21:29 GMT18 September 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The US Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday alleged that Russia engaged in an aggressive, multi-pronged effort to influence the result of the 2016 US presidential election.

    "The Committee found that the Russian government engaged in an aggressive, multi-faceted effort to influence, or attempt to influence, the outcome of the 2016 presidential election," the panel said in the fifth volume of the report on its investigation into the Trump-Russia collusion probe.

    The report claimed that Trump 2016 election campaign chairman Paul Manafort carried out influence operations in Ukraine for the Russian government for five years from 2004 to 2009 under the direction of billionaire Oleg Deripaska.

    "From approximately 2004 to 2009, Manafort implemented these influence operations on behalf of Deripaska, including a broad, multi-million dollar political influence campaign directed at numerous countries of interest to Deripaska and the Russian government," the report said.

    Manafort worked closely with an identified Russian intelligence officer who managed his office through the 2016 US elections, the report alleged.

    "Manafort hired and worked increasingly closely with a Russian national, Konstantin Kilimnik. Kilimnik is a Russian intelligence officer. Kilimnik became an integral part of Manafort's operations in Ukraine and Russia, serving as Manafort's primary liaison to Deripaska and eventually managing Manafort's office in Kiev. Kilimnik and Manafort formed a close and lasting relationship that endured to the 2016 US elections and beyond," the report said.

    Hillary Clinton, then-Democratic presidential candidate, speaking at a campaign rally in Louisville, Kentucky in May 2016.
    © Sputnik / Nikita Shokhov
    Hillary Clinton, then-Democratic presidential candidate, speaking at a campaign rally in Louisville, Kentucky in May 2016.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the hack of Democratic Party computer networks to find and leak information damaging to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, the report also claimed.

    "The Committee found that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the Russian effort to hack computer networks and accounts affiliated with the Democratic Party and leak information damaging to Hillary Clinton and her campaign for president," the report said. "Moscow's intent was to harm the Clinton campaign, tarnish an expected Clinton presidential administration, help the Trump Campaign after Trump became the presumptive Republican nominee, and undermine the US democratic process."

    WikiLeaks played an important part in the Russian attempt to influence the outcome of the 2016 US presidential election and its leaders probably were aware they were working with Kremlin intelligence, the report also alleged.

    Russia has repeatedly denied interfering in the US political system, saying the allegations have been invented to excuse the loss of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and deflect public attention from actual instances of election fraud and corruption.

    US President Donald Trump has long called the attempts to insinuate collusion with Russia a baseless political witch-hunt intended to reverse the result of the 2016 US election.

    Tags:
    US Senate, hacking, Russia, United States
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