Editor’s Note: Guest columnist Justin Sherman is filling in for Candace Rondeaux this week.
The long-awaited fifth and final report by the Senate Intelligence Committee on its investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. election, which was released earlier this week, is full of disturbing details. The heavily redacted, 966-page report includes revelations about even closer links between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russian intelligence operatives than Robert Mueller found in his special counsel investigation. It also concludes that Russia’s interference operations are still active today, less than three months before Election Day.
But it didn’t take long before Trump and his allies attempted to undermine these findings. Several Republicans in Congress released statements focused not on the bombshell revelations in the report, but instead on hammering home the argument that there was no evidence of “collusion” between Russia and the Trump campaign in 2016. This stands in marked contrast to a statement by Sen. Richard Burr, the North Carolina Republican who chaired the investigation. “The threat is ongoing,” he said of Russia’s election interference. “My hope is that this report and the Committee’s work will provide the American people with more insight into the threats facing our nation and the steps necessary to stop them.” Several Democratic senators likewise wrote that the Senate report should be an “alarm bell” for the United States.