Today, Vyacheslav Nikonov, a Russian politician and member of the Duma, Russia’s parliament made an explosive claim regarding President Trump and Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election. In a video posted from a panel interview show, “Sunday Evening with Vladimir Solovyov,” that airs on Rossya 1, a Russian state-owned television station, Nikonov said that U.S. “intelligence missed it when Russian intelligence stole the president of the United States.” During the episode that centered on the U.S.’ diminishing power on the world stage and the resulting chaos, University of Virginia professor Allen Lynch told The Hill that Nikonov’s statement was directed at the idea that the U.S. must be losing power if it can’t uphold the integrity of its own electoral system.
The video, first noticed and translated by Julia Davis, an investigative journalist who monitors Russian media, appears to be just the latest in a series of escalating exchanges from the Russian government towards the Trump administration.
Less than a week ago, another Russian politician, Nikita Isaev, leader of the far-right New Russia Movement threatened to “hit Donald Trump with our Kompromat” on state TV. “Kompromat,” a common Russian political term, translates literally to “compromising material.” The comment was made in the context of a discussion over the closure of several Russian diplomatic compounds across the U.S., which Isaev argued should be met with by a retaliatory release of compromising material on President Trump. When further prodded on whether Russia has such compromising material, Isaev replied, “Of course we have it!”
The claim that Russia has “compromising material” on Trump originally became public as a result of a dossier compiled by former U.K. spy and head of MI-6’s Russia desk, Christopher Steele. In the dossier which Steele turned over to the F.B.I., he claimed that sources boasted about such “Kompromat” well before the election, including certain salacious allegations that may leave Mr. Trump vulnerable to blackmail by the Kremlin.
With the intervals between bouts of explosive rhetoric decreasing and the magnitude of the claims building, it appears clear that Russia has been emboldened recently in their “active measures” strategy that seeks to sow chaos and division. The latest exchange takes place as tensions between the U.S. and Russia have mounted in the recent weeks “following an order by the state department for the Russian government to vacate three diplomatic compounds.” The State Department’s order came as a response to a Kremlin decision that forced the U.S. to reduce its staff in Russia by more than 750 people.
• Russia has become remarkably emboldened lately, dramatically escalating their rhetoric aimed at the administration. Both the frequency and the magnitude of explosive claims originating from Russian state sources are increasing rapidly. Regardless of truth value, this reflects a strategy of “active measures” in which they seek to sow domestic chaos and division.
• The Kremlin either has Kompromat on President Trump or wants us to believe they have Kompromat on President Trump. The nature of the statements is not accidental, they come through official state channels, the actions are intentional.
• Does the Kremlin actually have “Kompromat” on Trump? If so, of what nature is the compromising material? Further, has Trump’s “softness on Russia” been an attempt to avoid the release of such Kompromat?
• Is the dossier accurate in its descriptions of the Kompromat on Trump? If it is, what potential fallout may we face as President Trump attempts to stifle the release of such material?
• If the Kompromat is released, what happens next? This is certainly the most impact of all the potential questions and it is particularly open ended in the nature its possible conclusions.
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Read the original source reporting in full on both Julia Davis’ Twitter feed, the Axios write-up, Buzzfeed News, and the Indepedent for further details and contribute to help support The Daily Briefing on our donation page or use our express donation form below.