No big deal, just a US intelligence report that the next president received clandestine aid from a hostile foreign spy service. https://t.co/N6ohuXNkmQ
— David Frum (@davidfrum) January 6, 2017
The Russian government had a “preference” for Republican nominee Donald Trump over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the recent presidential election, but it only developed late in the election cycle, according to a report released Friday by the Director of National Intelligence.
The executive summary of the intelligence report states the goals of Russian activities were to “…undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency.”
It also suggests the Russians later “…developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.”
According to the Daily Caller, U.S. intelligence has traced Russia’s efforts to impair Clinton date back to 2015, before Trump was even a candidate.
Yet nothing in the documents released by the intelligence community so far has been able to shed any light on the nature of the preference cited by the Director of National Intelligence assessment released Friday.
The reports are also not clear if the Russian preference would have extended to any other candidate besides Clinton.
Politico has previously speculated that Clinton is unloved within the Kremlin.
When large scale protests over charges of rigged Russian elections erupted in in Moscow against Putin in 2011, it was Clinton, in Putin’s eyes, that threw gas on the fire. He remarked that she had called the Russian elections “dishonest and unfair.” Putin seethed saying that Clinton had given a “signal” to the demonstrators who were colluding with the U.S. State Department.
When events in the Crimea boiled over in 2014, Clinton was quoted as comparing Putin to Hitler.
According to a diplomat with extensive Russian experience that was also quoted in the Politico piece, the Russians thought a Clinton win was likely. “They’re sending her [Clinton] a message that they are a power to be reckoned with and can mess with her at will, so she had better take them seriously,” the source said.
In October, the New York Times reported the FBI found no clear ties between Putin’s regime and Trump. Even the information released in the most recent intelligence reports shows Russia’s original efforts and intentions had nothing to do with Trump.
Such revelations haven’t stopped the issue from escalating into an increasingly partisan issue.
David Frum, senior editor at The Atlantic, tweeted Friday that Trump “received clandestine aid from a hostile foreign spy service.”
The headline of Saturday’s ,New York Times railed “Putin Ordered Cyberattack to Aid Trump, Report Says.”
The Frum tweet and Times headlines don’t appear to be completely accurate based on the DNI report and assessment released Friday.