Yesterday, CNN published a bombshell report: The classified briefing on Russian interference in the U.S. election includes information, collected by a former member of British intelligence, that Russia possessed compromising personal information on Donald Trump. The allegations are unsubstantiated but were sufficiently credible for the intelligence community to inform President Obama and President-elect Trump.
CNN builds on a report by Mother Jones published before the election, based on the same information. BuzzFeed subsequently published the full dossier, which has been circulating among journalists and others for weeks, that was the basis of CNN and Mother Jones’ reporting.
The dossier contains a variety of sensational allegations, including that Russia has videotape of Trump engaging in exotic sexual acts with prostitutes and that there was an ongoing exchange of information between the Trump campaign and Russia. (The later allegation is substantiated, in part, by Russian officials.)
The allegations in the dossier are unverified and potentially unverifiable.
But what is verifiable—and in the public record—are Trump’s statements about Russia and Vladimir Putin throughout the campaign. Trump has been relentlessly positive about Putin, an autocratic strongman, and has defended Russia in the face of the unanimous view of the United States intelligence community that Russia interfered in the presidential election.
Trump’s comments were weird at the time. In light of the latest allegations, they are even weirder.
Trump tweeted out an article headlined “Putin loves Donald Trump”
Trump says Putin “outsmarted” Hillary
She doesn’t like Putin because Putin has outsmarted her at every step of the way. [10/19/16]
Trump says Putin “outsmarted” Obama
Let me tell you, Putin has outsmarted her and Obama at every single step of the way. Whether it’s Syria, you name it. Missiles. Take a look at the “start up” that they signed. The Russians have said, according to many, many reports, I can’t believe they allowed us to do this. They create warheads, and we can’t. The Russians can’t believe it. She has been outsmarted by Putin. [10/19/16]
Trump said he always knew Putin was “very smart”
Trump tweeted about “PUTIN’S BRILLIANCE”
Trump said Hillary should not criticize Putin, said he understands why Putin “has no respect for her”
You see the way she talks about Putin. I mean no wonder Putin doesn’t like her and has no respect for her. You know, they’re nuclear armed. You know, it would be nice if we got along. If we don’t, we don’t, but it would be nice. But how can he get along with her? How can he get along with her? He’s got no respect for her, number 1, and the way she talks it’s ridiculous. I tell you what, if we could have good relationship with Russia, that would be a good thing, not a bad thing, and you know, I’d had to say it, it would be a good thing. [10/27/16]
Trump said the intelligence community has “no idea” if Russia was responsible for hacks
You ever notice anything that goes wrong, they blame Russia? Russia did it. They have no idea. We’re being hacked because we have people that don’t know what they’re doing. They have people. But they always blame Russia and then they say ‘Donald Trump is friends with Putin.’ I don’t know Putin, folks, I promise. [10/12/16]
Trump said the CIA’s conclusion that Russia intervened in the election was “ridiculous” and he didn’t “believe it at all”
WALLACE: According to The Washington Post, the CIA has concluded that Russia intervened in the election to help you win the presidency. Your reaction?
TRUMP: I think it’s ridiculous. I think it’s just another excuse. I don’t believe it. I don’t know why, and I think it’s just — you know, they talked about all sorts of things. Every week, it’s another excuse. We had a massive landslide victory, as you know, in the Electoral College. I guess the final numbers are now at 306. She’s down to a very low number. No, I don’t believe that at all. [12/11/16]
Trump blasted Hillary for speaking “so badly” about Putin, doesn’t understand how “you can speak so badly of somebody”
Look, look, she speaks so badly of Putin, nuclear country, she speaks so badly. I say and she uses it to try and get votes. I said to myself, you know, how do you speak so badly of somebody? I mean, how are they ever going to get along? Wouldn’t it be great if we actually got along with Russia and other countries? And we together went after ISIS and knocked the hell out of them, wouldn’t that be a good thing? [10/27/16]
Trump: “I think if we got along with the Russians that would be good”
I had Miss Universe there a couple of years ago; other than that, no. I’ve nothing to do, but then on Wikileaks it came in that she’s saying all these wonderful things about Putin. Maybe we should reverse it, we’ll reverse it except for one thing: I think if we got along with the Russians that would be good, and frankly if we got along with the Russians and together we knock the hell out of ISIS, that’ll be great. [10/12/16]
Trump said Putin “has no respect” for Clinton and “certainly doesn’t like” Obama, then promised to get in Putin’s good graces
Putin has no respect for her, he doesn’t like her, he certainly doesn’t like Obama, and I often say, wouldn’t it be nice if we actually got along with Russia and these other countries? Wouldn’t that be a positive thing? [10/31/16]
Trump says whenever anything bad happens, Hillary and her allies “always blame Russia”
But I notice, anytime anything wrong happens, they like to say the Russians are — she doesn’t know if it’s the Russians doing the hacking. Maybe there is no hacking. But they always blame Russia. And the reason they blame Russia because they think they’re trying to tarnish me with Russia. [10/9/16]
Trump said Putin’s criticism of Democrats and Hillary was “So true!”
Trump said that “only stupid people” would not want to have “a good relationship with Russia”
Trump publicly encouraged Russia to share hacked Clinton emails