Putin-linked think tank crafted plan to swing election for Trump: report

Putin-linked think tank crafted plan to swing election for Trump: report
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A Moscow-based think tank linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin created a plan to swing the 2016 presidential election in favor of Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: 'I will not let Iran have nuclear weapons' Rocket attack hits Baghdad's Green Zone amid escalating tensions: reports Buttigieg on Trump tweets: 'I don't care' MOREReuters reported on Wednesday.

Three current and four former U.S. officials told Reuters that two confidential documents obtained from the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies justify the conclusion reached by the U.S. intelligence community about Russia's interference in the U.S. election.

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According to the report, the institute is run by former senior Russian intelligence officials appointed by the Russian president's office.

The seven U.S. officials told Reuters that one of the documents was a strategy paper drafted in June 2016 that advocated a propaganda campaign on various media platforms urging U.S. voters to back a presidential candidate with a friendlier stance toward Russia.

The second document, written in October, advocated for Russia to switch focus to amplifying voter fraud claims, given the widely held view at the time that Democrat Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDe Blasio pitches himself as tough New Yorker who can take on 'Don the con' From dive bars to steakhouses: How Iowa caucus staffers blow off steam Warren policy ideas show signs of paying off MORE was likely to beat Trump.

The shift in strategy would be used to undermine Clinton's presidency and damage her reputation, the document implied.

According to four of the sources, the June strategy paper expanded on Putin's earlier strategy from March 2016, in which Moscow allegedly instructed state-backed media outlets such as Sputnik News and RT to produce more pro-Trump content.

A spokesperson for Sputnik dismissed the claims of U.S. sources, calling them an "absolute pack of lies" in a statement to Reuters.