NEW YORK — Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), vice chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, seems to have strayed from the Democrats’ talking point, reinforced by Obama-era intelligence agencies, that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election specifically to ensure that Donald Trump was victorious.
Warner stated: “This is one where there is no Democratic or Republican answer since clearly the goal of our adversaries was not to favor one party over the other. It was to wreak havoc and split divisions.”
Warner made those brief closing remarks at the end of Wednesday’s Senate intelligence committee hearing on “foreign influence on social media” that focused significantly on the 2016 election.
The hearing took place nearly one month after Warner’s Senate intelligence committee released a seven-page report documenting its initial findings in its investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and affirming a U.S. Intelligence Community report alleging the Russian government specifically sought to aid Donald Trump’s election chances.
The committee concluded the Intelligence Community’s assessment that Russia sought to aid President Trump’s election chances was reached in a “professional and transparent manner.”
This conclusion is contradicted by an extensive Republican House Intelligence Committee report, and the narrative of Russia seeking to get Trump elected was partially challenged by the recently released book of James Clapper, who served as director of National Intelligence under the Obama administration. It was Clapper’s agency that released the Intelligence Community report.
The January 6, 2017 U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) report found the Russian government sought to aid Trump’s “election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him.”
In the IC report, the NSA assessed the conclusion that Putin favored Trump and worked to get him elected only with a classification of “moderate confidence,” while the FBI and CIA gave it a “high confidence” rating.
The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence found:
The difference in confidence levels between the NSA and the CIA and FBI on the assessment that “Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances” appropriately represents analytic differences and was reached in a professional and transparent manner.
However, the Republican House Intelligence Committee’s 250-page report on alleged Russian collusion released in April concluded a yearlong investigation finding no evidence that Trump’s presidential campaign colluded with Russia.
One section of the report finds that the IC assessment of Putin’s strategic intentions for allegedly interfering in the U.S. election to aid Trump “did not employ proper analytic tradecraft” and contained “significant intelligence tradecraft failings that undermine confidence” in the judgments, including the failure to “be independent of political considerations.”
As Breitbart News reported, Clapper’s recent book describes numerous shifts in Russia’s alleged attitude toward Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign.
At first, Clapper writes that Russia simply opposed Hillary Clinton and didn’t favor one Republican presidential candidate. After Trump seemed initially poised to possibly win, Clapper relates an alleged Russian propaganda effort to aid Trump’s victory in order to defeat Clinton. Toward the final stretch of the presidential campaign, with Trump’s poll numbers falling, Clapper wrote that Russia shifted its position away from aiding Trump and focused mainly on opposing Clinton, even allegedly providing Green Party candidate Jill Stein with more favorable coverage.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.
Joshua Klein contributed research to this article.