The U.S. intelligence community has released an official declassified report that determines Russian President Vladimir Putin directly ordered the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and John Podesta's emails and instructed the release of those emails to WikiLeaks in order to influence the 2016 presidential election.
Calling it an "influence campaign," the intelligence report released on Friday specifies that Putin intended to hurt Clinton's chances of winning the election and help President-elect Donald Trump's campaign. It also stated that this was a "significant escalation" of Russian attempts to undermine the "U.S.-led liberal democratic order." This was the first official report released by the U.S. intelligence community that details the Russian hacking and the motivation behind the hacking.
"We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia's goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump," the report read.
It went on, "Russian efforts to influence the 2016 US presidential election represent the most recent expression of Moscow's longstanding desire to undermine the US-led liberal democratic order, but these activities demonstrated a significant escalation in directness, level of activity, and scope of effort compared to previous operations."
Detailing the different methods Russia used to interfere in the election, which included social media users and media, the report continued, "Moscow's influence campaign followed a Russian messaging strategy that blends covert intelligence operations -- such as cyberactivity -- with overt efforts by Russian government agencies, state-funded media, third-party intermediaries and paid social media users or 'trolls.'"
Trump was briefed on the report early Friday, and although he told reporters that he had a "constructive meeting," he refused to agree with the report's assessment. He said that "there was absolutely no effect on the outcome whatsoever," which the intel report concluded it did not have enough evidence to determine.
The report warned of future interference from Russia in upcoming elections, saying, "Moscow will apply lessons learned from its Putin-ordered campaign aimed at the US presidential election to future influence efforts worldwide, including against US allies and their election processes."