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)
2017.12.30 George Papadopoulos, a Trump foreign policy adviser, was the improbable match that set off a blaze that has consumed the first year of the Trump administration. nytimes.com (See also 2016 Campaign, Russia, Russian Meddling in Election, Legal Issues) 2018.01.12 More than one-fifth of Donald Trump’s US condominiums have been purchased since the 1980s in secretive, all-cash transactions that enable buyers to avoid legal scrutiny by shielding their finances and identities. buzzfeed.com (See also Trump Business, Criminality, Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump, Donald Trump Jr, Department of the Treasury) 2018.01.16 Stephen K. Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist, was subpoenaed by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, to testify before a grand jury as part of the investigation into possible links between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia nytimes.com (See also Steve Bannon, Legal Issues) 2018.01.17 US authorities are poring over hundreds of newly uncovered payments from Russian diplomatic accounts, including transactions by former ambassador Sergey Kislyak 10 days after the 2016 presidential election and a blocked $150,000 cash withdrawal five days after the inauguration. buzzfeed.com (See also Russian Meddling in Election, Corruption, 2016 Election) 2018.01.18 The FBI is investigating whether a top Russian banker with ties to the Kremlin illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association to help Donald Trump win the presidency, as it is illegal to use foreign money to influence federal elections. mcclatchydc.com (See also Russia, Legal Issues, 2016 Election) 2018.01.23 Attorney General Jeff Sessions was questioned for several hours as part of the special counsel investigation, and the former F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, was interviewed by the office last year, marking the first time that investigators for the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, are known to have questioned a member of President Trump’s cabinet. nytimes.com (See also Jeff Sessions, Department of Justice, Legal Issues) 2018.01.25 Donald Trump ordered the firing last June of Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel overseeing the Russia investigation, but ultimately backed down after the White House counsel threatened to resign rather than carry out the directive. nytimes.com (See also Unpresidential Behavior, Legal Issues, Reversals) 2018.01.26 Donald Trump pressed senior aides last June to devise and carry out a campaign to discredit senior FBI officials after learning that those specific employees were likely to be witnesses against him as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. foreignpolicy.com (See also Unpresidential Behavior, Legal Issues) 2018.01.28 Republican lawmakers warned Donald Trump not to fire Robert S. Mueller III, but showed little sense of urgency to advance long-stalled legislation to protect the special counsel despite a report that Mr. Trump had tried to remove him last June. nytimes.com (See also Legal Issues, Corruption) 2018.01.29 Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, disregarding Justice Department warnings that their actions would be “extraordinarily reckless,” voted Monday evening to release a contentious secret memorandum said to accuse the department and the F.B.I. of misusing their authority to obtain a secret surveillance order on a former Trump campaign associate, throwing fuel on an already fiery partisan conflict over the investigations into Russia’s brazen meddling in the 2016 presidential election. nytimes.com (See also Unprecedented Actions, Nationalism, 2016 Campaign, Assaults on Facts) 2018.01.29 The Trump administration informed lawmakers that new Russia sanctions called for in a bipartisan bill passed last year are not necessary yet because the measure is already "serving as a deterrent," despite the fact that lawmakers in both parties nudged the administration to implement sanctions legislation that passed overwhelmingly in July — with only five no votes in both the House and Senate. politico.com (See also Russia, Unprecedented Actions, 2016 Campaign) 2018.02.13 Russia is already meddling in the midterm elections this year, the top American intelligence officials said, warning that Moscow is using a digital strategy to worsen the country’s political and social divisions. nytimes.com (See also Russian Meddling in Election, Russia, 2016 Election) 2018.02.18 Another former member of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign reportedly will plead guilty to charges resulting from special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. splinternews.com (See also 2016 Campaign, Legal Activity, Russian Meddling in Election) 2018.02.23 Special counsel Robert Mueller has filed new charges against former Donald Trump campaign officials Paul Manafort and Rick Gates describing a "scheme" in which the two longtime business partners allegedly laundered $30 million, failed to pay taxes for almost 10 years and used real estate they owned to fraudulently secure more than $20 million in loans. cnn.com (See also Legal Activity, 2016 Campaign, Russian Meddling in Election) 2018.02.27 US Cyber Command chief Adm. Mike Rogers told lawmakers on Tuesday that he has not been granted the authority by Donald Trump to disrupt Russian election hacking operations where they originate. cnn.com (See also Russian Meddling in Election) 2018.03.05 As Russia’s virtual war against the United States continues unabated with the midterm elections approaching, the State Department has yet to spend any of the $120 million it has been allocated since late 2016 to counter foreign efforts to meddle in elections or sow distrust in democracy. nytimes.com (See also Russian Meddling in Election, Rex Tillerson, Department of State) 2018.03.05 Russia advised Donald Trump to pick someone other than Mitt Romney for Secretary of State, who would ease sanctions against Moscow for its actions in Ukraine. newyorker.com (See also Russian Meddling in Election, Rex Tillerson, Department of State, Corruption) 2018.03.05 The grand jury investigating alleged collusion between Russia and Donald Trump's presidential campaign has sent a witness a subpoena seeking all documents involving the president and a host of his closest advisers, including emails, text messages, work papers, telephone logs and other documents going back to Nov. 1, 2015, 4½ months after Trump launched his campaign. nbcnews.com (See also Russian Meddling in Election, Steve Bannon, Legal Issues) 2018.03.07 Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has gathered evidence that a secret meeting in Seychelles including Blackwater founder Erik Prince, just before the inauguration of Donald Trump was an effort to establish a back channel between the incoming administration and the Kremlin — contradicting statements made to lawmakers by one of its participants. washingtonpost.com (See also Legal Issues, Corruption) 2018.03.08 The special counsel in the Russia investigation has learned of two conversations in recent months in which Donald Trump asked key witnesses about matters they discussed with investigators. nytimes.com (See also Russian Meddling in Election, Reince Priebus, Legal Issues, Don McGahn) 2018.03.12 Over two-thirds of U.S. House of Representatives Democrats urged Donald Trump to enact sanctions on Russia, the latest push by lawmakers for a response to investigators’ findings that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. election. reuters.com (See also Russian Meddling in Election, 2016 Election) 2018.03.12 Qatari officials gathered evidence of what they claim is illicit influence by the United Arab Emirates on Jared Kushner and other Trump associates, including details of secret meetings, but decided not to give the information to special counsel Robert Mueller for fear of harming relations with the Trump administration nbcnews.com (See also Jared Kushner, Russian Meddling in Election, Foreign Policy, Conflicts of Interest) 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)
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.