President-elect Donald Trump would receive a briefing from the intelligence community today, after having repeatedly dismissed their assessment that Russia tried to interfere in the election that made him the 45th president of the US.
''The 'Intelligence' briefing on so-called 'Russian hacking' got delayed till today; perhaps more time is needed to build a case. Very strange!'' Trump wrote on Twitter this week. US intelligence officials, surprised by the tone told multiple outlets that this was incorrect; the briefing had always been scheduled for today.
Russia was not only behind the hacks and spreading misinformation, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told senators that their campaign to interfere continued to this day.
''This was a multi-faceted campaign,'' Clapper said before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday morning. ''So the hacking was only one part of it, and it also entailed classical propaganda, disinformation, fake news.''
In a statement, almost a year before the election, Clapper had released a statement saying that his office was ''confident'' that the Russian government had been behind the hacks of the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign chairperson John Podesta. Yesterday, Clapper said he now stood even ''more resolutely'' on this conclusion now than he did then.
The intelligence community maintains it had definitive evidence of Russia's attempts to influence the elections through its hacking and information operations, but could only share that evidence with lawmakers in session that was closed for the public, so as to protect the methods by which is was intercepted, according to two US officials who had been briefed on the developments, writes The Daily Beast.
''I don't think we have ever encountered a more aggressive or direct campaign to interfere in our election process than we saw in this instance,'' Clapper said in a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
According to commentators, Clapper's strong comments likely signaled an impending confrontation today, when he and other top US intelligence officials would brief Trump on their findings about the Russian effort in a classified briefing at Trump Tower.