A Russian government think tank developed plans in 2016 to damage former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s election chances, Reuters reports.
The plan, originally developed in 2016, called for using Russia’s propaganda apparatus to try and elect a U.S. president with a more friendly Russia stance. This plan was circulated among the highest levels of the Russian government, Reuters reported Thursday.
As the campaign progressed and polls indicated Clinton was likely to win the election, a second plan was drafted to use the propaganda apparatus of the government to undermine U.S citizens’ faith in their electoral process.
Both documents were reportedly key to the U.S. government’s October 2016 conclusion that Russia “directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations.” These compromises included the dissemination of Democratic National Committee emails, and those of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta to Wikileaks.
The Russian government documents also fit with the Office of Director of National Intelligence’s January conclusion that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s chief aim was to “denigrate” the impending Presidency of Clinton.
“Moscow’s approach evolved over the course of the campaign based on Russia’s understanding of the electoral prospects of the two main candidates. When it appeared to Moscow that Secretary Clinton was likely to win the election, the Russian influence campaign began to focus more on undermining her future presidency,” the report continues.
FBI Director James Comey similarly parroted this conclusion to Congress in March, describing how Putin “hated Hillary Clinton so much” he developed a preference for Trump. Comey deployed a sports metaphor, saying, “I hate the New England Patriots, and no matter who they play, I’d like them to lose.”
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