Things I have been paying attention to…

Posted: May 11, 2017 in Iron Werks

Things I have been paying attention to… and drives my desire to see Don the Con’s taxes and financial records in the hands of the experts.

Let’s step back a bit.

Part 1 of ?

It’s 2008 and financially, Trump is on the brink of yet another bankruptcy, the size of which would finally drive him out of business for good. No US bank would touch him.

In steps Bayrock Investment Group. In a lawsuit against Trump and reported by Time Magazine, Bayrock was underpinning Trump Soho and was supported by criminal Russian financial interests. While its initial claim absolved Trump of knowledge of those activities, Trump himself later took on the group’s principal partner as a senior advisor in the Trump organization.

“Tax evasion and money-laundering are the core of Bayrock’s business model,” the lawsuit said of the financiers behind Trump Soho. The financing came from Russian-affiliated business interests that engaged in criminal activities. But Bayrock wasn’t just involved with Trump Soho. It financed multiple Trump projects around the world, Foer wrote. “(Trump) didn’t just partner with Bayrock; the company embedded with him. Bayrock put together deals for mammoth Trump-named, Trump-managed projects—two in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a resort in Phoenix, the Trump SoHo in New York.”

“Bayrock, which was developing commercial properties in Brooklyn, proposed that Mr. Trump license his name to hotel projects in Florida, Arizona and New York, including Trump SoHo,” the Times reported. “The other development partner for Trump SoHo was the Sapir Organization, whose founder, Tamir Sapir, was from the former Soviet republic of Georgia.”
Trump was eager to work with both financial groups on Trump projects all over the world. “Mr. Trump was particularly taken with Mr. Arif’s overseas connections,” the Times wrote. “In a deposition, Mr. Trump said that the two had discussed ‘numerous deals all over the world’ and that Mr. Arif had brought potential Russian investors to Mr. Trump’s office to meet him. ‘Bayrock knew the people, knew the investors, and in some cases I believe they were friends of Mr. Arif,’ Mr. Trump said. ‘And this was going to be Trump International Hotel and Tower Moscow, Kiev, Istanbul, etc., Poland, Warsaw.’”

There is more… lots more, but I will leave this point and link the Times article.

http://time.com/4433880/donald-trump-ties-to-russia/

With that established, lets look at the overall Timeline of events:

  • Donald Trump’s Russian Connections Prior to Campaign: Even before the 2000’s, Trump rented posh apartments to at least a few Russians mobsters. [TheAmericanInterest]. But Trump’s Russian connections were limited until he became a bad credit risk. [FinancialTimes]. From 2004 to 2009, two Trump businesses entered bankruptcy and he couldn’t pay off a $40 million bank loan. [Newsweek]. As US banks stopped lending to Trump, he was forced to seek capital from billionaire kleptocrats and oligarchs in the former Soviet Union. [TAI]. Trump started finding Russian billionaires investors through Bayrock, a real estate company founded by Soviet emigres. [WaPo]. In 2007, Trump established a relationship with Sergei Millian, the head of the Russian American Chamber of Commerce, an organization the FBI believes is a front for Russian intelligence. [FT]. With Millian, Trump strengthened his connection to Russian oligarchs. [FT]. In 2007, Trump also started complimenting Putin’s political prowess, while calling George W. Bush the worst president ever. [Motherjones]. Soon, as Trump Jr., said, money from Russian oligarchs was flooding into the Trump Organization. [CNN]. Recently, Reuters estimated that Russians have purchased, at the very least, $98 million worth of lots in Trump Towers in Florida alone. In addition, one Russian oligarch bought a Trump mansion for $95 million in 2008. [FT]. Trump’s business with many these oligarchs and kleptocrats continued from 2008 until he ran for president. For instance, in 2014, Eric Trump allegedly stated that Russian sources gave the Trump Organization access to $100 million to construct golf courses, and that Russians are “really invested in our programs.” [Guardiansee also WaPo (2013 Moscow Beauty Pageant); NYT (Moscow Tower plan for 2015)].
  • Paul Manafort’s Russian & Trump Connections Prior to Campaign: Before Paul Manafort was picked to head Trump’s campaign in March 2016, pro-Putin Ukrainian and Russian oligarchs and politicians paid him tens of millions of dollars for his services from 2004 to roughly 2015. [Wikipedia]. Most notably, from 2006 to at least 2009, he was paid ten million dollars a year to lobby the US and Europe on behalf of Putin’s government. [AP]. Manafort laundered much of the money he received from Russia and Ukraine through Cyprus and Cayman Island companies and banks, [BusinessInsider], and US luxury properties, [NBC]. Its likely that Manafort knew Trump in some capacity since the late-1980s. [WaPo]. However, their relationship may have strengthened when, in 2006, Manafort bought an apartment in Trump Tower NY where Trump resided. [Slate]. In 2008, Trump himself formed a Cyprus companies — he owned at least two Cyprus companies in Dec. 2016. [HuffPost].These connections call into question Trump’s appointment of Wilbur Ross to Commerce Secretary, as Ross previously co-owned and co-operated the Bank of Cyprus with Russian oligarchs close to Putin. [Motherjones].
  • The Trump Campaign’s Russian Connections: Putin directed Russian intelligence to help the Trump campaign by hacking Democrats’ emails, leaking these emails via WikiLeaks, and flooding social media with anti-Hillary propaganda. [NYT]. Such influence by a foreign power was unprecedented in a US presidential election. [Reuters]. Roger Stone, a long-time Trump associate and Trump supporter served as a “back-channel” to a Twitter account run by Russian intelligence agencies as well as WikiLeaks. [Guardian(WikiLeaks); [WashTimes(Guccifer)]. In addition to Stone, Trump’s campaign regularly communicated with Russian officials and at least one Russian intelligence officer, [NYTCNN]. Members of Trump’s campaign also had suspicious connections with organizations tied to Russia. For instance, (1) Michael Flynn was paid tens of thousands of dollars by Russian business entities, purportedly for speaking engagements, [WaPo]; and (2) in October 2016, Trump Jr. was paid at least $50,000 for attending private discussions hosted by a pro-Putin Syrian think tank, [WSJ].
  • Much of Dossier is Confirmed or Corroborated: Also during the campaign, a former British spy sent the FBI a dossier claiming Trump colluded with Russia. [NYTBuzzfeed]. It claimed that Trump had a regular exchange with the Kremlin since around 2008, which included Trump sending intelligence to the Kremlin on Russian oligarch’s activities in the US. [Dossier p. 11].  The dossier also claims that during the presidential race, among other things, the Kremlin bribed Trump, coordinated propaganda efforts with his campaign, and for blackmail purposes videotaped Trump having sex with Russian prostitutes . [NYTBuzzfeed]. US intelligence officials have confirmed the truth of substantial parts of the dossier. [NewYorker]. The head of an East European intelligence agency as well as CIA officers corroborated the dossier’s most salacious allegations. [BBC].
  • Trump’s Russian Connections During Transition & Presidency: After Trump won the election, he picked nominees with ties to Putin and Russian oligarchs, such as Rex Tillerson and Wilbur Ross. [CBSMotherJones]. He also picked Flynn for National Security Advisor, who during the transition, infamously discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador over five phone calls on the day they were announced by Obama. [Reuters]. Trump shares Flynn’s concern with sanctions, and has persistently advocated removing them and working with Putin. [see e.g. ReutersPolitico]. However, Congress has preemptively thwarted Trump. [USAToday (even some Republicans have voiced support for sanctions)].
  • US Intel Agencies and Allies: Officials in US intelligence agencies strongly suspect collusion between Trump and Russia, [HaaretzWSJ], as do our Western European and Baltic allies, [NewsweekGuardian]. Starting in late 2015, foreign intelligence agencies discovered many suspicious contacts between the Trump team and Russian officials, [NewsweekNYTCNNGuardian].

Allied Intelligence Agencies Long Knew of Trump-Russia Contacts (Added 4/13/17)

  • Summary: Five to seven allied foreign intelligence agencies discovered contacts between Trump’s team and Russia between late 2015 and the summer of 2016. [Guardian]. Many of these contacts predated Paul Manafort and Carter Page joining the Trump campaign. [Guardian]. This intelligence was quickly passed to US agencies, who seemed to have underestimated its significance for months. [Guardian].
  • Britain: In late 2015, Britain’s spy agencies started discovering contacts between the Trump team and known or suspected Russian agents.[Guardian]. These contacts were discovered incidentally, through the collection of routine surveillance of Russia’s intelligence assets, not by targeting Trump team members. [Guardian].
  • Other Allies: Although Britain was “the principal whistleblower,” Germany, Estonia, Poland, and Australia, also learned of contacts between the Trump team and Russia between late 2015 and summer of 2016. [Guardian]. The Dutch and French intel agencies also seem to have contributed intelligence. [Guardian].

Russian Bank Servers Communicated With Trump Server

  • Summary: From roughly May to late-September 2016, Alfa Bank servers were likely communicating with a Trump Org. server. [Slate]. Alfa Bank is owned by Russian oligarchs allied with Putin, albeit they were not thought to be in his inner circle. [Slate]. The Trump server also was likely communicating with a server from Spectrum Health, a company led by Betsy Devos’ husband. [CNN]. For recent developments in this story, see the next section.
  • Evidence Used to Attain FISA warrant: Sources say the FBI used evidence of communications between Trump and Alfa Bank’s servers to attain a warrant from a FISA court. [Heatst & BBC]. The warrant likely allows the FBI to investigate the financial records of Alfa Bank and SVB Bank. [HeatSt (SVB Bank) & BBC (Alfa Bank and foreign banks)].
  • The Dossier Speaks Of “Alpha Group”: The 35 page dossier composed by Christopher Steele has a page on “Alpha Group,” a misspelling of “Alfa Group,” which does indeed own Alfa Bank. [see BIDossier p. 25]. The dossier alleges Alfa Group leaders provided Putin with foreign policy advice about the US in exchange for legal and business favors. [Dossier p. 25].
  • Technical Details: Although cyber-experts believe the Alfa Bank servers were most likely exchanging data with the Trump server, it’s not clear how this was technically achieved. [SlateSalon]. The Alfa Bank servers were repeatedly looking up the Trump server’s domain name. [Slate]. Such “DNS lookups” are normally only the precursors to communications between computers. [Slate]. Also, while the Trump server was setup to accept incoming communications from 19 servers, [Slate], ~80% of all DNS lookups came from Alfa Bank, and ~19% from Spectrum. [CNN]. The Trump server was reconfiguration when the New York Times started investigating the story. [Slate].
  • Were the Servers Passing Voter Rolls? The BBC hints, but does not state, that the FISA warrants were related to the theft of voter roles by Russia. [BBC]. Louise Mensch, whose reliability is very questionable, explicitly claims that the FISA warrants helped the FBI uncover evidence that Alfa Bank servers were passing stolen voter roles to a Trump Organization server. [Patribotics]. She claims this story has been confirmed by US intelligence officials. [Patribotics]. For more on the stolen voter roles see Russia Probably Stole Online Voter Rolls.

Developments In Alfa Bank & Trump Server Story

  • Summary: At the end of October 2016, the NYT erroneously debunked the server story and cited FBI officials who suggested there were innocent explanations for the servers’ communications. [Guardian]. On March 9, 2017, CNN reported the FBI actually was still investigating the communications. [CNN]. Soon afterwards, Alfa Bank claimed that evidence of communications between its servers and the Trump server was manufactured. [CNNBloomberg].
  • Debunked Innocent Explanations: Initially Alfa Bank and Spectrum Health both claimed the Trump Org. server merely sent their servers spam. [CNN]. But no such spam emails were sent in the relevant period. [CNN]. Other more complex explanations have been debunked as well. [see CNN for more].
  • Alfa Bank Claims Evidence Manufactured: In March, Alfa Bank bizarrely and incoherently claimed it “believe[d] that DNS traffic in mainland Europe was deliberately captured – in a manner that is unethical and possibly illegal — in order to manufacture the deceit.” [CNN]. A week later Alfa Bank claimed that since mid-February 2017, “unidentified individuals made DNS requests to a Trump Org. server disguised to look as if they came from Alfa Bank prompting responses from the Trump server back to the lender.” [Bloomberg].

The Trump Campaign and Transition Team Contacted Russian Officials & Spies

  • Summary: Both the Trump campaign and transition team undoubtedly kept in regular contact with a Russian government officials. [see e.g. CNNWaPo1WaPo2]. In fact, Russian officials bragged about their extensive contacts with the Trump’s campaign, [NYT], and about having special access to Trump, [CNN]. In addition, the Trump campaign regularly contacted senior Russian intelligence officials. [NYTPoliticoWashTimes].
  • Russian Officials Suggest Extensive Contacts: After the 2016 election, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister said, “[o]bviously, we know most of the people from [Trump’s] entourage….. I cannot say that all of them but quite a few have been staying in touch with Russian representatives.” [WaPo]. According to a number of sources, intercepted communications between Russian officials show that they believed they had special access to Trump both during and after the campaign. [CNN].
  • One FBI Official Says Contacts Suggests Collusion: On March 22, 2017, an FBI official stated there is evidence that Trump’s associates communicated with Russian operatives to time the release of information damaging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign. [CNN]. According to this officer, evidence suggests “people connected to the campaign were in contact and it appeared they were giving the thumbs up to release information when it was ready.” [CNN]. Other FBI officials believe this inference is premature. [CNN].
  • Specific Contacts: Individual contacts between the Trump campaign/transition team and Russia are examined throughout both parts of this outline.

Trump Team Falsely Denied Contacts With Russia

  • Summary: At least six members of the Trump team categorically denied contacts between Trump’s campaign and Russian officials. [DailyBeastWaPo]. Moreover, Attorney General Jeff Sessions falsely testified he was not aware of any communications between the Trump campaign and Russia, and falsely denied personally contacting Russians. [WaPo].
  • Trump Team Repeatedly Categorically Denied Any Contacts: Manafort, Hicks, Conway, Trump, Pence, and Page categorically denied the campaign had any Russian contacts. [WaPoDailybeastCBS]. On Feb.14, Spicer slightly changed course saying that “nothing led him to believe” there were any contacts. [Dailybeast]. On Feb. 16, Trump falsely stated that “Russia is a ruse. I have nothing to do with Russia. Haven’t made a phone call to Russia in years… I spoke to Putin twice. He called me on the election… I have nothing to do with Russia…” [USAToday]. He also claimed Paul Manafort had nothing to do with Russia. [USAToday].
  • Sessions Falsely Claimed There Were No Contacts: Sessions testified falsely that he had not no Russian contacts during the campaign. [WaPo]. On March 1, justice officials revealed that Sessions actually spoke with the Russian ambassador to the US twice. [WaPo]. Sessions almost certainly committed perjury. Sessions then claimed that he contacted the ambassador in his capacity as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee — not as a member on the Trump campaign. [WaPo]. However, the Washington Post asked all 26 members of the Senate Armed Service Committee if they spoke to the Russian ambassador last year. [WaPo]. All 20 members who responded to the Post’s inquiry said they had not. [WaPo].

Trump Admin. Asked Gov’t Investigators to Falsely State No Contacts

  • Summary: The Trump administration asked the FBI, other senior intelligence officials, and the heads of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees, to falsely tell news agencies there was no evidence that the Trump campaign contacted Russian officials. [CNN (FBI) ; WaPo (everyone else)]. Only FBI officials rejected the administration’s request. [CNNWaPo].
  • Trump’s Admin. Asked FBI: On Feb. 14, it was reported that Trump’s associates and campaign contacted Russian officials during the presidential campaign. [CNN]. A day later, the White House via Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus, asked the FBI to publicly deny such contacts existed. [CNN]. The FBI refused. [CNN]. Justice Department procedure memos forbid such communications between the Chief of Staff and the FBI on pending investigations. [CNN].
  • Trump Admin. Asked Congressmen: After the FBI refused to deny Trump’s Russian contacts, the Trump administration made the same request of the GOP chairmen of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees, Burr and Nunes respectively. [WaPo]. Both did as asked, even though they are leading investigations into this very matter. [WaPo]. Nunes’ actions were particularly egregious as the House Committee had yet to review a single document or interview a single witness. [WaPo].
  • Trump Admin. Asked Other Senior Intelligence Officials: The Trump Administration also convinced a senior intelligence official to call media outlets and rebuff the story. [WaPo]. This senior intelligence official insisted on being quoted off-the-record, [WaPo], however sources say it was CIA Director Mike Pompeo, [Kos & Axios].

Russia’s Unprecedented Effort to Help Trump Win the Presidency

  • ​CIA, FBI, NSA Report: In January 2017, the CIA, FBI, and NSA released a report stating that Russia took “unprecedented” efforts to influence the US election. [NYT]. All three agencies were highly confident that Putin directed these efforts in order to harm Hillary Clinton’s electability and/or to undermine her expected presidency. [NYT]. The FBI and CIA were highly confident that Putin directed these efforts to help Trump’s candidacy, while the NSA was ‘only’ moderately confident in this conclusio. [NYT]. For months, Trump denied Russia hacked into Democrats’ emails, despite the agencies’ conclusions. [see e.g. CNN].
  • Three Prongs: The agencies were also highly confident that: (1) Russia hacked Democrats’ emails and released them via WikiLeak; and (2) Russia pushed pro-Trump/anti-Hillary propaganda with Russian media outlets such as RT and Sputnik, and by using bot-nets to post tons of links on Facebook and Twitter to stories from radical right wing sites and Kremlin funded sites. [NYT]. Some US government officials also believe that the Russian government hacked into US voter rolls, in order to micro-target voters with personalized messages and ads. [BBC].

Russia Hacked Democrats’ Emails and Leaked Them Via Wikileaks

  • Summary: Russian intelligence agencies took extensive measures to access the emails of Hillary’s campaign. [MotherJones]. Russia also stole emails from the servers of the DNC. [NewYorker]. Once Russia had attained these emails, it spread them to the American public using WikiLeaks. [NewYorker].
  • Hacking and WikiLeaks Details: From March 10 to April 7 2016 alone, Russian military intelligence targeted the email accounts of at least 109 Clinton staffers with hundreds of phishing emails. [MotherJones]. One such email successfully compromised the email account of John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairmen. [MotherJones]. The Kremlin gave Podesta’s emails and the DNC’s emails to WikiLeaks. [NewYorker]. WikiLeaks released a new tranche of stolen emails almost every day of the presidential campaign (of course not all were Podesta’s). [NewYorker].
  • Pension Scheme and Russian Hacking: The Russian government paid some hackers living in the US via an emigre pension system for Russian-Americans. [McCatchyBBC]. (for more on this pension system scheme see the dossier sections)
  • Russia Cyber Spies Arrested: Right after Trump’s inauguration, two Russian cyber spies were arrested on treason charges (Sergei Mikhailov & Ruslan Stoyanov). [Newsweek]. These spies likely helped the US conclude that the Kremlin hacked DNC servers. [Guardian].

