17:22 GMT +310 December 2019
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    In this 29 May 2019 file photo, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivers Hunter College's commencement address in New York.

    Hillary Clinton Calls Out UK Government for ‘Shaming’ Delay of ‘Russia’ Report

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    The Intelligence and Security Committee’s unpublished final report into alleged Russian interference in British politics is at the centre of a political row in the UK, where parliament was dissolved ahead of a general election on 12 December, with the opposition accusing Prime Minister Boris Johnson of stalling with its release.

    Hillary Clinton has lambasted Downing Street for sitting on a report into alleged Russian attempts to influence British politics as “damaging, inexplicable and shaming”, reported The Guardian.

    The 2016 US presidential candidate said it was “incredibly surprising and unacceptable that in your country there is a government report sitting there about Russian influence and your current government isn’t releasing it”.

    Clinton said:

    “I mean, who do they think they are that they would keep information like that from the public, especially before an election? Well, I’ll tell you who they think they are. They think that they are the all-powerful, strong men who should be ruling.”

    Further on in the interview, the full version of which will be published in Guardian Review on 16 November, Clinton said:

    “Someone said to me: 'Quit with the Russians'. I said: 'I’ll quit with the Russians when the Russians quit with us.' That’s how I feel.”

    The ex-secretary of state left open the possibility of a presidential run in 2020, saying:

    “I would have been a good president, so obviously that lives in the back of my head. I’m going to do everything I possibly can to make sure we retire the current incumbent.”

    Earlier, at an event promoting The Book of Gutsy Women, which Clinton co-authored with her daughter, Chelsea, the former US secretary of state shared her concern about witnessing Britain “sort of shrink up and turn inward”.

    She said that Britain was trying “to separate yourselves from Europe at a time when democracies need to stick together because we are truly under pressure from dictatorships and authoritarian regimes”.

    Hillary Clinton, who made her second unsuccessful presidential run in 2016, losing to Republican opponent Donald Trump in the Electoral College, has repeatedly laid responsibility for her defeat on “Russian interference” that helped her opponent. Her claims have never been corroborated by any evidence, with Moscow dismissing the allegations.

    The “Russia” Report

    The UK cross-party Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) report concerning alleged Russian attempts to influence the outcome of the 2016 EU referendum and 2017 general election has already been approved by the intelligence agencies.

    Downing Street was sent a final draft on 17 October.

    However, No 10 indicated that the parliamentary report titled simply "Russia", would not be made public before the election, citing a sign-off process that it said could take six weeks.

    While the chairman of the committee, Dominic Grieve, called the decision to delay publication “jaw-dropping”, Chancellor Sajid Javid cited the sensitive nature of the content, telling the BBC that the timescale for the publication of the report was "perfectly normal".

    Downing Street has repeatedly denied that the failure to publish the report before the election was politically motivated.

    In Parliament this week, Foreign Office minister Christopher Pincher said it was routine for Downing Street to subject ISC reports to further checks before they were published, and that it would be released "in due course".

    Pincher added:

    “There is no evidence to suggest there has been any successful Russian involvement in the British electoral cycle.”

    Mueller Inquiry

    In the US, President Donald Trump's opponents and numerous media outlets have accused his team of colluding with Moscow after his victory in the 2016 presidential election.

    They also put forward unsubstantiated claims that Russia carried out a cyberattack on Democratic National Committee servers to aid Trump, which Moscow denied, dismissed as baseless and part of the battle for power in Washington.

    Ex-FBI head Robert Mueller was appointed Special Counsel for the United States Department of Justice to probe alleged "Russian meddling" and after about two years of investigating, hie published a report in April 2019, basically stating that he had found insubstantial evidence to prove that Trump had colluded with the Kremlin.

    Russia has repeatedly denied any claims of interference in the US elections and in the US political system.

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    Tags:
    alleged meddling, meddling, UK Referendum, UK elections, Brexit, Donald Trump, Robert Mueller, Hillary Clinton
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