By Gregg Re, ,
Published July 03, 2018
Findings by the intelligence community that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election to help Donald Trump win were "accurate and on point," according to an unclassified report and accompanying statement by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released Tuesday.
The committee's findings came after a lengthy review of the "sources, tradecraft and analytic work underpinning" a January 2017 intelligence community assessment.
The FBI's and CIA's "analytical disagreement" with the NSA over whether Russia sought to bolster the Trump presidential campaign was "reasonable," the report also said.
While the FBI and CIA had "high confidence" that Russian President Vladimir Putin aspired to help Trump's election chances by denigrating opponent Hillary Clinton, the NSA had only "moderate confidence" in that assessment, according to the January 2017 analysis.
The disagreement among agencies "was reasonable, transparent, and openly debated among the agencies and analysts, with analysts, managers and agency heads on both sides of the confidence level articulately justifying their positions," the Senate intelligence committee's findings said.
In a statement, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C, said the panel's review was ongoing.
“The committee has spent the last 16 months reviewing the sources, tradecraft and analytic work underpinning the intelligence community assessment and sees no reason to dispute the conclusions,” Burr said.
“The committee continues its investigation, and I am hopeful that this installment of the committee’s work will soon be followed by additional summaries providing the American people with clarity around Russia’s activities regarding U.S. elections."
Whether Russian authorities sought to meddle in the 2016 election to help Trump prevail has been a key point of contention between House and Senate intelligence committees.
In May, Senate Intelligence Committee leaders backed the 2017 intel community report that formally accused Russia of trying to interfere in the election to the Trump campaign's benefit.
"The Russian effort was extensive, sophisticated and ordered by President Putin himself for the purpose of helping Donald Trump and hurting Hillary Clinton," top Senate committee Democrat Mark Warner said in a joint statement at the time.
On Tuesday, Warner said the committee's review had confirmed those findings.
“As numerous intelligence and national security officials in the Trump administration have since unanimously re-affirmed, the ICA findings were accurate and on point," Warner said.
But on the other side of Capitol Hill, Republicans on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence have disputed the conclusion that Putin wanted to help Trump.
GOP members of the House panel have cited "significant intelligence tradecraft failings" in the intelligence community's findings, saying it is inappropriate to conclude that Russia acted specifically to assist Trump.
“We disagree with the narrative that they were trying to help Trump.”
“The bottom line: The Russians did commit active measures against our election in 2016, and we think they will do that in the future,” Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, said in March. “We disagree with the narrative that they were trying to help Trump.”
Accusations of political bias at the highest levels of the DOJ and FBI have roiled Washington, with Republicans accusing investigators of targeting the White House for political reasons.
But some key Republicans said that it seemed Russia was, in fact, trying to help Trump win. In a statement earlier this year, Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., said it was “clear based on the evidence” that Putin wanted Clinton to lose in November.
Other top administration officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have signaled that they agree that Russian actors wanted Clinton to lose.
Fox News' Bill Mears, Chad Pergram and Brooke Singman contributed to this report.