In the seemingly never-ending news cycle about the Trump/Russian connections, we may have missed this one: According to Reuters a think tank controlled by Vladimir Putin developed a plan to help swing the 2016 U.S. presidential election to Donald Trump and hurt Americans’ confidence in the American electoral system. Reuters sources include three former and four current US government officials.
They described two confidential documents from the think tank as providing the framework and rationale for what U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded was an intensive effort by Russia to interfere with the Nov. 8 election. U.S. intelligence officials acquired the documents, which were prepared by the Moscow-based Russian Institute for Strategic Studies [en.riss.ru/], after the election.
The institute is run by retired senior Russian foreign intelligence officials appointed by Putin’s office.
One of the Russian institute documents is a strategy paper written last Summer that circulated at the highest levels of the Russian government, but it was not addressed to any specific individuals.
The document shows recommendations that the Kremlin launch a propaganda campaign on social media and Russian state-funded global news outlets to spread propaganda that will encourage U.S. voters to elect a president who would act more favorably toward Russia than the Obama administration had.
A second document, written in October and made it’s rounds among the Russian government the same way, showed that Hillary Clinton was likely to win the election, which sparked Russians efforts to spread false messages about voter fraud to undermine the U.S. electoral system’s legitimacy and damage Clinton’s reputation and sway the election back toward Trump.
The current and former U.S. officials spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the Russian documents’ classified status. They declined to discuss how the United States obtained them. U.S. intelligence agencies also declined to comment on them.
Putin has denied interfering in the U.S. election. Putin’s spokesman and the Russian institute did not respond to requests for comment.
The documents were central to the Obama administration’s conclusion that Russia mounted a “fake news” campaign and launched cyber attacks against Democratic Party groups and Clinton’s campaign, the current and former officials said.
How long until there are enough of these reports that even the most ardent Trump supporters will admit that he isn’t a legitimate president? Seems like one report from a major source every single day should be enough.