While we don’t yet have the smoking gun that specifically says Donald Trump colluded with the Russians to win the presidency, US officials now have the blueprint that the Russians used to ensure that Hillary Clinton lost the election, and much of it will sound very familiar.
According to three current and four former US officials, a Russian think tank controlled by Vladimir Putin used tried and true KGB tactics to make sure the election went exactly as they wanted.
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 first of the two documents was written in June. It didn’t specifically mention Donald Trump, but it did outline a plan of using social media to sour voters toward any candidate who would share President Obama’s hardline stance toward Russia.
The second document was from October, just a month before the election:
A second institute document, drafted in October and distributed in the same way, warned that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was likely to win the election. For that reason, it argued, it was better for Russia to end its pro-Trump propaganda and instead intensify its messaging about voter fraud to undermine the U.S. electoral system’s legitimacy and damage Clinton’s reputation in an effort to undermine her presidency, the seven officials said.
In other words, all the anti-Hillary, anti-DNC crap you heard during the election was straight out of Putin’s playbook. From the right, while Trump was making accusations of voter fraud, you can be sure that his marching orders were coming from the Kremlin.
The US officials are still remaining anonymous and American intelligence agencies are not commenting right now, but it’s clear without Russia’s campaign of fake news and their attempt to undermine confidence in our electoral system was exactly what Trump needed to win. The hacking wasn’t part of the blueprint, but that was icing on the cake that came from another Kremlin source.
Featured image via Drew Angerer/Getty Images.