Feinstein: Russia's interference affected outcome of election

Feinstein: Russia's interference affected outcome of election
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Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinDHS chief takes heat over Trump furor NSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle Democrats will need to explain if they shut government down over illegal immigration MORE (D-Calif.) said Sunday that she believes Russia’s attempt to interfere in the United States presidential election had an impact on the ultimate outcome.

“I think that, and I think the FBI, in the October surprise — I call it an October surprise, of announcing a subsequent investigation [into Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonIntel Dem decries White House 'gag order' after Bannon testimony 'Total free-for-all' as Bannon clashes with Intel members Mellman: On Political Authenticity (Part 2) MORE's private email server], did have an impact,” Feinstein told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“And I believe the Clinton people believe it did, too. They were polling and they were up, and all of that diminished.” 

Democrats have blasted FBI Director James Comey's letter to lawmakers just before the election that said the FBI had obtained additional information potentially relevant to the investigation.

Earlier this month, the intelligence community issued a report that concluded Russian President Vladimir Putin called for an influence campaign aimed at helping then-GOP nominee Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpDems flip Wisconsin state Senate seat Sessions: 'We should be like Canada' in how we take in immigrants GOP rep: 'Sheet metal and garbage' everywhere in Haiti MORE win the White House. 

"We did not make an assessment of the impact that Russian activities had on the outcome of the 2016 election. The US Intelligence Community is charged with monitoring and assessing the intentions, capabilities, and actions of foreign actors; it does not analyze US political processes or US public opinion,” the report said.

But Feinstein, the ranking member of the Intelligence Committee, said "I do. I believe that" Russia's interference altered the outcome of the election.

In a closed briefing Friday, former Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), who was forced to resign last summer as head of the DNC amid the hacking scandal, confronted Comey over his handling of the organization infiltration.

Feinstein said Sunday that she was not prepared to say Comey should be fired.

“Not yet,” she said, when pressed by NBC’s Chuck Todd.

"I think the inspector general's report [into the investigation] is critical in this. Because there are rumors of all kinds of conflicts within the FBI that focused on the director. The director, I think, was torn."

"I think he did what he thought was right," she said, adding, "In my view, it turned out very much not to be right."