The US intelligence community has released a public version of its report into alleged Russian attempts to influence the US presidential elections in November 2016. The polls saw Republican Party candidate Donald Trump narrowly claiming victory over the Democratic Party’s Hillary Clinton. Although Trump lost the popular vote, he nonetheless won the presidency through the US Electoral College. Throughout the campaign, the Republican candidate courted controversy, not least by appearing relaxed in his attitudes towards the autocratic and influential regime of Russian president Vladimir Putin.
President Obama, whose term ends this month, has taken a markedly harder line than the president-elect on allegations that Russia intervened in the American election to influence public opinion in favour of Trump. After the release of the US intelligence community’s declassified assessment – a report which he had ordered – Obama warned his successor that he would need to build a working relationship with the US intelligence community, and that Putin’s regime was a rival not an ally. Meanwhile Trump has taken pains to downplay the allegations that Moscow helped propel him to office.