The Russia connection“We Must Do Better in 2020”: Bipartisan Senate Panel Releases Final Report on Russian 2016 Election Interference

Published 18 August 2020

“The Russian government engaged in an aggressive, multi-faceted effort to influence” the “outcome of the 2016 presidential election.” This is the key, bipartisan finding of the fifth and final report of the Senate Intelligence Committee. The committee’s investigation into the massive intervention campaign waged by Russian government agencies and operatives on behalf of then-candidate Donald Trump was thorough, totaling more than three years of investigative activity, more than 200 witness interviews, and more than a million pages of reviewed documents. All five volumes total more than 1300 pages. “We must do better in 2020,” said Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) the committee’s chairman. “This cannot happen again,” said Senator Marc Warner (D-Virginia), the committee’s ranking member.

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. This final installment, titled Volume 5: Counterintelligence Threats and Vulnerabilities,” examines Russia’s attempts to gain influence in the American political system during the 2016 elections.

The Committee’s investigation totaled more than three years of investigative activity, more than 200 witness interviews, and more than a million pages of reviewed documents. All five volumes total more than 1300 pages.

Fox News reports that the report released Tuesday was “the most comprehensive and meticulous examination to date explaining how Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election,” and how “the Trump campaign welcomed the foreign adversary’s help, revealing new information about contacts between Russian officials and associates of President Donald Trump during and after the campaign.”

Moreover, Fox News adds, “In several key ways, the committee’s counterintelligence investigation goes beyond the findings of former special counsel Robert Mueller released last year, as the Republican-led Senate panel was not limited by questions of criminality that drove the special counsel probe.”

Fox News goes on to say that the report is all the more remarkable because it was led by then-Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican, and Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia (Rubio replaced Burr in May, after Burr resigned the chairmanship ahead of an investigation by the Ethics Committee into personal stock trading):

The report provides an exhaustive, bipartisan confirmation of the contacts between Russians and Trump associates in 2016 — and it was the only congressional committee that managed to avoid the partisan infighting that plagued the other congressional investigations into Russian election meddling.

It comes out at a time when the intelligence community has warned that Russia is once again seeking to interfere in the US presidential and Trump has continued to try to undermine Russia investigation findings and prosecutions during his reelection campaign.

Unlike Mueller’s report, which focused on questions of criminal conduct, the committee’s report detailing the findings of its counterintelligence is hundreds of pages of facts the panel obtained, drawing conclusions in places where Mueller often stopped short of doing