Hillary Clinton Raps Boris Johnson Over His Suppression of a Russia Report.

LONDON — Russia’s influence in British politics has resurfaced as a potentially explosive issue in the country’s general election, with Hillary Clinton joining a parade of critics in castigating Prime Minister Boris Johnson for withholding a secret parliamentary report on Russia until after Britain goes to the polls.

Mr. Johnson’s decision to delay the politically sensitive report until after the Dec. 12 election has not prevented the leak of unsavory details, which, if confirmed, would paint a damning portrait of Russian oligarchs funneling money to Conservative Party politicians.

By adding her voice, Mrs. Clinton, whose presidential bid in 2016 was undermined by systematic Russian interference, could thrust the dispute over Russia to the center of the campaign.

“Who do they think they are that they would keep information like that from the public, especially before an election?” Mrs. Clinton said in an interview with The Guardian newspaper. “Well, I’ll tell you who they think they are. They think that they are the all-powerful, strong men who should be ruling.”

Based on the details that have emerged so far, the report could end up being less damaging than Downing Street’s refusal to release it. The veil of secrecy has spawned conspiracy theories, as well as criticism that it deprives British voters of vital information about Russian meddling before another election.

“It’s certainly pertinent to an election,” Dominic Grieve, a former attorney general who was chairman of the parliamentary committee that compiled the report, said last week on Sky News. “There has been a lot of disquiet about the possibility of Russian interference, and part of our report looks at that.”

It is not clear that Russia is planning to meddle in the Dec. 12 election as it did in 2016 in the United States or the 2016 referendum on Brexit. The short-fuse nature of the vote — Mr. Johnson won Parliament’s approval to hold it only in late October — would make it difficult for Russian to mount a full-scale social-media campaign, election experts said.

Still, the lack of evidence of an election operation does not mean Britain is not still vulnerable to Russian interference. Delaying the report, critics say, leaves British voters in the dark about the nature and gravity of the threat.

“We don’t know how serious it is,” said Bronwen Maddox, the director of the Institute for Government, a think tank in London. “That’s the value of the report — it would tell us. They should have published it.”

In the United States, the report of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, provided a vivid road map of how Russia mounted a sophisticated operation to flood Facebook and other social-media outlets with messages in favor of the Republican candidate, Donald J. Trump, and against Mrs. Clinton.

Mrs. Clinton, who was in London on a book tour with her daughter, Chelsea, said she planned to keep highlighting the issue.

“Someone said to me, ‘Quit with the Russians,’” she said to The Guardian. “I said, ‘I’ll quit with the Russians when the Russians quit with us.’ That’s how I feel.”

In Britain, the secret report has become fodder on the campaign trail. Mr. Grieve, who was purged from the Conservative Party after clashing over Brexit with Mr. Johnson, said the government had no valid reasons for delaying its release. He said it fit into a pattern of spreading “propaganda and disinformation.”

Mr. Johnson’s ministers attributed the delay to the need for normal vetting and other procedures, not to any political motives. They also denied that Russian money was backing the Conservative Party’s campaign, which is built around securing a swift exit from the European Union.

“No Russian money is pulling the strings of this election,” the chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid, said in an interview with the BBC. “I’m very confident about how we’re funded and we’re very transparent about that.”

Still, new questions about the party’s funding sources bubbled up after The Sunday Times reported on Nov. 10 that the parliamentary report named nine wealthy Russians who gave money to the Conservatives. It was not clear, the paper said, whether the Russians were listed in the public section of the report or a classified annex, which is not scheduled to be released at any time.

It is illegal in Britain for campaigns to accept money from abroad, but there is no law against taking funds from wealthy Russians who have established residency in the country.

Some links between Russians and Conservative Party figures are well established. In April 2018, Mr. Johnson, who was then Britain’s foreign secretary, was photographed at an airport in Italy after traveling to a weekend party at a converted castle owned by a Russian-British press baron, Evgeny Lebedev.

Mr. Johnson traveled without the security detail normally assigned to the foreign secretary, and fellow passengers told The Guardian that Mr. Johnson looked as though “he had slept in his clothes.” He did not comment on the purpose of the trip. Mr. Lebedev, the son of Alexander Lebedev, a one-time KGB intelligence officer, is a majority owner of The Evening Standard and The Independent.

Among those who testified before Parliament’s Intelligence and Security committee was William F. Browder, a London-based, American-born financier who fell afoul of the Russian government and has campaigned against its corruption of foreign officials. He painted a picture of Russian influence that goes beyond any single party to permeate the entire British establishment.

Mr. Browder cited the case of Peter Goldsmith, a lawyer who served as attorney general in the Labour government of Prime Minister Tony Blair. Mr. Goldsmith, Mr. Browder said, was retained by the lawyer for a Russian oligarch who was trying to avoid being sanctioned by the European Parliament.

President Vladimir V. Putin “has deployed vast resources from criminal proceeds, as well as misappropriation of assets from the regime’s opponents and random victims, to fund and develop a non-Russian, Western ‘buffer network’ which has enabled the Russian state to infiltrate UK society and to conceal the underlying Russian controllers and their agendas,” he said in written testimony, which was first reported by CNN and obtained by The New York Times.

In an interview, Mr. Browder said the government’s decision was self-defeating. “From a P.R. strategy, it’s pretty dumb,” he said. “If they release it, they would get a day’s worth of bad headlines. Now, there are these conspiracy theories running around in London.”

In 2016, there was evidence that Russia tried to tip the referendum in favor of Britain leaving the European Union. More than 150,000 Russian-language Twitter accounts posted tens of thousands of messages in English urging people to vote “leave.” In an echo of the Russian campaign in the United States, many of those messages stoked fears about Muslims and other immigrants.

There was already some evidence of troubling activity in this election, said Martin Innes, the director of the crime and security research institute at Cardiff University. But he said it was difficult to determine who was behind it.

“Given the current political situation in the U.K., there is a clear opportunity for a disinformation actor to further their geopolitical interests by destabilizing the European Union or destabilizing NATO,” Mr. Innes said.

The political dynamics this time are somewhat different. Mr. Johnson has promised a swift Brexit, which would appeal to Russia, given its desire to weaken the European Union. But Mr. Johnson also favors close ties to the United States. His opponent, the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, might delay or even reverse Brexit. But he, too, is a euroskeptic and would be likely to keep Washington at arm’s length.

“The unanswered question is whether in the Russian calculation, Britain is worth running an interference operation for,” said Ben Nimmo, director of investigations at Graphika, a form that specializes in mapping social media.

Given that the referendum has already happened, he said, “you could envisage a scenario where the conclusion is ‘Let them get on with it.’”

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