The CIA has concluded that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to
help President-elect Donald Trump win the White House, and not just to
undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, a senior U.S.
official said on Friday.
U.S. intelligence agencies have assessed that as the 2016 presidential
campaign drew on, Russian government officials devoted increasing
attention to assisting Donald Trump’s effort to win the election, the
U.S. official familiar with the finding told Reuters on Friday night on
condition of anonymity.
Citing U.S. officials briefed on the matter, the Washington Post
reported on Friday that intelligence agencies had identified individuals
with connections to the Russian government who provided thousands of
hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others,
including the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, to
U.S. President Barack Obama ordered intelligence agencies to review
cyber attacks and foreign intervention into the 2016 election and
deliver a report before he leaves office on Jan. 20, the White House
said on Friday.
As summer turned to fall, Russian hackers turned almost all their
attention to the Democrats. Virtually all the emails they released
publicly were potentially damaging to Clinton and the Democrats, the
official told Reuters.
“That was a major clue to their intent,” the official said. “If all they
wanted to do was discredit our political system, why publicize the
failings of just one party, especially when you have a target like
A second official familiar with the report said the intelligence
analysts’ conclusion about Russia’s motives does not mean the
intelligence community believes that Moscow’s efforts altered or
significantly affected the outcome of the election.
Russian officials have denied all accusations of interference in the U.S. election.
A CIA spokeswoman said the agency had no comment on the matter.
The hacked emails passed to WikiLeaks were a regular source of
embarrassment to the Clinton campaign during the race for the
U.S. intelligence analysts have assessed “with high confidence” that at
some point in the extended presidential campaign Russian President
Vladimir Putin’s government had decided to try to bolster Trump’s
chances of winning.
The Russians appear to have concluded that Trump had a shot at winning
and that he would be much friendlier to Russia than Clinton would be,
especially on issues such as maintaining economic sanctions and imposing
additional ones, the official said.