big if true
A bombshell new report on alleged leaked Kremlin documents references "apparent confirmation that the Kremlin possesses kompromat" on former President Donald Trump — but experts warn it should be read with a skeptical eye.
On Thursday, The Guardian reported on "what are assessed to be leaked Kremlin documents" allegedly showing that Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized an operation to support Trump's election during a January 2016 meeting because it would bring "social turmoil" to the United States. The documents reportedly include an assessment of Trump as "mentally unstable and unbalanced," and the report also says they contain "apparent confirmation that the Kremlin possesses kompromat," potentially compromising material, on Trump.
It was a massive revelation if true, but Johns Hopkins professor of strategic studies Thomas Rid warned readers should "remain somewhat cautious" about the story, pointing to language in it that "makes me wonder how much the Guardian even knows about the source," as well as the report's frequent hedging among other concerns. According to the report, the section of the document about the alleged "kompromat" says details about it can be found in an appendix, but it's "unclear what the appendix contains."
Chris Krebs, former Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency director, agreed with Rid's skepticism, writing, "This is far too convenient & reeks of #disinfo operation. It could all be individually or collectively true and at the same time planted & fake." Krebs added that "in the meantime, I'm taking this approach," attaching a meme of Tom Hardy in Mad Max: Fury Road warning, "That's bait."
At The Washington Post, journalist Philip Bump also expressed skepticism, writing, "It is odd that this document, so closely related to the national discourse over the past five years, only emerged now. It was purportedly leaked from within the Kremlin, but that happened only now? Or it only trickled down to the media now, when so many other things emerged more quickly? It's curious."