Russian President 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 reported leaked Kremlin documents, Guardian reports.
According to Guardian, 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.
At the time, Trump was the frontrunner in the Republican party’s nomination race.
It is understood that western intelligence agencies have been aware of the documents for some months and have carefully examined them.
Meanwhile, the Kremlin responded dismissively to the allegation, with Putin’s spokesman Dmitri Peskov saying the idea that Russian leaders had met and agreed to support Trump in at the meeting in early 2016 was “a great pulp fiction,” Guardian writes.
The report – “No 32-04 \ vd” – is classified as secret. It says Trump is the “most promising candidate” from the Kremlin’s point of view. The word in Russian is perspektivny.
There is a brief psychological assessment of Trump, who is described as an “impulsive, mentally unstable and unbalanced individual who suffers from an inferiority complex”.
There is also apparent confirmation that the Kremlin possesses kompromat, or potentially compromising material, on the future president, collected – the document says – from Trump’s earlier “non-official visits to Russian Federation territory”.
The paper refers to “certain events” that happened during Trump’s trips to Moscow. Security council members are invited to find details in appendix five, at paragraph five, the document states. It is unclear what the appendix contains.
“It is acutely necessary to use all possible force to facilitate his [Trump’s] election to the post of US president,” the paper says.
This would help bring about Russia’s favoured “theoretical political scenario”.
A Trump win “will definitely lead to the destabilisation of the US’s sociopolitical system” and see hidden discontent burst into the open, it predicts.
An official photo of the occasion shows Putin at the head of the table, seated beneath a Russian Federation flag and a two-headed golden eagle. Russia’s then prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, attended, together with the veteran foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov.
Also present were Sergei Shoigu, the defence minister in charge of the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence agency; Mikhail Fradkov, the then chief of Russia’s SVR foreign intelligence service; and Alexander Bortnikov, the boss of the FSB spy agency.Nikolai Patrushev, the FSB’s former director, attended too as security council secretary.
According to a press release, the discussion covered the economy and Moldova.
The document seen by The Guardian suggests the security council’s real, covert purpose was to discuss the confidential proposals drawn up by the president’s analytical service in response to US sanctions against Moscow.
The author appears to be Vladimir Symonenko, the senior official in charge of the Kremlin’s expert department – which provides Putin with analytical material and reports, some of them based on foreign intelligence.
The paper lays out several American weaknesses. These include a “deepening political gulf between left and right”, the US’s “media-information” space, and an anti-establishment mood under President Barack Obama.
The paper does not name Hillary Clinton, Trump’s 2016 rival. It does suggest employing media resources to undermine leading US political figures.
There are paragraphs on 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.
Moscow would gain most from a Republican victory, the paper states. This could lead to a “social explosion” that would in turn weaken the US president, it says.
There were international benefits from a Trump win, it stresses. Putin would be able in clandestine fashion to dominate any US-Russia bilateral talks, to deconstruct the White House’s negotiating position, and to pursue bold foreign policy initiatives on Russia’s behalf, it says.