Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, March 2, 2017
As part of the Confirmation process for Attorney General,
Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions (R) takes oath before his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee in his Confirmation Hearing to be United States Attorney General.
in January, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) asked nominee Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions for answers to written questions, one which was: “Several of the President-elect’s nominees or senior advisers have Russian ties. Have you been in contact with anyone connected to any part of the Russian government about the 2016 election, either before or after election day?”
Sessions wrote a one-word response: “No.”
During the Confirmation Hearings before the Judiciary Committee on January 10, Minnesota Senator Al Franken (D) asked Senator Sessions, “If there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of this campaign, what will you do?”
Senator Jeff Sessions stated, “I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign, and I did not have communications with the Russians.”
Jeff Sessions: “I did not have communications with the Russians.” (C-SPAN)
Justice Department officials said that Sessions met twice with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak: Privately on Read the rest of this entry »
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Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, March 2, 2017
There is clear, unambiguous evidence that “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.”
“Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections” is a declassified version of a highly classified assessment that has been provided to the President and to recipients approved by the President.”
A header appears upon EVERY page and states: “This report is a declassified version of a highly classified assessment; its conclusions are identical to those in the highly classified assessment but this version does not include the full supporting information on key elements of the influence campaign.”
Several “Key Judgments” are made in the report issued by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence which is dated 6 January 2017.
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. We have high confidence in these judgments.
• We also assess Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him. All three agencies agree with this judgment. CIA and FBI have high confidence in this judgment; NSA has moderate confidence.
• Moscow’s approach evolved over the course of the campaign based on Russia’s understanding of the electoral prospects of the two main candidates. When it appeared to Moscow that Secretary Clinton was likely to win the election, the Russian influence campaign began to focus more on undermining her future presidency.
• Further information has come to light since Election Day that, when combined with Russian behavior since early November 2016, increases our confidence in our assessments of Russian motivations and goals.
Moscow’s influence campaign followed a Russian messaging strategy that blends covert intelligence operations — such as cyber activity — with overt efforts by Russian Government agencies, state-funded media, third-party intermediaries, and paid social media users or “trolls.” Russia, like its Soviet predecessor, has a history of conducting covert influence campaigns focused on US presidential elections that have used intelligence officers and agents and press placements to disparage candidates perceived as hostile to the Kremlin.
• Russia’s intelligence services conducted cyber operations against targets associated with the 2016 US presidential election, including targets associated with both major US political parties.
• We assess with high confidence that Russian military intelligence (General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate or GRU) used the Guccifer 2.0 persona and DCLeaks.com to release US victim data obtained in cyber operations publicly and in exclusives to media outlets and relayed material to WikiLeaks.
• Russian intelligence obtained and maintained access to elements of multiple US state or local electoral boards. DHS assess es that the types of systems Russian actors targeted or compromised were not involved in vote tallying.
• Russia’s state-run propaganda machine contributed to the influence campaign by serving as a platform for Kremlin messaging to Russian and international audiences.
We assess 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.
Obama Administration Rushed to Preserve Intelligence of Russian Election Hacking
President Obama in December. Some in his administration feared that intelligence about Russian interference in the 2016 election could be covered up or destroyed. Credit Al Drago/The New York Times
By MATTHEW ROSENBERG, ADAM GOLDMAN and MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT
MARCH 1, 2017
WASHINGTON — In the Obama administration’s last days, some White House officials scrambled to spread information about Russian efforts to undermine the presidential election — and about possible contacts between associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump and Russians — across the government. Former American officials say they had two aims: to ensure that such meddling isn’t duplicated in future American or European elections, and to leave a clear trail of intelligence for government investigators.
American allies, including the British and the Dutch, had provided information describing meetings in European cities between Russian officials — and others close to Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin — and associates of President-elect Trump, according to three former American officials who requested anonymity in discussing classified intelligence. Separately, American intelligence agencies had intercepted communications of Russian officials, some of them within the Kremlin, discussing contacts with Trump associates.
Then and now, Mr. Trump has denied that his campaign had any contact with Russian officials, and at one point he openly suggested that American spy agencies had cooked up intelligence suggesting that the Russian government had tried to meddle in the presidential election. Mr. Trump has accused the Obama administration of hyping the Russia story line as a way to discredit his new administration.
At the Obama White House, Mr. Trump’s statements stoked fears among some that intelligence could be covered up or destroyed — or its sources exposed — once power changed hands. What followed was a push to preserve the intelligence that underscored the deep anxiety with which the White House and American intelligence agencies had come to view the threat from Moscow.
It also reflected the suspicion among many in the Obama White House that the Trump campaign might have colluded with Russia on election email hacks — a suspicion that American officials say has not been confirmed. Former senior Obama administration officials said that none of the efforts were directed by Mr. Obama.
President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. Credit Alexei Nikolsky/Sputnik
Sean Spicer, the Trump White House spokesman, said, Read the rest of this entry »
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