Russian state media fired back Tuesday at a damning bipartisan report the Senate issued earlier in the day that documented Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and close ties between its espionage agencies and officials in Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
“The Kremlin regrets that as the U.S. presidential elections in November 2020 approach, more and more reports of alleged attempts by Russia to interfere in the electoral process will appear,” state news service TASS included in an article about the report from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, citing a statement earlier this year from a Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Such statements “have nothing to do with the truth,” Peskov said previously.
Cartoons on President Trump and Russia
Peskov and Putin have denied multiple times any Russian interference in the 2016 election. Tuesday’s report, the fifth and final from the intelligence committee and signed by both Democratic and Republican members, was based on interviews with 200 people and more than 1 million pages of documents, reviewed over the span of more than three years.
It found that Putin himself ordered the interference campaign, and that senior members of Trump’s inner campaign circle maintained close relationships with influential Russian oligarchs and intelligence operatives. Among them was Konstantin Kilimnik, confirmed to be a Russian spy, who received internal polling data from Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman. The report does not conclude why Manafort shared the information with Kilimnik but suggests it may have been connected to Russian intelligence agencies’ “hack and leak operation targeting the 2016 U.S. election.”
“It is our conclusion, based on the facts detailed in the Committee’s Report, that the Russian intelligence services’ assault on the integrity of the 2016 U.S. electoral process and Trump and his associates’ participation in and enabling of this Russian activity, represents one of the single most grave counterintelligence threats to American national security in the modem era,” the committee concluded.