Leaked Kremlin papers show that Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized government support of presidential candidate Donald Trump in 2016.

The papers, obtained by The Guardian, outline how Putin approved for the Russian government to run a psychological assessment of Trump. Experts have confirmed the leaked papers appear real, but Kremlin has denied their authenticity. The papers give readers a close view of Russian decision-making during the 2016 presidential election. In the report, the Kremlin calls Trump “mentally unstable” and stresses that they would like to see him placed in a position of power. Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate in 2016, is not mentioned in the report.

The report outlines how Putin believed Trump would “will definitely lead to the destabilization of the U.S.’s sociopolitical system.” The author of the report seems to be Vladimir Symonenko, a senior expert in the Kremlin who has in the past has produced foreign intelligence-based reports.

The main question is why has this leak occurred. Russian-American relations have been tense in the past few months following cyberattacks that originated in Russia. In June, President Joe Biden met with Putin in a closed-door meeting. There was no press conference to follow, unlike when Putin met with Trump during his presidency. Trump was widely mocked for his slavish praise of Putin at the time.


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