But the Kremlin has gotten a different return on its effort to help elect Trump in last year's election: chaos in Washington, DC.
The President's decision to fire FBI Director James Comey was the latest destabilising jolt to a core institution of the US government. The nation's top law enforcement agency joined a list of entities that Trump has targeted, including federal judges, US spy services, news organisations and military alliances.
The instability, although driven by Donald Trump, has in some ways extended and amplified the effect Russia sought to achieve with its unprecedented campaign to undermine the 2016 presidential race.
In a declassified report released this year, US spy agencies described destabilisation as one of the Russian President Vladimir Putin's objectives. “The Kremlin sought to advance its longstanding desire to undermine the US-led liberal democratic order,” it said.
Russia's “active measures” campaign ended with the election last year. But Comey's firing on Monday triggered a new wave of Russia-related turbulence.
His removal was perceived as a blow to the independence of the bureau's ongoing investigation of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Even if that probe remains on track, current and former US officials said that Comey's ouster serves broader Russian interests.
“They feel pretty good overall because that's a further sign that our political system is in a real crisis,” said Eugene Rumer, a former State Department official who served as the top intelligence officer on Russia issues from 2010 to 2014. “The firing of Comey only aggravates this crisis. It's now certain to be more protracted and more painful and that's okay with them.”
James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, offered a similar assessment in Senate testimony last week, even before Comey was dismissed, saying that Moscow must look on the election and its aftermath with a great deal of satisfaction.
“The Russians have to be celebrating the success of... what they set out do with rather minimal resource expenditure,” Clapper said. “The first objective was to sow discord and dissension, which they certainly did.”
Clapper went further in interviews on Sunday, saying US institutions are “under assault” from Trump, and that Russia must see the firing of Comey as “another victory on the scoreboard for them.”
Even Trump alluded to Russia's presumed glee at the post-Comey turmoil, although he blamed Democrats. “Russia must be laughing up their sleeves watching as the US tears itself apart over a Democrat EXCUSE for losing the election,” Trump said in a posting on Twitter on Thursday.
If Russia's most specific priorities have proved elusive, it may be partly because Moscow overachieved in its effort to cultivate ties to Trump.
Former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who shared many of Trump's pro-Russia positions, was forced to resign in February after it was revealed that he had misled other White House officials about his post-election conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak.
In a late December phone call that was intercepted by US intelligence, Flynn assured Kislyak that Trump planned to revisit the sanctions issue shortly after taking office. Trump has so far not followed through on that front, largely because the Flynn controversy and multiple Russia probes have made it politically unfeasible.
Trump's policies toward Russia have also taken a harder line in part because of the rising influence of senior members of his administration, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who are critics of Moscow.
Even so, Trump himself continues to send pro-Russia signals, sometimes at the expense of agencies that report to him. Trump recently signalled, again, that he remains unconvinced that Russia was behind the hack of the 2016 election and release of tens of thousands of emails that damaged Hillary Clinton's campaign. His position is a rejection of the consensus view of US intelligence agencies.
Trump has provided a steady stream of material for Russian propaganda platforms.
One day after firing Comey, Trump welcomed Russia's foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, to the White House. American news agencies were barred from attending but a photographer for Russia's state-run Tass news agency was granted access to the Oval Office.
Photos released later that day showed Trump warmly welcoming his guests, including a shot that showed Trump smiling and shaking hands with Kislyak, the ambassador embroiled in the controversy with Flynn.
Russian officials have denied the country meddled in the US election. In brief public appearances last week, Lavrov joked about Comey's dismissal - “Was he fired? You're kidding!” - and mocked claims of Moscow interference.
“We are monitoring what is going on here concerning Russia and its alleged 'decisive role' in your domestic policy,” Lavrov said in a quote reported in Tass.
Trump's defenders acknowledge that he seeks improved relations with Moscow, but insist that his goals are designed entirely to advance American interests.
They point to sharp criticism of Moscow by senior administration officials, strained diplomatic relations on key issues and Trump's decision to order a missile strike on an air base in Syria where Russian military operatives were based as part of Moscow's support to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The assertion that the Trump administration has been advantageous to Moscow “is laughable,” said James Carafano, the vice president of foreign and defence policy at the Heritage Foundation, who served as an adviser to the Trump transition team. “The president has actually stiff-armed them on a number of occasions.”
But critics argue that many of Trump's foreign policy positions undercut US influence overseas and, as a result, strengthen Moscow - his effective endorsement of nationalist candidates including Marine Le Pen in France; his effort to impose an immigration ban on Muslim-majority countries; and his threats, since softened, to restructure Nato.
