Likely no 'smoking gun' on Russian interference in U.S. election, says Russian-American journalist

The Russian government may have tried to influence the outcome of the U.S. election, but don't blame it for U.S. President Donald Trump's success, says Russian-American journalist Masha Gessen.

"There was absolutely an effort to hack and influence the American election," said Gessen. "But Americans elected Trump. He is not a foreign agent — the Russians didn't elect him."

Gessen has reported extensively about U.S.-Russian relations, and she wrote the book, The man without a face: The unlikely rise of Vladimir Putin. She was in Toronto to speak at the Spur Festival, and sat down for an interview with The National's Wendy Mesley.

"We know Russians hacked the Democratic National Committee, and we know they released those materials to Wikileaks. After that, we get into mush," she said.

Any attempt to reveal the extent of Russian efforts, such as the investigations currently happening in U.S. Congress, may only produce "slightly less mushy mush."

"But it will never produce a smoking gun, because I don't think a smoking gun is there."

You can also watch the full episode of The National tonight at 9 p.m. ET on CBC News Network.