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Langevin, Reed: Trump Must Acknowledge Russian Threat, Put America First

The US Capitol Building, viewed from the rear of the property.
The US Capitol Building, viewed from the rear of the property.

WASHINGTON, DC — Senator Jack Reed and Congressman Jim Langevin urged President Donald Trump to set aside his pride for the sake of the nation and to denounce Russian interference in the 2016 US election respectively following the release of an intelligence report reiterating the foreign state’s efforts to undermine the US election, released Friday.

The report, compiled by US intelligence agencies, concludes that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency, the report from the Director of National Intelligence states.

Russian intelligence obtained and maintained access to elements of multiple US state or local electoral boards, but did not meddle in vote tallying aspects of the organizations, according to the report.

The efforts were set in motion with a clear preference for President-elect Trump.

“We assess Moscow will apply lessons learned from its Putin-ordered campaign aimed at the US presidential election to future influence efforts worldwide, including against US allies and their election processes,” the report states.

[pdf-embedder url=”https://warwickpost.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Russian-election-Intelligence-Report.pdf” title=”russian-election-intelligence-report”]Trump received a classified version of the report prior to the release of the declassified version.

In a statement following that briefing, Trump failed to address Putin’s interest in securing his successful election, focusing instead on the news that the Russians didn’t directly interfere in voting. Trump pledged to assemble a team to address threat of Russian interference in US government, and to create a plan to address it within 90 days of taking office.

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“Two weeks from today I will take the oath of office and America’s safety and security will be my number one priority,” Trump said.

“This report shows that Russian operatives actively manipulated our presidential election.  They left cyber fingerprints and the U.S. intelligence community unanimously concluded that Russia intervened with the intention of undermining Hillary Clinton and helping Donald Trump.  The report clearly states: “the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him.

“Regardless, as Senator McCain points out: this was an attack on all Americans because it undermines our democracy,” Reed said in a statement released Friday.

Reed said the declassified report is a start, but not enough.

“The American public has been given a glimpse of a few pieces of a much larger puzzle.  They deserve as much information as can be provided without putting our intelligence assets and techniques at risk.  And the most effective way to achieve that goal is through an independent, select committee to investigate Russian interference with our election.”

“As I have stated before, such activity constitutes a blow to the very heart of our democracy, and it demands at least the level of response President Obama laid out last week. While the influence operation had multiple facets, at the heart was the hacking of emails from the Democratic National Committee and the staff of the Clinton campaign. It is essential that we take action immediately to improve our cybersecurity and reduce the risk of future such attacks, which is why I reiterate my call to Speaker Ryan to appoint a select committee on cybersecurity to examine the attacks. The American people deserve a full accounting of the facts,” said Langevin in a statement, also released Friday.

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“Putin’s other goal was to harm the candidacy of Secretary Clinton in favor of President-elect Trump. That is why it is essential that Mr. Trump act immediately to denounce this act of Russian interference and pledge to continue and enhance sanctions on Russia in response. To do any less is a betrayal of our fundamental American values and will give license for Putin to continue his attacks on our elections and democracies around the world,” Langevin added.

“This is not about embarrassing the President-elect, it’s about protecting our democracy.  I realize this may be an uncomfortable situation for President-elect Trump, but the American people and the strength of our democracy should come first,” Reed said.

Author: Rob Borkowski

Rob has worked as reporter and editor for several publications, including The Kent County Daily Times and Coventry Courier, before working for Gatehouse in MA then moving home with Patch Media. Now he's publisher and editor of WarwickPost.com. Contact him at editor@warwickpost.com with tips, press releases, advertising inquiries, and concerns.