The talk that Russia interfered in the election between President-elect Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton to cause chaos and undermine the confidence in the electoral process has been supplanted with something much more nefarious.
Russia, according to a new CIA report, interfered to try to help Trump win. Others are quick, however, to point out that the FBI disagrees.
First the CIA assertions: according to a report from The Washington Post that dropped late Friday, "Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency, rather than just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system":
Intelligence agencies have identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others, including Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, according to U.S. officials. Those officials described the individuals as actors known to the intelligence community and part of a wider Russian operation to boost Trump and hurt Clinton’s chances.
“It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected,” said a senior U.S. official briefed on an intelligence presentation made to U.S. senators. “That’s the consensus view.”
Trump was quick to fight back, releasing a statement that said, in part, according to USA Today:
"These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It’s now time to move on and 'Make America Great Again.'"
Trump also took to Twitter early Saturday, but not to discuss the allegations concerning Russia. Rather, he addressed supposed inflammatory reports that he might return to NBC's "The Apprentice" while he serves as president.
I have NOTHING to do with The Apprentice except for fact that I conceived it with Mark B & have a big stake in it. Will devote ZERO TIME!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1481369242.0
Reports by @CNN that I will be working on The Apprentice during my Presidency, even part time, are ridiculous & untrue - FAKE NEWS!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1481379109.0
According to USA Today, retired General Michael Hayden, who served as CIA Director under former President George W. Bush, was critical of Trump's response, saying, "To have the president-elect of the United States simply reject the fact-based narrative that the intelligence community puts together because it conflicts with his a priori assumptions. Wow. The data matters."
But the Independent Journal Review was quick to point out that the FBI conducted a similar investigation weeks ago on behalf of Trump, which came to a very different conclusion:
For much of the summer, the F.B.I. pursued a widening investigation into a Russian role in the American presidential campaign. Agents scrutinized advisers close to Donald J. Trump, looked for financial connections with Russian financial figures, searched for those involved in hacking the computers of Democrats, and even chased a lead — which they ultimately came to doubt — about a possible secret channel of email communication from the Trump Organization to a Russian bank.
Law enforcement officials say that none of the investigations so far have found any conclusive or direct link between Mr. Trump and the Russian government. And even the hacking into Democratic emails, F.B.I. and intelligence officials now believe, was aimed at disrupting the presidential election rather than electing Mr. Trump.
President Barack Obama, also according to USA Today, has ordered a review of all attempts by foreign nations to influence election results with the goal of it being completed before he leaves office next month.