Russia has yet to collect much of what it hoped for from the Trump administration, including the lifting of U.S. sanctions and recognition of its annexation of Crimea.
But the Kremlin has collected a different return on its effort to help elect Trump in last year’s election: chaos in Washington.
The president’s decision to fire FBI Director James B. Comey last week was the latest destabilizing jolt to a core institution of the U.S. government. The nation’s top law enforcement agency joined a list of entities that Trump has targeted, including federal judges, U.S. spy services, news organizations and military alliances.
The instability, although driven by Trump, has in some ways extended and amplified the effect Russia sought to achieve with its unprecedented campaign to undermine the 2016 presidential race.
In a declassified report released this year, U.S. spy agencies described destabilization as one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s objectives.
“The Kremlin sought to advance its longstanding desire to undermine the U.S.-led liberal democratic order,” it said.