Russia has been “cultivating” Trump for at least five years
Speaking to a trusted compatriot in June 2016 sources A and B, a senior Russian foreign ministry figure and a former top level Russian intelligence officer still active inside the Kremlin respectively, the Russian authorities had been cultivating and supporting US Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump for at least 5 years. Source asserted that the Trump operation was both supported and directed by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
COMMENT: Although the former intelligence official who put together the report is said to have extensive contacts in the Russian security apparatus, no evidence of this has been made public.
Trump was “compromised” through his sexual activities in Moscow
Former top Russian intelligence officer claims FSB [Russian security service] has compromised Trump through his activities in Moscow sufficiently to be able to blackmail him. According to several knowledgeable sources, his conduct in Moscow has included perverted sexual acts which have been arranged/monitored by the FSB.
This aspect of the allegations seems at once one of the most salacious and the hardest to verify independently. It seems unlikely anyone in a position of power would engage in such activity given the likelihood the FSB would be monitoring his movements, but it would also be particularly compromising for that reason.
Russia kept a secret dossier on Hillary Clinton, on the instructions of Vladimir Putin
It had been collated by Department K of the FSB for many years, dating back to her husband Bill’s presidency, and comprised mainly eavesdropped conversations of various sorts rather than details/evidence of unorthodox or embarrassing behaviour. Some of the conversations were from bugged comments Clinton had made on her various trips to Russia and focused on things she had said which contradicted her current position on various issues. Others were most probably from phone intercepts.
COMMENT: It seems plausible that Russia would keep a dossier of information on Ms Clinton, as most world powers would with regards to other world leaders.
Russia admitted it was responsible for the DNC email hacks
Inter alia, Source E, acknowledged that the Russian regime had been behind the recent leak of embarrassing e-mail messages, emanating from the Democratic National Committee (DNC), to the WikiLeaks platform. The reason for using WikiLeaks was "plausible deniability” and the operation had been conducted with the full knowledge and support of Trump and senior members of his campaign team. In return the Trump team had agreed to sideline Russian intervention in Ukraine as a campaign issue.
COMMENT: The allegation of the supposed deal on Ukraine was made by the former intelligence official in a report. Summer statements made at the time by Mr Trump and the activities of his camp tend to back this scenario, but no evidence has been made public.
Regular exchange between Mr Trump surrogates and Kremlin actually dates back eight years
However, in terms of established operational liaison between the Trump team and the Kremlin, the emigre confirmed that an intelligence exchange had been running between them for at least eight years. Within this context Putin’s priority requirement had been for intelligence on the activities, business and otherwise, in the US of leading Russian oligarchs and their families. Trump and his associates duly had obtained and supplied the Kremlin with this information.
COMMENT: Time and other news outlets have previously reported how Mr Trump, while failing to establish business links within Russia itself, has several interests outside the country which are nonetheless entangled with members of Mr Putin’s circle. The Los Angeles Times reported that three of Mr Trump’s top advisors have themselves extensive financial ties to Russian financiers – and Paul Manafort, Carter Page and retired Lt General Michael Flynn are all named in the new memos. But to go from that to suggesting Mr Trump fed information to the Kremlin consistently over almost a decade is a big stretch.
Russia promised not to use compromising information against Mr Trump because of “high levels of cooperation”
As far as ‘kompromat’ (compromising information) on Trump was concerned, although there was plenty of this, he understood the Kremlin had given its word that it would not be deployed against the Republican presidential candidate given how helpful and cooperative his team had been over several years, and particularly of late.
COMMENT: Intelligence services like to gather Kompromat if they are able to do so. Mr Trump has been remarkably reticent about criticising Mr Putin on any matter.
Mr Trump’s attorney had a secret meeting with Kremlin officials in Prague in August 2016
[Michael] Cohen had been accompanied to Prague by three colleagues and the timing of the visit was either in the last week of August or the first week of September. According to [redacted], the agenda comprised questions on how deniable cash payments were to be made to hackers who had worked in Europe under Kremlin direction against the Clinton campaign and various contingencies for covering up these operations and Moscow’s secret liaison with the Trump team more generally.
COMMENT: Mr Cohen denies he has ever been to Prague in his life, and showed Yahoo News his passport which appeared to have stamps running from 2009 to late 2016 but none from the Czech Republic. Given the country lies in the Schengen zone, however, it is not impossible that he could have entered the country without receiving a passport stamp. But his rebuttal has been swift and total.
The documents contain some clear factual errors
Top level Russian official confirms current closeness of Alpha Group-Putin relationship. Significant favours continue to be done in both directions and Fridman and Aven still giving informal advice to Putin, especially on the US.
COMMENT: The company is named Alfa Group, not Alpha Group as it appears throughout the documents. Elsewhere, according to BuzzFeed News, the unnamed author describes the settlement of Barvikha, outside Moscow, as “reserved for the residences of the top leadership and their close associates”. It is not reserved for anyone, and it is also populated by the very wealthy, BuzzFeed News reports.
Russia supported Mr Trump because he was “viewed as divisive in disrupting the whole US political system”
Asked to explain why Putin and the Kremlin had launched such an aggressive Trump support operation in the first place, the MFA (foreign ministry) official said that Russia needed to upset the liberal international status quo, including on Ukraine-related sanctions, which was seriously disadvantaging the country. Trump was viewed as divisive in disrupting the whole US political system; anti-establishment; and a pragmatist with whom they could do business. As the Trump support operation had gained momentum, control of it had passed from the MFA to the FSB and then into the presidential administration where it remained, a reflection of its growing significance over time. There was still a view in the Kremlin that Trump would continue as a [divisive] political force even if he lost the presidency and may run for and be elected to another public office.
COMMENT: This, if true, would mean that the Kremlin has been extremely far sighted as Mr Trump’s political prospects were viewed as negligible and his success came as a surprise to most.
Trump associates “confirmed he would lift Russian sanctions” in exchange for 19 per cent stake in a Russian oil giant
In terms of the substance of their discussion, Sechin’s associate said that the Rosneft President was so keen to lift personal and corporate western sanctions imposed on the company, that he offered (Carter) Page/Trump associates the brokerage of up to a 19 per cent (privatised) stake in Rosneft in return. Page had expressed interest and confirmed that were Trump elected US president, then sanctions on Russia would be lifted.
COMMENT: Mr Trump has indicated in the past that he would value improved relations with Russia, and the lifting of sanctions would be a logical extension of this. But it is a very serious and unverified Trump has indicated in the past that he would value improved relations with Russia