A republican-led senate panel has concluded that Trump campaign contacts with Russia in 2016, “represented a grave counterintelligence threat”.
On Tuesday, asking about the report, Trump said he did not read it.
The nearly 1,000 page intelligence committee report laid out links between President Donald Trump’s associates and Kremlin officials. It is the fifth and may be the final report into Russian meddling during the 2016 presidential election.
“The most comprehensive description to date of Russia’s activities and the threat they posed,” according to the committee.
It details the interactions between Trump campaign staff and Russian operatives, including a Kremlin intelligence officer. The findings also confirmed aspects of the special counsel Robert Mueller’s report from his criminal probe into the Trump campaign and Russian election interference.
The bipartisan senate committee investigation, was meant to offer recommendations to prevent future interference, it was not a criminal enquiry. The report concluded that the Kremlin, engaged in an aggressive, multifaceted effort to influence or attempt to influence, the 2016 election, and that some Trump associates were keen on help from Russia.
The committee also highlighted, the role of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafor, who was convicted of conspiracy and fraud charges during the Mueller inquiry. It said the Trump campaign, with many affiliates who had no government experience, were easy targets for foreign influence.
Manafort’s contact with Russian oligarchs and intelligence affiliates, namely Konstanin Kilimnik, and his access to Trump, created opportunities for Russian intelligence services to exert influence over, and acquire confidential information on the Trump , the committee alleges.
The reporter also said that, Russian President Vladimir Putin was behind the WikiLeaks effort to hack Democratic Party officials and leak information to damage Hilliary Clinton’s campaign.
The Trump campaign tried to obtain information about the leak from Roger Stone, a longtime Trump ally and adviser. The committee was not able to determine how much access Stone had to WikiLeaks. Trump said, he does not recall speaking about WikiLeaks with Stone, but Tuesday’s report found that “despite Trump’s recollection” he did speak to Stone and other campaign staff about the matter “on multiple occasions”.
In July, Stone was convicted to lying to congress, obstruction and witness tampering, but pardoned by Trump.
The president has long derided claims that his election victory was influenced by Russia, at times questioning findings from his own agencies. In response to that, Trump said, “I don’t know anything about it, I did not read it.” “Its all a hoax.”
“There was absolutely no collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russia”, White House spokesman Judd Deere stated.