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)
2017.06.08 James B. Comey, said under oath in an extraordinary Senate hearing that he believed President Trump had tried to derail an investigation into his national security adviser, and accused the president of lying and defaming him and the F.B.I. nytimes.com (See also Unpresidential Behavior, Legal Activity, Michael Flynn, Russian Meddling in Election) 2017.06.13 Trump is enraged by the appointment of Robert S. Mueller III as a special counsel to investigate possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, and had to be talked out of firing him by his staff. nytimes.com (See also Legal Activity, Corruption) 2017.06.14 The special counsel overseeing the investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election is interviewing senior intelligence officials as part of a widening probe that now includes an examination of whether Trump attempted to obstruct justice. washingtonpost.com (See also Legal Activity, Russian Meddling in Election, Constitutional Issues, Corruption, Conflicts of Interest) 2017.06.15 A recent NSA memo documents a phone call in which Trump pressured agency chief Admiral Mike Rogers to state publicly that there is no evidence of collusion between his campaign and Russia. newsweek.com (See also Conflicts of Interest, Corruption, Legal Activity, Russian Meddling in Election) 2017.06.15 Paul Manafort is at the center of an FBI investigation into ties between Trump’s team and the Russians, but that hasn’t stopped him from doing business with international figures and companies, partly by claiming continued access to Trump. politico.com (See also Corruption, Russia, Conflicts of Interest, Legal Activity, China, Foreign Policy) 2017.06.15 The Senate voted overwhelmingly 97-2 to allow Congress to block any efforts by Trump to scale back sanctions against Russia, and to strengthen those sanctions in retaliation for Moscow’s alleged interference in the 2016 election and its actions in Syria. washingtonpost.com (See also Russian Meddling in Election, Russia, Syria) 2017.06.16 Michael Cohen, who for years has served as Trump’s personal attorney, has hired a lawyer of his own to help him navigate the expanding Russia investigation. washingtonpost.com (See also Legal Issues, Russia) 2017.06.16 The senior Justice Department official with ultimate authority over the special counsel's probe of Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 election has privately acknowledged to colleagues that he may have to recuse himself from the matter, which he took charge of only after Attorney General Jeff Sessions' own recusal. abcnews.go.com (See also Russian Meddling in Election, Jeff Sessions, Legal Activity) 2017.06.20 Despite senior officials across the government convinced that Michael T. Flynn had become vulnerable to Russian blackmail, every day for three weeks, the CIA director Mike Pompeo briefed Trump on the nation's most sensitive intelligence with Mr. Flynn. nytimes.com (See also Mike Pompeo, Russia, Russian Meddling in Election, Corruption, Michael Flynn) 2017.06.22 More than a month after suggesting he may have secretly recorded his meetings with FBI Director James Comey, Trump admitted that he has no such tapes. buzzfeed.com (See also Corruption, Legal Activity, Russian Meddling in Election, Michael Flynn, Unpresidential Behavior) 2017.06.22 Two of the nation's top intelligence officials told Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team and Senate investigators that President Donald Trump suggested they say publicly there was no collusion between his campaign and the Russians cnn.com (See also Russian Meddling in Election, Legal Activity) 2017.06.23 Trump appeared to acknowledge that his tweet hinting of taped conversations with James B. Comey was intended to influence the fired F.B.I. director’s testimony. nytimes.com (See also Unpresidential Behavior, Legal Activity, Russian Meddling in Election, Corruption) 2017.06.27 A consulting firm led by Paul Manafort, retroactively filed forms Tuesday showing that his firm received $17.1 million over two years from a political party that dominated Ukraine before its leader fled to Russia in 2014. washingtonpost.com (See also Corruption, Conflicts of Interest, Russia, 2016 Campaign, Russian Meddling in Election) 2017.07.12 Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking why the DOJ settled a major money-laundering case involving a real-estate company owned by the son of a powerful Russian government official whose lawyer (Natalia Veselnitskaya) met with Donald Trump Jr. last year. businessinsider.com (See also Corruption, Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump Jr) 2017.07.13 Donald Trump lied today about how Natalia Veselnitskaya entered the United States to meet with his son, campaign manager, and son-in-law. buzzfeed.com (See also Russian Meddling in Election, Donald Trump Jr, Jared Kushner, Assaults on Facts) 2017.07.18 Trump met with Vladimir V. Putin of Russia a second time at the G20 summit, where they had a private one-on-one discussion over dinner that lasted as long as an hour and relied solely on a Kremlin-provided interpreter. nytimes.com (See also Russia, Administration Errors, Foreign Policy) 2017.07.19 Trump harshly criticized his attorney general and one of his most loyal supporters, Jeff Sessions, for recusing himself from the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, indicating that he regretted the choice. washingtonpost.com (See also Jeff Sessions, Russian Meddling in Election, Department of Justice) 2017.07.19 Trump has decided to end the CIA’s covert program to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels battling the government of Bashar al-Assad, a move long sought by Russia. washingtonpost.com (See also Syria, Russia) 2017.07.20 Trump claims Jeff Sessions' recusal is "very unfair" to him. washingtonpost.com (See also Jeff Sessions, Department of Justice, Russia, Russian Meddling in Election, Legal Issues) 2017.07.21 Some of President Trump’s lawyers are exploring ways to limit or undercut special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation, building a case against what they allege are his conflicts of interest and discussing the president’s authority to grant pardons to aides, family members and even himself. washingtonpost.com (See also Conflicts of Interest, Unprecedented Actions, Legal Activity) 2017.07.21 The Russian lawyer who met Donald Trump Jr. after his father won the Republican nomination for the 2016 U.S. presidential election counted Russia's FSB security service among her clients for years. reuters.com (See also Russia, Russian Meddling in Election, Donald Trump Jr, Jared Kushner) 2017.07.22 Congress agrees on a bill to impose sanctions on Russia, Iran, and North Korea, posing a difficult veto dilemma for Trump. washingtonpost.com (See also Russia, North Korea, Iran, Foreign Policy) 2017.08.01 Here are all the misleading statements made so far about Trump Jr.'s meeting with the Russians. buzzfeed.com (See also Donald Trump Jr, 2016 Campaign) 2017.08.02 Trump signed a Russia sanctions bill Congress forced on him, adding a statement saying the administration will carry out the law but with reservations about its impact and the constitutionality of some provisions. bloomberg.com (See also Russia, Russian Meddling in Election) 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)
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.