The threat is real. There is unanimity of opinion in the intelligence community that hackers working on behalf of the Russian government undertook a coordinated effort to destabilize our election system. As the witnesses from the intelligence and law enforcement community testified, one of their primary objectives was to undermine Americans confidence and trust in their election system. We now live in a world where foreign governments wage war on our country not with guns and bombs, but by attempting to diminish Americans’ faith in our democratic institutions.Source: The Hill: The truth about Russia, 'hacking' and the 2016 election
As I have been saying any serious investigation requires scrutinising US institutions. You have the Electoral College which is designed to be anti-democratic and the 2016 demonstrated how much it can deviate from the popular vote. But don't think I am being a "snowflake" since FairVote decided to look at the 2008 election for a “worst case scenario” of just how few popular votes Barack Obama really needed to earn a majority of the vote in the Electoral College. We didn’t touch John McCain’s votes, but eliminated all the “unnecessary” votes earned by Obama – meaning all of his votes in states he didn’t’ need to win and any “surplus” votes earned in states he wins (meaning any votes beyond one more than McCain).
President Obama could have defeated Sen. John McCain in the Electoral College with as few as 24,781,169 popular votes despite McCain earning 59,479,469 votes. In other words, he could have won even while losing the popular vote by 69% to 29% (with 2% for other).Source: http://www.fairvote.org/electoral-college-distortions-winner-could-lose-popular-vote-by-a-landslide
Looking only at states that he actually won, Obama could have carried enough states to earn 270 electoral votes with just 26,721,494 votes – meaning with a popular vote defeat by 68% to 30%.
The leaked DNC emails were no real revelation to be quite honest since most people suspected what was in them. They were a confirmation of people's distrust. It was the icing on the DNC's pushing of Hillary Clinton and disdain for people who weren't "true democrats". As I said, it was shit like that that made me leave the democratic party.
Even more important is the money in US politics. The primary system is long and drawn out to keep people who don't have big bucks backing them. On the other hand, someone like Donald Trump was able to game the system to get anywhere from $2 to $5 Billion in free, "earned" media attention. Which was also given to him by anyone who showed outrage at Trump's antics (figure includes social media). I remember in 1980 when US Stations couldn't show "Bedtime for Bonzo" because it would have given Reagan free coverage.
No Russian help needed to get people disgusted with US politics: the duopoly does a wonderful job on its own.
Ultimately, it is the electoral college, closed primaries, gerrymandering, uncontested elections, big money, and pretty much the whole election circus that causes the results that people want to attribute to the Russians.
So I find that the real culprits are home grown. And that is where all the energy should be directed, not de minimis "foreign meddling". Simply stated, if the "Russian Objective" is to destroy confidence in "US democratic institutions", then I see any "Russian activities" as being de minimis compared to those of the DNC, Cambridge Analytica/Robert Mercer, and US media, who spent far more money that the Russians are alleged to have spent for destroying confidence in US Democracy.