NBC News reported on Wednesday that U.S. intelligence officials have enough evidence to conclude that Russian President Vladimir Putin can be directly tied to the Russian involvement in the United States presidential election.
Two senior intelligence officials told NBC anonymously that the intel comes from credible diplomatic sources, including undercover spies working with American allies. They said Putin had a personal vendetta against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, and that he wanted to carry out that vendetta while also exposing the widespread corruption plaguing American politics today.
One of the high-level officials said that Putin's specific role was "directing the use of the [hacked] material," and he also wanted to "split off key American allies by creating the image that [other countries] couldn't depend on the U.S. to be a credible global leader anymore."
Michael McFaul, former U.S. Ambassador to Russia, said that Putin aimed to threaten the United States government system at its core. "He wants to discredit American democracy, and make us weaker in terms of leading the liberal Democratic order, and most certainly he likes President-elect Trump's views on Russia. Now it sounds like we have evidence to support those hypotheses."
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— NBC Nightly News (@NBCNightlyNews) December 14, 2016