Reuters has an exclusive report showing that Russia’s interference in the 2016 election wasn’t a series of disconnected events. It was a plan.
A Russian government think tank controlled by Vladimir Putin developed a plan to swing the 2016 U.S. presidential election to Donald Trump and undermine voters’ faith in the American electoral system, three current and four former U.S. officials told Reuters.
Fake news churned out by an army of trolls, undermining credibility in the U.S. election system—it’s all there in the plan from the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies. The RISS plan was been in the hands of U.S. officials for some time, and was part of the evaluation by the intelligence community on Russia’s involvement and intent in the election.
One interesting factor is that in October—previous to James Comey upending the election with the public release of his letter about Hillary Clinton’s emails—the Russian observers concluded that Clinton was likely to win and that the focus of their effort should be on damaging the credibility of the election.
Coincidentally (or not coincidentally) Donald Trump began emphasizing the possibility of election fraud more and more in his campaign. After a single mention of the possibility of fraud in August, Trump dropped the theme. Suddenly in was back in force in October, becoming central to his rallies and featuring nine times in tweets.
Nine times in five days the now Republican nominee tweeted warnings about the election being rigged against him. The first, which generated almost 30,000 retweets, claimed it was the media doing the rigging. Another insinuated the election was rigged because Clinton herself wasn’t in jail. Later, his tweets combined the two.
Did RISS suggest emphasizing election fraud because Trump was already making that a theme … or was it the other way around?