interfere with the election.
The president-elect says his own evidence that that the outcome was unaffected was because "there was no tampering whatsoever with voting machines."
Trump says he wants his administration to develop a plan in its first 90 days to "aggressively combat and stop cyberattacks."
Trump, in a statement released shortly after the conclusion of his Friday meeting with intelligence officials, said the nation's "government, organizations, associations or businesses" all need to strengthen their cybersecurity efforts.
He adds that security "methods, tools and tactics" should "not be a public discussion that will benefit those who seek us do harm."
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.