Max Bergmann, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, explained exactly how Russia has benefited from interfering in the 2016 election.
“We now know the details of the Russian government’s support for Donald Trump in the 2016 election,” he explained. “A massive disinformation campaign targeting American voters, hacking Trump’s opponents and strategically releasing the information, working through American fronts to funnel money in support of Trump.”
But the president also helped Putin get a lot in return, including a weakened NATO, an undermined EU, and a newly depleted American economy — among many other things.
“As a result of Trump’s rhetoric and actions, America’s closest allies are more suspicious and distrusting of the U.S. than ever,” Bergmann explained.
Trump has helped to end sanctions, working to roll back, impede, and blunt the impact of the ones previously imposed on Putin. He has also helped legitimize the Russian president, attempting to paint him in a more favorable light when talking about him in the media. Finally, Trump has helped weaken the U.S. from within — which Russia can benefit from.
“Trump has attacked U.S. institutions including law enforcement, while driving divisive politics on racial issues and eroding democratic norms,” said Bergmann. “Russia conducted an unprecedented attack on America. Normally the U.S. would be making them pay the price. Instead, Trump has rewarded Putin again and again, often at the cost of his own country’s priorities or the priorities of traditional U.S. allies.”