Clinton Accuses Russia Over Brexit, Says U.K. Voters Deserve To See Report Before Election

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Hillary Clinton has said it is "inexplicable and shameful" that the British government will not publish a report into suspected Russian interference in British politics before the country votes in a general election December 12.

The report, by the British parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee, was due to be made public earlier this month. The journalist Edward Lucas, who has frequently written on Russia, is one of those who gave evidence to the committee. In an article published in the London Times November 4, he revealed that he had been told the previous week the report would be out "imminently."

Bill Browder, formerly an investor in Russia who has since become an implacable critic of President Vladimir Putin, also gave evidence to the committee. He was reportedly told something similar.

It didn't happen.

"Dumbfounded" government won't release report

Now Clinton, on a visit to London, has told the BBC that she is "dumbfounded that this government won’t release the report about Russian influence."

The problem is that now it cannot do so until after the election. Parliament has ceased to sit ahead of the December 12 vote, meaning that the U.K. electorate will go to the polls without knowing what's in the dossier.

The government has insisted that there's nothing unusual about the delay. The British Chancellor (Finance Minister), Sajid Javid, told the BBC the situation was "perfectly normal."

Accusations delay is politically motivated

The government's critics are not convinced. Emily Thornberry, the Shadow Foreign Secretary (responsible in the opposition Labour Party for foreign affairs) has called the decision “unjustifiable, unprecedented and clearly politically motivated.”

Clinton was more measured, but her message was clear, "every person who votes in this country deserves to see that report before your election happens," she said in the BBC interview.

She added, "the fact that the current government won’t release this report by your own government should raise some questions."

It already has. Speculation has continued about what may be in the report. Broadly speaking, there are at least two main possibilities. One: that there is evidence of Russian attempts to influence British electoral processes, perhaps including the referendum of 2016, when the U.K. voted to leave the European Union.

"Russians are still in our electoral system"

Clinton said that she did not know why the U.K. government would not release the report, but did refer to allegations of Russian interference in both the 2016 presidential election, which saw her lose to Donald Trump, and the Brexit referendum.

"We know from even this current Trump administration’s intelligence officials that the Russians are still in our electoral system. There’s no doubt of the role that Russia played in our 2016 election and is continuing to play," she said. "There’s a lot of evidence that Russia played in the Brexit election."

The second suspicion is that the report contains allegations of Russian money seeking to influence British politics–allegations that might embarrass the parties contesting the current elections.

Either way, the fact that the dossier will not see the light of day means that it will continue to be an issue ahead of the election–as Clinton's comments demonstrate all too well.

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Hillary Clinton has said it is "inexplicable and shameful" that the British government will not publish a report into suspected Russian interference in British politics before the country votes in a general election December 12.

The report, by the British parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee, was due to be made public earlier this month. The journalist Edward Lucas, who has frequently written on Russia, is one of those who gave evidence to the committee. In an article published in the London Times November 4, he revealed that he had been told the previous week the report would be out "imminently."

Bill Browder, formerly an investor in Russia who has since become an implacable critic of President Vladimir Putin, also gave evidence to the committee. He was reportedly told something similar.

It didn't happen.

"Dumbfounded" government won't release report

Now Clinton, on a visit to London, has told the BBC that she is "dumbfounded that this government won’t release the report about Russian influence."

The problem is that now it cannot do so until after the election. Parliament has ceased to sit ahead of the December 12 vote, meaning that the U.K. electorate will go to the polls without knowing what's in the dossier.

The government has insisted that there's nothing unusual about the delay. The British Chancellor (Finance Minister), Sajid Javid, told the BBC the situation was "perfectly normal."

Accusations delay is politically motivated

The government's critics are not convinced. Emily Thornberry, the Shadow Foreign Secretary (responsible in the opposition Labour Party for foreign affairs) has called the decision “unjustifiable, unprecedented and clearly politically motivated.”

Clinton was more measured, but her message was clear, "every person who votes in this country deserves to see that report before your election happens," she said in the BBC interview.

She added, "the fact that the current government won’t release this report by your own government should raise some questions."

It already has. Speculation has continued about what may be in the report. Broadly speaking, there are at least two main possibilities. One: that there is evidence of Russian attempts to influence British electoral processes, perhaps including the referendum of 2016, when the U.K. voted to leave the European Union.

"Russians are still in our electoral system"

Clinton said that she did not know why the U.K. government would not release the report, but did refer to allegations of Russian interference in both the 2016 presidential election, which saw her lose to Donald Trump, and the Brexit referendum.

"We know from even this current Trump administration’s intelligence officials that the Russians are still in our electoral system. There’s no doubt of the role that Russia played in our 2016 election and is continuing to play," she said. "There’s a lot of evidence that Russia played in the Brexit election."

The second suspicion is that the report contains allegations of Russian money seeking to influence British politics–allegations that might embarrass the parties contesting the current elections.

Either way, the fact that the dossier will not see the light of day means that it will continue to be an issue ahead of the election–as Clinton's comments demonstrate all too well.

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I have covered Russia and the former Soviet Union since the end of the Soviet period. Between 1991 and 2009, I completed three postings to Moscow: one for Reuters TV, an...