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Senate Intelligence Committee rejects Trump line on Russian attack

As far as Donald Trump is concerned, Russia didn't attack the US elections and didn't want him to win. A bipartisan Senate report strongly disagrees.
The Capitol building at dusk.
The Capitol building at dusk.

It's a problem when important news is released late on a Friday, when the public is less likely to learn about it. It's an even bigger problem when important news is released shortly before a major national holiday.

For example, the Washington Post  reported on Tuesday afternoon -- shortly before the 4th of July -- on important findings from the bipartisan leadership of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

A Senate panel investigating Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election released Tuesday a written summary of its determination that the U.S. intelligence community correctly concluded Moscow sought to help Donald Trump win. [...]The Senate panel called the overall assessment a "sound intelligence product," saying evidence presented by the FBI, CIA and National Security Agency supported their collective conclusion that the Russian government had "developed a clear preference for Trump" over his opponent in the race, Hillary Clinton. Where the agencies disagreed, the Senate panel found those differences were "reasonable."

The panel's seven-page document is available online here, and at face value, some may have dismissed its significance. After all, the Senate Intelligence Committee appears to have simply endorsed the findings of the CIA, the NSA and the FBI: Russia attacked our elections, in large part because Vladimir Putin's government wanted to put the Republican ticket in power. The panel also concluded that the intelligence community's findings were not influenced by partisan or political considerations, which also confirmed what we knew.

So why should you care? A couple of reasons.

First, as far as the Trump White House is concerned, there's still some reason to doubt the intelligence community's assessment. Indeed, just last week, the president personally echoed propaganda from the Kremlin, insisting, "Russia continues to say they had nothing to do with Meddling in our Election!"

This week's report offers everyone a choice: trust the findings of the CIA, the NSA, the FBI, and the bipartisan leadership of the Senate Intelligence Committee, or trust Putin's government. If Trump continues to side with the latter, he shouldn't be too surprised by questions about whether he's been compromised in some way by his Russian benefactors.

And second, in March, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee abruptly ended their absurd investigation into the Russia scandal and released a document that echoed the White House's talking points. Of particular interest, the president's GOP allies on the panel rejected the intelligence that showed Moscow favoring Trump.

The Senate Intelligence Committee's report effectively tells the public, "Pay no attention to the House committee's findings."

Looking ahead, the committee's leaders -- Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) -- agree that their panel still has work to do, and the committee intends to eventually release a "comprehensive, classified report" on their findings.