US report finds Vladmir Putin ordered influence campaign aimed at the US election

One of Russia's goals was to "undermine public faith in the US democratic process"

US report finds Vladmir Putin ordered influence campaign aimed at the US election

Picture by Pavel Golovkin AP/Press Association Images

Vladimir Putin ordered a campaign to influence the US presidential election, according to a report by American spy chiefs.

The campaign aimed to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton and harm her electability and potential presidency. 

The Russian leader and his government "aspired to help" Donald Trump's chances of winning the campaign by discrediting his rival Hillary Clinton, the report claimed.

The report said "We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency.

"We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump."

The report stated that the "CIA and FBI have high confidence in this judgment; NSA has moderate confidence."

Mr Trump unexpectedly won the White House race in November but has been sceptical of claims that Moscow interfered to boost his chances of victory.

The report found that Russia "conducted cyber operations against targets associated with the 2016 US presidential election, including targets associated with both major US political parties." 

However they noted a preference for Trump's candidacy and "when it appeared to Moscow that Secretary Clinton was likely to win the election, the Russian influence campaign began to focus more on undermining her future presidency."

US intelligence agencies claim Russia hacked into the emails of the Democratic National Committee and Mrs Clinton's campaign team and then Russian officials fed the hacked material to WikiLeaks.

Responding to the report Speaker Paul Ryan said "I strongly condemn any outside interference in our elections."

He also highlighted that "Donald Trump won this election fair and square because he heard the voices of Americans who felt forgotten."