Russia Propagated Pro-Trump Propaganda During the Presidential Campaign

  • Summary: Russian state media outlets, such as RT, supported Trump throughout the campaign, starting as early as February 2016. [theBlaze]. Russian bot-nets posted millions of links on Facebook and Twitter to pro-Trump/anti-Hillary stories on radical ring-wing sites like Infowars and Breitbart, as well as Kremlin funded sites such as Sputnik, RT, and Pravda. [McClatchy]. Sources say the FBI is investigating whether any of these right wing sites collaborated with Russia. [McClatchy].
  • Russia Today: Even in February 2016, Russian state media fawned over Trump. [theBlaze]. This fawning continued until well into Trump’s presidency, when Putin ordered it to stop. [TheWeek]. Of course, the change in tone could be a cynical ploy designed to help Trump distance himself from Russia.
  • Russian Bot Nets Posted Millions of Links: Many of the stories linked to by bot-nets were false, yet nevertheless widely shared and believed by Americans. [NewYorker]. The bot-nets posted links with greatly increased intensity when Trump was on the defensive in the campaign — such as when videos leaked showing him bragging about committing sexual assault. [McClatchy]. One senator alleged the Kremlin paid a thousand trolls in a Russian facility to spread fake stories specifically among swing state voters. [Independent; Kos].
  • Other Infowars/Breitbart Connections to Russia: Alex Jones, who publishes Infowars, said he probably appeared on RT at least 100 times. [McClatchy]. See the Breitbart section in Part II for more on its Russian connections.

Russia Probably Stole Online Voter Rolls (added 4/16/2017)

  • Summary: A Russian server accessed, scanned and probed US voter rolls. [BBC]. There is no proof that this server was connected to the Russian government. [BBC]. US voter rolls would have helped the Trump campaign micro-target US voters with pro-Trump, anti-Hillary propaganda. [bbc].
  • Louise Mensch’s Uncorroborated Claim: Louise Mensch claims evidence shows that servers owned by Pytor Chayanov hacked into voter registration databases. [Patribotics]. She claims Chayanov also owned the Wikileaks servers. [Patribotics]. Thus Mensch claims we can conclude that the voter registration databases were also hacked by the Russian government. [Patribotics].
  • Collusion? According to the BBC “It is claimed” using the stolen voter roles effectively would require sending them to the Trump campaign. [see BBC]. Specifically, Russia would need to pass the stolen voter rolls to the campaign, which could use them to micro-target US voters with personalized messages. [see BBC].
  • Warrants on Two Banks: The BBC hints, but does not state, that the stolen voter roles were related to the FBI applying for FISA warrants on two banks whose servers were very likely communicating with a Trump Organization server. [BBC] . (See Russian Bank Servers Communicated With Trump Server). Louise Mensch explicitly claims that these FISA warrants helped the FBI uncover evidence that the servers of the Russian Alfa Bank were passing stolen voter roles to a Trump Organization server. [Patribotics].
  • Micro-targeting: The Trump campaign could have used voter rolls to personalize ads and messages to an individual voter. [BBC]. According to a former US official, “You can figure what your target demographics and locations are from the voter rolls. Then you can use that to target your bot.” Supposedly this would allow the Trump campaign to ensure “that white women in Pennsylvania don’t vote or independents get pissed in Michigan so they stay home: that’s voter suppression.” [BBC].

Sources Claim Direct Evidence Trump’s Campaign Collaborated w/ Russia

  • Summary: The Guardian, Adam Schiff, and a former NSA officer all state there is direct evidence that Trump’s campaign collaborated with Russia to win the presidency. [AtlanticIndependent]. In addition, the dossier cites many sources claiming there is direct evidence of collaboration (there are four sections on the dossier below).
  • Specific Concrete and Corroborative Evidence of Collusion: Around 4/12/17, a source told the Guardian that US Intelligence agencies, “now have specific concrete and corroborative evidence of collusion… between the Trump campaign and agents of [Russian] influence relating to the use of hacked material.” [Guardian].
  • Adam Schiff Says More Than Circumstantial Evidence of Collusion: On March 22, 2017, Adam Schiff, the top Democrat in the House intelligence committee, stated that there is now more than circumstantial evidence that Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia. [Atlantic].
  • One Former NSA Officer: On March 5 2017, the former NSA officer John Schindler tweeted that US intelligence has intercepted many communications between high-level Russians talking amongst themselves about collusion with the Trump team. [Indepedent]. He wrote that taken together, these intercepts constitute strong evidence of collusion. [Indepedent].

The Dossier’s Origin & Credibility

  • Summary: Starting in the summer of 2016, various political opponents of Trump paid the firm Fusion GPS for opposition research. [NYT]. This firm hired the former M16 agent Christopher Steele to investigate Trump’s Russian connections. [NYT]. From June to December 2016, Steel wrote dozens reports on Trump’s connections to the Kremlin, which together compose the famous 35-page dossier. [NYT]. This dossier, which Steele gave to the FBI, details how Trump allegedly collaborated with Russia to win the presidential campaign. [BBC]. The FBI, CIA, and NSA thought the dossier credible enough to give a two page summary to President Obama, President-Elect Trump, and congressional leaders. [NYT].
  • Christopher Steele: Almost all officials familiar with Steele claim he is credible source. [NYTBBC]. From 2013 to June 2016, Steele investigated Russia and Ukraine for other private clients, and passed on the results of his investigations to the US government. [BBC]. Senior US officials said these reports were accurate, timely and valuable. [BBC]. Steele wrote the Trump dossier on a number of Russian sources — some of whom are in the FSB. [BBC]. The FBI agreed to pay Steele to continue investigating Trump’s ties after he submitted the dossier, however this arrangement was canceled when Steele’s identity was publicly disclosed. [WaPo].
  • Much of the Dossier is Confirmed or Corroborated: Anonymous intelligence officials state many facts in the dossier have been confirmed, including alleged conversations among foreign nationals. [Independent UK]. Another intelligence official said that they “are continuing to to chase down stuff from the dossier, and, at its core, a lot of it is bearing out.” [NewYorker]. The BBC reported that CIA officers and the head of an Eastern European intelligence agency corroborated the dossier’s allegations that Russia has recorded videotapes of Trump “of a sexual nature.” [BBC]. Moreover, the FBI relied, in part, on the dossier to secure a FISA warrant on Carter Page. [CNN]. According to a former CIA chief counsel, if the FBI did rely on the dossier, he has “to believe the the FBI and Department of Justice concluded (and the Court agreed) that the info in the dossier about Page was reliable… and was backed up by other available intelligence.” [BI].
  • Some of Dossier’s Alleged Sources are Now Dead Or In Jail: McClatchy DC speculates a top cyber spy Sergei Milkhailov was arrested for treason because he was one of the dossier’s sources. As explained more in the Dossier section on bribery, Russia seems to have assassinated Oleg Erovinkin, a top aide to Igor Sechin, for the same reason. [TelegraphMcClatchyDC].

The Dossier: Sex Tapes

  • Summary: The dossier alleges that Russia videotaped Trump committing perverse sexual acts in 2013 in the Ritz Carlton in Moscow in order to have blackmail material. [Dossier p. 1, 2]. Allegedly this includes hiring prostitutes to perform golden showers on a bed the Obama’s slept on in the Ritz Carlton Hotel. [Dossier p. 2]. These ‘salacious allegations’ were corroborated by CIA officials and the head of an East European intelligence agency. [BBC]. Other evidence suggests Trump’s alleged sexual tryst with Russian prostitutes is plausible. [ABCGQHuffPost].
  • Source of Sex Tape Allegation: One intelligence official believes Sergei Millian is the unwitting source of some of the dossier’s blackmail allegations. [ABC]. In 2013, Millian told ABC that Trump went to Russia for both business and pleasure, and that Trump liked beautiful Russian girls. [ABC]. The dossier states the sex tape allegations come both from “Source D,” [Dossier p. 2], and “Source E”, [Dossier p. 2]. According to the Washington Post, Millian is Source D and also possibly Source E. [WaPo]. But according to an unsubstantiated rumor, Boris Epshteyn is Source E. [PalmerReportPatribotics].
  • Corroboration That Russia Taped Trump in Ritz Carlton in 2013: It’s widely, but wrongly, reported that these salacious allegations are uncorroborated. [BBC]. At least BBC correspondent Paul Wood claimed in Jan. 2017 that a “retired spy” told him that “the head of an East European intelligence agency” confirmed the existence of Trump sex tapes. [BBC]. Paul Wood also claims that when he asked about Trump’s case file, active duty CIA officers messaged back that there was “more than one tape [of Trump],” “audio and video”, on “more than one date,” in “more than one place… of a sexual nature,” both in the Ritz Carlton in Moscow and also in St. Petersburg. [BBC].
  • Alleged Sexual Tryst with Russian Prostitutes is Plausible: Trump claimed in Jan. 2017, that he never would have had intimate relations in the Moscow Ritz-Carlton because he feared being videotaped. [HuffPost]. However, even before the dossier was made public, one beauty contestant in the Moscow pageant asserted that Trump gave her his private telephone number and Ritz-Carlton hotel room number. [NYMag]. She never accepted the invitation. [HuffPost]. Around 15 years ago Trump was on the Howard Stern show with a gossip columnist who said Trump bragged about wild sex in Russia with girls with “no morals.” [GQ].

The Dossier: Bribery

  • Summary: The dossier alleges that in the summer of 2016 in Moscow, Carter Page, a Trump foreign policy advisor, traveled to Moscow to meet with top Russian officials. [Dossier p. 30]. Allegedly, at one of these meetings, Russian officials told Page they would give Trump a large bribe if he won the presidency and reduced sanctions on Russia. [Dossier p. 30]. Evidence supports these allegations and suggests Russia paid Trump the bribe in December, although Trump was subsequently unable to lift sanctions. [WaPoBIReutersTelegraph]. The credibility of this claim is also bolstered by the fact the dossier itself was cited by the FBI when it successfully applied for a FISA warrant to monitor Carter Page. [CNN].
  • The Dossier’s Specific Allegations: The dossier claimed that Page traveled to Moscow in July 2016 to meet with Igor Sechin, the CEO of the Russian state-owned oil company, Rosneft. [BI]. Allegedly, at this meeting, Sechin offered Page and Trump the brokerage of 19% of Rosneft’s shares in exchange for Trump winning the presidency and lifting sanctions. [Dossier p. 30]. Allegedly Page expressed interest and confirmed that if Trump were elected, Trump would lift sanctions. [Dossier p. 30].
  • Evidence Supports Bribery Claim: US intelligence agencies believe Page met with Igor Sechin in Moscow in July 2016. [Politico]. Moreover, in the late-summer, the FBI successfully applied for a FISA warrant to monitor Page’s communications. [WaPo]. The warrant cited extensive evidence, including the dossier itself, that Page was working as a Russian agent. [WaPoCNN]. Although Page had repeatedly denied discussing sanctions on the July trip, upon learning of the FISA warrant, Page said he no longer could remember whether he did or not. [BI]. Furthermore, on December 7th, in one of the biggest privatizations of Russian property in the last 15 years, Rosneft sold 19.5% of its shares to two shell corporations — one corporation purchased .5% of the shares and the other 19%. [Reuters]. A day later, Page returned to Moscow, to meet with “business leaders and thought leaders.” [NYT]. The day after that, John McCain gave the dossier to the FBI (which seems to have already had a copy). [Guardian].
  • Is The Assassination of Oleg Erovinkin Related? In January, an ex-KGB chief and top aid to Igor Sechin, Oleg Erovinkin, was found dead in the back of his car. [Telegraph]. Some security experts believe Erovinkin was assassinated because he was the source of the dossier’s allegations about bribery claims. [Telegraph]. According to McClatchyDC “Erovinkin matched the description in the dossier of a source close to Sechin, who the dossier says met with Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.”
  • Louise Mensch Uncorroborated Allegation: Louise Mensch, who has a history of making far-fetched claims, alleges that on “sources with links to the intelligence community” believe that Page brought the Kremlin pre-recorded tapes of Trump offering pro-Russia policy changes if he was elected. [Patribotics]. Allegedly, US intelligence has a recording of Carter PageBoris EpshteynPaul Manafort and perhaps Trump himself, talking about how they would send the pre-recorded tapes to Moscow. [Patribotics]. Mensch claims that in June 2016, on the basis of these tapes, the FBI applied unsuccessfully for a FISA warrant on Page, Manafort, and Epshteyn. [Patribotics].

The Dossier: Other Allegations

  • Summary: The Dossier also alleges (1) Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen met Russians in Prague, [Dossier p. 18]; (2) Russia paid hackers within the US using its emigre pension distribution as cover, [Dossier p. 8]; (3) Trump’s campaign agreed to drop Russian intervention in Ukraine as a campaign issue in exchange for Russia leaking emails through WikiLeaks, [Dossier p. 7-8]; (4) Trump’s campaign deflected attention away from Ukraine by alleging other NATO members were free-riding off the US, [Dossier p. 8]; (5) Putin was motivated to help Trump by “fear and hatred of Hillary Clinton,” [Dossier p. 7]; (6) and “Alpha Group” leaders provided Putin with political favors in exchange for legal and business favors [Dossier p. 25].
  • 1) Cohen Allegedly Met Russians in Prague: The Dossier alleges Michael Cohen, Trump’s lawyer, played a key role in contacting Russia. [Dossier p. 30]. Allegedly he met with Kremlin representatives in Prague in Aug. 2016 to discuss the media’s revelation of Trump associates’ Russian contacts. [Dossier p. 18]. Cohen has repeatedly denied this claim, [Atlantic], but his denials rest on factually inaccurate alibis, [see Patribotics & Cohen’s tweets]. Nevertheless, no evidence shows Cohen traveled to Prague around this time.
  • 2) Pension Scheme and “Mikhail Kulagin”: As the dossier states, Russia payed for a cyber-ops within the US through its emigre pension system. [Dossier p. 8]. Moreover, citing a Russian official as its source, the dossier states that “Mikhail Kulagin,” a leading Russian diplomat, was a key participant in the scheme until Moscow withdrew him from Washington fearing his media exposure. [Dossier p. 23]. Two people with knowledge of a US investigation into the pension scheme have corroborated the dossier’s claim — although the withdrawn diplomat’s last name is ‘Kalugin’, not ‘Kulagin’. [McClatchy]. More recently, sources stated that Kalugin spied for Russian intelligence agencies -— either the SVR or GRU. [BBC].
  • 3) Sidelining Ukraine: The dossier alleges Trump’s campaign agreed to stop mentioning Ukraine as a campaign issue in exchange for Russia leaking emails through WikiLeaks. [Dossier p. 7-8]. There is some corroborating evidence that Russia influenced Trump’s campaign to push to soften calls to arm Ukraine in an amendment to the GOP platform (see that section for more details). [USATodayPolitico]. About a week after the change was made, WikiLeaks released DNC emails.
  • 4) Raising NATO Defense Commitments: The dossier alleges Trump’s campaign tried to deflect attention away from Ukraine by questioning the defense commitments of other NATO members. [Dossier p. 8]. See the section “Trump Team’s Anti-NATO Actions and Rhetoric” for more.
  • 5) Fear and Hatred of Hillary Clinton: A Russian associate of Trump told Steele in July 2016 that Putin was motivated to help Trump partly because he feared and hated Hillary Clinton. [Dossier p. 7]. The NSA, FBI, and CIA released a report in Jan. 2017 stating exactly the same thing. [NYT].
  • 6) Alpha/Alfa Group Collaborated with Putin: The dossier alleges Alpha Group leaders provided Putin with political favors in exchange for legal and business favors. [Dossier p. 25]. In particular, the Group’s leaders provided Putin foreign policy advice about the US. [Dossier p. 25]. See the section “Russian Bank Server Likely Communicated With Trump Org Server” for more.

Trump Team’s Anti-NATO Actions and Rhetoric:

  • Summary: The dossier accused Trump’s campaign of deflecting attention away from America’s commitment to Ukraine, by alleging that other NATO members were not paying their fair share of NATO’s budget. [Dossier p. 8]. Trump pursued this line of attack and others throughout his campaign and into his administration. [HillMaddow 3/20/17].
  • Provocation Towards Germany: On March 17, 2017, Trump reportedly handed the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, a White House created invoice for $374 billion in NATO defense commitments. [Hill]. This figure is a wild exaggeration of any reasonable account of the amount Germany owes NATO. [Hill]. Merkel reportedly ignored the invoice, [Hill], perhaps explaining why Trump refused to shake her hand at the meeting’s conclusion.
  • Other Anti-NATO Actions: In his campaign, Trump also asserted that NATO was “obsolete.” [Maddow, 3/20/17]. Rex Tillerson initially planned to skip his first meeting with 27 NATO foreign ministers (see Tillerson’s section for more), while attending a meeting in Moscow a week later.

The Trump Campaign Gutted GOP Pro-Ukraine Stance

  • Summary: At the GOP Convention, the Trump campaign successfully softened language in an amendment to the GOP Platform that called for the US to arm Ukraine. [BI]. There’s some evidence that this change was the result of Russian influence. [Politico]. The dossier alleges that in return for Russia leaking embarrassing DNC emails via Wikileaks, Trump’s team “agreed to sideline Russian intervention in Ukraine as a campaign issue.” [Dossier p. 30]. For months, the Trump campaign falsely denied it was responsible for this change to the amendment to the GOP platform. [PolitifactBI].
  • GOP Platform Amendment: The proposed amendment to the GOP platform originally called for “providing lethal defense weapons” to Ukraine for their struggle against Russia. [BI]. But at the convention, Trump’s campaign softened the language to merely call for the US to provide “appropriate assistance” to Ukraine and “greater coordination with NATO defense planning.” [Politifact].
  • Was Change Result of Russian Influence? Konstantin Kilimnik, who is likely a Russian spy, traveled to the US right before the GOP convention. [Politico]. He has suggested he influenced Trump’s campaign to push for softer language in the platform. [Politico].

