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Intelligence

Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

Rubio Statement on Senate Intel Release of Volume 5 of Bipartisan Russia Report

Press Contact:  Dan Holler (Rubio), Nick Iacovella (Rubio) 202-224-3041

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Miami, FL – U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Acting Chairman Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA) released the fifth and final volume of the Committee's bipartisan Russia investigation titled, "Volume 5: Counterintelligence Threats and Vulnerabilities," which examines Russia's attempts to gain influence in the American political system during the 2016 elections.

Rubio released the following statement and a video message, which is available for download here:

"Over the last three years, the Senate Intelligence Committee conducted a bipartisan and thorough investigation into Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election and undermine our democracy. We interviewed over 200 witnesses and reviewed over one million pages of documents. No probe into this matter has been more exhaustive.

"We can say, without any hesitation, that the Committee found absolutely no evidence that then-candidate Donald Trump or his campaign colluded with the Russian government to meddle in the 2016 election.

"What the Committee did find however is very troubling. We found irrefutable evidence of Russian meddling. And we discovered deeply troubling actions taken by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, particularly their acceptance and willingness to rely on the 'Steele Dossier' without verifying its methodology or sourcing. 

"Now, as we head towards the 2020 elections, China and Iran have joined Russia in attempts to disrupt our democracy, exacerbate societal divisions, and sow doubts about the legitimacy and integrity of our institutions, our electoral process and our republic.

"We must do better in 2020. The Committee's five reports detail the signs and symptoms of that interference and show us how to protect campaigns, state and local entities, our public discourse, and our democratic institutions. I join with Vice Chairman Warner in urging everyone – our colleagues, those in the Administration, state and local elections officials, the media, and the American public – to read them and take the recommendations seriously."

You can read "Volume 5: Counterintelligence Threats and Vulnerabilities" here.

Key Findings:

  • The Committee found that the Russian government engaged in an aggressive, multi-faceted effort to influence, or attempt to influence, the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
  • WikiLeaks actively sought, and played, a key role in the Russian influence campaign and very likely knew it was assisting a Russian intelligence influence effort.
  • The FBI gave the Steele Dossier unjustified credence, based on an incomplete understanding of Steele's past reporting record. The FBI used the dossier in a FISA application and renewals, and advocated for it to be included in the Intelligence Community Assessment before taking the necessary steps to validate assumptions about Steele's credibility.  
  • The FBI lacked a formal or considered process for escalating their warnings about the Democratic National Committee (DNC) hack within the organization of the DNC.
  • The Committee assesses that at least two participants in a June 9, 2016, meeting with Trump Campaign officials, Natalia Veselnitskaya and Rinat Akhmetshin, have significant connections to the Russian government, including the Russian intelligence services.  The Committee, however, found no reliable evidence that information of benefit to the Campaign was transmitted at the meeting, or that then-candidate Trump had foreknowledge of the meeting.
  • The Committee found no evidence that anyone associated with the Trump Campaign had any substantive private conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the April 27, 2016, Trump speech held at the Mayflower Hotel.
  • Paul Manafort's presence on the Trump Campaign and proximity to then-Candidate Trump created opportunities for Russian intelligence services to exert influence over, and acquire confidential information on, the Trump Campaign.
  • George Papadopoulos was not a witting cooptee of the Russian intelligence services, but nonetheless presented a prime intelligence target and potential vector for malign Russian influence.
  • Russia took advantage of members of the Transition Team's relative inexperience in government, opposition to Obama Administration policies, and Trump's desire to deepen ties with Russia to pursue unofficial channels through which Russia could conduct diplomacy.

Read the Senate Intelligence Committee's previous reports:

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