Russian President Vladimir Putin personally authorised a secret spy agency operation to support Donald Trump in the 2016 US presidential election during a closed session of Russia's national security council, a report in the UK's Guardian newspaper said citing leaked Kremlin documents.
The report – "No 32-04 \ vd" – is classified as secret. It says Trump is the "most promising candidate" from the Kremlin's point of view. The report also had a brief psychological assessment of Trump, who is described as an "impulsive, mentally unstable and unbalanced individual who suffers from an inferiority complex". There is also apparent confirmation that the Kremlin possesses kompromat, or potentially compromising material, on the future president, collected – the document says – from Trump's earlier "non-official visits to Russian Federation territory".
According to the report, the key meeting took place on 22 January 2016 with the Russian president, his spy chiefs and senior ministers all present. They agreed a Trump White House would help secure Moscow's strategic objectives, among them "social turmoil" in the US and a weakening of the American president's negotiating position.
Russia's three spy agencies were ordered to find practical ways to support Trump, in a decree appearing to bear Putin's signature. By this point Trump was the frontrunner in the Republican party's nomination race. A report prepared by Putin's expert department recommended Moscow use "all possible force" to ensure a Trump victory.
Western intelligence agencies are understood to have been aware of the documents for some months and to have carefully examined them. The papers, seen by the Guardian, seem to represent a serious and highly unusual leak from within the Kremlin.
According to independent experts, the papers appear to be genuine.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said the idea that Russian leaders had met and agreed to support Trump in at the meeting in early 2016 was "a great pulp fiction" when contacted by the Guardian on Thursday morning.
The paper refers to "certain events" that happened during Trump's trips to Moscow. Security council members are invited to find details in appendix five, at paragraph five, the document states. It is unclear what the appendix contains.
"It is acutely necessary to use all possible force to facilitate his [Trump's] election to the post of US president," the paper remarks.