Trump’s Views on Crimea & Russian Sanctions

  • Summary: Until the Flynn scandal, Trump also supported Russia’s annexation of Crimea. [see e.g. CNNBI]. Trump also wanted to eliminate sanctions on Russia, [Guardian], but likely hesitated in the face of congressional opposition, [see e.g. USAToday].
  • Trump’s Views on Crimea and Ukraine: During the campaign Trump stated that he’d look into the US recognizing Russia’s annexation of Crimea, because, “…the people of Crimea, from what I’ve heard, would rather be with Russia than where they were.” [CNN]. As mentioned in the above section, Trump’s campaign also softened language advocating that the US arm Ukraine. However, on Feb. 14, 2017perhaps in response to the uproar over Flynn’s resignation, Spicer asserted that Trump wanted Russia to give Crimea back to Ukraine. [Reuters].
  • Trump Wants to Eliminate Sanctions: Trump has persistently advocated eliminating sanctions on Russia. [see e.g. ReutersPoliticoGuardian]. On Nov. 13, Putin and Trump discussed the importance of expanding trade between Russia and the US. [Kremlin.ru]. Moreover, Trump planned to meet a with Putin shortly after his inauguration to pursue this goal (he decided otherwise). [Guardian]. In mid-February Flynn resigned after intel officials revealed he discussed Russian sanctions with Kislyak during the transition (see Flynn’s section below for more). It seems unlikely Flynn discussed sanctions w/o Trump’s guidance.
  • Removing Sanctions is Not Politically Feasible: Removing sanctions against Russian appears politically infeasible given the pro-sanction stance of key senate Republicans. [USAToday]. Moreover, such actions would draw close scrutiny in the face of ongoing revelations that Trump associates regularly communicated with Russia.
  • Trump’s Associates Want to Remove Sanctions: In early Feb. 2017, Trump associates and a pro-Russian Ukrainian politician, Andrii Artemenko, sent Michael Flynn a plan to remove sanctions on Russia. [NYT]. The plan would also give Russia a lease of Crimea for 50 to 100 years in exchange for Russian troops withdrawing from eastern Ukraine. [CNN]. Artemenko wrote the plan with the encouragement of Putin aids. [NYT]. After the plan was written, Artemenko discussed it over dinner with Michael Cohen and Felix Sater, both of whom helped deliver it to Flynn. [CNN]. Cohen has told four different stories about his role in this affair. [BI].

Russians Purchased Tons of Trump Real Estate

  • Summary: In the last 25 years, members of the Russian mafia repeatedly purchased space in the NYC Trump Tower. [TAIMotherjones]. More importantly, Russian oligarchs have purchased countless Trump condos, apartments, and even a $95 million dollar mansion, [Politico]. Reuters estimates that Russians have purchased at least $98 million worth of property in Trump towers in Florida alone (See the section “Russian Purchases in Florida Trump Towers”). [Reuters]. Russian purchases in 2007 to 2008 prompted Trump Jr.’s remarks that Russians “make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets” and “[w]e see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.” [WaPo].
  • Russian Mafia in Trump Towers: In the 1990s, Trump personally sold five condos in the NYC Trump Tower to an important lieutenant in the Russian mob. [TAI]. Another important lieutenant also resided there, and had a phonebook with the private number of the Trump Org.’s office. [TAI]. More than a decade later, in 2013, the Russian mafia was operating an international gambling ring out of the entire 51st floor in the NYC Trump Tower. [TAI].
  • 95 Million Dollar Mansion: In 2004, Trump purchased a Florida mansion for $41 million. [Politico]. He allegedly spent $25 million renovating it. [NYT]. Four years later in 2008, during the collapse of the housing market, a Russian billionaire, Dmitry Rybolovlev, bought the mansion from Trump for $95 million. [NYT]. On 3/3/2017, Rachel Maddow reported that this was the most expensive residential real estate purchase in American history. Five years after the sale, the house was appraised at only $60 million. [politico]. Rybolovlev never even lived there. [Politico].
  • Other Russian Real Estate Purchases: In the 1990s, Trump sold many Trump Tower condos to Russian oligarchs. [USAToday]. In 2006, Trump partners on a Panama project flew to Moscow to sell property to Russians. [WaPo]. Russians bought almost a tenth of 630 units in the Trump Ocean Club International Hotel and Tower in Panama. [WaPo]. Sergei Millian, head of the Russian American Chamber of Commerce (RACC), claimed that from 2007-8, dozens of Russians bought Trump apartments in the US. [FT].
  • Was Funding Directed at Turning Trump? Adam Schiff and two anonymous U.S. intelligence officials claim that the Russian government sometimes directs business towards well-known Americans and Europeans in order to make them see Russia positively. [Reuters].
  • Developments Since Trump’s Election: According to a global real estate consultancy, the number of Russians looking to purchase luxury American properties has gone up by 35% since Trump’s election victory. [CNN]. Russians are most interested in NY or Florida property. [CNN].

Russian Purchases in Florida Trump Towers

  • Summary: A review by Reuters published on March 17, 2017 found that 63 individuals with Russian passports or addresses bought at least $98.4 millions of property in seven Trump Towers in Florida. [Reuters]. This figure is likely understated as 1/3 of the units owners in these towers are LLCs that may be hiding the true identity of the property’s owners. [Reuters]. Many of the Russian owners of these condos are wealthy elites with ties to the Russian government. [Reuters].
  • Sunny Isles Florida: Six out of seven Trump branded real estate towers in Florida are in Sunny Isles. [Reuters]. So many Russians ended up purchasing residences in these towers that locals call Sunny Isles, “Little Moscow.” [WaPo]. These towers made Trump roughly $20 to $80 million. [Reuters]. The flood of Russian purchasers seems to have started in 2008, when the first of three condo towers opened. [WaPo]. Even as the US housing market was collapsing, Russians ended up purchasing about 1/3 of the 500 condo units sold in this tower. [WaPo]
  • Hollywood Florida: In nearby Hollywood Florida, a Trump tower that opened in 2009 was on the verge of failing. [WaPo]. But then a flood of rich Russians came to the rescue starting in Feb. 2011. [WaPo]. By the fall of 2011, Trump was boasting that “Russian buyers [had spent] $11.2 million on luxury residences” in the tower. [WaPo]. The building soon sold out, with Russian oligarchs buying both of its penthouses for a combined purchase price of $12.75 million. [WaPo]. Trump made anywhere from $5 to $20 million off this project. [WaPo($10 to 20 mil.), Reuters($5 mil.)].
  • Shady Russian Activity in Sunny Isles: The Russian American Chamber of Commerce, which the FBI believes is a front for Russian intelligence, has held meetings in both the Sunny Isles and Hollywood towers. [WaPo]. In addition, Forbes.ru reports that many members of Russian crime organizations live in these towers.

Other Financial Ties Between Trump & Russia

  • Summary: After banks stopped making loans to Trump from around 2004 to 2009, he sought capital from kleptocrats and oligarchs in the former Soviet Union and Russia. [FTWaPoNYTTAI]. Trump developed fruitful ties with these billionaires through intermediaries such as: (1) Bayrock, a company founded and run by Soviet emigres, [NYT]; and 2) Sergei Millian, the head of the Russian American Chamber of Commerce, [FT]. In 2013, Trump cemented ties with pro-Putin oligarchs by staging the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow. [WaPo]. In 2014, one author alleges Eric Trump said Russians gave the Trump Organization access to $100 million to construct golf courses. [Guardian]. Because Trump explicitly renegaded on his campaign promise to eventually release his tax returns, [WaPo], we don’t know the full extent of Russian investment in Trump’s businesses. However, the FBI is investigating. [Reuters].
  • Financial Ties from 1987 to 2013: (Most of these financial ties are explained in more detail in other sections.) In 1987 and 1996, Trump traveled to Moscow with the goal of building Russian luxury hotels (no hotels were built). [USAToday]. Around 1996, the Trump Org. also sought investment from Russian oligarchs. [USAToday]. As explained in the Bayrock section, from roughly 2005 to 2015, Trump worked with Bayrock and Felix Sater to pursue real estate deals that were financed largely by kleptocrats and oligarchs throughout the former Soviet Union. As explained in Sergei Millian’s section, Millian greatly aided Trump in finding Russian oligarchs, who Millian claimed invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the Trump Org..
  • 2013 Moscow Beauty Pageant: In 2013, Trump threw the Miss Universe Pageant in Moscow. [WaPo]. The pageant was financed largely by Aras Agalarov and Herman Gref — both Russian billionaires and Putin allies. [WaPoBloomberg].]. In Moscow, Trump told an interviewer, “I do have a relationship [with Putin] and I can tell you he’s very interested in what we’re doing here today. [NewYorker]. Also at the pageant, Trump treated Russian oligarchs allied with Putin as VIPs, including the Russian mobster Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov. [Motherjones]. Tokhtakhounov is indicted by the US for operating a gambling ring out of Trump Towers (see Tokhtakhounov’s section for more). [Motherjones].
  • In Moscow After the Beauty Pageant: After the pageant, Trump had a 2 hour diner with a dozen Russia’s top businessmen, including Herman Gref, the CEO of Russia’s biggest bank and a close ally of Putin. [Bloomberg]. As Trump bragged, “[a]lmost all of the oligarchs were in the room.” [Bloomberg]. Later on the same trip to Moscow, Aras Agalarov allegedly helped Trump explore real estate opportunities in Russia. [Bloomberg]. According to Agalarov, Trump executed an agreement to construct a Trump Tower in Moscow. [WaPo].
  • Russia Funded Golf Courses: According to one golf writer, in 2014 Eric Trump said the Trump Organization had “all the funding we need out of Russia” to construct golf courses, including access to $100 million. [Guardian]. Eric explained this was helpful because American banks stopped funding golf courses after the Great Recession. [Guardian]. The same writer alleges that Eric Trump also stated that some Russian oligarchs “really invested in our programs” and that the Trump family went to Russia “all the time.” [Guardian].
  • Other Ties: Trump has tried to build a Trump tower in Moscow five to six times. [WaPoNYT]. In 2008, Trump and his lawyer Michael Cohen started an unsuccessful MMA venture with the Russian fighter, Fedor Emelianenko, who was a friend of Putin. [Politico].

US Gov’t Officials Think Trump Collaborated With Russia

  • Republican Congressional Leaders Suspected Illicit Ties: In mid-February 2017, Evan McMullin asserted that early in the presidential campaign, congressional Republicans leaders privately suspected Trump was compromised by Russia and/or on Russia’s payroll. [NYT]. He wrote that some of these leaders are now the most vocal Trump supporters. [NYT].
  • US Intel Officials Are Worried Trump Will Leak to Russia: In January, intelligence officials reportedly warned Israel not to share intelligence with the Trump administration because it might be leaked to Russia. [Haaretz]. On Feb. 15, the WSJ reported US intel agencies were keeping some info from Trump for this reason. [WSJ].

Connections to Russian Mafia

  • Summary: In April 2013, federal agents busted up an international gambling ring run by the Russian mafia out of the entire 51st floor of Trump Towers in NYC. [Motherjones]. This was a mere three floors beneath Trump’s penthouse living quarters. [ABC]. The FBI recorded two years of phone conversations and text messages from these gangsters. [ABC]. US prosecutors believe gambling operations were overseen from Russia by the powerful mobster, Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov. [Motherjones]. In late 2013, when Trump held his Miss Universe Pageant in Moscow, he treated Tokhtakhounov as a VIP, along with other Russian oligarchs. [Motherjones]. Other Trump connections to the Russian mafia include (1) foreign oligarchs w/ Russian mob connections investing in the Trump org; and (2) Trump personally selling condos to Russian mobsters. [TAI].
  • More on 51st Floor Gambling Ring:  The gambling ring catered to oligarchs in the former USSR and throughout the world. [Motherjones]. Its day-to-day operations were run by, Vadim Trincher and Anatoly Golubchik. [Motherjones]. Trincher and Golubchik also helped launder about $100 million dollars from the former Soviet Union to the US. [Motherjones]. After the ring was bust up, Trincher and Globuchik pled guilty and received five years in prison and fines of more than 20 million dollars. [Motherjones]. Tokhtakhounov, in Russia, was not prosecuted. [Motherjones].
  • Other Connections to Mobsters: Shnaider, a Canadian-Russian billionaire with alleged ties to the Russian mafia, financed a seventy story Trump Tower in Canada in 2012. [TAI]. It was foreclosed on in 2016. [TAI]. Trump personally rented 5 condos to a lieutenant in the Russian mob. [TAI]. And finally, another lieutenant in the mob lived in the Trump Tower during the 1990s and had a phone book with the private telephone and fax numbers of the Trump Org.. [TAI].

Other Notably Stories

  • One Legal Expert Says Trump Team Wiped Phones: One inside source told MSNBC that Trump officials and team members are clearing their electronic devices of data in anticipation of being subpoenaed for the Russia investigation. [Independent]. Government officials ordered Trump’s aids to preserve information related to Russian interference weeks ago. [Independent]. If these aids are destroying data, they are acting illegally. [Independent].
  • Russian Actions in Republican Primaries: Russia appears to have waged a propaganda campaign against Marco Rubio’s campaign during the Republican primaries, who was known his anti-Putin views. [WashTimes]. After Rubio dropped out of the GOP primaries and decided to run for the senate, computers with Russian IP addresses tried to gain access to his classified campaign information. [USAToday]. This happened again in March 2017. [USAToday].
  • Trump Campaign Parroted Russian Propaganda: A US cyber-security expert testified on 3/30/2017 that Russian propaganda partially convinced voters because its stories were repeated and promoted by both Manafort and Trump. [RawstoryKos]. In the experts own words, Trump and Manafort used “Russian active measures at times against [political] opponents.” [RawstoryKos]. For instance, Trump’s oft repeated line that the election would be rigged was the #1 theme of the Kremlin propaganda machine. [Rawstory].
  • Putin and Kremlin Love Trump: After Trump won the election, Putin publicly stated that no one believed Trump would win “except us.” [Politico]. US intelligence agencies intercepted communications from Kremlin officials congratulating themselves for Trump’s victory. [WaPo]. Even in February 2016, Russian state media fawned over Trump. [TheBlaze]. This fawning continued until Flynn was fired — when state media was ordered to stop. [TheWeek]. Of course, the change in tone could be a cynical ploy designed to help Trump distance himself from Russia.
  • Trump and Putin Publicly Praise Each Other; Trump has consistently praised and defended Putin since 2007. [Adam Khan for 2007; see Motherjones for a timeline]. For instance, he said there was no evidence Putin ordered the assassination of Litvineko in London. [Telegraph]. And in 2013, Trump tweeted that he hoped Putin would come to his Moscow beauty pageant and be his “new best friend.” [Motherjones]. More recently, Trump acknowledged Putin is a killer, but argues the US is no better. [WaPo]. Putin has responded with praise, calling Trump a “very outstanding man, unquestionably talented.” [Telegraph]. Trump was eager to talk to Putin after his inauguration — they had an hour long phone call a week into Trump’s presidency. [Guardian].
  • Trump Team Copied Secret Documents (added 5/6/17): During the transition, Trump’s team was only supposed to view certain highly classified information in a secure room at Trump’s transition headquarters. [APnews]. However, some Trump officials were copying sensitive documents and removing them from the facility. [APnews]. Upon learning this, Obama’s national security team only allowed Trump officials to view certain classified documents at the White House.  [APnews].

 

Part 2

Part 1 of this outline provides a big picture look at Trump’s connections to Russia and then provides evidence organized by topic or story-line.

This Part examines people and entities connecting Trump and Russia. Names in italics have their own sections. People/entities are not covered in any particular order.

The Trump Inauguration Committee (added 4/21/17):

  • Summary: The Trump Inauguration Committee accepted separate $1 million donations from Alexander Shustorovich and Len Blavatnik. [Quartz]. Both men made their fortunes in Russia with the help of Russian officials and oligarchs. The Committee also accepted $500,000 from Citgo days after it mortgaged 49.9% of its holdings to Rosneft, a Kremlin controlled oil and gas company. [DailyBeast].
  • More on the Committee: The Committee appears to have raised far more money than it spent on the inauguration. [Maddow 4/20/2017]. It raised a $106 million in total donations, whereas Obama’s raised only $53 million. [Quartz]. According to Rachel Maddow the extra cash is currently unaccounted for. [Maddow 4/20/17].

Citgo (added 4/28/17) — Donor to Inauguration Committee:

  • Summary: Citgo is a subsidiary of a Venezuela state-owned oil and gas company that owns oil and gas infrastructure in the US. [DailyBeast; CBS]. Citgo donated half-a-million to Trump’s Inauguration Committee mere days after pledging 49.9% of its holding to Rosneft, a Russian state-owned oil and gas company. [DB; CBS]. Rosneft, which lent Citgo $1.5 billion dollars, likely played a crucial role in Russia’s efforts to collaborate with Trump’s campaign. [see CBS]. In early April 2017, many in congress warned the Trump Admin. that Russia’s investment in Citgo posses a natural security threat. [DB].  Around the same time, Politico revealed that Citgo hired Corey Lewandowski to lobby the Trump administration.
  • Security Risk to US: Citgo owns several refineries, nine pipelines, and numerous distributions terminals across the Eastern US. [DailyBeast]. If Citgo defaults on its bond payments to Rosneft, Russia itself will possess nearly a controlling stake in energy infrastructure in the US. [DB]. This scenario led a bi-partisan group of six senators to write the Trump Administration in April 2017 that, “[w]e are extremely concerned that Rosneft’s control of a major U.S. energy supplier could… expose critical U.S. infrastructure to national security threats.”  [DB]. In addition, several house committees asked the Administration to find out “if Rosneft is already the owner of Citgo.” [DB].
  • Connections to Lewandowski: In March 2017, the lobbying firm, Avenue Strategies, formalized a contract to lobby for Citgo for $25,000-a-month. [Politico]. Avenue Strategies was co-founded by Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s first campaign manager and Barry Bennett, another Trump campaign member. [Politico]. The firm claimed to file legally required paperwork for lobbying with the US on 2/20/17, but hadn’t done so by  5/3/17. [Politico]. Avenue’s contract with Citgo was a subcontract assigned to it by another lobbying firm. [Politico]. In the the first quarter of 2017, Citgo paid this firm $270,000 to lobby the Trump admin. on such topics as the the impact of US foreign policy on Citgo, and “sanctions related issues.” [Politico].

Alexander Shustorovich (added 4/21/17) — Donor to Inauguration Committee

  • Summary: Shustorovich emigrated from Russia to the US as a child. [Quartz]. He nonetheless developed extensive ties to important Russian government officials. [WiredWSJ]. These ties persuaded the RNC to reject a donation from him in 2000. [WSJ]. The Trump Inaugural Committee accepted a 1 million dollar donation from Shustorovich. [Quartz].
  • Ties to Powerful Russians. Shustorovich made his fortune with the former head of Russia’s Ministry of Atomic Energy. [WSJ]. Perhaps for this reason, US officials prevented Shustorovich from purchasing an American corporation that processed uranium in the 1990s. [WSJ]. In 2000, the RNC rejected a $250,000 donation from Shusterovich over concerns about his Russian ties. [WSJ]. In 2011 to 2012, Shustorovich’s sold ten-thousand electronic classroom aids to the Russian state, after Putin signed a directive ordering the devices tested in classrooms. [Wired].

