Thursday, July 15, 2021

It's All True Department


"Donal'd Džan Tramp"

Interrupting our irregularly scheduled programming to bring you this scoop from Luke Harding, Julian Borger, and Dan Sabbagh at The Guardian:

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 what are assessed to be leaked Kremlin documents.

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.

They chose Big Donald precisely because they regarded him as an "impulsive, mentally unstable and unbalanced individual who suffers from an inferiority complex" (Donald's not going to enjoy hearing that) and because they already possessed kompromat material on him, collected during his "non-official visits to Russian Federation territory", e.g., in 2013 when he was in Moscow, staying at the Ritz-Carlton hotel, for the Miss Universe competition, no, that's not in the document, and it's not crucial anyway, but it's clear Christopher Steele was onto something (as I've said before, I don't particularly believe in the Ritz-Carlton pee tape story from report no. 1, but I have more expectations from the 14 September report in which Steele got the story of Trump participating in "sex parties" in Putin's town of St. Petersburg, with the knowledge of Aras Agalarov). Apparently described in an appendix that is not included in the leaked document.

The Guardian report does not offer any information on whether Trump was aware of any part of the Russian plan to back him—he wouldn't have been, obviously, before the plan was adopted. But the timing of the meeting fits neatly into a scenario of how the Russians approached him, starting with 

  • the engagements of Michael Flynn, who joined the campaign 26 February; 
  • George Papadopoulos, who was named a Trump foreign policy adviser with a "focus on improving the relationship with Russia" shortly before being introduced to Professor Mifsud on 14 March; and
  • Manafort on 26 March. (Steele reports Russians congratulating themselves on getting cooperation with Flynn, possibly through kompromat, in a memo of 10 August 2016, and Putin personally fretting about Manafort's resignation in connection with his illegal work for Ukrainian dictator Yanukovych in memos of 20 and 22 August.) 
  • And the successful hack of John Podesta's Clinton campaign email account  on 19 March (they'd been monitoring DNC and RNC emails as part of more normal activities, since 2015, but this new development was in line with the instructions given at the meeting to Sergey Shoygu, who was made responsible at the meeting for "collecting and systematising necessary information and for 'preparing measures to act on the information environment of the object'—a command, it seems, to hack sensitive American cyber-targets identified by the SVR")
  • And Putin's personal decision in April, cited in the Guardian, to release the DNC emails.
And culminating, of course, in June, with the dance of those same emails featuring Junior and the Agalarovs, Manafort, and Rinat Akhmetshin, which I've speculated on so much, and when I believe Trump in some sense formally accepted the Russian assistance (creating more kompromat), inveigling Trump in the release itself.

“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....

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.

Whether the Russians succeeded in getting Trump elected, or whether the chief credit should really go to Giuliani and Kallstrom and their last-minute success with the infiltration of the FBI, I can't say. But what this document (which seems to be indisputably authentic, according to the reporters and the experts they consulted) shows is how very seriously the Russians took the project. And how central the emperor-designate's mental instability was to the plan.

h/t @j_consolidation for pointing me to this.

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