Trump and Russians Sowed Discord on the Left

The very first report in the dossier of documents about the alleged coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia states what Putin’s goals were in the process:

Its aim was to sow discord and disunity both within the U.S. itself, but more especially within the Transatlantic alliance which was viewed as inimical to Russia’s interests.

Later in a document dated August 10, 2016, sources suggest that these attempts to sow discord weren’t only focused on Republicans, but were also directed at the left.

Ivanov said that the audience to be targeted by such operations [referring to the spread of rumors and innuendos from leaked emails] was the educated youth in America as the PA assessed that there was still a chance that they could be persuaded to vote for Republican candidate Donald Trump as a protest against the Washington establishment (in the form of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton).

It was then noted that Russia funded trips to Moscow for several people, including Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein.

The next document picks up this theme.

Trump’s associates reported that the aim of leaking DNC emails to Wikileaks during the Democratic Convention had been to swing supporters of Bernie Sanders away from Hillary Clinton and across to Trump. These voters were perceived as activists and anti-status quo and anti-establishment and in that regard sharing many features with the Trump campaign, including visceral dislike of Hillary Clinton.

While explosive in the context of reports about coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia, these two statements are verifiably true. We know that Jill Stein was not only a featured speaker at the Moscow event celebrating the 10th anniversary of Russia Today, it was that network which sponsored the Green Party debate in May as well as Stein’s response to the presidential debates between Clinton and Trump.

The Trump campaign’s attempt to appeal to Sanders voters was direct and obvious – especially in the weeks between the end of the primary and the Democratic Convention (coinciding with the leak of emails from the DNC). That message was also featured quite prominently on RT.

One distinction I would make between these two points is that, while Jill Stein seems to have been an active participant in receiving support from Russia, the same is obviously not true of Sanders. The takeaway here though is not to critique either of those campaigns – but to realize that Trump and the Russians identified and exploited an opportunity on the left to sow discord and disunity.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.