The intelligence community believes Russia hacked both the Republican and Democratic parties in an effort to influence U.S. policy, according to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.
“We are confident Russian intelligence carried out operations targeting both major political parties,” Clapper told the Senate Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence during his testimony Tuesday.
Comey’s testimony confirms an intelligence community assessment which determined that the Russian intelligence apparatus likely hacked into the servers of both the Republican National Committee and Democratic National Committee.
“There’s no doubt they hit an RNC domain,” said FBI Director James Comey, who joined Clapper in the Tuesday afternoon hearing.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a report assessing evidence of Russian hacking Friday based on an investigation conducted by the FBI, CIA and NSA. It noted that “Russia collected on some Republican-affiliated targets, but did not conduct a comparable disclosure campaign.”
In an exchange with Sen. Tom Cotton, Clapper noted that the Russians initially had little faith in Trump’s chances to win the election over Clinton.
“Initially no,” said Clapper after Cotton asked if Russia thought Trump was going to win the election. “They thought he was a fringe candidate.”
The report noted that in June, Putin began avoided publicly praising Trump, “probably because Kremlin officials thought that any praise from Putin personally would backfire in the United States.” Clapper explained that Russians began to develop a preference for Trump after the summer time frame.
The report also found that Russia engaged in hacking against U.S. government, think tank and non-governmental organization personnel in an attempt to gather future intelligence on the incoming Trump administration.
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