Trump Relationship with Russia
Multiple intelligence agencies in the United States and abroad have confirmed a deliberate attempt by the Russian government to manipulate the results of the U.S. election with hacking and propaganda. Because Trump refused to release his income taxes as every other modern presidential candidate has, the extent of his business dealings in Russia are unclear. He has lied and said he has no ties to Russia.
However, intelligence agents have presented classified reports to Trump and President Obama that Russian operatives have compromising information about Trump. These allegations were included in a report on Russian attempts to influence the election in favor of Trump. (Source: CNN)
Trump has on many occasions praised Putin. During the campaign, Trump's team deleted a plank in the Republican Party platform that called for arming Ukraine to resist Russian aggression there. Three of his top advisers have extensive relationships with Russia: his former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, his foreign policy adviser Carter Page, and his national security pick, Michael Flynn, who sat near Putin as he attended a banquet celebrating Russia's propaganda channel. (TIME)
2018.03.13 Hours before being ousted as secretary of state, Rex Tillerson called the poisoning of an ex-Russian spy and his daughter with a military-grade nerve agent in the U.K. “a really egregious act” that appears to have “clearly” come from Russia. nbcnews.com (See also Russia, Rex Tillerson, Department of State, Resignations and Dismissals) 2018.03.15 The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, has subpoenaed the Trump Organization to turn over documents, including some related to Russia, which is the first known instance of the special counsel demanding records directly related to Donald Trump’s businesses. nytimes.com (See also Legal Activity, Trump Business) 2018.03.18 U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ testimony that he opposed a proposal for Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign team to meet with Russians has been contradicted by three people who have spoken about the matter to investigators with Special Counsel Robert Mueller or congressional committees. reuters.com (See also False Statements, leg, Legal Issues, Jeff Sessions, trump) 2018.03.19 DonaldTrump hired the longtime Washington lawyer Joseph E. diGenova on Monday, adding an aggressive voice to his legal team who has pushed the theory on television that the F.B.I. and Justice Department framed Mr. Trump. nytimes.com (See also Belief in Conspiracy Theories, Legal Issues, Russian Meddling in Election) 2018.03.20 Donald Trump called on Tuesday to congratulate President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia on his re-election, but did not raise with him the lopsided nature of his victory, Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election or Moscow’s role in a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy and his daughter living in Britain. nytimes.com (See also Unpresidential Behavior, 2016 Election) 2018.03.20 Donald Trump did not follow specific warnings from his national security advisers Tuesday when he congratulated Vladimir Putin on his reelection — including a section in his briefing materials in all-capital letters stating “DO NOT CONGRATULATE." washingtonpost.com (See also Unpresidential Behavior, Russia) 2018.03.22 Guccifer 2.0, the “lone hacker” who took credit for providing WikiLeaks with stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee, and who communicated with (and was defended by) longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone, was in fact an officer of Russia’s military intelligence directorate (GRU). thedailybeast.com (See also Russia, Russian Meddling in Election, Legal Activity) 2018.03.26 Donald Trump ordered the expulsion of 60 Russian officials on Monday, joining a coordinated campaign by two dozen countries to retaliate for the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain in a Cold War-style escalation that again highlighted the disparity between the president’s words and actions. nytimes.com (See also Russia) 2018.03.28 A top Trump campaign official had repeated communications during the final weeks of the 2016 presidential race with a business associate tied to Russian intelligence, according to a document released on Tuesday by the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the election. nytimes.com (See also Russia, Russian Meddling in Election, Legal Issues, 2016 Election) 2018.03.29 Donald Trump's national security advisers spent months trying to convince him to sign off on a plan to supply new U.S. weapons to Ukraine to aid in the country's fight against Russian-backed separatists, yet when the president finally authorized the major policy shift, he told his aides not to publicly tout his decision, because it might agitate Russian President Vladimir Putin. nbcnews.com (See also Russia) 2018.04.03 Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told special counsel Robert Mueller in a classified August 2, 2017, memo that he should investigate allegations that Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was "colluding with Russian government officials" to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. cnn.com (See also Russian Meddling in Election, 2016 Campaign, Legal Activity) 2018.04.09 The special counsel is investigating a payment made to Donald Trump’s foundation by a Ukrainian steel magnate for a talk during the campaign, as part of a broader examination of streams of foreign money to Mr. Trump and his associates in the years leading up to the election. nytimes.com (See also Hypocrisy, Trump Business, Legal Issues) 2018.04.16 Donald Trump on Monday put the brakes on a preliminary plan to impose additional economic sanctions on Russia, walking back a Sunday announcement by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley that the Kremlin had swiftly denounced as “international economic raiding.” washingtonpost.com (See also Nikki Haley, Russia, Foreign Policy) 2018.04.16 Donald Trump rejected a fresh round of sanctions set to be imposed against Russia, a course change that underscored the schism between the president and his national security team, including the president’s ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki R. Haley, who had already announced that the administration would place sanctions on Russian companies found to be assisting Syria’s chemical weapons program. nytimes.com (See also Reversals, Russia, Nikki Haley) 2018.04.20 The Democratic National Committee opened a surprise legal assault on Donald Trump, filing a lawsuit in federal court alleging that the organization was the victim of a conspiracy by Russian officials, the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks to damage Hillary Clinton’s presidential run. nytimes.com (See also Legal Activity, 2016 Campaign, Russian Meddling in Election) 2018.04.23 Donald Trump twice gave James Comey an alibi for why a salacious report about the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow couldn’t be true: He never even spent the night in Russia during that trip, yet the broad timeline of Trump’s stay, stretching from Friday, Nov. 8, 2013, through the following Sunday morning, has been widely reported, and it’s substantiated by social media posts that show he slept in Moscow the night before the Miss Universe contest. bloomberg.com (See also False Statements, Russia) 2018.04.23 The Treasury Department eased sanctions on Russian aluminum producer Rusal and said it would consider lifting them altogether if the company severs ties with Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch with close ties to President Vladimir Putin. politico.com (See also Department of the Treasury, Russia, Reversals) 2018.04.27 A direct line of communication between the Kremlin-connected Agalarov family and the Trump family was open during the transition after President Donald Trump’s presidential election. buzzfeed.com (See also 2016 Election) 2018.04.30 The Trump campaign has spent nearly $228,000 to cover some of the legal expenses for Donald Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen, despite the fact that it is illegal to spend campaign funds for personal use. abcnews.go.com (See also Legal Activity, Russian Meddling in Election) 2018.05.08 A shell company that Michael D. Cohen used to pay hush money to a pornographic film actress received payments totaling more than $1 million from an American company linked to a Russian oligarch and several corporations with business before the Trump administration. nytimes.com (See also Legal Issues) 2018.05.11 Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team has questioned several witnesses about millions of dollars in donations to Donald Trump’s inauguration committee last year, including questions about donors with connections to Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. abcnews.go.com (See also Legal Activity, Corruption, Russia, Saudi Arabia) 2018.05.11 The FBI warned four years ago that a foundation controlled by the Russian oligarch who allegedly reimbursed Donald Trump's personal lawyer might have been acting on behalf of Russia's intelligence services. npr.org (See also Legal Issues, Russian Meddling in Election, Russia) 2018.05.16 The Republican at the helm of the Senate’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election backed the assessment by American intelligence agencies that Moscow favored Donald J. Trump in the race, contradicting both the president and fellow Republicans in the House. nytimes.com (See also Russian Meddling in Election, 2016 Election) 2018.05.18 Three top senators requested rare multi-agency inspector-general investigations into the Trump administration’s failure to fully implement congressionally mandated sanctions against Russia. thedailybeast.com (See also Russia, Legal Issues) 2018.05.25 Eleven days before the presidential inauguration last year, a billionaire Russian businessman with ties to the Kremlin visited Trump Tower in Manhattan to meet with Donald J. Trump’s personal lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen. nytimes.com (See also Russia, Legal Issues)
Trump's numerous bankruptcies have made it difficult for him to get loans from U.S. banks, so he has had to turn to Russia for financing. He has lied about his relationship with Putin and with Russia. At least as far back as 2008, his company has claimed to do "disproportionate" business with Russia. He praised Putin and criticized Obama in a 2013 video (in timeline above), implying Putin was surveilling Trump's office. His advisers have business ties to Russia, including Paul Manafort, who resigned from the Trump campaign after the New York Times disclosed a secret ledger in Ukraine revealing $12.7 million in secret cash payments to Manafort.
There is consensus in the intelligence community that Putin directed hackers to release information intended to damage Hillary Clinton's campaign and secure the presidency for Trump. Trump's team made the Republican Party platform more favorable to Russia. And intelligence reports also indicate Russia has information that could be used to blackmail Trump.
Trump has lied about his relationship with Putin and Russia. The full extent of his financial dependence on Russia is unknown, although the Financial Times reports that multiple real estate investments have been funded by Russian criminals. He is compromised by Russian intelligence, and has praised Putin consistently and repeatedly. America's allies in Europe, alarmed, wrote Trump a letter warning him that Russia does not have America's greatness in mind.
The New York Times, Charles Blow:
A hostile foreign power stole confidential correspondence from American citizens — this is no different than physically breaking into an American office and carting off boxes of written letters — and funneled that stolen material to a willing conspirator, Julian Assange. The foreign power then had its desired result achieved on our Election Day.