Len Blavatnik (added 4/21/17) — Donor to Inauguration Committee

  • Summary: Blavatnik emigrated from the USSR to the US in 1978. [NewYorker]. In the 1990s, he made millions investing in Russia through his company, Access Industries. [NewYorker]. In the next 15 years, Blavatnik made billions by pairing Access Industries with two companies owned by Russian oligarchs, who appear central to Putin’s efforts to collude with Trump’s campaign. [NewYorker].  In 2015, many protested Oxford’s decision to accept donations from Blavatnik and two of these oligarchs because of theirPutin ties. [Guardian]. Nevertheless, the Trump Inauguration Committee accepted a $1 million donation from Access Industries. [Quartz]. A couple of months later after this donation, Blavatnik purchased a stake in a company in a joint venture with Steve Munchin. [Bloomberg].
  • Strong Business Ties with Renova & Alfa Group Oligarchs: In 1999, Blavatnik and Access Industries paired up with (1) Alfa Group, owned by Pyotr Aven and Mikhail Fridman; and (2) Renova, owned by Viktor Vekselberg; to form AAR. [NewYorker]. With the help of corrupt government officials, AAR made very successful investments in the Russian oil industry. [NewYorker]. In 2013, the oligarchs sold AAR’s oil interests to Rosneft for $28 billion dollars. [NewYorker].  As discussed in this outline, Aven, Fridman, Vekselberg, and their respective companies, appeared to have played central roles in helping Putin collaborate with Trump’s team.
  • “Oxford University must stop selling its reputation to Vladimir Putin’s associates”: From 2007 to 2011, Blavatnik and the Alfa Group oligarchs made extremely large donations to Oxford. [Guardian]. In 2015, foreign policy experts and human right advocates protested Oxford’s past acceptance of these donations by writing a letter to the Guardian titled “Oxford University must stop selling its reputation to Vladimir Putin’s associates.” [Guardian].
  • In April 2017 Blavatnik Became Steve Mnuchin’s Business Partner:  On 4/19/17, Bloomberg reported that Blavatnik bought a stake in a finance firm engaged in a joint venture with Treasury Secretary Mnuchin. The joint venture finances Hollywood movies. [Bloomberg].  Mnuchin promised Congress he’d sell his interest in the venture by June 2017. [Bloomberg].

Alfa Bank (added 4/9/17) — Russian Bank 

  • Summary: Alfa Bank is the largest private bank in Russian, and is owned and operated by two Russian oligarchs, Mikhail Fridman and Pyotr Aven, who are close allies of Putin. [GuardianSlate]. Two of Alfa Bank’s servers were communicating with a Trump Organization server during the election. (see Russian Bank Servers Likely Communicated With Trump Server in Part I). Alfa Bank has a number of other connections to Trump’s team.
  • The Dossier Speaks Of “Alpha Group”: The 35-page dossier composed by Christopher Steele has a page on “Alpha Group,” a misspelling of “Alfa Group,” which does indeed own Alfa Bank. [see BIDossier p. 25]. The dossier alleges Alfa Group leaders provided Putin with foreign policy advice about the US in exchange for legal and business favors. [Dossier p. 25].
  • Other Connections to Trump Team: Pyotr Aven is the largest benefactor to the New Economic School, which hosted Carter Page’s trip to Moscow in July 2016. [Politico].  When Wilbur Ross was vice-chairman of the Bank of Cyprus, it gave Alfa Bank an extra four years to pay off a $100 million dollar loan it incurred for previously purchasing the Bank of Cyprus’ Ukrainian assets. [Guardian]. Richard Burt, who helped draft Trump’s first foreign policy speech, recently sat on Alfa Bank’s advisory board. [Politico]. Len Blavatnik, a long-time business partner of Aven and Fridman, gave $1 million to the Trump Inauguration Committee. [Quartz]. Blavatnik also donated to Oxford around the same time as Aven and Fridman. [Guardian; NewYorker].
  • Indirect Connections to Cambridge Analytica: The Trump team hired Cambridge Analytica for data-analysis services during the presidential campaign. [Tabletmag]. Dimitry Firtash and Mikhail Fridman, the chairman and co-founder of Alfa Group, have indirect business ties to Cambridge Analytica’s parent, SCL Group. [Tabletmag].

Renova Group (added 4/23/17) — Russian Conglomerate

  • Summary: Renova Group (“Renova”) is conglomerate that purports to own interests in a wide range of businesses. [Renova]. It also was part of the Access-Alfa-Renova consortium that sold an oil company to Rosneft for $28 billion (see the section on Len Blavatnik). Renova is owned by the oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, who is chairman of the Board of Directors and a Putin ally.  [Renova; Motherjones].
  • Other Board Members: Three other members of Renova’s Board are notable.  The first is Josef Ackermann, who ran Deutsche Bank when it laundered $10 billion dollars for Russian oligarchs. [Motherjones]. After leaving Deutsche Bank, Ackermann became chairman of the Bank of Cyprus in 2014, which had just been bailed out by Wilbur Ross. [Motherjones]. Second is Vladimir Kuznetsov, a former UN official convicted of money laundering by a NY court. [star.worldbank]. The third is John M. Deutch, a former CIA director who mishandled classified information on his home computer. [WaPo]. He was spared prosecution by Bill Clinton’s pardon. [WaPo].

Deutsche Bank — Trump’s Biggest Creditor

  • Summary: Deutsche Bank is Trump’s biggest creditor. [Guardian]. The bank also recently laundered 10 billion dollars for Russian oligarchs. [dfs.gov]. Because the bank continued to loan to Trump after he brought a frivolous lawsuit against it, many suspected that the bank facilitated transactions between Trump and Russian plutocrats. [Guardian]. Anonymous source claim Deutsche Bank’s own internal review found no ties between the accounts of Trump & Russian oligarchs. [Guardian].
  • Trump’s Personal Account: Trump is a long-standing customer of Deutsche Bank, which lent him at least $2.5 billion since 1996. [Atlantic]. As of Dec. 22, 2016, Trump owed the bank around $300 million dollars, making the bank his biggest creditor. [Guardian].
  • Trump v. Deutsche Bank: In 2008, Deutsche Bank sued Trump for $40 million for an unpaid loan. [Guardian]. Trump responded by bringing a frivolous lawsuit against the bank for $3 billion. [Guardian]. The suits were settled in 2010. [Guardian]. After the settlement, Deutsche Bank began making new loans to Trump, to the astonishment of many. [Guardian].
  • Investigation into Trump’s Account & Russian Oligarchs: According to two sources, Deutsche Bank has conducted a “close internal examination” of Trump’s account for suspicious dealings with Russians and found nothing. [Guardian]. Skeptics want the bank to appoint an independent auditor. [Guardian].
  • Additional Information: Josef Ackermann ran Deutsche Bank when it laundered Russian money. [Motherjones]. After leaving Deutsche Bank, Ackermann became chairman of the Bank of Cyprus in 2014, which had just been bailed out by Wilbur Ross. [Motherjones]. See Wilbur Ross’ section for the bank’s ties to Russian oligarchs. When Preet Bharara was abruptly fired by Trump in mid-March, one of his active investigations was into Deutsche Bank. [Bloomberg].

Cambridge Analytica (added 4/21/17)

  • Summary: Analytica and its British parent company, SCL Group, collect vast amounts of data about voter’s attitudes and beliefs in order to persuade swing voters via targeted social media messages. [WaPo]. In 2016, Analytica provided services to pro-Brexit forces in the UK and the Trump’s campaign in the US. [WaPoGuardian].
  • Ties to Flynn, Farage, Bannon, Mercer: Analytica donated services (likely illegally) to Leave.EU, which under Nigel Farage, campaigned for Brexit. [Guardian]. See Farage’s section for more. Michael Flynn served as an adviser to SCL Group. [WaPo]. As of 2/17/17, Flynn’s former aide was leading SCL Group’s efforts to win contracts with the US government. [WaPo]. Analytica also has ties to Robert Mercer and Steve Bannon. [Guardian].
  • Did Russia Steal Voter Rolls & Pass Them To Analytica? Dimitry Firtash, is a Ukrainian oligarch who worked closely with Paul Manafort. Mikhail Fridman is the chairman and co-founder of Alfa Group, which owns Alfa Bank. Both Firtash and Fridman have at least have indirect business ties to SCL Group. [see Tabletmag]. Based partially on these connections, Louise Mensch alleges that Russia, which stole US voter rolls, sent the rolls to Cambridge Analytica and the Trump campaign via two Alfa Bank servers. See Russian Bank Servers Communicated With Trump Server in Part I for more.

VneshEconomBank — Putin’s Bank

  • Summary: As Rachel Maddow revealed in her 3/28/2017 show, VneshEconomBank is used by the Russian government to advance Putin’s interests. Moreover the bank has close ties to Russian intelligence agencies. Its head met with Kushner in December 2016 to discuss forming a backchannel to Putin.
  • At Putin’s Command: Members of Putin’s government control the bank, and use it to bail out pro-Putin oligarchs and pursue Putin favored projects. [see BI for more]. For instance, in 2009, the bank extended for an extra year a $4.5 billion loan made to the company of the Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska. [Economist]. As described in Paul Manafort’s section, Deripaska paid Manafort tens of millions of dollars to lobby western government on behalf of Putin starting in 2006.
  • Russian Intelligence Ties: First, the bank’s current head, Sergey Gorkov, who Kushner met with in December, was trained by the FSB. [CBS]. Second, between 2012 and 2014, [BI], a Russian spy, Evgeny Buryakov, held the second highest ranking job at the NY branch of the bank as a cover for his intelligence activities, [Maddow 3/27/2017]. After the FBI arrested Buryakov, his legal expenses were paid by VneshEconomBank. [Reuters].

Breitbart — Alt-right ‘News’ Organization (added 4/6/17)

  • Summary: The FBI is investigating Breitbart and Steve Bannon for collaborating with Russia during the presidential campaign. [McClatchyRawstory]. Many of Breitbart’s former writers have Russian connections. [BloombergRawstory]. Of course, Breitbart has extensive ties to the Trump administration.
  • Russian Bot-Nets Spread Breitbart Stories: During the presidential campaign, Russian bot-nets posted millions of links on Facebook and Twitter to pro-Trump stories on sites like Breitbart and Infowars, as well as Kremlin funded sites such as Sputnik, RT, and Pravda. [McClatchy]. On 3/20/17, sources reported the FBI is investigating if Breitbart and Infowars collaborated with Russia. [McClatchy]. The FBI is also reportedly investigating Steve Bannon, Breitbart’s executive chair from 2012 until 2016. [Rawstory].
  • Ex-Writer’s Dinner with Aleksander Torshin: Ronald Maxwell wrote for Breitbart when it was run by Steve Bannon[Bloomberg]. Soon after Trump’s inauguration, Maxwell, other writers for alt-right news organizations, and two Republican lawmakers, dined with Aleksander Torshin (a powerful Russian official/spy) and his Russian colleagues. [Bloomberg]. At this dinner the Americans urged the Russians to let Putin know that he can help Trump by “being patient.” [Bloomberg]. According to Maxwell, Trump needed to secure major domestic victories so he’s “in a better position to do the things internationally he wants to do.” [Bloomberg].
  • Other Breitbart Reporters Hired by Russia: In April, former Breitbart investigative reporter, Lee Stranhan, announced he will host a show on Sputnik — the state funded Russian propaganda outlet. [Rawstory]. Another former Breitbart writer, Brian Cattell, became a spokesperson for Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev. [MPPNewsweek].
  • Breitbart’s Connections to Trump: Steve Bannon stepped down from Breitbart in 2016 to play a major role on Trump’s campaign and administration. [Wikipedia]. Sebastian Gorka also worked for Breitbart before joining the Trump team. [McClatchy]. Finally, Mercer was Trump’s biggest donor and partially owns Breitbart. [MPPMcClatchy]. (In mid-March, Robert Mercer’s yacht was spotted within 200 yards of Dmitry Rybolovlev’s yacht in the British Virgin islands for roughly a day.) [PalmbeachPost].

Roger Stone — Trump’s Long-time Adviser

  • Summary: Stone has been a political adviser and lobbyist his whole adult life. [theWeeklyStandard]. He is infamous for political “dirty tricks,” and for propagating conspiracy theories. [WaPoPoliticoSalon]. Stone also has long standing ties to Trump, and was an official member of Trump’s campaign until Aug. 2015. [Politico]. In the summer of 2016 Stone exchanged private tweets with the account of Guccifer 2.0, an online persona for Russian intelligence; in the fall, Stone served as a back-channel for the Trump campaign to WikiLeaks. [Guardian; WashTimesRawstory]. Russia relied on Guccifer 2.0 accounts to disseminate Democrats’ stolen emails before settling on disseminating them through WikiLeaks. [CNN]. Stone is also under investigation by the FBI. [Esquire].
  • Stone’s Connection to Trump & Manafort: Stone says he’s known Trump for 40 years, and has lobbied for him for 25 years. [SalonStoneWebsite]. Stone has known Manafort even longer, and he claims he introduced Manafort to Trump and Trump’s campaign. [Rollingstone]. However, this claim is almost certainly false. For many of the years that Stone was lobbying for Trump, Stone and Manafort were partners in the same lobbying firm, [WaPo(1989) Slate(2000)]. Moreover, Slate reported Manafort knew Trump in 2006. [Slate].
  • Known Contacts with Guccifer 2.0: For months, Stone denied contacts with “Guccifer 2.0,” [see e.g., politico], whose Twitter, email, and WordPress accounts were a persona for Russian intelligence services and which eventually provided hacked emails to WikiLeaks, [WashMonthly]. More recently, Stone admitted exchanging private tweets with Guccifer 2.0 between 8/12/16 and 9/9/16. [CBS Video @ Media Matters]. On Aug. 14, Stone privately tweeted to Guccifer that he was “delighted” Guccifer’s twitter account was reinstated. [CBS Video]. On Aug. 17, Stone asked Guccifer to retweet one of Stone’s articles about how the election could be rigged against Trump. [CBS Video]. Guccifer replied “done,” and shortly afterwards, “please tell me if i can help u anyhow.” [CBS Video].
  • Contacts with Assange & WikiLeaks: Stone admitted he served as a back channel between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks, and claimed he was in direct contact with Assaunge. [Guardian]. Stone tweeted in August, “Trust me, it will soon [be] Podesta’s time in the barrel.” On October 1, Stone tweeted “…HillaryClinton is done…” [WashMonthly]. Two days later Stone tweeted that his “hero” Assange would shortly “educate the American people.” [WashMonthly]. On 10/7/17, WikiLeaks started releasing Podesta’s emails. [Vox]. For a time, Stone lied about not having contacted WikiLeaks. [Guardian]. In April 2017, the CIA director declared WikiLeaks a hostile intelligence service, used by state actors including Russia. [Time]. Pompeo went on to note that WikiLeaks had collaborated with RT. [Time]. In response, Stone said Pompeo was “so dumb” and called for Pompeo to resign. [Time].
  • How Did Stone Communicate With WikiLeaks? Stone likely talked directly with Assange at least once. [see Guardian]. Stone also communicated with Assange via an intermediary, who may have been Nigel Farage (as discussed in Farage’s section). [WashMonthly].
  • Regular Appearances on Russia Today: Stone has given many interviews on Russia Today (RT), the state funded Russian TV channel. [See e.g. RT]. On RT, Stone said Russia had nothing to do with interfering in the presidential election. [RT]. Stone also told RT that Russian television is less censored that American television. [RCP].

Paul Manafort — Chairman of Trump’s Campaign

  • Summary: Up until 1996, Manafort was a political advisor to mainstream GOP presidential candidates. [Wikipedia]. However from 2004 to 2015, Manafort’s principal client was pro-Putin Ukrainian president Victor Yanukovych. [Bloomberg]. Yanukovych is now living in Russia and is wanted in Ukraine for high treason. [Newsweek]. Also from 2006 to at least 2009, Manafort was paid ten million dollars a year to lobby the US and Europe for the benefit of Putin’s government. [AP]. Manafort laundered the money he received from Russia and Ukraine through a labyrinth of off-shore banks, shell companies, and US luxury properties. [BINBCAtlantic]. Manafort was hired in March 2016 as Trump’s campaign chairman, only to resign in August upon reports that he was paid millions in off-the-books cash by Yanukovych’s ruling party. [NYMagEsquire]. Upon resigning from the Trump campaign, he received huge loans from two Trump affiliated businesses, one of which was financially backed by Alexander Rovt. [NYTimes]. The FBI is currently investigating Manafort. [McClatchy].
  • Manafort’s Early Connections to Trump: Manafort was a named-partner in the firm “Black Manafort Stone & Kelly,” which lobbied for Trump over twenty-five years ago. [WaPo(1989) Slate(2000)]. In 2006, Manafort took an apartment in Trump Towers, and would talk to Trump in the elevator. [Slate].  Manafort also bought a Palm Beach mansion in 2007 for $1.5 million. [NBC].
  • Manafort’s Work for Pro-Putin Ukraine Party: Manafort worked for Yanukovych and pro-Putin Ukrainian political parties off-and-on from 2004 to 2015. [Wikipedia].   Manafort lobbied Congress for his Ukrainian clients without registering as a lobbyist foreign agent as required by law. [AP]. This work included (1) covertly (and illegally) routing 2.2 million dollars from his Ukrainian clients to Washington lobbying firms, [AP], and (2) holding meetings with congressmen Jim Kolbe and Dana Robrabacher in 2013, [Hill]. As compensation, Yanukovych’s ruling party paid Manafort $12.7 million in off-the-books cash. [see NYTWaPoAPNews].
  • Helped Oligarchs Loot Ukraine: Manafort helped Yanukovych and Russian oligarchs loot Ukraine by laundering stolen government money through a Cayman Island company. [NYTAtlantic]. Manafort personally participated in this looting when he partnered with Oleg Deripaska, a member of Putin’s innermost circle, [NBC], to purchase Ukrainian cable TV assets for almost $19 million, [BI]. In 2014, Ukrainian demonstrators scared Yanukovych into fleeing to Russia — Yanukovych is currently wanted in Ukraine for high treason. [Wikipedia].
  • Blackmailed During the Campaign:  During the campaign, Manafort was blackmailed by someone claiming to have evidence of the off-the-books payments, and of a 2012 meeting Manafort allegedly set up between Trump and a Yanukovych associate, Serhiy Tulub. [Politico]. Tulub is a pro-Putin Ukranian. [Trumpconnect].

