US intelligence officials believe Russian President Vladimir Putin was most likely directly involved in the hacking campaign that targeted Democratic Party officials and organizations during the US presidential election, NBC News reportedTuesday.

Two of the unnamed intelligence officials cited by NBC News pointed to new evidence they say shows Putin directed the distribution of hacked emails and information from the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

WikiLeaks regularly published leaked documents in the weeks leading up to Election Day. WikiLeaks and other organizations also published other communications embarrassing to Democrats and Clinton at various points during the campaign.

Putin’s goal, according to NBC News’ sources, was to undermine and discredit America as a global leader and hurt Clinton.

The Russian president sought to “make us weaker in terms of leading the liberal Democratic order,” Michael McFaul, the ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014, told NBC News.

“And most certainly he likes President-elect Trump’s views on Russia,” he added.

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Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, dismissed the report on Thursday as “laughable nonsense.”

Last week, The Washington Post and The New York Times reported findings from the CIA that suggested Russia tried to help Trump win the election through its hacking of Democratic Party organizations. The Republican Party was also hacked, those reports said, but no information was leaked. The RNC has denied it was hacked.

 

Read the whole story on Business Insider.

Featured image courtesy of AP.