How Russia Used Trolls, Cyberattacks and Propaganda to Try to Influence Election

A declassified U.S. intelligence report reveals new information.

In March 2016, two months before Donald Trump became the presumptive Republican nominee, the report says that "Russian Government-linked actors began openly supporting President-elect Trump's candidacy in media aimed at English-speaking audiences."

Trump has repeatedly called into question U.S. intelligence assessments about Russian interference in the election, specifically hacking, despite several statements from those agencies indicating they believed that to be the case.

He even went so far as to suggest that intelligence agencies were delaying a briefing with him until today because they were building their case.

After being briefed today, Trump maintained that "there was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election including the fact that there was no tampering whatsoever with voting machines," according to a statement.

The report specifically names Dmitriy Kiselev -- who it calls "Putin's chief propagandist" -- saying that he used his weekly newsmagazine program "to cast President-elect Trump as an outsider victimized by a corrupt political establishment and faulty democratic election process."

Several of those stories received more than 9 million views on social media platforms, the report states, and one single story had more than 2.2 million views.

The head of RT, Margarita Simonyan, tweeted "they're joking, right?" in Russian Friday, mocking the intelligence report.

The trolls were deemed "professionals" in the report, and were "previously devoted to supporting Russian actions in Ukraine."

The work of those trolls appear to be among some of the earliest actions that were taken by Russian forces in support of Trump, as the report states that the trolls "started to advocate for President-elect Trump as early as December 2015."