Russia held back dirt on Clinton because they didn't think Trump would win: report
President Donald Trump's manner with Russian leader Vladimir Putin was in contrast to the anger he flashed at NATO allies. (AFP / Brendan Smialowski)

Russia held back some of their stolen secrets during the 2016 election because they believed Hillary Clinton would win, according to a new book, and they wanted to save some attacks to undermine her presidency.

Former intelligence officials told Journalist David Shimer, who published the revelations in his new book Rigged: America, Russia and One Hundred Years of Covert Electoral Interference, that the Kremlin intended to save some ammunition to harm what they believed would be a likely Clinton presidency, reported The Daily Beast.

“They fully expected Hillary Clinton to become president, and they wanted to have bullets they could use during her presidential term,” said former CIA director John Brennan.

Instead, reality TV star Donald Trump pulled off an unlikely victory -- which some of Shimer's sources believe was aided by additional Russian hacking.

“I think one reason the elections weren’t what they should have been was because the Russians manipulated the votes," said former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. "It’s that simple."

Special counsel Robert Mueller issued 34 indictments as part of his Trump-Russia probe, although none for vote hacking, but Reid said there's "no question" in his mind that Kremlin agents secretly altered the vote count.

“During the Cold War, the Soviet Union tried many different times to interfere in U.S. elections," Shimer said, "but with very limited effectiveness because they didn't have that reach. They didn't have that penetration that the internet has granted."

James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, said Russia had a campaign planned for deploying stolen information to weaken Clinton.

“They were already anticipating [Clinton] winning the election," Clapper said, "and were bent then on what they could do to undermine the legitimacy of her presidency."