Top Russian officials have sanctioned a secret espionage operation aimed at supporting Donald Trump in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. This was reported on Thursday, July 15, by the British edition The Guardian, citing documents that came into its possession as a result of the leak.
As follows from the materials, which, according to The Guardian, are Kremlin documents, in January 2016, a closed meeting of the Security Council (SC) of Russia was held in Moscow. In addition to President Vladimir Putin, it was attended by then Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, then Director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) Mikhail Fradkov, FSB head Alexander Bortnikov and Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev.
It is noted that during the meeting, the Russian leader was presented with a report stating that Trump’s victory in the presidential election could benefit Moscow. So, it allegedly argued that the election of a candidate from the Republican Party would lead to the destabilization of the US political system and a social explosion, and would also contribute to the weakening of the negotiating positions of the future American leader and his administration. At the same time, Trump himself in the report was assessed as “a mentally unstable, impulsive, unbalanced person with an inferiority complex.” Also, the text referred to “certain events” that occurred during Trump’s trips to Moscow, and indicated that the Russian side possesses compromising or potentially compromising materials related to the politician.
According to The Guardian, following the meeting, an interdepartmental plan was signed to interfere in the American elections. It, in particular, set out information about the “weak points” of the United States, which can be used in the interests of Russia. So, it was about the growing chasm between left and right forces and anti-establishment sentiments in the country. It was also supposed to use the media and other media channels to introduce so-called media viruses into American society, which were supposed to help change the mass consciousness of US residents.
According to another document, after the meeting, Putin signed a decree on the creation of a new secret interdepartmental commission, which included Shoigu, Fradkov and Bortnikov. Each of them was instructed to monitor the work of their departments and services to implement the tasks set out in the plan adopted at the Security Council meeting. In particular, the Ministry of Defense had to deal with the collection and systematization of the necessary information and the preparation of the team and tools for hacking “sensitive” American cyber targets. The SVR was supposed to collect additional information to support the activities of the commission, counterintelligence was assigned to the FSB. At the same time, the heads of departments were given one week to prepare specific proposals for the implementation of these tasks and submit them to the president.
According to The Guardian, the experts, whom the publication showed the received documents, said that they looked like genuine ones. At the same time, Russian President’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov, in response to a request from a British newspaper, criticized the possibility of such a secret meeting. In turn, Trump did not respond to The Guardian’s request.
In April 2019, US Special Attorney Robert Mueller published a report on Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, which was won by Donald Trump. It says that Moscow did interfere in the American electoral process, but suspicions about the connection between the Russian side and Trump could not be confirmed. Later, a federal court in Washington ruled that the connection of the “troll factory” with the Kremlin was also not proven.