Paul Manafort Continued

  • Text Messages from Manafort’s Daughter: Manafort’s daughter thought him responsible for the death of 100 peaceful protestors in Ukraine, who were killed by Yanukovych’s regime. [CNN]. She texted her sister “you know he has killed people in Ukraine? Knowingly.” [BI]. The same daughter also wrote that she personally saw Manafort secretly send messages to Ukraine over the internet by “writ[ing] in the drafts So [their messages are] never transmitted over any servers.” [CNN].
  • Money Laundering: Manafort almost certainly laundered millions of dollars he received from Russia and Ukraine through shell companies and banks in Cyprus and the Cayman Island. [BINBCAtlantic]. This includes the Bank of Cyprus, which was infamously used by Russian oligarchs to launder money, [BI], before it was bailed-out by Wilbur Ross, Trump’s future commerce secretary.  From 2006 to 2013, Manafort likely laundered at least 13 million dollars through high-value property in the US. [NBCNYTimes]. Around 2008, Manafort planned to renovate a NY hotel with Demitry Firtash, a Ukrainian ​​​​​​businessman who bankrolled Yanukovych. [NBC]. Allegedly the purpose of the renovation was to help Firtash launder money. [BloombergTAI]. Dimitry Firtash has at least indirect business ties to Cambridge Analytica’s parent company, SCL Group. [Tabletmag].
  • Manafort Deal to Lobby US and Europe for Putin:  In 2006, Manafort signed a $10 million annual contract with Oleg Deripaska, one of the 2 or 3 oligarchs closest to Putin, to lobby the US and Europe on behalf of Russia. [APnews]. The deal was in effect anywhere from 3 to 8 years. [APnews].  Manafort’s undocumented lobbying for Russia may be a felony, as US law requires lobbyists for foreign powers to register with the Justice Department. [APnews].
  • Role as Campaign Chairman: Although Manafort claimed Trump sought him out for the campaign chairman, Manafort seemed to have lobbied hard for the position. [NYTimes]. This is strange since Manafort explicitly stated he wasn’t looking for a paid job, [NYTimes], despite having evidence financial troubles, [NYTimes]. As chairman, Manafort contacted at least one probable Russian intelligence officer, Konstantin Kilimnik, throughout the presidential campaign. [NYTPolitico]. Also during the campaign, Manafort and Trump parroted propaganda and false news from Russian state media organizations like RT and Sputnik. [Rawstory]. For instance, on 8/14/16, Manafort falsely claimed terrorists had attacked a NATO base in Turkey — a story originating on Russian websites. [Rawstory]. Despite his resignation in August 2016, Manafort continued to informally advise Trump. [DailyBeast]. Moreover, Trump’s campaign hired Manafort’s close associate, Rick Gates, to liaison with the RNC mere hours after Manafort resigned. [RawstoryBloomberg].
  • Manafort Setup Shell Company After Resigning From Campaign: After working for the Trump campaign for ‘free’, Manafort set up a shell company the day after his resignation. [NYTimes]. Shortly thereafter, this shell company two businesses with Trump ties loaned Manafort millions of dollars. [NYTimes]. One of these businesses, Spruce Capital, was financially backed by Alexander Rovt. [NYTimes]. Rovt born in Ukraine, who made his fortune investing in the fertilizer industry in Ukraine and Russia. [wikipedia]. Rovt also has ties to Andrii Artemenko. [NYTimes].

Rick Gates — Manafort’s Associate

  • Summary: Starting around 2006, Gates assisted Manafort in the latter’s business dealings with pro-Putin politicians and oligarchs in Ukraine and Russia. [WaPo]. Gates participated in Trump’s campaign after Manafort resigned (almost certainly as a proxy for Manafort). [See Rawstory]. After the election, Gates worked with a Trump non-profit that was closely aligned with the administration until March 23, 2017. [CNN].
  • Dealings with Pro-Putin Politicians and Oligarchs: Gates joined Manafort’s firm, Davis Manafort, in 2006. [WaPo]. Thereafter he participated in many of Manafort’s business deals with pro-Putin oligarchs, (all these deals are explained more fully in Manafort’s section). [WaPo]. To begin with, Gates seems to have joined Manafort in lobbying the US and Europe for Putin’s government. [see WaPo]. Second, Gates definitely worked with Manafort and Deripaska to loot Ukraine’s assets. [WaPoBI]. Third, Gates joined Manafort in planning the renovation of the Manhattan hotel, allegedly in order to launder money for Demitry Firtash. [WaPoBloomberg]. Finally, Gates lobbied the US for Yanukovych’s party alongside Manafort. [WaPo].
  • Connection to Trump Team: The Trump campaign hired Gates as a liaison to the Republican National Committee mere hours after Manafort resigned due to revelations that he was paid $12.7 in off-the-books cash by Yanukovych. [RawstoryBloomberg]. Until March 23, 2017, Gates was a member of a Trump-approved non-profit devoted to defending the President’s policies.  [WaPoCNN]. Gates was last seen visiting the White House in mid-March. [WaPo].

Konstantin Kilimnik — Manafort’s Protege; Likely Russian Spy

  • Summary: Kilimnik was Paul Manafort’s long-time friend and associate in Ukraine (Politico describes Kilimnik as Manafort’s “trusted protege”). [Politico]. Kilimnik is also a suspected Russian spy. [Politico]. Kilimnik said that he kept in touch with Manafort during the presidential campaign. [Politico]. It also appears he advised the Trump campaign to soften language in an amendment to the GOP platform calling for the US to arm Ukraine. [Politico].
  • Kilimnik is Probably a Spy: Kilimnik, a citizen of Ukraine and Russia, has repeatedly bragged about past work for Russian military Intelligence. [Politico]. After Kilimnik supposedly left military intelligence, he worked for an American pro-democracy group in Ukraine until he was fired on suspicions he was still a spy. [NYT]. Ukraine is currently investigating whether Kilimnik is a Russian spy. [NYT].
  • Kilimnik Flew To America Twice During Campaign: Kilimnik visited the US twice during Trump’s campaign — once in April and once in late-summer during the RNC. [MSNBC].  Kilimnik claims that at the convention he influence Trump’s campaign to soften language in an amendment to the GOP platform calling for the US to arm Ukraine. [Politico].

Michael Flynn — Former National Security Advisor

  • Summary: Michael Flynn served the military for 33 years. [NewYorker]. For a couple of those years, he also served in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI). [NewYorker].  In 2014. after he was forced out of the DNI due to his fixation on radical Islam and his penchant for making up facts, Flynn decided to retire from the military as well. [Wikipedia]. Despite being warned by officials upon retirement not to accept payments from foreign governments, the following year Flynn accepted $44,250 from Russian entities in purported speaking fees. [WaPo; CNN]. Moreover from Aug. to Nov. 2016, as a member of Trump’s campaign, Flynn was paid about $600,000 to lobby for two organizations representing the Turkish government and possibly the Russian government. [NYTimes; see Politico]. Despite knowing Flynn was paid by foreign governments, Trump picked Flynn to be his National Security Adviser.  [MSNBC; Maddow 4/28/17]. Flynn lasted only until Feb. 2017, when leaks revealed he falsely denied discussing sanctions with the Russian ambassador to the US, Sergei Kislyak,. [NYT].
  • Contact w/ Russian Graduate Student: In 2014, Flynn met graduate student Svetlana Lokhova, a British and Russia citizen, at a Cambridge Intelligence Seminar dinner for intelligence officials. [WSJ]. Flynn sat next to her during the entire meal, asked her to accompany him on a visit to Moscow, and would have an extended email exchange with her about Russian history. [WSJ]. Given Flynn’s top secret security clearance, he likely should have reported the contact, but did not. [WSJ].
  • Paid RT appearance: In Nov. 2015, Flynn accepted an invitation from RT to be interviewed in Moscow for over $33,000. [Yahoo; CNN]. RT wanted Flynn to talk about “the decision-making process in the White House” in relation to Syria. [BI]. A former army friend begged Flynn to reconsider his acceptance as his presence on RT would reflect poorly on the Army. [NewYorker]. Nevertheless, Flynn went to Moscow in Dec. accompanied by his son on a three-day, all-expenses-paid trip, where they stayed at a 5-star hotel. [Yahoo]. While there, Flynn also attended a RT dinner where he sat next to Putin. [Politico]. This trip was likely a violation of the Emoluments Clause as Flynn was a retired general. [Politico]. After the trip, Flynn appeared frequently on RT to advocate better US-Russian relations. [Politico].
  • Payments from Other Russian businesses: In Oct. 2015, Flynn accepted $11,250 from a US subsidiary of the Russian cybersecurity firm, Kaspersky Labs. [Hill]. Kaspersky Labs and Flynn both claim that Flynn was paid for a speech he gave in Washington, but other keynote speakers apparently were not paid. [BI; WaPo]. While Kaspersky Labs is privately owned, US intelligence believes it assists Kremlin espionage efforts. [WaPo]. In fact, in Jan. 2017, the FSB arrested a Kaspersky executive for allegedly spying for the US. [CBS]. Also in 2015, Flynn accepted $11,250 from a Russian airline with strong ties to Putin that was previously involved in a UN bribery scheme. [NYT]. Flynn alleges this payment was also for a speech. [WaPo]. Both payments were made while Flynn maintained a top-secret security clearance. [WSJ].
  • Deal to Lobby for Organizations Representing Turkey and Maybe Russia: Flynn was hired by Ekim Alptekin from Aug. to Nov. 2016 to lobby the US government, in exchange for around $600,000, on behalf of a K Street firm representing two lobbying organizations. [Politico]. Hacked emails reveal these organizations almost certainly work for the Turkish government. [Politico]. At least one organizations was created by Dmitri Zaikin, a Washington lobbyist born in Ukraine with extensive business ties to Putin’s regime, but few to Turkey. [Politico]. Because both organizations also occasionally sent invoices to a company owned by Zaikin, it seems reasonable to speculate that the Russian government was involved as well. [Politico]. Moreover, Alptekin, the Turkish man who paid Flynn, seems to have had complex, shady business dealings with the Russian VneshEconomBank involving Putin himself. [see Politico]. Currently Alptekin owns a company that purports to sell jets and arms to Turkey and the Middle East, and jets to Russia. [Politico].

Michael Flynn Continued

  • Flynn Didn’t Disclose Payments: Before becoming national security adviser, Flynn submitted financial disclosures forms without disclosing he accepted money from Russian entities and from the Turkish/Russian lobbying organizations described above. [PoliticoWaPo]. Long after the media discovered these payments, Flynn filed an amended disclosure form. [WaPo]. Flynn also failed to disclose accepting money from RT on his 2016 security clearance form. [Politico]. Knowingly concealing or falsifying information on these forms is punishable by up to 5 years in prison. [Politico].  (Jared Kushner is probably guilty of this as well.) The Trump team knew Flynn was paid by foreign governments upon Flynn’s appointment. [MSNBC; Maddow 4/28/17].
  • Flynn’s Lied About Not Discussing Sanctions w/ Kislyak: Flynn repeatedly contacted the Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during and after the campaign. [CNN]. Most notably, Flynn called Kislyak five times to discuss new sanctions the day they were announced by Prez. Obama, on 12/29/16. [Reuters]. These sanctions expelled 35 alleged Russian spies from the US. [Newsweek]. Flynn repeatedly lied about the timing and content of these phone calls to the media and, more significantly, to the FBI. [WaPo]. Lying to the FBI is a felony. [WaPo]. Trump was very likely briefed about the content of Flynn’s calls to Kislyak but publicly feigned ignorance for weeks. [see USAToday]. Flynn resigned from National Security Adviser on 2/13/17, [NYTimes], as the third aide to leave Trump because of connections to Russia (after Manafort and Page).
  • Other Flynn Connections to Suspect Organizations: In late-2016, Flynn and Trump met with the leader of an Austrian far-right party that recently signed a deal to cooperate very closely with Putin’s United Party. [BI]. Also, Flynn served as an adviser to SCL Group, Cambridge Analytica’s parent company. [WaPo]. As of 2/17/17, Flynn’s former aide was leading SCL Group’s efforts to win contracts from the US government. [WaPo].
  • Mensch’s Uncorroborated Allegations About Flynn: As discussed in Part I, Louise Mensch, whose reliability is very questionable, believes that the Russian government hacked into US voter roles. [Patribotics]. Allegedly the Russian Alfa Bank, acting for Cambridge Analytica, transmitted these stolen voter roles to a Trump campaign’s server, so the Trump could “micro-target” US voters with personalized ads and messages. [Patribotics]. According to Mensch, US intelligence sources believe that Flynn actively helped coordinate the contents of these messages with Russia propaganda. [Patribotics]. Mensch also claims that the Twitter accounts of Flynn and his son were controlled, in part, by Russian bot-nets. [Patribiotics].
  • Flynn Offering to Testify For Immunity: On March 30, the WSJ reported Flynn offered to testify to the FBI and the House and Senate Intelligence Committees in exchange for immunity. [WSJ]. There have been no takers. [WSJ]

Rex Tillerson — Secretary of State

  • ​​Summary: Tillerson worked at Exxon his entire adult life prior to being appointed Secretary of State. [CNN]. In 1998, he directed an Exxon subsidiary co-owned by Russians. [Guardian]. As Tillerson did business with Russia, he developed a close relationship with Putin and Putin’s henchman, Igor Sechin. [CBSEconomist]. After Tillerson became CEO of Exxon, the company entered into a $500 billion dollar deal with the Kremlin. [Reuters]. Also under Tillerson’s leadership, Exxon lobbied the US government to remove Russian sanctions. [Politifact]. As Carter Page exclaimed in a speech in Moscow a day before Tillerson was nominated, “the list [of Tillerson’s Russian] connections goes on and on.” [HuffPost]. According to one source, Trump nominated Tillerson so that he could serve as a back-channel to Putin. [CNN]. Since becoming Secretary of State, Tillerson has helped Trump try to eviscerate the State Department. [Philly.com].
  • Oil Business with Russians: According to leaked documents, in 1998 Tillerson directed the US-Russian oil company, Exxon Neftegas, in the Bahamas. [Guardian]. Other officers in this company were from Russia. [Guardian]. More recently, in 2011, under Tillerson’s leadership, Exxon entered into a $500 billion dollar deal with the Russian state-owned oil company, Rosneft, to drill in the Arctic. [Reuters]. Drilling was halted by Obama’s 2014 sanctions on Russia. [Guardian].
  • Tillerson Lobbied Against Russian Sanctions: In his confirmation hearing, Tillerson falsely denied that Exxon had lobbied to remove the 2014 sanctions. [Politifact]. In fact, not only did Exxon lobby against the sanctions, it’s very likely Tillerson did so himself. [see Politifact]. In addition, he publicly criticized the sanctions. [Guardian]. In 2016, Tillerson attended a Saint Petersburg investment conference, in an apparent display of solidarity with Russia. [Newsweek].
  • Tillerson Friendship with Putin And Putin’s Feared Henchmen: One expert said Tillerson has had more “interactive time” with Putin than any other American except Kissinger. [CBS]. Tillerson is one of a handful of Americans to have received the Russian Order of Friendship award. [CBS]. In addition, Tillerson is a long-time friend of Igor Sechin, a close ally of Putin who controls Rosneft, the state owned Russian oil company. [Economist]. According to the Economist, Sechin is also “one of the most feared men in Russia.” [Economist]. Sechin’s ambition is to motorcycle around the US with Tillerson — but sanctions currently forbid Sechin from entering the US. [Guardian]. Sechin and Tillerson negotiated the 2011 $500 billion dollar deal mentioned above for their respective companies. [EconomistReuters].
  • Tillerson Attempt to Help Trump Decimate State Department:  In April 2017, Tillerson proposed eliminating 2,300 jobs at the State Department as part of an effort to trim ¼ of the department’s budget. [Philly.com]. He also proposed drastically reducing the number of new hires. [Philly.com]. In April 2017, Tillerson seemingly tried to quiet Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, who has been the administration member most critical of Syria and Russia. [NYTimes]. Often, her statements on those topics contradicted Tillerson’s. [see e.g., WaPo; Politico].

Wilbur Ross — Commerce Secretary

  • Summary: Ross is the Secretary of Commerce for the Trump administration. [Motherjones]. Before joining the administration, Ross co-owned and co-operated the Bank of Cyprus with Russian oligarchs close to Putin as well as Josef Ackermann. [Motherjones]. Before Ross purchased shares in the Bank of Cyprus, it was infamous for laundering money for Russian oligarchs. [McClatchyDC].
  • Ross Bailed Out Bank of Cyprus: In 2014, Ross bailed out the Cyprus bank, which held billions of dollars for Russian oligarchs. [Motherjones]. The Russian oligarch, Dmitry Rybolovlev, who bought a Trump mansion for 95 million dollars, benefited from this buyout as he was the bank’s largest shareholder. [NYT]. Rybolovlev may still hold a significant amount of shares. [NYT].
  • Ross Co-owned and Co-operated Bank w/ Russian Oligarchs: After the bailout, Ross was the largest shareholder in the bank, and shared the vice-chairmanship. [MotherjonesGuardian]. Viktor Vekselberg, a Russian oligarch allied with Putin, became the second largest shareholder via his conglomerate, Renova. [Motherjones]. In October 2014, the bank’s board of directors included: (1) Ross; (2) an executive representing Vekselberg; and (3) Vladimar Strzhalkovskiy, a former KGB officer and another Putin ally. [Motherjones]. On October 2014, the bank’s chairman was Josef Ackermann, who, (A) ran Deutsche Bank (under his watch the bank laundered 10 billion dollars for Russia oligarchs), (B) frequented Putin-hosted St. Petersburg economic forums; and (C) directed Renova. [Motherjones].
  • Under Ross, Bank Did Deals With Putin Allies: In 2016, under Ross’s vice-chairmanship, the bank sold its Russian businesses to Artem Avetisyan, who is connected to Putin and to the US-sanctioned Russian Sberbank. [Guardian]. Also under Ross’s vice-chairmanship, the Bank of Cyprus gave Alfa Bank, Russia’s largest private bank, an extra four years to pay off a $100 million dollar loan it incurred for previously purchasing the Bank of Cyprus’ Ukrainian assets. [Guardian]. Alfa Bank seems to have played a key role in Trump-Russia collaboration.
  • Trump and Manafort Used Cyprus Banks and Shell Companies: Manafort laundered millions of dollars through Cyprus companies and banks, and laundered at least one million through the Bank of Cyprus. [BI]. Trump has two Cyprus companies, one of which was opened in 2008. [HuffPost]. As of 2/27/17 the White House refused to release Ross’s responses to questions about whether the Bank of Cyprus made loans to the Trump campaign or to Trump Org. [Guardian].

Boris Epshteyn — A Trump Spokesmen (added 3/30/2017)

  • Summary: Epshteyn was a spokesman for the Trump campaign and White House. [CNN]. He suddenly, and somewhat mysteriously, quit this position on about March 25, 2017. [NYT]. Ephsteyn has business connections in Eastern Europe and parrots pro-Putin lies. [MMTalkingPoints].
  • Business Connections to Russia & Eastern Europe: Born in the Soviet Union, Epshteyn emigrated to the US in 1993. [PalmerReport]. In September 2016, Ephsteyn’s LinkedIn account stated that he provided consulting and management services for entities doing business in Eastern Europe. [MM]. In 2013, Ephsteyn participated in the controversial “Invest in Moscow!” conference held in NY City, which was sponsored by Russia. [HuffPost].
  • Pro-Putin Propaganda: Also in 2013, Ephsteyn published an article for US News about how the US should ally with Russia in Syria. More disturbingly, Epshteyn repeats the lie that Crimea voluntarily seceded from Ukraine to join Russia — in reality, the latter was invaded and forcibly annexed. [TalkingPoints].
  • Dossier Source E?: The dossier often cites “Source E” as providing information about Russian efforts to assist the Trump campaign. [Dossier p. 2, 7, 8]. An unsubstantiated rumor suggests Epshteyn was Source E. [PalmerReport ; Mensch].

