This is a story that we all suspected, but it's now apparently confirmed. "Apparently," because we have no foolproof way to check the veracity of these documents -- but experts they've shown them to say they appear to be authentic, and fit in with what they know of Kremlin thinking. I've also seen experts predict Putin would release information on Trump if he was no longer useful -- and we know the Kremlin does not leak. Via the Guardian:
Vladimir Putin personally authorised a secret spy agency operation to support a “mentally unstable” Donald Trump in the 2016 US presidential election during a closed session of Russia’s national security council, according to what are assessed to be leaked Kremlin documents.
The key meeting took place on 22 January 2016, the papers suggest, with the Russian president, his spy chiefs and senior ministers all present.
They agreed a Trump White House would help secure Moscow’s strategic objectives, among them “social turmoil” in the US and a weakening of the American president’s negotiating position.
Russia’s three spy agencies were ordered to find practical ways to support Trump, in a decree appearing to bear Putin’s signature.
According to the report, Western intelligence agencies have been aware of the documents for some months and have carefully examined them. "The papers, seen by the Guardian, seem to represent a serious and highly unusual leak from within the Kremlin."
Independent experts told the Guardian the documents appear to be genuine. "Incidental details come across as accurate. The overall tone and thrust is said to be consistent with Kremlin security thinking."
- Trump is described in the documents as an “impulsive, mentally unstable and unbalanced individual who suffers from an inferiority complex”.
- The documents also seem to confirm that the Kremlin possesses kompromat on Trump, referring to “certain events” that happened during Trump’s trips to Moscow. Details are offered in an appendix, although it is unclear what they are.
- “It is acutely necessary to use all possible force to facilitate his [Trump’s] election to the post of US president,” the paper says.
- The documents refer to how Russia might insert “media viruses” into American public life, which could become self-sustaining and self-replicating. These would alter mass consciousness, especially in certain groups, it says.