The CIA has arrived at the conclusion that Russia played a part in Donald Trump’s victory in the US Presidential election. They interfered during the campaign in order to increase the Republican candidate’s support (or decrease that of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton).

Covert Russian ops interfered to ensure Trump won

The secret investigation carried out by the intelligence agency found that covert Russian operatives interfered in the election campaign to make sure that Trump would win. According to The New York Times, CIA officials have “high confidence” that Russia hacked Democratic Party emails in order to find dirt to leak that would tip the scales in Trump’s favour.

Current President (but not for long!) Barack Obama ordered the investigation, tasking the CIA with assessing every cyberattack that occurred during the election campaign, after the growing belief amongst Congress that Russia interfered in the result. It’s known that they played some part, but the review that Obama ordered was so they could find out the extent to which that part was.

Moscow ops gave Clinton emails to WikiLeaks

The Washington Post reports that the CIA found that operatives in Moscow hacked Democratic Party emails as well as those of candidate Hillary Clinton and her campaign chief (these were the emails Trump banged on about during every single appearance or debate throughout his somehow-successful campaign) and handed them over to anti-privacy site WikiLeaks so that they could make it public and sabotage Clinton’s campaign.

These Moscow operatives were apparently “one step” away from Vladimir Putin and the Russian government, meaning they could’ve made the order. This would be in line with Russia’s proven track record of using “middlemen” to do their dirty work, as this gives them plausible deniability.

US official: ‘Russia’s goal here was to favour one candidate over the other’

During a briefing to key US senators, a CIA official said that “the assessment of the intelligence community” is that “Russia’s goal here was to favour one candidate over the other,” elaborating that this goal more specifically was “to help Trump get elected.” He called this opinion “the consensus view” amongst intelligence officers.

There are some unanswered questions

All seventeen intelligence agencies were not involved in the CIA's investigation, which is required to make the verdict official. There is also no evidence that the so-called “middlemen” were directed by Russian authorities. Also, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange denies having any connection to Russia.

President-elect Trump rejects the CIA’s verdict, with his people saying of the intelligence officials making the claims, “These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.” They said that all of this looking into the election with Jill Stein’s recount and now a CIA investigation needs to stop because it “ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history,” saying that Democratic hopefuls need to “move on” while they “make America great again.”

While The New York Times reports that senior US intelligence officials are certain that hackers from Russia also hacked into Republican data in addition to the Democratic emails, it reports that these same people are also certain that Russia chose not to release the Republican information so that voters would not be swayed from voting for Trump as they were with Clinton when the hacked information found on her was released.