An alleged Kremlin leak has reportedly been ‘carefully examined’ by ‘Western intelligence agencies’
The Guardian newspaper reports that the Russian president personally authorised three spy agencies at a closed Russian national security council meeting to use “all possible force” to carry out the plan to ensure Trump’s victory.
The meeting’s attendees reportedly agreed that Trump in the White House would bring about “social turmoil” in the US and would weaken his negotiating position, according to the alleged documents that are said to show Putin’s signature.
The meeting is said to have taken place on 22 January 2016 – less than nine months before the US presidential election.
At that time, Trump was leading the race to become the Republican party’s candidate for the elections. He then went on to win against the Democratic Party’s candidate Hillary Clinton.
The Guardian claims that the document has been “carefully examined” by “Western intelligence agencies” for months.
It states that the Kremlin psychologically assessed Trump, who was succeeded by the Democrats’ Joe Biden last year, to have also been an “impulsive” person with conservative views and an “inferiority complex”.
The documents claim that the Kremlin had “compromising” information about Trump during his “non-official visits” to Moscow and planned to use this as leverage in dealings with the US. It refers to “certain events” that happened during his stay “on Russian Federation territory” but no dates or locations are revealed.
The Guardian wrote in its report: “The papers, seen by the Guardian, seem to represent a serious and highly unusual leak from within the Kremlin.
“The Guardian has shown the documents to independent experts who say they appear to be genuine. Incidental details come across as accurate. The overall tone and thrust is said to be consistent with Kremlin security thinking.”
Previous intelligence reports have claimed Moscow had compromising material on Mr Trump.
Experts were split however, on whether the latest documents were genuine or not.
Andrei Soldatov, an expert on Russia’s security services, said the leaked documents “reflect the reality” of decision-making by senior Kremlin offcials, and noted that Putin “micro-manages” most special operations.
Sir Andrew Wood, former British ambassador in Moscow, described the documents as “spell-binding”, adding: “They reflect the sort of discussion and recommendations you would expect. There is a complete misunderstanding of the US and China. They are written for a person [Putin] who can’t believe he got anything wrong.”
But some commentators urged caution over the alleged Kremlin leak.
Thomas Rid, a Professor of Strategic Studies at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, said: “This Guardian story is likely to make big waves. I would remain somewhat cautious for now, however.
“For a ‘leak’ of this magnitude, we need at least some details on the chain of custody.”
Professor Rid said that paragraphs in the report make him “particularly skeptical”, such as the use of terms “are understood to have been”, “seem to represent”, and “leak from within the Kremlin” – that he said are used to distance the newspaper from the claims.
Chris Krebs, an American lawyer who had served as Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in the US Department of Homeland Security, said the report seems like “bait” and “reeks of a disinformation operation”.
He added: “It could all be individually or collectively true, and at the same time planted and fake.”
Putin’s spokesman Dmitri Peskov said, when contacted by The Guardian, that the idea that Russian leaders had met and agreed to support Trump at the meeting was “a great pulp fiction”.