Jeff Sessions — Attorney General

  • Summary: Jeff Sessions served on the Trump campaign before being nominated to AG. Sessions almost certainly perjured himself by falsely claiming he had no Russian contacts during the presidential campaign.
  • Sessions Perjured Himself in Confirmation Hearings: Beginning in April, Sessions met with the Russian ambassador to Washington, Sergey Kislyak, at least three times during the campaign. [PoliticoWaPo]. Yet in his confirmation hearings, Sessions swore he never contacted the Russians in the 2016 campaign. [WaPo]. After this falsehood was revealed, Sessions decided to (eventually) recuse himself from investigating collaboration between Trump’s campaign and the Kremlin. [ABC]. Sources say this decision greatly angered Trump. [ABC].
  • Did Session Hire Page? It is also rumored that Session’s chief-of-staff hired Carter Page for the Trump campaign as a foreign policy advisor. [Politico]. At the time, Page was not regarded as a foreign policy expert. [Politico].

Donald Trump Jr. — Trump’s Son

  • Summary: Trump Jr. visited Moscow 6 times from 2008 to 2010. [USAToday]. A month before the US election, Trump Jr. was paid $50,000 for attending private talks in France to discuss how the US could partner with Moscow to end the Syrian civil war. [WSJ].
  • Visits from 2008 to 2010: In 2008, Trump Jr., gave the keynote speech at the Moscow Real Estate Summit. [HuffPost]. Two Putin allies in the Russian government also made speeches. [HuffPost]. In his speech, Trump Jr. announced that, “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of [the Trump Organization’s] assets,” and that “[w]e see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.” [HuffPost; USAToday]. He also stated that the Trump Organization. hoped to construct Trump buildings in three Russian cities, and to market its brand to Russian companies. [USAToday]. All told, Trump Jr. visited Russia six times from 2008 to 2010. [USAToday]. Allegedly no deals were struck. [USAToday].
  • Visit in October 2016: Shortly before the presidential election, Trump Jr. was paid at least $50,000 to visit Paris and privately discuss diplomatic matters with a little-known, openly pro-Kremlin think tank, the CPFA. [WSJABC]. These matters included how a US-Russia partnership could resolve the Syrian war. [WSJ]. After the presidential election, one of the think tank’s founders, Randa Kassis, discussed the substance of the meeting with a high ranking Russian official. [WSJ].

Jared Kushner — Trump’s Son-in-Law

  • Summary: In December 2016, Kushner and his aid had meetings with Sergey Kislyak, and later, Kushner met with the head of a US-sanctioned Russian bank in order to form a backchannel to the Kremlin. [NYT]. Kushner failed to report these contacts with foreign officials on a top-secret security clearance form as legally required. [NYTimes]. Kushner and Ivanka Trump have had other business and personal connections with Russian oligarchs. [WaPoDailymail].
  • Meetings with Kislyak: In December 2016, Kushner had three suspicious meetings with Russians. First, Kushner met with Kislyak at Trump Tower in NY. [NYT]. A source tells CNN that the meeting was actually “relationship meetings” to “identify someone who would be a good intermediary” between the Trump administration and Russia. [CNN]. According to this source, the Trump administration was looking to establish a back channel with Putin, as it had with other leaders. [CNN]. Kislyak supposedly suggested Kushner should meet with Sergey Gorkov, the head of the US-sanctioned Russian bank, VneshEconomBank. [CNN]. After Kushner’s meeting with Kislyak, Kushner’s assistant met with Kislyak. [NYT].
  • Meeting with Head of VneshEconomBank: Finally, Kushner sat down with the head of VneshEcomBankSergey Gorkov. [CNN]. Gorkov and Kushner gave conflicting reasons for meeting each other. [CNNBI]. One source told CNN the meeting’s true purpose was likely to see if Gorkov would be a reliable back-channel to Putin. [CNN]. This source said the need for a back-channel was obviated when Tillerson was picked as Secretary of State, as Tillerson had plenty of Russian contacts. [CNN].
  • Connections to Putin’s Inner Circle: Kushner has strong connections to the Russian oligarchs, Lev Leviev, and Roman Abramovich, who are in Putin’s inner circle. [Politico]. In May 2015, Kushner purchased a majority stake in a NY building from Leviev for almost $300 million. [Politico]. Meanwhile, Ivanka Trump and Jared are close-friends of Abramovich and his wife, Dasha Zhukov. [PoliticoWaPo]. This friendship has extended into Trump’s presidency. Ivanka invited Zhukov to Trump’s inauguration, [WaPo], and in March 2017, Abramovich flew to Aspen the same day Kushner and Ivanka did. [Rawstory].
  • Omitted Contacts w/ Foreign Leaders In Top Secret Security Clearance Form: When Kushner applied for top-secret security clearance he failed to disclose all encounters with foreign government officials as legally required. [NYTimes]. This includes his meeting with Kislyak as well as the meeting with the head of VneshEconomBank, Sergey Gorkov, who attended Russia’s spy school. [NYTimes]. As the NYTimes reported, the top-secret security clearance form “warns that ‘withholding, misrepresenting, or falsifying information’ could result in loss of access to classified information, denial of eligibility for a sensitive job and even prosecution;… [and] may result in fines or up to five years imprisonment.” [NYTimes]. On Jan. 18, 2017, Kushner allegedly told the FBI the form was submitted prematurely and he would be happy to provide additional info about his contacts with foreign officials. [NYTimes]. However, he never did submit any names in this correspondence. [NYTimes].

Michael Cohen — Trump’s Personal Attorney

  • Summary: Before Cohen started working for the Trump Org in 2007 as Special Counsel, [NYT], he bought several residences in Trump buildings. [ABC]. Cohen tried to draft Trump to run for president in 2012. [ABC]. Cohen is now Trump’s personal attorney, a job that apparently includes meeting with pro-Putin Russians. [NYT]. The F.B.I. is investigating Cohen’s  ties to Russia. [NYT].
  • Russian Connections: Cohen worked on a deal for a Trump Tower in Georgia and an unsuccessful MMA venture starring a Russian fighter, who was a personal friend of Putin, [Politico; NYTtimes]. Around 2007-8, Cohen met with Sergei Millian and allegedly gave him rights to market Trump properties in Russia and the former USSR. [FT]. A week before Flynn resigned in Feb. 2016, Cohen and Felix Sater helped send the Trump administration a plan from the pro-Kremlin Ukrainian politician, Andrii Artemenko, to eliminate Russian sanctions (see “Artemenko’s Plan to Remove Sanctions” for more). [NYT]. Cohen has repeatedly lied about his role in sending this plan to the administration. [BI].
  • Dossier on Cohen: The dossier alleges Cohen played a key role in contacting Russia. [Dossier p. 30]. It also alleges that Cohen met with Kremlin officials in Aug. or Sept. of 2016 in Prague [Atlantic]. This hasn’t been proved or disproved. See the dossier sections for more.

Sergei Millian — Russian Propagandist and Likely Spy

  • Summary: Millian immigrated to the US under the name, ‘Siarhei Kukuts’, which he later changed to ‘Sergei Kukuts’, before settling on ‘Sergei Millian’. [ABC]. Since 2006, Millian has headed the Russian American Chamber of Commerce (RACC). [FT]. He claims RACC represents commercial members, but the FBI suspects it is a Russian intelligence front. [MotherJones]. Millian regularly appeared on Russian state media, where he boasted that he marketed Trump properties to oligarchs in the former USSR. [FT]. He bragged about paving the way for Russians to invest “hundreds of millions” of dollars in the Trump Org., and for dozens of Russians to buy Trump apartments. [FT]. Millian also claimed to keep in touch with a Trump foreign policy advisor during the presidential campaign. [WaPo]. At the inauguration, Millian attended VIP events for the campaign’s supporters. [WaPo].
  • Connections to Russian Gov.: Millian claims the RACC is funded solely by its commercial members — not the Russian government. [FT]. But the Financial Times found RACC members didn’t answer phones, and no RACC office existed at the listed address. [FT]. Moreover, RACC organized trips for Russian governors to visit the US, and for US businessmen to visit Moscow. [FT]. These facts may explain why the FBI believes RACC is a Russian intelligence front. [MotherJones].
  • Connections to Donald Trump: Millian alleges he first met Trump in Moscow in 2007. [FT]. Shortly after that, Millian claims Trump invited him to the races in the US. [FT]. Millian said that after this meeting, Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, granted Millian rights to sell Trump property to oligarchs in the former USSR (including Russia), leading to “hundreds of millions dollars” from Russia flowing into Trump’s coffers. [FT]. At one point, RACC’s website stated that RACC had “signed agreements with the Trump Org.” to “jointly service the Russian clients’ commercial, residential and industrial real-estate needs.” [FT].
  • Now Trump and Millian Falsely Deny Connections: When Trump started his presidential campaign, Millian falsely denied he was connected to Trump, and the RACC removed the aforementioned text from its website. [FT]. Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, also said that Trump and Millian never worked together. [ABC]. However, Cohen followed Millian on Twitter and the two exchanged tweets at least once. [WaPo].
  • Salacious allegations: In 2013, Millian told ABC that Trump liked visiting Russia for “both business and pleasure,” adding “he likes beautiful Russian ladies.” [ABC]. More recently, ABC reported that Millian was likely, and unwittingly, a source of the dossier’s most salacious allegations. [ABC]. According to the Washington Post, the dossier refers to Millian as “Source D” and possibly also as “Source E.” [WaPo]. See the dossier sections for more.
  • Contact w/ Trump’s Campaign: Millian said that during the campaign he was in touch with George Papadopoulos, a Trump foreign policy advisor. [WaPo]. Also during the campaign, in the summer of 2016, Millian traveled to Russia and took pictures of himself with Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch in Putin’s inner circle, and the Russian minister of energy. [WaPo]. Millian also attended Trump’s inauguration in Jan., and posted pictures of himself on Facebook at VIP events. [WaPo].

Bayrock — Business That Worked Closely With Trump Org.

  • Summary: In 2001, Tevfik Arif, a former Soviet official in Kazakhstan, founded the company, Bayrock, to develop NY property. [TheDiplomat]. A couple years later, Bayrock hired Felix Sater, a man with an extensive criminal history, who would become Arif’s right-hand man. [FT]. Starting in 2005, Bayrock began working with the Trump Org., initially exploring whether to build a Trump tower in Moscow. [WaPo]. By 2007, Bayrock helped find financing for more than 2 billion dollars of Trump real estate deals around the world (including many projects in Russia and the former USSR). [TAIFT]. Much of this money came from Russian oligarchs close to Putin. [NYTForbes]. A 2016 lawsuit alleges Bayrock and Trump helped Kazakh and Russian officials launder money. [Forbes].
  • Financing from Russian & Kazakh Oligarchs: To finance some Bayrock-Trump projects, Sater and Arif introduced Trump to Russian oligarchs. [NYT]. In a deposition, Trump somewhat incoherently stammered that he thought these investors would finance Trump Towers in Moscow, Kiev, Istanbul, Poland, and Warsaw. [NYT]. Bayrock also did business with the ‘Eurasia Group’, a business run by a trio of corrupt Kazakh billionaires. [TAI].
  • Failed SoHo Development: Around 2006, Bayrock, the Trump Org., and ’FL Group’ started working on the SoHo development in NYC. [TAI]. The FL Group is an Icelandic firm that had many ties to Russian oligarchs close to Putin (see the FL Group section for more). [NYTTAI]. The development was very unsuccessful and devolved into a series of lawsuits, [NYT], one of which claimed that suspicious Russians and Kazakhs used FL Group to invest $50 million in the SoHo development and three other Bayrock projects, [NYTTAI]. Trump, Trump Jr., and Ivanka had advance knowledge of this investment. [FT].
  • SoHo Lawsuits About Money Laundering: Plaintiffs in at least three separate lawsuits allege Bayrock helped launder 250 million dollars. [FTTAIForbes]. One lawsuit alleges that Bayrock and Sater helped foreign kleptocrats launder the money by buying and selling luxury apartments in the SoHo development with shell corporations. [FT]. Lawyers who brought a 2015 lawsuit claim that new information shows Trump participated in this money laundering scheme. [Forbes]. Another lawsuit alleges that the Icelandic firm FL Group participated as well. [TAI].

Felix Sater/Satter — Trump’s Business Associate

  • Summary: An emigrant from the USSR, Sater was convicted of multiple felonies in the US, [WaPo], before finding a job at Bayrock from 2002 to 2008, [TAI]. Around 2009, he went to work directly for the Trump Organization — he had a business card to prove it. [WaPo]. Sater continued to work with Trump on real estate deals until 2015 (including a Trump Tower in Moscow). [NYT].
  • Sater’s Criminal History: Born in the Soviet Union, Sater emigrated to the US when he was 8. [WaPo]. Sater’s father was a crime syndicate boss. [TAI]. In 1991, Sater stabbed a foe in the face in a bar fight. [WaPo]. Later, he was convicted in a stock manipulation scheme involving the US Mafia and Russian criminals, [NYT], but avoided jail time by becoming a very valuable FBI informant. [WaPo]. In 2001, he laundered money and illegally sold guns, but avoided jail again by providing information to the CIA and FBI about stinger missiles. [TAI].
  • Trump Falsely Denies Knowing Sater: Articles in Forbes and the Washington Post show Sater had a close relationship with Trump, and even met Trump’s family. In 2011, under oath, Trump said he knew Sater “for a period of time.” Yet in 2013 under oath, Trump swore he couldn’t recognize Sater. [Politico]. Attorneys filing the 2016 lawsuit against Bayrock convincingly claim this statement is false. [Forbes]. According to one of Sater’s associates, “Trump called Felix like every other day to his office. So the fact that he’s saying he doesn’t know him, that’s a lot of crap.” [Politico].
  • Sater Ties to Trump’s Campaign & Administration: Sater made the maximum allowable donations to the Trump campaign. [Politico]. Recently, Sater helped a pro-Russia Ukrainian politician deliver a plan to Trump to eliminate Russian sanctions. [NYT]. The Ukrainian politician created this plan with encouragement from Putin’s top aids. [NYT].

Aleksander Torshin — Moscow Central Banker; Probably a Russian Spy

  • Summary: Torshin is currently a senior official at Russia’s central bank, although he also likely is working with Russian intelligence. Times states that Torshin and his protege, Maria Butina (see section below), helped establish ties between Russian leaders and American conservatives for many years. This likely explains why Torshin is a lifetime NRA member. [Time]. Torshin met Trump at least once, and dined with Trump allies shorty after Trump’s inauguration. [see Time].
  • Torshin’s Career in Russia: Torshin is currently a deputy central banker. [Time]. But, a former superior to Torshin claims Torshin may also be working with Russian intelligence agencies. [Daily Beast]. Ironically, before he was a banker, Torshin taught members of a Moscow-based crime syndicate how to launder money in Spain through banks and real estate. [Bloomberg]. In addition, Torshin served on the Russian Duma for more than a decade, and on Russia’s mighty National Anti-Terrorism Committee alongside the director of the FSB and other powerful officials. [DailyBeast].
  • Connections to Trump; In May 2016 Torshin had dinner with Trump and Trump Jr. at an NRA Convention in Kentucky. [Bloomberg]. At the convention, the NRA endorsed Trump. [ABC]. In Feb. 2017, Torshin was schedule to meet with Trump before a National Prayer Breakfast. [DB]. However, as Butina explained, the “night before, we were told that all meet and greets were off.” [DB]. Apparently someone in the White House objected to Torshin’s connections with the Russian mob. [DB].
  • Dinner with Trump allies: Soon after Trump’s inauguration, Aleksander Torshin and his Russian colleagues had a private dinner with two Republican lawmakers and various writers for alt-right outlets. [Bloomberg]. Ronald Maxwell, an ex-writer for Breitbart said at this dinner, the Americans urged the Russians to let Putin know that he can help Trump by “being patient.” [Bloomberg]. According to Maxwell, Trump needed to secure major domestic victories so he’s “in a better position to do the things internationally he wants to do.” [Bloomberg].

Maria Butina — Member of Trump’s Campaign; Probably a Russian Spy

  • Summary: Butina was born in Russia, and has connections to Aleksander Torshin. [DailyBeast]. She created a gun club in Russia, which has extensive ties to the NRA. [Time].  She herself is a member of the NRA and she was also was also a member of Trump’s campaign. [DB(Trump campaign); DB(NRA)]. Butina claimed she helped the Trump campaign communicate with Russia. [DB]. As of late Feb. 2017, Butina resided in the US, attended American University, and worked as a special assistant to Torshin. [DBDB].
  • Trump Campaign: Butina attended one of Trump’s first campaign rallies, at which she asked Trump whether he would end the “damaging” U.S. government sanctions on Russia. [Time]. Trump responded, “I know Putin, and… we’ll get along with Putin… I don’t think you’d need the sanctions.” [Time]. In the fall of 2016, at American University, she repeatedly bragged that she helped Trump’s campaign communicate with Russia. [DailyBeast]. She also bragged that she keeps in contact with a member of the Russian Duma. [DB].
  • Gun Group: Butina helped found a Russian gun rights group called “The Right to Bear Arms.” [DailyBeast]. Torshin is an honorary member of this group. [DB]. In December 2015, Sheriff David Clarke (a future Trump supporter) attended one of the group’s meetings, at which Torshin gave a speech. [DB]. See Clarke’s section for more.
  • Well-Connected in Russia: In 2015, Butina was named a special assistant to Torshin, who was officially employed at Russia’s central bank. [DailyBeastPetersburgConference]. Butina has extensive connections to other powerful Russian officials as well as Torshin. [TimePetersburgConference].

The National Rifle Association — Avid Trump Supporter  (added 4/2/2017)

  • Summary: The NRA supported Trump during the campaign more strongly than the NRA supported past GOP presidential candidates. [DailyBeast]. The NRA also has also notable connections to Russian pro-gun advocates and organizations, [DB], that are likely fronts for Russian intelligence agencies.
  • NRA Supported Trump Early and Vigorously: As the Daily Beast claims, the NRA’s campaign support for Trump was “unprecedented,” and perhaps unmatched by any other US organization. [DB]. In fact, it spent more than 30 million dollars to elect him — topping Trump’s biggest super PAC by 10 million. [DailyBeast]. The NRA endorsed Trump in May 2016, far earlier in the presidential race than its endorsement of GOP candidates in previous elections. [DailyBeast]. Trump made early moves to repay the NRA, by rescinding an order banning lead ammunition in hunting and fishing areas. [DailyBeast].
  • NRA’s Connections to Russia: In December 2015, the same time when Michael Flynn traveled to Moscow for an RT interview, the NRA sent a delegation to Russia, which met with Maria Butina, Aleksander Torshin, and Dmitry Rogozin, Putin’s extremist deputy. [DailyBeast]. All three Russians purport to be pro-gun advocates. [DB]. Both Torshin and Butina are NRA members, as well as likely Russian spies, that have extensive connections to Putin’s regime (see the two sections above). Torshin met Trump at the NRA convention in May 2016, at which the NRA endorsed Trump for president. [BloombergABC]. Butina’s Russian gun group paid some of the delegation’s travel expenses.  [DB].
  • More on NRA’s Delegation to Russia: The delegation was made up of very important figures in the NRA, including (1) David Keene, a former president of the NRA and a current board member, (2) Pete Brownell, another board member, (3) Joe Gregory, the top NRA donor; and (4) Sheriff David Clarke, a future Trump supporter. [DailyBeast].
  • Shifting Views on Russia: In May 2014, Keene thought Obama should be doing more to combat Russia. [DailyBeast]. However, in July 2014 the NRA disclaimed Obama sanctions preventing the importation of Kalashnikov assault rifles from Russia. [DB]. In Jan. 2017, Keene thought it was ridiculous to view Russia as a global threat to the US. [DB].

