The Russian Connection: Yes, They Did

The Senate Intelligence Committee released a report that clearly states that Russia interfered with the 2016 election directing a disinformation campaign against Hillary Clinton and favored Donald Trump. The bipartisan report blows a huge hole in Trump’s conspiracy theory that it was Ukraine and the Democrats.

The report corroborates past findings by researchers and the intelligence community that the notorious Internet Research Agency troll farm, as the committee wrote, “sought to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election by harming Hillary Clinton’s chances of success and supporting Donald Trump at the direction of the Kremlin.”

The findings mark the second installment of the committee’s five-part report outlining the scope of Russian election meddling in 2016, the result of an expansive investigation that has spanned over two years and included interviews with over 200 witnesses. The committee in July unveiled the first chapter, which detailed Russian efforts to attack state elections systems and spread disinformation. The second installment focuses on the Kremlin’s documented attempts to sow political discord on social media.

We already know what triggered the Mueller investigation into the allegations of Russian interference. It was the intoxicated Trump foreign policy advisor, George Papadopoulos, shooting his mouth off in a London bar to Australian diplomats that Russia had dirt on Hillary Clinton. They reported it to the FBI who open a counterintelligence investigation into the Donald Trump presidential campaign.

The other key finding in the report states that African Americans were targeted more than any other group and the disinformation was mainly directed at race issues. Previous reports have already detailed much of this information to the public. Back in September 2017, CNN exposed a black rights Facebook account that was actually linked to Russia — yet had more followers than the official Black Lives Matter account.

The report is damning in the FBI’s handling of what knowledge they had of Russia’s meddling prior to the 2016 election. The report finds it “troubling” that in October 2016, a month before the election, rather than investigating themselves, the FBI tasked a contractor with analyzing a pro-Russian network that promoted U.S. election-related news and leaked Democratic party emails published by WikiLeaks.

Time to come home, Bill Barr, and stop wasting tax payers dollars on a debunked conspiracy theory from Trump’s brain.

NB: all emphasis is mine. TMC