Many Americans thought—or hoped—that the idea of Putin having actually interfered with the 2016 election was just paranoia. Now, according to U.S. intelligence officials, it turns out it’s true. According to Reuters, three current and four former intelligence officials confirmed that the plan to flip the 2016 election was developed by the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (RISS). The RISS, a think tank of Russian foreign intelligence operatives, is directly overseen by Putin—he even picks the members.
According to the report:
“[The 7 intelligence officials] 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.”
The first of those reports came in June 2016, and focused on how outlets like Russia Today and Sputnik News could spread pro-Russian propaganda across social media platforms and “‘encourage U.S. voters to elect a president who would take a softer line toward Russia than the administration of then-President Barack Obama,’ those 7 U.S. officials confirmed.”
When the RISS warned the Kremlin that “Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was likely to win the election,” they changed their focus to taking down Clinton, according to the 2nd document from October 2016. The propaganda morphed from Pro-Trump to “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.”
These documents might not prove that Trump worked with Russia, but they do show that he was their puppet, knowingly or not.