Guardian: Yesterday the Guardian broke the story of the Kremlin papers, documents purportedly revealing that Vladimir Putin personally authorized a secret, multi-agency spy operation to support Donald Trump in the 2016 US presidential election.
In delving deeper into the papers, it appears the plot was presented as being entirely defensive: “At the moment the Russian Federation finds itself in a predicament. American measures continue to be felt in all areas of public life,” the papers begin.
- The papers list Trump’s personality flaws and “inferiority complex” as reasons why he would be perfect to weaken the US’s negotiating position.
- Evidence of Trump’s flaws was collected from surveillance and observation of his previous trips to Russia, the documents state.
- The report confirmed what Trump would later deny: that Putin’s spy agencies had gathered compromising material on him, possibly stretching back to Soviet KGB times.
- Trump visited communist Moscow and Leningrad in summer 1987 following an invitation from the Soviet envoy in New York. Trump returned in the 1990s, and early 2000s, seeking business deals, and flew in for the 2013 Miss Universe beauty contest, when he stayed in Moscow’s Ritz-Carlton hotel. Putin’s FSB agency had spy cameras in guest rooms, and a full-time officer on the premises, the Senate intelligence committee later found.
- “Considering certain events that took place during his stay on Russian Federation territory (Appendix 5 – personal characteristics Donald J Trump, paragraph 5), it is urgently necessary to use all means to promote his election to the post of President of the United States,” it says.
- Putin set up a special inter-departmental commission headed by his close ally Sergei Shoigu, Russia’s defence minister. Shoigu was in overall command of the operation to influence the 2016 US election. GRU military intelligence, SVR foreign intelligence and the FSB were all told to prepare immediate practical steps to help accomplish the report’s preferred scenario – a Trump victory.
- Asked at a joint press conference to condemn Kremlin hacking and dumping, Trump endorsed Putin’s assertion that Moscow had not interfered – a claim at odds with the findings of all 14 US intelligence agencies. After a backlash at home, and amid speculation the Russians were somehow blackmailing the president, Trump said he misspoke.
- According to US intelligence officials, Moscow sought to influence the 2020 election by spreading “misleading or unsubstantiated allegations” against Joe Biden.