Top cybersecurity and Russia experts urged readers to be skeptical of a new Guardian report purporting that leaked Kremlin documents confirm allegations that Russia had compromising material on Trump.
The Guardian on Thursday published a report based on “what are assessed to be leaked Kremlin documents” claiming that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally authorized a secret operation to back “mentally unstable” Donald Trump in the 2016 election during a January 22 meeting with his spy chiefs and senior ministers.
The report also claims that the Kremlin documents also include an “apparent confirmation” that the Russians have compromising material on Trump from his earlier “non-official visits to Russian Federation territory”.
The purported documents say that the Kremlin viewed Trump as the best candidate to advance Russia’s goals.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov rejected the report as a “great pulp fiction.”
Ex-cybersecurity chief urges skepticism:
Chris Krebs, the former director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency who stepped down over Trump’s election lies, warned that the report was “far too convenient” and “reeks” of a disinformation operation.
“It could all be individually or collectively true and at the same time planted & fake,” he tweeted.
Thomas Rid, a professor of strategic studies at Johns Hopkins University, also urged readers to “remain somewhat cautious,” noting that the Guardian report repeatedly hedged its claims.
Trump rages over report:
Trump called the story “disgusting” and “fake news.”
“It’s just the Radical Left crazies doing whatever they can do demean everybody on the right,” he said in a statement. “It’s fiction, and nobody was tougher on Russia than me, including on the pipeline, and sanctions. At the same time we got along with Russia. Russia respected us.”
Trump went on to flip the “mentally unstable” claim in the report against President Joe Biden, who defeated him by over 7 million votes in November.
“The world was a much safer place than it is now with mentally unstable leadership,” Trump said.