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)
2017.11.30 Attorney General Jeff Sessions declined to answer Congressman Adam Schiff's question asking whether President Trump ever asked him to obstruct the ongoing investigation into Russian inference in the 2016 presidential election. msn.com (See also Jeff Sessions, Department of Justice, Russian Meddling in Election, Corruption) 2017.12.01 Documents released as part of Mr. Flynn’s plea agreement show that his pre-inauguration discussions with Sergey I. Kislyak, the Russian ambassador, about foreign policy were part of a coordinated effort by aides running Mr. Trump’s transition into the White House, as Mr. Flynn was directed by a “very senior member” of Mr. Trump’s presidential transition team. nytimes.com (See also Michael Flynn, Russian Meddling in Election, Mike Pence, Jared Kushner, Reince Priebus) 2017.12.01 Here are the lies that Michael Flynn told FBI agents. axios.com (See also Russia, Michael Flynn, Criminality) 2017.12.01 Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law, called Michael Flynn in December 2016 and told him to call members of the UN Security Council in an effort to stop a vote on a resolution critical of Israeli settlement policy. buzzfeed.com (See also Jared Kushner, Michael Flynn, Legal Issues, Israel) 2017.12.01 Michael Flynn is now the fourth Trump staffer to be charged in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe. axios.com (See also Michael Flynn, Legal Issues, Criminality) 2017.12.01 Michael Flynn will reportedly testify that Donald Trump instructed him to make contact with Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign. thedailybeast.com (See also Michael Flynn, 2016 Campaign, Russian Meddling in Election, Criminality) 2017.12.01 Retired Lt. Gen Michael Flynn has promised “full cooperation” in the special counsel’s Russia investigation and, according to a confidant, is prepared to testify that Donald Trump directed him to make contact with the Russians, initially as a way to work together to fight ISIS in Syria. abcnews.go.com (See also Michael Flynn, Russia, Legal Issues, 2016 Campaign, Criminality) 2017.12.02 A transition advisor to Donald Trump wrote in an email weeks before his inauguration that sanctions would make it difficult to ease relations with Russia, “which has just thrown the U.S.A. election to him.” thedailybeast.com (See also Michael Flynn, Reince Priebus, Steve Bannon, Sean Spicer) 2017.12.02 Michael Flynn’s admission that senior transition officials gave him orders last December casts doubt on the Trump administration’s effort to portray Flynn’s pre-inauguration diplomacy as a rogue operation, as Mike Pence, former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, and former press secretary Sean Spicer all strongly denied early this year that Flynn discussed sanctions last December with Russia’s ambassador to the US. buzzfeed.com (See also Michael Flynn, Russian Meddling in Election, Mike Pence, Sean Spicer, Reince Priebus) 2017.12.02 While Donald Trump has called claims of unusual contacts with Russia a “hoax,” emails show top administration aides closely tracked Michael T. Flynn’s calls to the Russian ambassador. nytimes.com (See also Michael Flynn, False Statements, Legal Issues) 2017.12.03 A conservative operative trumpeting his close ties to the National Rifle Association and Russia told a Trump campaign adviser last year that he could arrange a back-channel meeting between Donald J. Trump and Vladimir V. Putin, the Russian president, according to an email sent to the Trump campaign. nytimes.com (See also Russian Meddling in Election, Russia) 2017.12.04 John Dowd, Donald Trump's outside lawyer, outlined a new and highly controversial defense/theory in the Russia probe: A president cannot be guilty of obstruction of justice. axios.com (See also Legal Issues, False Statements, Corruption, Russian Meddling in Election) 2017.12.04 K.T. McFarland, a former aide to President Trump, told a senator that she did not talk with Michael T. Flynn about his contacts with a Russian official, but recently surfaced emails suggest she knew of a key phone call. nytimes.com (See also Michael Flynn, Russian Meddling in Election, False Statements) 2017.12.04 The special counsel investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election on Monday accused Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, of working with a Russian colleague to draft an opinion piece about his political work for Ukraine, as recently as November 30th. reuters.com (See also Russian Meddling in Election, Legal Issues, Ukraine) 2017.12.05 Democrats have placed a hold on the nomination of KT McFarland to be ambassador to Singapore until she answers their questions about her knowledge of communications between former national security adviser Michael Flynn and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. cnn.com (See also Michael Flynn, False Statements, Russian Meddling in Election) 2017.12.06 Donald Trump Jr., while being interviewed privately by the House Intelligence Committee following disclosures that Democrats say must be explored in the probe of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia before the 2016 election, said that he couldn't answer questions about what he told his father after a controversial meeting with a Russian lawyer in June 2016, citing attorney-client privilege. bloomberg.com (See also Donald Trump Jr, Russian Meddling in Election, False Statements) 2017.12.06 Michael Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, told a former business associate that economic sanctions against Russia would be “ripped up” as one of the Trump administration’s first acts. nytimes.com (See also Michael Flynn, Corruption, Russia) 2017.12.07 The British publicist who arranged the June 2016 meeting with Russians and Donald Trump Jr. sent multiple emails to a Russian participant and a member of Donald Trump's inner circle later that summer, the first indication there was any follow-up after the meeting. cnn.com (See also Donald Trump Jr, Russian Meddling in Election, False Statements, 2016 Campaign) 2017.12.08 Candidate Donald Trump, his son Donald Trump Jr. and others in the Trump Organization received an email in September 2016 offering a decryption key and website address for hacked WikiLeaks documents, according to an email provided to congressional investigators. cnn.com (See also Russian Meddling in Election, Donald Trump Jr, 2016 Campaign) 2017.12.12 Donald Trump signed a $700 billion defense policy bill, but less than three hours later started complaining about it's imperfections, notably that it contains several provisions specifically targeting Russia. usatoday.com (See also Russia, Department of Defense) 2017.12.13 Donald Trump Jr. met with the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee for 9 hours, as part of the panel’s investigation into Russia, the 2016 U.S. election and whether his father’s election campaign colluded with Moscow. reuters.com (See also Donald Trump Jr, Legal Issues, Russian Meddling in Election, 2016 Campaign, 2016 Election) 2017.12.14 Donald Trump continues to reject the evidence that Russia supported his run for the White House as part of an unprecedented assault on a pillar of U.S. democracy. washingtonpost.com (See also Russia, Jared Kushner, Reince Priebus, H.R. McMaster, John Kelly, 2016 Campaign, 2016 Election) 2017.12.14 Fourteen former national security, intelligence, and foreign policy officials who have served at senior levels in Republican and Democratic administrations recently wrote an amicus brief as part of a lawsuit brought against Donald Trump's campaign and Roger Stone, his longtime confidant. businessinsider.com (See also Legal Issues, Russian Meddling in Election, 2016 Campaign) 2017.12.15 Before speaking at the FBI National Academy on Friday, Trump said it's "a shame what's happened" to the FBI, called the Russia probe a "Democrat hoax," opened the door to pardoning Michael Flynn, and claimed there was "no collusion." npr.org (See also Unpresidential Behavior, Michael Flynn) 2017.12.15 Special Counsel Robert Mueller has requested that Cambridge Analytica, a data firm that worked for President Donald Trump’s campaign, turn over documents as part of its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, according to people familiar with the matter. wsj.com (See also Legal Activity, 2016 Campaign, 2016 Election, Steve Bannon, Russian Meddling in Election)
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.