An unverified and unsubstantiated dossier report created by a former British spy hired by anti-President-elect Donald Trump political operatives suggests a quid pro quo between the Russian government and Trump regarding the situation in Ukraine.
According to Business Insider, the dossier claims that the Trump campaign agreed to take a softer stance on Russia's incremental push into Ukraine in exchange for emails from the Democratic National Committee, which were then published by WikiLeaks.
Trump held a less hawkish stance on Russia than most of his Republican and Democrat colleagues, which was reflected in the GOP platform before the start of the 2016 Republican National Convention.
According to a July 2016 report in The Washington Post, the Trump campaign worked to put language in the GOP platform that would prohibit or reduce U.S. arms support to Ukraine to fight Russia -- a position that goes against many establishment Republicans' foreign policy ideas, including Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
Both McCain and Graham had been severely critical of Trump throughout the 2016 presidential campaign and have continued to allege that the Russian government interfered with the presidential election. Graham even said Trump should make Russia “pay a price,” according to NBC News.
In Russia, however, many doubt the dossier's veracity.
“It is dirty political technology,” said Evgeny Minchenko, a prominent political expert who runs a political consultancy firm in Moscow, reports Politico.
Politico also reported that several independent Russian media outlets that have experience in dealing with anonymous allegations and blackmail said the dossier's claims were baseless.
Trump has vehemently denounced the allegations.
“It’s all fake news. Its phony stuff. It didn’t happen,” Trump said, according to The New York Times. “It was gotten by opponents of ours. It was a group of opponents that got together. Sick people and they got together and put that crap together.”
Trump did admit, however, that he believed Russian hackers were responsible for the release of the DNC emails.
“I think it was Russia,” he said.