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)
2017.08.14 Trump campaign emails show aide’s repeated efforts to set up Russia meetings. washingtonpost.com (See also Russian Meddling in Election, 2016 Campaign, Russia) 2017.08.17 In the summer of 2016, as WikiLeaks was publishing documents from Democratic operatives allegedly they turned down a large cache of documents related to the Russian government, instead focusing on Hillary Clinton. foreignpolicy.com (See also 2016 Campaign, Russian Meddling in Election, Russia) 2017.08.18 Federal prosecutors working for special counsel Robert Mueller are focusing keenly on the president’s son Donald Trump Jr. and are trying to determine his intent when he attended a controversial June 9, 2016, meeting with a Russian lawyer. buzzfeed.com (See also Donald Trump Jr, Russian Meddling in Election, Russia) 2017.08.21 Rinat Akhmetshin, a Russian-born Washington influence peddler who met with senior Trump campaign officials, has often promoted causes benefiting President Vladimir V. Putin and his allies. nytimes.com (See also Russian Meddling in Election, Legal Activity) 2017.08.24 CIA director Mike Pompeo has not impeded work looking into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, but several officials said there is concern about what he might do if the CIA uncovered new information potentially damaging to Trump. washingtonpost.com (See also Mike Pompeo, Russian Meddling in Election, 2016 Campaign) 2017.08.24 Congressional investigators have unearthed an email from a top Trump aide, Rick Dearborn, who is now Trump's deputy chief of staff, that referenced a previously unreported effort to arrange a meeting last year between Trump campaign officials and Russian President Vladimir Putin. cnn.com (See also 2016 Election, Russian Meddling in Election, Russia, Jeff Sessions) 2017.08.27 While Trump was running for president in late 2015 and early 2016, his company was pursuing a plan to develop a massive Trump Tower in Moscow. washingtonpost.com (See also Russia) 2017.08.28 A Republican lawmaker, Ron DeSantis (R-Fla) has put forth an amendment that would stop funding for the special counsel’s Russia investigation 180 days after it becomes law, and would prevent special counsel Robert Mueller from probing “matters occurring before June 2015,” which is the month Trump announced his presidential bid. thehill.com (See also Legal Issues, Corruption) 2017.08.28 A business associate of Donald Trump, Felix Sater, promised in 2015 to engineer a real estate deal with the aid of the president of Russia, Vladimir V. Putin, that he said would help Mr. Trump win the presidency. nytimes.com (See also Russia, Russian Meddling in Election) 2017.08.28 A top executive from Donald Trump’s real estate company emailed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s personal spokesman during the U.S. presidential campaign last year to ask for help advancing a stalled Trump Tower development project in Moscow, according to documents submitted to Congress. washingtonpost.com (See also Legal Issues, Russian Meddling in Election, Corruption) 2017.08.28 Donald Trump discussed a proposal to build a hotel and condominium tower in Moscow on three occasions with his company’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, who emailed the press secretary for Russian President Vladimir Putin to ask for assistance on the project. bloomberg.com (See also Russia, Russian Meddling in Election) 2017.08.30 Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team is working with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on its investigation into Paul Manafort and his financial transactions, potentially providing Mueller with additional leverage to get Manafort to cooperate in the larger investigation into Trump’s campaign, as Trump does not have pardon power over state crimes. politico.com (See also Legal Activity, Russian Meddling in Election, Corruption, 2016 Campaign) 2017.08.31 Special counsel Bob Mueller has teamed up with the IRS to assist with his investigation into alleged Russian election interference, enlisting the help of agents from the IRS’ Criminal Investigations unit, one of the federal government’s most tight-knit, specialized, and secretive investigative entities, focusing exclusively on financial crime, including tax evasion and money laundering. thedailybeast.com (See also Russian Meddling in Election, 2016 Campaign, Legal Issues, Corruption) 2017.09.01 Paul Manafort's notes from a controversial Trump Tower meeting with Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign included a mention of political contributions near a reference to the Republican National Committee. nbcnews.com (See also Russian Meddling in Election, Corruption, Legal Issues, 2016 Campaign) 2017.09.06 Amid ongoing concern over the role of disinformation in the 2016 election, Facebook said Wednesday it found that more than 5,000 ads, costing more than $150,000, had been placed on its network between June 2015 and May 2017 from "inauthentic accounts" and Pages, likely from Russia. wired.com (See also 2016 Campaign, Russian Meddling in Election) 2017.09.06 Representatives of Facebook told congressional investigators that the social network has discovered that it sold ads during the U.S. presidential campaign to a shadowy Russian firm tied to pro-Kremlin propaganda, seeking to target voters. washingtonpost.com (See also 2016 Campaign, Russian Meddling in Election) 2017.09.07 Donald Trump Jr. said he was open to receiving information about Hillary Clinton's "fitness, character or qualifications" when he accepted a meeting with a Russian lawyer last year in his opening statement of about 15 to 20 minutes before taking questions behind closed doors from staff members of the Senate Judiciary Committee latimes.com (See also 2016 Election, Russian Meddling in Election, Donald Trump Jr) 2017.09.11 Russian operatives hiding behind false identities used Facebook’s event-management tool to remotely organize and promote anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim rallies. thedailybeast.com (See also Russian Meddling in Election, Russia, 2016 Election, Immigration) 2017.09.11 The FBI recently questioned a former White House correspondent for Sputnik, the Russian-government-funded news agency, as part of an investigation into whether it is acting as an undeclared propaganda arm of the Kremlin. huffingtonpost.com (See also Russian Meddling in Election, Russia, Attempts to Discredit Media) 2017.09.19 Donald Trump is using money donated to his re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee to pay for his lawyers in the probe of alleged Russian interference in the U.S. election. reuters.com (See also Legal Issues, Russia) 2017.09.19 US investigators wiretapped former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort under secret court orders before and after the election, including a period when Manafort was knows to talk to Donald Trump, an extraordinary step involving a high-ranking campaign official now at the center of the Russia meddling probe. cnn.com (See also Russia, 2016 Campaign) 2017.09.20 Less than two weeks before Donald Trump accepted the Republican presidential nomination, his campaign chairman offered to provide briefings on the race to a Russian billionaire closely aligned with the Kremlin, in an email from Paul Manafort to an overseas intermediary. washingtonpost.com (See also Russian Meddling in Election, Corruption, 2016 Campaign, Russia) 2017.10.09 A newly disclosed email sent on the morning of a Trump Tower meeting held during last year’s presidential campaign between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian could offer evidence backing up the Russian lawyer’s claims that she was meeting with Trump Jr. solely to discuss a 2012 law despised by the Kremlin that imposed financial sanctions on wealthy Russians as punishment for human rights abuses. washingtonpost.com (See also Russian Meddling in Election, Donald Trump Jr) 2017.10.11 The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence is looking at Cambridge Analytica’s work for Donald Trump’s campaign as part of its investigation into Russian efforts to meddle in the 2016 race. thedailybeast.com (See also 2016 Campaign, Russian Meddling in Election) 2017.10.13 Paul Manafort, a former campaign manager for President Donald Trump, has much stronger financial ties to a Russian oligarch than have been previously reported, including that $26 million changed hands in the form of a loan between a company linked to Manafort and Oleg Deripaska, a billionaire with close ties to the Kremlin, bringing the total of their known business dealings to around $60 million over the past decade. nbcnews.com (See also Russian Meddling in Election, Corruption, Russia)
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.