Nigel Farage — British Politician

  • Summary: Nigel Farage was the leader of the radical-right United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP). [Wikipedia]. Farage is  one of Trump’s biggest supporter in the UK, [Guardian], and appears to be Trump’s “unofficial adviser,” [Telegraph]. Farage also has ties to WikiLeaks, [Guardian], and pushed for anti-EU, pro-Russian measures in the UK, [Guardian]. This included heading Leave.EU, which has ties to Cambridge Analytica and successfully campaigned for Brexit. [Guardian]. When Farage was asked which politician he admires most, he replied “[a]s an operator, but not as a human being, I would say Putin.” [HuffPost].
  • Intermediary for Trump Team & WikiLeaks? Stone tweeted about having dinner with Farage on 8/7/16.  [WashMonthly]. On 8/8/16, Stone tweeted that he contacted WikiLeaks through an intermediary [WM]. This led the Washington Monthly to question if Farage was Stone’s intermediary to Julian Assange. A bizarre sequence of events in March 2017 led others to ask the same question. [see e.g.Guardian]. To summarize, the timing of events may suggest WikiLeaks leaked CIA secrets about how to hack programs and steal passwords in order to support Trump’s wild accusation that Obama tapped his phone. [see Guardian; FP; NYT].   Then, on 3/9/17, Farage was caught exiting a private meeting with Assange an hour before Assange’s press conference on the leak. [Guardian].
  • Anti-European Union & Pro-Russian: As the name implies, the United Kingdom Independence Party was anti-European Union. [Guardian]. In fact, Farage sided with Russia over the EU in Ukraine, saying (falsely) that the EU had “blood on its hands” for encouraging Ukrainians to depose the pro-Putin president, Victor Yanukovych. [Guardian]. According to a defense analyst at a Digital Forensic Research Lab, Farage  systematically voted in favor of Russian interests over the EU. [Guardian]. Farage is a paid, regular contributor to RT, the Russian state-run TV-station. [Guardian].
  • Cambridge Analytica and Leave.EU: Farage headed the group Leave.EU, which campaigned successfully for Brexit. [Guardian]. The UK Electoral Commission is currently investigating Leave.EU’s spending return, because Cambridge Analytica donated services to Leave.EU but failed to register with the Electoral Commission. [Guardian].  Cambridge Analytica worked for Trump during the 2016 campaign, and exploits social media to influence voters. [Guardian]. The company is also under investigation by the UK Information Commissioner’s Office for its use of voter’s personal data. [Guardian].

George Guido Lombardi — Unofficial Member of Trump’s Campaign (added 4/16/17)

  • Summary: Lombardi emigrated from Italy to the US in the 1970s, but he is still a member of the Italian Russophile party, Lega Nord. [Politico]Lombardi and his wife are also very close friends of Trump. [Politico]During the presidential campaign, Lombardi kept Trump in touch with many Russophile European political parties. [Politico]He also arranged and/or curated hundreds of pro-Trump Facebook groups. [Politico].
  • Relationship with Trump: In 2016, Lombardi occupied two floors in the NY Trump Tower. [Politico]That same year, Trump said that he “love[d]” Lombardi and his wife, and that they were long-time friends and Mar-A-Lago Club members. [Politico]. Although Lombardi never joined Trump’s campaign team because of, “rules and regulations,” he worked very closely with it. [Politico].
  • Kept Trump In Touch with Russophile European Parties: Lombardi admits that he fielded calls for Trump from leading politicians of Russophile political parties in Europe, including (1) France’s Marine Le Pen (2) Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (3) Austria’s far-right Freedom Party (4) the center-right French Republican Party; and (5) the Italian party, Lega Nord. [Politico]Lombardi explains that he often forwarded callers to Trump, Eric Trump, and Trump associates. [Politico].
  • Online Pro-Trump Guerrilla Campaign: According to Politico, Lombardi led an “unofficial, guerrilla-style social media operation that aimed to amplify [Trump’s] message online.” [Politico]. Lombardi brags he led an operation that curated or arranged 500 niche pro-Trump Facebook groups, a couple of which had more than 100,000 “likes”.  [Politico]. Louise Mensch alleges, without corroboration, that Lombardi coordinated with pro-Trump Russian Botnets together with Flynn and Flynn Jr. (this is claim is not supported by a reliable source) [Patribotics].
  • Member of Russophile Italian Political Party: Lombardi is a member of the Italian party, Lega Nord (aka the Northern League). [Politico]. Lega Nord has signed a cooperation protocol with Putin’s party, United Russia. [FT]. In addition, Lega Nord has vowed to end sanctions on Russia. [theDailyBeast].
  • Anti-Islamic Views: Like Trump, Lombardi is anti-Islamic. [Politico]Lombardi hosted a meeting at Mar-a-Largo about defending “Judeo-Christian civilization,” which starred the anti-Islamic radical, Frank Gaffney. [Politico].

Richard Burt — Lobbyist For Russia

  • Summary:  Richard Burt helped draft Trump’s first foreign policy speech, given in April 2016. [politico]. Also during the first half of 2016, Russia paid Burt $365,000 to lobby Congress to support a gas pipeline in Eastern Europe. [politico]. Burt formally sat on the senior advisory board for Alfa Bank, [Politico], which is owned by Russian oligarchs. [BI].
  • More Details: Burt advocated that Trump adopt a ‘realist’ American-first, non-interventionist foreign policy. [Politico]. He shares Trump’s views on the irrelevance of NATO. [Politico]. Burt discussed national security with Jeff Sessions, and wrote white papers for him on this subject. [Politico]. Manafort recruited Burt to join Trump’s campaign. [Politico].

Herman Gref — CEO of Russia’s biggest bank

  • Summary: Gref is CEO of the state-controlled Sberbank, which is Russia’s biggest bank. [Bloomberg]. He is very close to Putin. Gref has openly disclosed his connections to Trump and Trump’s team.
  • Connections to Russian government: The US thought Gref’s bank was close enough to Putin to warrant sanctioning Sberbank after Russia invaded Crimea in 2014. [USTreasuryDept].  Sergey Gorkov of VneshEconomBank worked under Gref at Sberbank until roughly 2016, when Gref recommended to Putin that he appoint Gorkov to head VneshEconomBank. [BI].
  • Connections to Trump: Gref helped sponsor Trump’s 2013 Moscow Beauty Pageant. [Bloomberg]. Right after the pageant, Gref held a dinner for Trump attended by 10 Russian oligarchs.  [BI]. After the 2016 election, Gref declared that he liked Trump and “know[s] several people from his team.” [WaPo].

Aras and Emin Agalarov — Russian Real Estate Moguls

  • Summary: Aras Agalarov is a Russian billionaire real estate developer, who is sometimes called the “Trump of Russia” because he plasters his names on his buildings. [WaPo].  He has signed contracts with the Russian government, [WaPo], and is in Putin’s inner circle, [MotherJones]. His son Emin is a pop star and also a real estate magnate. [Forbes]. Both father and son had extensive interactions with Trump at the 2013 Moscow Beauty Pageant, [WaPo], and the family continues to communicate with Trump after his election. [Forbes].
  • Beauty Pageant: Aras financed Trump’s 2013 Moscow Beauty Pageant. [USAToday]. While Trump was in Moscow during the pageant, Aras also acted as a liaison between Trump and Putin. [WaPo]. Aras said his relationship with Trump blossomed at the Moscow pageant, and Aras tried to persuade Trump to build a Trump Tower next to Agalarov Tower. [WaPo].
  • Maintained Contacts: Emin claims that after the election, the Trump family maintained its relationship with the Agalarov family. [Forbes]. For instance, in Jan., after the Agalarovs congratulated Trump on his election victory, Trump responded with a handwritten note. [Forbes].  Emin says, “[n]ow that he ran and was elected, he does not forget his friends.” [Forbes].

Sergey Kislyak — Russian Ambassador to US (added 4/3/2017)

  • Summary: Kislyak is the Russian ambassador to the US. In that position, Kislyak undoubtedly functions as a diplomat, but according to the CIA, he also functions as a high-ranking spy and spy recruiter. [DailyKos & CNN]. Kislyak was in regular contact with many Trump team members during the 2016 presidential campaign and the transition.
  • Contacts with Trump Campaign: In April 2016, Trump greeted Kislyak and three other foreign ambassadors at a VIP reception, before Trump gave his first foreign policy speech advocating for closer ties to Russia. [WSJ]. The speech was hosted by a think tank with well known ties to Putin’s regime. [Politico]. Kislyak sat in the front row while Trump delivered the speech. [NBC]. Sessions met with Kislyak at least three times during the campaign, [PoliticoHuffPost], and at one meeting “somehow the subject of Ukraine came up,”  [New Republic]. Carter Page and J.D. Gordon met with Kislyak at the Republican National Convention. [CNN]. Michael Flynn also kept in regular contact with Kislyak throughout the campaign. [NYT].
  • Contacts with Trump Transition Team: During the transition, Flynn continued to contact Kislyak. [NYT]. In December, Flynn met Kislyak at Trump Tower accompanied by Jared Kushner. [NYT] Later in the same month, a Kushner’s aid met with Kislyak. [NYT]. Finally, still during December, at Kislyak’s request, Kushner met with the head of a notorious Russian bank, VneshEconomBank, which is currently sanctioned by the US. [NYT]

Dmitry Rybolovlev — aka “The Fertilizer King”

  • Summary: Rybolovlev made his fortune by investing in a fertilizer corporation in the 1990s, earning the nickname “the fertilizer king.” [Politico]. As described more in other sections, Rybolovlev purchased a Trump mansion for $95 million dollars, [Motherjones], and was the largest shareholder of the Bank of Cyprus when it was bailed out by Wilbur Ross, [NYT]. There have been frequent, suspicious sightings of Rybolovlev’s private jet and yacht in the location of Trump and Trump associates. [McCatchyMaddow 3/14/2017PalmBeachPost].
  • Private Jet: On 3/3/2017 Rachel Maddow reported that in the past half year, Rybolovlev’s plane visited at least three US cities when Trump and his team were there: Las Vegas in October, Concord/Charlotte North Carolina in November, and Palm Beach in February. [see McCatchyDC for more]. In the Las Vegas visit, Rybolovlev’s jet was taxied to the private hanger of Sheldon Adelson, a huge donor to the Trump campaign. [Mcclatchydc].
  • Private Yacht: In March 2017, Rybolovlev’s yacht was spotted within roughly 200 yards of Robert Mercer’s yacht in the Virgin Islands. [MyPalmbeachPost].  The yachts stayed close together for roughly a day. [MPP]. Mercer was Trump’s biggest campaign donor. [MPP]. In response to this story, Brian Cattell, Rybolovlev’s spokesman said that the oligarch never met Mercer. [MPP]. Ironically Cattell used to write for Breitbart, the news organization that Mercer partially owns. [MPPMcClatchy].
  • Dubrovnik Crotia: A blogger on the Kos convincingly asserts that Rybolovlev’s jet and yacht were in Dubrovnik, Croatia in the summer of 2016 at the same time Ivanka and Kushner were.

Dasha Zhukova and Roman Abramovich (updated 4/9/2017)

  • Summary: Zhukova is a Russian businesswoman, an art collector and magazine editor. [Wikipedia]. Her husband, Abramovich, is the 13th richest oligarch in Russia and is famous for owning Chelsea Football Club. [Wikipedia].   Abramovich is extremely close to Putin, and Abramovich and Zhukova are close friends of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. [Politico].
  • Close Friends with Kushner: Since about 2014, the couple has been friends to Ivanka Trump and Kushner. [Politico​​​​​].  As described in Kushner’s section Ivanka invited Zhukova to Trump’s inauguration. [Politico​​​​​]. On 3/14/2017, Zhukova ate dinner with Kushner’s brother Josh, in NY.  [Politico​​​​​]. On 3/18/17, Abramovich’s plane flew to Aspen, CO— the same day Ivanka and Kushner did.  [Politico​​​​​]. On 3/20/17, Abramovich’s plane flew to the Caribbean — the same day as airplanes linked to Michael Cohen, Trump’s lawyer. [Rawstory].
  • Abramovich is Very Close to Putin: Abramovich recommended Putin to Boris Yeltsin as Yeltsin’s successor,. [Politico​​​​​]. Perhaps as a result, Abramovich is one of Putin’s closest confidants. [Wikipedia]. Putin has often enlisted Abramovich to strike at Putin’s enemies in the shadows. [Politico​​​​​]. At Putin’s request, Abramovich also helped start the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia. [Politico​​​​​].
  • Keystone XL Pipeline: Abramovich partially owns the firm Evraz, which has a contract to provide 40% of the steel for the Keystone XL pipeline. [Politico​​​​​]. This project was approved by Trump in March 2017. [Politico​​​​​].
  • Ties to Rosneft: In 2006, Abramovich bought a substantial stake in Rosneft, the company currently run by Igor Sechin. [Guardian].

Carter Page — A Trump Foreign Policy Advisor

  • Summary: In the 2000s, Page worked at Merrill Lynch’s Moscow office on oil and gas deals. [Politico]. When Trump ran for president, Carter Page became one of his foreign policy advisers. [Telegraph]. Page made a campaign-approved visit to meet Russian officials in July. [Politico]. Late in the summer of 2016, the FBI obtained a FISA warrant allowing the agency to monitor Page’s communications; the warrant was renewed more than once. [WaPo]. To obtain the warrant, the FBI must have shown, among other things, that there was probable cause to believe Carter Page was acting as a foreign agent. [WaPo]. Page resigned from the Trump campaign on Sept. 26 2016 under suspicion that he visited members of Putin’s inner circle in Moscow in July.  [TalkingPoints]. On December 12, 2016, a day before Rex Tillerson was nominated as secretary of state, Page gave a speech in Moscow expressing excitement over Tillerson’s nomination. [HuffPost].
  • Connections to Russian Oil Companies: Carter Page bragged about having “deep ties” with executives at Gazprom, whom he said he advised on some of the biggest deals in the 2000s. [Politico]. However, this claim is met with skepticism by western businessmen. [Politico]. A spokesmen for Rosneft, the state owned Russian oil company, claimed that Page is an extremely knowledgeable expert on US-Russian relations. [Politico]. But genuine American experts on US-Russian relations knew very little about Page. [Politico].
  • Providing Information to a Russian Spy in 2013: From Jan. to June 2013, a Russian intelligence operative met and emailed with Carter Page in an effort to cultivate him as a source. [Buzzfeed].  Page provided the Russian spy with non-sensitive documents about the US energy business. [Buzzfeed]. The operative was part of a spy ring investigating information related to US sanctions on Russia. [Buzzfeed]. Another operative in this ring was Evgeny Buryakov, who held a job at VneshEconomBank as cover for his spy work. [Buzzfeed].
  • Page’s Trip to Moscow in July 2016: The dossier accused Page of meeting with Russian officials in July in his capacity as an adviser to the Trump campaign. [Dossier p. 30]. The dossier also claims that at this meeting Sechin offered Page and Trump a 19% stake in Rosneft. (see the Dossier sections for more). [Dossier p. 30].  As explained in the Dossier section in Part I, this allegation has been largely corroborated. [Politico].
  • FISA Warrant on Page: The FISA warrant, granted in late summer 2016, lasted 90 days, and was renewed at least two times. [WaPo]. The FISA application said that Page had contacts with more Russian intelligence operatives than those disclosed in the 2013 incident. [WaPo]. According to the Washington Post, the application also declared that investigators’ had reason to believe “Page both was an agent of the Russian government and knowingly engaged in clandestine intelligence activities on behalf of Moscow.”
  • Trump Campaign Falsely Denied Association w/ Page: On Aug. 5, Hope Hicks said Carter Page was only an “informal foreign policy adviser” to the campaign who “does not speak for [it].” [USAToday]. On Sept. 23 and 24, Jason Miller and Seven Cheung both claimed that they were not aware of Page’s role in the campaign. On Sept. 25, Conway denied Page was ever part of the campaign and falsely claimed that the campaign did not authorize him to visit Russia. [USAToday]. In Jan., Sean Spicer denied Trump even knew Carter Page. [USAToday].
  • Role on Campaign: A source inside the Trump campaign claimed that the campaign ignored Page’s foreign policy advise, that no one remembered Page in the campaign headquarters, and that Page attended three dinners for volunteer foreign policy advisers, none of which Trump attended. [WaPoBI]. Page’s account sharply differs. [CNN].  He told the House Intelligence Committee in 2017, “I have frequently dined in Trump Grill, had lunch in Trump Cafe, had coffee meetings in the Starbucks at Trump Tower, attended events and spent many hours in campaign headquarters on the fifth floor last year.” [CNN]. Page also said he attended several meetings at which Trump was present. [BINYT].
  • Under Investigation by the FBI: The FBI is looking into “intercepted communications and financial transactions” between Page and Russian. [Trumpconnect.ru].

Erik Prince — Blackwater Founder (added 4/3/17)

  • Summary: Prince is infamous for founding Blackwater, the private security firm working alongside US troops in the Iraq war. [WaPo]. Prince gave significant advise to the Trump campaign and/or transition team. [Bloomberg]. Prince has strong connections to Breitbart, and even gave them a major (albeit completely fabricated) scoop that Hillary would be imminently arrested for pedophilia and murder. [Breitbart; Maddow 4/19/17].  Prince also served as a back channel for the Trump administration to Russia in Jan. 2017. [WaPo].
  • Server Scandal: Prince’s sister is Betsy Devos. A server owned by a company run by Betsy’s husband, along with two servers of the Russian Alfa Bank, secretly communicated with a Trump Org. server, as explained in Part I. [WaPo].
  • Role in Campaign & Transition: During the campaign, Prince was an avid Trump supporter and contributed $250,000 to Robert Mercer’s pro-Trump super PAC which contracted with Cambridge Analytica. [WaPoDailybeast]. According to five sources, for a couple months around the election, Prince talked with several top Trump aids about how to restructure the US intelligence agencies and how to fight terror. [Bloomberg]. Among those he met with was Michael Flynn. [Bloomberg]. Prince’s influence over the administration declined upon Flynn’s removal. [Bloomberg].
  • Backchannel to Russia: In December 2016 there was a secret meeting in New York between Flynn, Jared Kushner, Bannon and the crown prince of the UAE. [WaPo]. Following this meeting, Prince asked the UAE crown prince to arrange a meeting with Prince, as a representative of the Trump team, and a representative of Putin. [WaPo]. This meeting took place in the Seychelles Islands, and lasted two days, starting on Jan. 11. [WaPo]. The participants likely discussed if Russia could be persuaded to stop supporting Iran. [WaPo].

