It's long been established that Russia interfered with the 2016 U.S. presidential election in favor of Donald Trump—an effort that would culminate with Trump taking the oath of office in 2017.
Though Trump has routinely dismissed concerns over his ties to Russia as products of a "witch hunt," his constant deference to the rival nation and its President, Vladimir Putin, was unprecedented for a U.S. President. Trump sided with Putin over his own intelligence officials in a disastrous 2018 joint press conference in Helsinki. The Mueller Report—falsely described by Trump and others as a "complete and total exoneration"—found disturbing contacts between Trump's campaign and Russian actors.
Now, a lengthy report from Luke Harding, Julian Borger and Dan Sabbagh of The Guardian is shedding more light on Russia's efforts to ensure a Trump presidency.
The report states that, as Trump emerged as the frontrunner for the Republican nomination, Putin personally signed off on a secret operation to boost the "mentally unstable" candidate's campaign. The Guardian goes on to report that Russia possessed kompromat—or compromising material—on Trump from "non-official visits to Russian Federation territory".
So what was the Russian government's goal? According to The Guardian:
"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."
Trump's presidency saw two impeachments, the exacerbation of an already deadly pandemic, a failed insurrection, and the cultivation of the most harshly divided nation in recent history.
People agreed the goal of social turmoil was achieved.
I'm old enough to remember when the @GOP would've been incensed over the prospect that Russia attacked our country… https://t.co/sy3puqV3eL— Bruce Kelly (@Bruce Kelly) 1626359240.0
Moscow's strategic objectives, among them “social turmoil"
Seems like it worked?
— matt (@Mattie_G_ME) July 15, 2021
Putin succeeded and all the @GOP guzzled the Russian Kool-Aid https://t.co/kUoMmpZVqX— GulfVet65 #Resistor (@GulfVet65 #Resistor) 1626366357.0
So anyway, they've won. https://t.co/9MgvVARhDS— KevinlyFather 🇺🇲🇨🇦🇲🇼🇸🇿 (@KevinlyFather 🇺🇲🇨🇦🇲🇼🇸🇿) 1626358430.0
Others encouraged skepticism of any information "leaked" from the Russian government.
It was said a lot of things would probably come out once the new administration took over and went through everythi… https://t.co/h26lYTk9X0— Will Froeber (@Will Froeber) 1626365682.0
Yes, "appear to show". But WHO is leaking this and WHY now? How to determine if it's genuine? (You can be damn sure… https://t.co/33P2NcTLWi— Lew Jacobson (@Lew Jacobson) 1626358363.0
Wonder who “leaked” this and why, but regardless 👀 https://t.co/Fxha1EdNaj https://t.co/6Nf3LvJneM— ʙᴏʏᴢ ɪɪ ᴍᴇɴɢ (@ʙᴏʏᴢ ɪɪ ᴍᴇɴɢ) 1626359169.0
Trump spokeswoman Liz Harrington decried the report on Twitter.
'It's fiction': Trump tears into 'disgusting, fake news' report from left-wing UK newspaper They'll always go back… https://t.co/edZrChphyN— Liz Harrington (@Liz Harrington) 1626369777.0
Further information of how the documents came to be leaked has yet to materialize.