An intelligence report released on Jan. 6 by the Obama administration alleges that the Russian government launched a series of cyber-attacks against the U.S. with the express purpose to "undermine" the election process and cause Hillary Clinton to lose the presidency.
"We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election," said the shortened, declassified version of the CIA, FBI and NSA report. "Russia's goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. 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 went on to say that Moscow undoubtedly "learned" from the experience and will use the newfound knowledge "to future influence efforts worldwide, including against US allies and their election processes."
According to the document, Putin preferred President-elect Donald Trump over Clinton, due to longstanding bad blood between them, after he "publicly blamed her since 2011 for inciting mass protests against his regime." Meanwhile, the Russian leader reportedly saw an opportunity in electing Trump, as the Republican would be more likely to work with Putin on an international terrorism coalition to fight ISIS.
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"Moscow's approach evolved over the course of the campaign based on Russia's understanding of the electoral prospects of the two main candidates," the report added. "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."
Trump attended an intelligence briefing the same day that the report was publicized, though he ultimately concluded that his presidential victory had nothing to do with Russia and everything to do with the American people.
"While Russia, China, other countries, outside groups and people are consistently trying to break through the cyber infrastructure of our governmental institutions, businesses and organizations including the Democrat National Committee, there was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election including the fact that there was no tampering whatsoever with voting machines," Trump said in a statement posted to his official transition website, Great Again.