The US intelligence community in a new declassified file on Saturday accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of ordering an ‘influence campaign’ to help Donald Trump win the White House and denigrate his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in a bid to undermine public faith in the American democratic process.
US President-elect Donald Trump was quick to refute the conclusion, saying hacking did not impact the November 8 presidential polls outcome.
“We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election,” the Director of National Intelligence said in a report.
The 31-page report alleges that Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Democratic presidential candidate Hillary 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 judgements,” the US intelligence community said in the which was submitted to outgoing US President Barack Obama on Thursday.
Obama had ordered a comprehensive probe into allegations of Russian hacking the Democratic party’s email system.
A team of intelligence officials briefed Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence on the report in New York.
“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 including the fact that there was no tampering whatsoever with voting machines,” Trump said in a statement after the meeting.
“There were attempts to hack the Republican National Committee (RNC), but the RNC had strong hacking defences and the hackers were unsuccessful.
“I will appoint a team to give me a plan within 90 days of taking office. The methods, tools and tactics we use to keep America safe should not be a public discussion that will benefit those who seek to do us harm. Two weeks from today I will take the oath of office and America’s safety and security will be my number one priority,” Trump said, adding that there is a need to aggressively combat and stop cyberattacks.
Pence said Trump has made it very clear that the US is going to take aggressive action in the early days of the new administration to combat cyberattacks and protect the security of its citizens from this type of intrusion in the future.