Trump has repeatedly dismissed allegations of ties between his campaign and Russia as “fake news.” The White House insisted that Comey's firing was based solely on his handling of the investigation of Clinton's emails.
But Trump's own later statements made clear the decision was linked to his frustration that the Russia inquiry was expanding under Comey, a director whom Trump viewed as disloyal.
Trump had telegraphed the move a day earlier on Twitter, saying: “The Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax, when will this taxpayer funded charade end?”
The implication that the FBI would perpetuate an unwarranted investigation out of political animus echoes other instances in which Trump has disparaged American institutions or principles.
US intelligence officials said such comments bolster the case that Putin makes against Western democracies.
The biggest names involved in the Trump-Russia investigation
The biggest names involved in the Trump-Russia investigation
1/11 Paul Manafort
Mr Manafort is a Republican strategist and former Trump campaign manager. He resigned from that post over questions about his extensive lobbying overseas, including in Ukraine where he represented pro-Russian interests.
2/11 Mike Flynn
Mr Flynn was named as Trump's national security adviser but was forced to resign from his post for inappropriate communication with Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak. He had misrepresented a conversation he had with Mr Kislyak to Vice President Mike Pence, telling him wrongly that he had not discussed sanctions with the Russian.
3/11 Sergey Kislyak
Mr Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the US, is at the centre of the web said to connect President Donald Trump's campaign with Russia.
4/11 Roger Stone
Mr Stone is a former Trump adviser who worked on the political campaigns of Richard Nixon, George HW Bush, and Ronald Reagan. Mr Stone claimed repeatedly in the final months of the campaign that he had backchannel communications with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and that he knew the group was going to dump damaging documents to the campaign of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton - which did happen. Mr Stone also had contacts with the hacker Guccier 2.0 on Twitter, who claimed to have hacked the DNC and is linked to Russian intelligence services.
5/11 Jeff Sessions
The US attorney general was forced to recuse himself from the Trump-Russia investigation after it was learned that he had lied about meeting with Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak.
6/11 Carter Page
Mr Page is a former advisor to the Trump campaign and has a background working as an investment banker at Merrill Lynch. Mr Page met with Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak during the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Mr Page had invested in oil companies connected to Russia and had admitted that US Russia sanctions had hurt his bottom line.
7/11 Jeffrey "JD" Gorden
Mr Gordon met with Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak during the 2016 Republian National Convention to discuss how the US and Russia could work together to combat Islamist extremism should then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump win the election. The meeting came days before a massive leak of DNC emails that has been connected to Russia.
8/11 Jared Kushner
Mr Kushner is President Donald Trump's son-in-law and a key adviser to the White House. He met with a Russian banker appointed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in December. Mr Kushner has said he did so in his role as an adviser to Mr Trump while the bank says he did so as a private developer. Mr Kushner has also volunteered to testify in the Senate about his role helping to arrange meetings between Trump advisers and Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak.
9/11 James Comey
Mr Comey was fired from his post as head of the FBI by President Donald Trump. The timing of Mr Comey's firing raised questions around whether or not the FBI's investigation into the Trump campaign may have played a role in the decision.
10/11 Preet Bharara
Mr Bahara refused, alongside 46 other US district attorney's across the country, to resign once President Donald Trump took office after previous assurances from Mr Trump that he would keep his job. Mr Bahara had been heading up several investigations including one into one of President Donald Trump's favorite cable television channels Fox News. Several investigations would lead back to that district, too, including those into Mr Trump's campaign ties to Russia, and Mr Trump's assertion that Trump Tower was wiretapped on orders from his predecessor.
11/11 Sally Yates
Ms Yates, a former Deputy Attorney General, was running the Justice Department while President Donald Trump's pick for attorney general awaited confirmation. Ms Yates was later fired by Mr Trump from her temporary post over her refusal to implement Mr Trump's first travel ban. She had also warned the White House about potential ties former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn to Russia after discovering those ties during the FBI's investigation into the Trump campaign's connections to Russia.
“It plays into the idea that we are as corrupt as anybody else, that what the United States is exporting isn't something you want,” said a former senior US intelligence official involved in tracking the Russian election hack and its aftermath. The official spoke on condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the issue.
With sanctions still in place, Russia may think that the election interference “didn't pan out the way they expected,” the official said. “But what they're getting now is more positive than what they had under [President Barack] Obama and what they feared under Clinton. It's not pro-Russia, but it's certainly not anti-Russia. It's more a kind of chaos. And that does benefit them.”
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