Russia has two exports: energy and kompromat. Since energy isn't nearly as valuable as it was a decade ago, Putin has increased Russia's production of kompromat to compensate. So far, he's been fairly successful with this, but for an unexpected reason.
What is kompromat? Kompromat is any material that can be used to discredit, mislead, blackmail, coerce, or confuse a targeted person or entity. This material spans the gamut, from a leaked sex video to a financial document proving corruption. In short, any material can be used as long as it is effective at damaging an opponent.
However, kompromat proved to be something more than simply as a way to deal with the occasional political enemy. Over time, it became clear that in a networked Russia, a steady flow of targeted kompromat was actually capable of keeping the nation's entire social fabric in a perpetual state of turmoil. A turmoil that enabled Putin to remain in power with much less authoritarian repression than would have been needed before Internet networking.
Of course, Russia isn't alone in its addiction to a steady diet of kompromat, deception, and fake narratives. Endless socioeconomic stagnation has led the US and the EU to developed similar addictions. Addictions that erupted in full force over the past year with an amazing ferocity.
The intentional disruption of social networks is now part of the political mainstream in the US (and increasingly the EU), and it took only one election cycle for the entirety of the political spectrum to adopt it. Now, salvos of intentional disruption are the most common form of political discourse in the increasingly fractured west.
Every participant in our political system is doing it. In fact, there is so much domestically produced and self inflicted social disruption going on now, by so many participants, Russia's attempts at US kompromat are below a rounding error in comparative effectiveness.
Given this backdrop of increasing disruption, I'm continually surprised that establishment organizations and figures are actively engaged in it to damage Trump. For example, the recent ongoing campaign by senior members of the intelligence community to use leaked kompromat to cast doubt on the Trump's legitimacy by tying him to Putin.
Disruption like this does more harm than good to the establishment. Trump is the incredible Hulk of disruption. The more you throw at him, the stronger he gets. In contrast, the establishment derives its power through the smooth functioning of the system and strong connections.
Anything that weakens, disrupts, negates, or damages the system makes it easier for Trump to operate and harder for the establishment to do the same.