Saturday, August 4, 2018

A mountain of evidence points in one direction: Russia sought to sway the 2016 US election

Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on July 16, 2018.(Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

WASHINGTON – For two years, cybersecurity researchers, spies and federal prosecutors have laid out a stunningly thorough chain of evidence to support one simple conclusion: The Russian government sought to sway the 2016 presidential election.

Federal agents have traced data and currency trails across continents, revealed inside knowledge of Russian spies’ computer network, and quoted the private emails of employees at a Russian internet firm working to influence voters. Cybersecurity researchers analyzed malware and followed clues buried in the details of stolen emails.

Those disclosures have left an unusually detailed public view of Russians' wide-ranging campaign to persuade and divide voters in the months before the presidential election. While the government sometimes shares its conclusions about national security threats, rarely does it take the risk of revealing so much of its evidence to the world.

 “It’s unprecedented, both the activity that’s outlined and the fact that we’re privy to so much information,” said John Carlin, a former chief of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

And it remains widely disbelieved.

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