A three-year investigation by the US Senate committee has found Russia worked to help Donald Trump get elected in 2016.
The panel’s almost 1000-page report revealed a close circle of Mr Trump’s trusted campaign advisers welcomed the Russian government’s help.
The Kremlin launched an extensive campaign that attempted to sabotage the presidential election to get Mr Trump in the Oval Office, but there was no evidence to suggest he engaged with this effort.
It still posed “a grave counterintelligence threat”, the report stated.
The Republican-led Senate intelligence committee outlined considerable evidence of Mr Trump’s campaign advisers engaging with high-level people tied to the Kremlin.
His then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort was a longstanding associate of Konstantin V. Kilimnik, identified in the report as a “Russian intelligence officer”.
The report suggested Mr Kilimnik might have been linked with a Russian military intelligence unit, known as the GRU, which led a “hack-and-leak operation targeting the 2016 US election”.
“This is what collusion looks like,” the report said.
Mr Trump’s campaign advisers were “attractive targets for foreign influence” because they were long-time associates, friends and other businessmen with no government experience.
This created “notable counterintelligence vulnerabilities”.
The Kremlin took advantage of the “relative inexperience” of Mr Trump’s team.
Even his “disorganised and unprepared” presidential transition team was “open to influence and manipulation by foreign intelligence services, government leaders, and co-opted business executives”, the report stated.
It blamed “the lack of vetting of foreign interactions by transition officials”.
As a result, “Russian officials, intelligence services, and others acting on the Kremlin’s behalf” managed to exploit Mr Trump’s advisers.
“The team repeatedly took actions that sometimes interfered with U.S. diplomatic efforts, were not part of a visible overriding foreign policy and were “narrow and transactional,” the report said.
“This created unnecessary confusion among US allies and other world leaders, creating the potential to harm America’s ability to conduct diplomacy both bilaterally and in multilateral institutions, and undermine U.S. credibility and influence,” it continued.