Julian Assange and WikiLeaks (added 4/21/17):

  • Summary: Julian Assange founded WikiLeaks, which disseminated Democrats’ emails stolen by Russia throughout the 2016 campaign to help Trump. [NewYorker; Time; WashMonthly]. WikiLeaks started disseminating Podesta’s stolen emails a mere hour after the Hollywood Access tapes surfaced. [Politifact]. On 4/20/17, sources revealed that the US is preparing charges to seek the arrest of Assange. [CNN]. Assange is a paid, regular, contributor to RT. [Guardian]. Its unknown if these charges are related to WikiLeak’s collaboration with Russia and Trump’s campaign.
  • Ties to Roger Stone, Nigel Farage, Jill Stein: These ties are explained in greater detail in Stone, Farage and Stein’s sections.  To summarize, Roger Stone served as a backchannel to Assange for the Trump campaign. [Guardian]. In turn, Farage may been an intermediary for Stone and Assange. [WashMonth]. Since Stone communicated with Assange, Stone could accurately predict the timing of WikiLeaks dissemination of new Democrats’ emails. [WashMonth].  In March 2017, Farage had a private meeting with Assange a day after WikiLeaks released CIA hacking secrets. [Guardian]. During the campaign, Jill Stein lavished praise on Assange, and even video-streamed him into the Green Party’s convention. [TheHill; CNN]. Stein said it didn’t matter that WikiLeaks was leaking Democrats’ emails that were stolen by Russia. [CNN].
  • Assange Accused of Rape, Molestation: Assange lived in the Ecuadorian embassy in the UK since 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden. [BBC]. Sweden prosecutors want to investigate him on one allegation of rape, and a separate, unrelated, allegation of molestation. [BBC].

The CPFA — Pro-Putin French Think-Tank

  • Summary: Randa Baussart and Fabien Kassis, husband and wife, created the openly pro-Kremlin, French think-tank, CPFA, which met with Trump Jr. three weeks before the 2016 election (see above section for mroe). [WSJ]. Both Baussart and Kassis have extensive connections to Moscow. [ABC].
  • CPFA: CPFA’s full name is the Center of Political and Foreign Affairs. [ABC].  The think tank likely is Kremlin funded. [ABC].  CPFA is openly pro-Russia and recently nominated Putin for the Nobel Peace Price. [ABC]. The think-tank is not well-known by US experts on France. [ABC].
  • Randa Kassis: Born in Syria, Kassis is the leader of a Syrian opposition group that previously collaborated with Moscow to try to end the Syrian war. [WSJ]. She has posted photos of herself meeting with top Russian officials. [ABC].
  • Fabien Bassaurt: Baussart is known for his Kremlin and Russian business connections. [ABC]. A french news report described him as “a former lobbyist for Russian oligarchs in France.” [ABC]. Its reported that Baussart lobbied French authorities, especially French intelligence services. [ABC].

Corey Lewandowski — Trump’s First Campaign Manager (added 5/4/17)

  • Summary: Trump’s first campaign manager. [Politico]. Lewandowski approved Page’s trip to Moscow in the summer of 2016. [Politico].  In 2017 he formed one lobbying firm that promptly signed a deal with Citgo, and another firm that tried to contract with Eastern European clients. [Politico]. Lewandowski and his firms failed to register with the US government, as legally required, for months. [Politico].
  • Attempt to Lobby Trump Administration for Eastern European Clients: Lewandowski formed the lobbying firm Washington East West Political Strategies with (1) Barry Bennet, a former member of Trump’s campaign; (2) an Azerbaijani oil executive; and (3) an American political consultant who has extensive business ties to Russia. [Politico]. The consulting firm marketed itself to Eastern Europeans, and claimed to be able to “leverage” Bennet’s and Lewandowski’s “trusted relations with the US administration.” [Politico]. Shortly after Politico revealed the firm’s existence, tit was dissolved. [politico].
  • Lobbying for Citgo/Rosneft: Lewandowski and Bennet also co-founded Avenue Strategies in 2017. [Politico]. In March 2017, this firm formalized a contract to lobby for Citgo for $25,000-a-month. [Politico]. Citgo is heavily indebted to the Russian state-owned oil firm Rosneft. [DB; CBS]. For more on this contract, see Citgo’s section.

Jill Stein (added 4/19/16)

  • Summary: Stein was the presidential candidate for the Green Party (GP). Stein does not have strong ties to the Trump campaign. However, as detailed by Adam Khan and others, she worked closely with Russia’s propaganda machine. This included attending an RT dinner, spouting Moscow talking points, and promoting WikiLeaks, even though it was widely known to be collaborating with Russia. [NBC; CNNHill].
  • December 2015 Trip to Moscow for RT: In December 2015, she flew to Moscow to give an interview with RT, attend an RT dinner, and meet the Duma’s foreign affairs chair. [NBC]. In her RT interview, she advocated for a foreign policy of ‘principled collaboration’ with Russia, and criticized the US for its military spending. [NBC]. At the RT dinner, she sat at the same table as Michael Flynn, Putin, and two other Russians targeted by US sanctions. [NBC].
  • Assange Live-streaming At GP Convention: On 8/6/16, Julian Assange spoke to the Green Party’s convention through a video live-stream. [CNN]. In his speech, Assange warned against the dangers of a Clinton White House.  [CNN]. Assange spoke from the Ecuadorian embassy in UK, where he is hiding from an allegation of rape and another, unrelated allegation of molestation, by Swedish prosecutors. [BBC].  At the time he spoke to the GP convention, it was public knowledge that WikiLeaks was disseminating Democrats’ emails stolen by Russia. [CNN]. This didn’t bother Stein, who said Russia’s efforts to sway the US election were “routine” and just the kind of thing “state departments do to one another.” [CNN].
  • Op-Ed Praising Assange, Calling US Political System Rigged: On 8/23/16, the Hill published Jill Stein’s op-ed proclaiming that Julian Assange was “a hero.”  Stein marveled that WikiLeak’s “stunning revelations of how top Democratic National Committee officials conspired to sabotage Bernie Sander’s campaign, in collusion with the media, shattered the illusion of a fair electoral process and confirmed what millions of Americans already knew in their gut: we live under a rigged political system.”  [Hill]. The theme that the US political system is rigged was oft-repeated by Russian trolls and bots on social media (as well as by Trump). [see Reuters].

Other Noteworthy Organizations Connecting Trump & Russia

  • FL Group: FL Group was Iceland’s largest private Investment firm until it failed in 2008 (taking the Icelandic economy with it). [TAI]. According to the American Interest, the FL Group was nearly impossible to regulate because of its complex dependent financial relationship with the three largest Icelandic banks. [TAI]. These Icelandic institutions lent enormous sums of money to Russian oligarchs as well as to Bayrock. [TAI]. Many of these oligarchs were close allies with Putin. [NYT]. When the financial crisis hit Iceland in 2008, Putin seriously considered bailing out Iceland with billions of Euros (he didn’t). [TAI].
  • The Eurasia Group: The Group is run by a trio of corrupt billionaires from Kazakhstan. [TAI]. Since the late 1980s, Trio worked to buy up Kazakhstan’s natural resources, and in doing so became close to the autocratic ruler of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev. [TAI ;Guardian]. The Group also worked with Bayrock to help finance Trump projects. [TAI]. The US has previously prosecuted the Trio for laundering, bribery, and racketeering. [TAI].

Other Russians Connecting Trump and Russia

  • Lev Leviev (added 4/9/2017): One of Putin’s closest confidants, he helped form the Federation of Jewish Communities at Putin’s behest. [Politico​​​​​]. In 2007, Trump hosted Leviev’s marriage to the daughter of one of Bayrock’s founders, Tamir Sapir. [Politico​​​​​]. Later that same year, Leviev chatted with Trump about potential real estate deals in Moscow, and Trump and Kushner attended the bris of Leviev’s first son.  [Politico​​​​​]. In 2015, Leviev sold Kushner a $300 million dollar building in New York. [Politico​​​​​].
  • Berel Lazar (added 4/9/2017):  Berel Lazar is the leader of Chabad Judaism in Russia. [Politico]. Under Putin’s instruction, Lazar, Lev Leviev and Roman Abramovich created the Chabad Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia to undermine existing Russian Jewish civil society. [Politico]. Lazar is so close to Putin he is known as “Putin’s rabbi.”  [Politico​​​​​]. Lazar met with Trump’s lawyer, Jason Greenblatt, In the summer of 2016. [NYT].
  • Oleg Deripaska: Deripaska is “among the 2-3 oligarchs Putin turns to on a regular basis.” [apnews]. He has had a number of extremely suspicious business deals with Paul Manafort, covered in Manafort’s section.  [apnews]. Deripaska also took pictures with Sergei Millian in Russia in the summer of 2016. [WaPo].
  • Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov: The Russian mobster boss who, from the safety of Russia, oversaw an illegal gambling ring out of the 51st floor of Trump Tower. [TAI]. Forbes listed him as one of the World’s Ten Most Wanted Criminals in 2008. [TAI]. The FBI believes his organization has ties to that of Semion Mogilevich’s. [TAI]. In Trump’s 2013 Miss Universe Contest in Moscow, Trump honored Tokhtakhounov as a VIP. [TAI].
  • Semion Mogilevich / Semyon Mogelivich (boss of mob bosses): Mogilevich is perhaps the most powerful Russian Mafia boss. [TAI]. Mogilevich is the supposed head of Solntseveskaya Bratva, which was the world’s highest grossing crime group in 2014. [TAI].  Mogilevich has ties to many other people mentioned in this outline. Felix Sater’s father worked for Mogilevich. [TAI]. Mogilevich also was a close business associate of Boris Birshtein. [TAI]. Mogilevich also ties to Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov and Anatoly Golubchik. [TAI]. David Bogatin and Vyacheslav Ivankov were important lieutenants in the the Mogilevich crime family. [TAI].
  • Dmitry Rogozin (added 4/2/17): A hardline ultra-right deputy to Putin, who is the leader of Russia’s defense industry, and a member of the Duma. [DailyBeast]. He is a vehement racist, who wants to unite all the European far-right parties. [DB]. Rogozin is also very interested in cyber-warfare. [DB]. Rogozin is subject to US sanctions. [DailyBeast]. In December 2015, Rogozin, Butina, and Torshin met with the NRA delegation led by David Clarke. [DB]. Rogozin is also chairman of the Russian Shooting Federation. [DB].

Other USSR Emigrants Connecting Trump and Russia

  • David Bogatin: Born in Russia, Bogatin emigrated to the US. [NYT]. In the 1990s, the FBI believed Bogatin was a key member of Mongilevich’s Russian organized crime family in the US. [TAI]. Trump personally sold Bogatin five separate condos in Trump tower. [TAI].
  • Vyacheslav Ivankov: Born in Georgia, Ivankov is another member of Mogilevich’s crime family in the US. [TAI]. He also lived in Trump Tower during the 1990s. [TAI]. He reportedly had a phone book with the private telephone and fax numbers of the Trump Organization in the Trump Tower. [TAI].
  • Tevfik Arif: The former Soviet commerce and trade official founded Bayrock. [TheDiplomat]. In the early 1990s, Arif emigrated from Kazakhstan to Turkey, where he developed a hotel chain. [TAI]. A couple years later he moved to New York, founded Bayrock, and eventually opened up an office in the Trump Tower in NYC. [TAI]. Arif appears to have links to Kazakhstan, particularly the Eurasia Group. [TAI].
  • Alex Shnaider: Born in Russia, he emigrated to Toronto when he was a teenager. [TAI]. He became a billionaire w/ his company Midlands Resources Holding Ltd. [TAI]. Schnaider’s father-in-law Boris Birshtein owns the company Seabeco, and had close ties to the Russian mafia via Semion Moglivech, the powerful mob boss. [TAI]. It appears that some of Schnaider’s success was due to Birtshtein and perhaps even the Russian mafia. [TAI]. In 2012, Schnaider financed a 70 story Trump Tower in Canada. [TAI]. In 2016, the Tower failed and was foreclosed on. [TAI]. FL Group gave Shnaider a 45.8 million Euro loan around 2008. [TAI].
  • Alexander Rovt (added 4/15/17): Born in Ukraine, he fled to the US in 1985. [wikipedia]. A couple years later, Rovt used his Ukraine connections to invest in the fertilizer trade in the collapsing USSR. [wikipedia]. By 2000, he controlled 85-90% of the fertilizer trade in Russia and Ukraine. [wikipedia].  In early 2016, Rovt co-hosted a discussion on Ukrainian relations with Andrii Artemenko, a pro-Putin Ukrainian lawmaker with ties to Trump. [NYTimes]. A company financially backed by Rovt loaned $3.5 million to Manafort shortly after Manafort resigned from Trump’s campaign. [NYTimes]. In early November 2016, Rovt donated $10,000 to Trump’s campaign because “[f]riends had been encouraging him to support the Trump campaign.” [NYTimes]. Most of this money was returned as it exceeded the legal maximum campaign donation. [NYTimes].

Other Ukrainians Connecting Trump & Russia

  • Andrii Artemenko (added 4/15/17): Artemenko is currently a lawmaker in a Ukrainian parliamentary party that employed Paul Manafort. [Trumpconnect]. Artemenko is pro-Putin and pro-Russian. [NYT]. In 2016, he sat on a panel with Alexander Rovt that discussed Ukrainian-American relations. [NYTimes]. In Jan. 2017, with the encouragement of Putin’s aids, Artemenko created a plan for Trump to drop sanctions on Russia, while continuing to occupy Crimea. [NYT].  He sent the plan to the Trump administration with the help of Michael Cohen and Felix Sater. [NYT].  In Feb. 2017, Ukrainian prosecutors started investigating if Artemenko’s actions constituted treason. [NYT].
  • Demitry Firtash:  Demitry Firtash is a corrupt Ukrainian ​​​​​​businessman, who acted as an intermediary in gas sales for Gazprom, and who allegedly bankrolled Yanukovych and other pro-Putin politicians. [NBCTrumpconnect.ru]. Around 2008, Manafort planned to redevelop a New York hotel with help from Firtash, who agreed to invest $100 million in this $850 million renovation. [NBC]. In 2011, a civil suit alleged that the renovation was a front to launder Firtash’s money. [BloombergTAI].
  • Victor Pinchuk: Pinchuk is a Ukrainian billionaire, [Forbes], who in 2016 paid $150,000 to Trump’s charity, in exchange for Trump granting Pinchuk a 15 minute interview. [see DailyBeast].  Years ago, Carter Page told Merrill Lynch colleagues that he had ties to Pinchuk. [DB].​​​ Recently in a WSJ article, Pinchuk suggested the Trump administration could help Ukraine make peace with Russia, and advocated that Ukraine make “painful” concessions to Moscow, such as abandoning plans to join the EU and NATO. [DB].

Other Americans Connecting Trump & Russia

  • Dana Rohrabacher (added 4/4/17): Rohrabacher is a GOP member of the House and a Trump supporter. [Bloomberg]. Soon after Trump’s inauguration, Rohrabacher and a handful of other Americans attended a private dinner with Aleksander Torshin and his Russian colleagues. [Bloomberg]. Apparently the Americans told the Russians that Trump wanted to take pro-Russian policies, but couldn’t until securing domestic victories. [Bloomberg]. Rohrabacher has visited Moscow several times, and wants to improve US-Russia relations. [Bloomberg]. Like Trump, he envisions working with Russia to combat “our mutual, overarching enemy: radical Islamic terrorism.” [Bloomberg]. Trump invited Rohrabacker to the White House the week of 4/3/17.  [Bloomberg].
  • Ezra Cohen-Watnick (added 4/4/17): Ezra Cohen-Watnick (“Watnick”) is the senior director for intelligence at the National Security Council. [NYT]. Only 30,  Watnick has less experience than virtually all past ‘senior’ directors of intelligence. [Maddow 4/3/17]. Watnick leaked information to Devin Nunes showing Trump and his associates were incidentally recorded by US intelligence. [NYT].  Watnick’s wife works for a PR and marketing firm in Washington D.C. that does public relations for the Russian government. [Palmer]. In March 2017, Trump prevented his national security advisor, Lt. Gen. McMaster, from replacing Watnick. [NYT]. In mid-March 2017, one intelligence official said CIA officials “absolutely despise [Watnick].” [Guardian].
  • Jason Greenblatt: Greenblatt used to be a lawyer at the Trump Org., and he currently is a special representative for international negotiations for the Trump administration. [NYT]. In the summer of 2016, he met with the chief rabbi of Russia, Berel Lazar, who is closely allied with Putin. [NYT].
  • Micrhael Caputo: Caputo was an adviser to Trump’s Campaign for the New York primary, who lived in Russia in the 1990s. [WaPo]. In 2000, he was hired by the Russian company Gazprom Media to burnish Putin’s image in the US. [WaPo].
  • David Clarke: Clarke is a Milwaukee County Sheriff and Fox News regular. [Atlantic]. He is a gun rights enthusiast . [Atlantic]. Clarke spoke for Trump during the presidential campaign and, at one time, was expected to be appointed to Trump’s cabinet. [Salon]. In Dec. 2015, the NRA sent Clarke to attend meeting in Russia with Butina’s gun group “The Right to Bear Arms,” at which Aleksander Torshin gave a speech. [DailyBeast]. The NRA would be one of Trump’s fiercest supporters in 2016. [DailyBeast]. Butina’s group paid $6,000 of Clarke’s travel expenses. [Time]. Clarke also met Putin’s extremist deputy Dmitry Rogozin. [DailyBeast].
  • Monica Crowley: Crowley was a prospective Trump appointee for the White House National Security Council, until it was revealed she was a serial plagiarist. [DailyBeastWikipedia]. Crowley is now lobbying for the Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk, who is a Russian apologist (see his section for more). [DB].  In June 2016, Crowley tweeted that Putin was going to have to release Hillary’s emails because the State Department refused to do so. [CNN].
  • George Conway: Kellyanne Conway’s husband. He tweeted in August 2016 that he was currently visiting the Russian embassy . [KosAnonyTweet]. He since deleted the Tweet.  [DailyKos]. He is expected to be appointed by Trump to lead the DOJ’s civil division. [ABC].
  • Mike Pence: According to at least one source, Paul Manafort convinced Trump to pick Pence as VP. [CBSDailyBeastKos]. Allegedly, Manafort and Pence talked regularly at least through the end of November 2016. [DailyBeastKos].
  • K.T. McFarland (added 4/4/17): Trump’s Deputy National Security Advisor, she stayed on even after her boss Michael Flynn was fired. [TheHill]. in 2013, she wrote an aptly titled article, Putin is the one who really deserves that Nobel Peace Price.
  • JD Gordon: Gordon represented Trump on national security at the RNC.[TrumpConnect]. He has admitted to soften an amendment to the GOP platform that called for arming Ukraine against Russia. Gordon met with Sergey Kislyak at the the GOP convention along with Carter Page at the . [TrumpConnect].

Cry Havoc and Let Slip the Dogs of War

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