SUMMARY: Intelligence agencies have released their detailed findings that Russia interfered in the U.S. Presidential election. The report says Vladimir Putin himself orchestrated a campaign of intervention, specifically intending to boost Trump's election chances "when possible.” Judy Woodruff talks to Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.
JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour): We return to the report issued this afternoon by the U.S. intelligence community on what it calls, “Russian activities and intentions” in recent U.S. elections.
The report is a public version of a highly classified assessment given to the president and other top officials. It alleges that Russia used covert operations to steal material from the Democratic Party and others, and disseminated it through media organizations that it controls and through third-party groups. It called the campaign a significant escalation of Russian efforts to — quote — “undermine the U.S.-led liberal democratic order.”
For more on the report's findings and its effects, I'm joined from Capitol Hill by California Representative Adam Schiff. He is the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.
And, for the record, we called every current Republican member serving on the Senate and House Intelligence Committees. None was available.
Adam Schiff, Congressman Schiff, thank you very much for joining us.
Now, this report says it has high confidence that President Vladimir Putin personally ordered this campaign to interfere with the U.S. election. It doesn't say how it knows that, but after you were briefed and have read the classified report, are you confident that that's what happened?
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-Calif.):Well, I am very confident in it. And I think all the members of the Intelligence Committee, Democrats and Republicans, are confident in the conclusions about the Russian involvement.
I have been on the committee now for almost 10 years, and this is among the best documented, most ironclad, I think, intelligence reports that I have seen on any major issue. If this doesn't persuade Donald Trump about the facts, nothing will.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The report, also, Congressman Schiff, says the Russians developed what they call a clear preference for Donald Trump. How so?
REP. ADAM SCHIFF: Well, there are many reasons why the Russians prefer Donald Trump.
I think, in the first instance, they wanted to tear down Secretary Clinton. They, I think, despised her remarks about the flawed 2011 elections in Russia. They feared that she would be very tough on Russia in terms of sanctions.
Donald Trump, on the other hand, they had every reason to want. It was somebody who belittled NATO, who praised Putin, who I think would be much more amenable to their policy in Syria, where they bomb civilians.
So there were a lot of reasons for them to prefer Donald Trump. It was their aspiration, as the report makes clear, to help him and to hurt her.