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Senate Intel Russia probe enters homestretch with key unanimous approval

“That has been verified by our committee’s action,” King continued, adding that the panel’s report is undergoing a classification review. “The conclusion is clear.”

Trump has consistently rejected the intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, and his allies have floated various alternative theories, including that Ukraine sought to meddle in the U.S. election.

The report, though, is expected to be heavily redacted, in part because it includes information that could compromise sources and methods for clandestine intelligence-gathering.

“There’s an awful lot of redactions that we’re not doing but that the executive is doing based upon not revealing sources and methods. A lot of it is based on sources and methods,” King said.

The committee already endorsed the intelligence community’s January 2017 findings about the Russian government’s systematic efforts to interfere in the 2016 election. But that review, completed in 2018, was not as exhaustive as the forthcoming report, which is a key portion of a five-part series that has taken nearly two years to complete.

“Committee staff have spent 14 months reviewing the sources, tradecraft and analytic work, and we see no reason to dispute the conclusions,” Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) said at the time. “There is no doubt that Russia undertook an unprecedented effort to interfere with our 2016 elections.”

A spokesperson for the committee said the most recent installment builds on that previously released conclusion, noting that it represented simply the “unclassified summary findings.”

The spokesperson added that the fifth and final report, which centers on the counterintelligence aspects of the investigation, is “currently in the editing stages” and will undergo a classification review “soon.”

King said that installment centers on “whether or not there was in fact some relationship between the Trump campaign and the Russians.” That question was addressed by special counsel Robert Mueller, who examined the matter and said his investigation “did not establish” that Trump campaign officials coordinated with Russian operatives.

“We’re doing everything we can to try to get that done in a timely way,” King said of the fifth and final installment.

“And certainly the current circumstances don’t help that, because it’s hard for people to be working together,” he added, referring to the coronavirus pandemic, which is limiting the ability of senators and staffers to meet in person.

The committee has already released the first three chapters of its exhaustive, yearslong investigation, centering on the Russian government’s digital assault on American democracy through the use of social media “troll farms.” The previous reports also detail Russia’s successful cyberattacks on the U.S. political apparatus, including the Democratic National Committee.

The most recent installment also faulted the Obama administration for its initial response.

Source: politico.com
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