Russia’s hacking efforts in the run-up to the US 2016 presidential election “did have an impact” on the outcome, claims a top Democrat, also pointing the finger at FBI Director James Comey over the loss of her party’s nominee, Hillary Clinton.
California Senator Dianne Feinstein, the ranking member of the Intelligence Committee, made the comments on the NBC television channel on Sunday.
In the run-up to the 2016 vote, transparency organization WikiLeaks kept releasing batches of emails from the Clinton campaign as well as the Democratic National Committee in favor of then-Republican nominee Donald Trump,
Democrats pointed the finger at Russia, an allegation later confirmed by the US intelligence community, and dismissed by Moscow and Trump ever since.
Apart from that, Comey renewed an investigation into Clinton’s use of private server as the secretary of state shortly before the November vote.
“I think the FBI, in the October surprise — I call it an October surprise, of announcing a subsequent investigation [into Clinton's private email server] did have an impact,” said Feinstein (pictured above). “And I believe the Clinton people believe it did, too. They were polling and they were up, and all of that diminished.”
The US intelligence community released a report after the election concluding that Moscow was behind the hacking campaign, yet refusing to comment on the impact it potentially had.
"We did not make an assessment of the impact that Russian activities had on the outcome of the 2016 election. The US Intelligence Community is charged with monitoring and assessing the intentions, capabilities, and actions of foreign actors; it does not analyze US political processes or US public opinion,” read the report.
Pressured to say if Comey should be fired over what he did, Feinstein said, “Not yet.”
"I think the inspector general's report [into the investigation] is critical in this. Because there are rumors of all kinds of conflicts within the FBI that focused on the director. The director, I think, was torn," she said. "I think he did what he thought was right… In my view, it turned out very much not to be right."