SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — California’s elected officials responded Friday to the public release of a declassified U.S. intelligence report that says Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a campaign to influence the U.S. election in favor of Donald Trump.
Pro-Kremlin figures, the report states, spoke highly about what they saw as Trump’s Russia-friendly positions on Syria and Ukraine.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence said in a statement Friday afternoon — moments after the public release of the 25-page declassified intelligence report — that the report does not support President-elect Trump’s statements denying that Russian hacking influenced the U.S. election.
Schiff said the report not only documents the Russian hacking of Democratic institutions but also shows that Putin directed the interference and was motivated “by the desire to help Donald Trump’s election chances by discrediting Secretary Hillary Clinton.”
He said the report should put to rest any uncertainty as to Russian responsibility for the interference in the U.S. presidential election.
The report states that Vladimir Zhirinovskiy, the leader of the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, described in the report as a “Pro-Kremlin proxy,” proclaimed just before the election that should Trump be elected, Russia would “drink champagne” in anticipation of being able to advance Russia’s positions on Syria and Ukraine.
The report also highlighted the growing influence of the “Kremlin-financed” news channel operated from within the United States, RT America, saying that while RT “has deliberately sought to obscure any legal ties to the Russian Government” it is an important messaging tool for the Kremlin.
RT is described in the report as “a leading media voice opposing Western intervention in the Syrian conflict and blaming the West for waging ‘information wars’ against the Syrian Government.”
While the declassified report, Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections released by the National Intelligence Council, contains the same conclusions as a highly classified version of the report, it does not include the full supporting information on key elements of the influence campaign.
The report is based on intelligence obtained by the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the National Security Agency.
U.S. intelligence officials briefed Trump and top lawmakers on Capitol Hill Friday from a longer, classified version. Following the briefing, Trump insisted that any hacking attempts had “absolutely no effect” on the election outcome.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said Friday, “Vladimir Putin’s assault on American democracy was political thuggery in support of Donald Trump, and there must be consequences.”
Likewise, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said she was appalled that the Russian government interfered in the U.S. presidential election, saying “This issue must not be politicized — all Americans should be outraged at Russia’s actions, and we must hold them accountable.”