Russia’s President Vladimir Putin makes his annual New Year address to the nation in Moscow, Russia, December 31, 2016. Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via REUTERS

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered “an influence campaign” in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election with the goal of undermining the democratic process and denigrating Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, a new, declassified intelligence report said on Friday.

“We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump,” the report said.

“We also assess Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him,” it said.

(Reporting by Warren Strobel and Yara Bayoumy; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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