A declassified intelligence report by a United States agency has claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to help Republican candidate Donald Trump win the presidential elections. The report, prepared by Office of the Director of National Intelligence, says Putin ordered an “influence campaign” to “undermine public faith” in democracy and disparage Trump’s rival Hillary Clinton so that voters would see her as the poorer choice.
While the report does not specify what Putin’s actions were, it claims Russia interfered in the US’ electoral process by hacking into the email accounts of the Democratic National Committee and releasing the information it obtained through Wikileaks and other similar agencies. It also claimed that social media trolls were paid to make nasty comments about Hillary Clinton as part of the Russia-funded propaganda machinery. It said the US authorities have the names of the Russian agents involved, but that they have not realised them publicly.
More broadly, the report claims the activities are part of a larger Russian plan to undermine the US and the liberal democratic ideology in the West. “Russian media hailed President-elect Trump’s victory as a vindication of Putin’s advocacy of global populist movements,” the report said.
The report was made public after the agency briefed President-elect Donald Trump on its findings. It had presented a longer version of the document to President Barack Obama on Thursday. Russia has not responded to the report, though it has denied similar accusations in the past.
Trump said the hacking had “no effect” on the outcome of the election, reported Al Jazeera. “While Russia, China, other countries, outside groups and people are consistently trying to break through the cyber infrastructure of our governmental institutions, businesses and organisations including the Democrat National Committee, there was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election,” he said in a statement.