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Trump Caught Lying About Intel Report on Alleged Russian Hacking

Donald Trump has repeatedly dismissed findings by US intelligence agencies that Russia had intervened in the American election through hacking, propaganda and fake news. (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

Donald Trump has been caught apparently lying about the US intelligence assessment of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential race, falsely claiming intelligence officials found Moscow’s cyber-hacking had “no effect” on the election outcome.

Yahoo News reports the president-elect issued a statement Friday afternoon following a briefing with leaders of the US intelligence community in which he asserted the Kremlin’s alleged cyberattacks did not influence the outcome of the November 8 contest against Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.

“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 declared after the briefing. “There were attempts to hack the Republican National Committee, but the RNC had strong hacking defenses and the hackers were unsuccessful,” he added.

Shortly after Trump was briefed, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) released a declassified version of the Intelligence Community Assessment on Russian activities and intentions, which stated the Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation and National Security Agency all concurred that “Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election.” The report alleged Putin’s government sought to “undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency.” It additionally stated that Putin eventually “developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump” over Clinton, who embarrassed him by vocally criticizing the flawed 2011 Russian elections — criticism the Russian leader blamed for subsequent unrest which posed the greatest challenge to his then-decade-long rule.

The report states that intelligence officials “did not make an assessment of the impact that Russian activities had on the outcome of the 2016 election.” The declassified version is clearly marked on each page that “its conclusions are identical to those in the highly classified assessment” Trump was shown in his meeting with officials. However, Trump insisted just after the meeting that the alleged hacking had “absolutely no affect on the outcome of the election.” MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow caught Trump’s spurious statement, lamenting on Friday’s show that “our new president will flat-out lie to us.”

“He put out a written statement about what he learned in the briefing,” said Maddow. “And he blatantly, and overtly, bluntly, simply lied about what is in this report. Right before this report got publicly released so we could check ourselves and see that he was lying.”

As of late Friday, Trump’s transition team had not responded to a Yahoo News request to explain the discrepancy between what Trump and the intelligence assessment said.

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