At a time when then-presidential candidate Donald Trump publicly claimed that “no one in my campaign is dealing with Russians,” at least nine Trump associates ranging from his campaign manager to lawyers and even his son were routinely seeking help with the country, documents reveal.
Longtime GOP operative Paul Manafort sought involvement with Trump and his campaign after the candidate lost the Iowa caucuses.
“Paul came to me and said ‘I really need to get to Trump, I think can be really effective at the convention,’ ” Thomas J. Barrack, an old and close friend of Trump admits in an interview.
Trump hired Manafort in March 2016 and he became campaign chairman shortly afterward. He left the campaign before he election because of questions about the Russian connections.
Trump Organization attorney Michael Cohen was in contact with Moscow property developers about their client’s desires to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.
Donald Trump Jr. and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushnever met with a Russian attorney at the Trump Tower during the campaign because of promises that he has “dirt on Hillary Clinton,” the presumed Democratic nominee.
After the election and Trump’s upset win, Kushner met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and suggested setting up a “secret communications channel” between the Trump transition team and the Kremlin.
Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos has pled guilty to lying to federal agents after he first denied, then later admitted, working to set up meetings between Russia and he campaign team.
Another Trump foreign policy adviser, Carter Page, went to Moscow during the campaign and yet another, J.D. Gordon met with the Russian ambassador during the Republican National Convention.
The same ambassador met at least twice with Trump campaign supporter Sen. Jeff Sessions — now attorney general — and Michael Flynn — who later had to resign as Trump’s national security adviser after he lied about those meetings.
Around the same time, Trump national campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis, in an email now in possession of special counsel Robert Mueller, told Papadopoulos to meet with Russian officials in Moscow. “Make the trip,” he said.
Trump admitted a fascination with Moscow as early as July 2015 when Russian gun rights activist Maria Butina, in a town hall meeting in Las Vegas, asked the candidate to explain his foreign policy “especially in the relations with my country,”
“I know Putin,” Trump responded, “and I’ll tell you what, we get along with Putin.”
Three months later, Trump signed a “letter of intent” with Russian developer Andrei Rozov to explore a proposal to build a multi-million dollar “Trump Tower” in Moscow. The project died a year later but sources say talk continues between Russia and the Trump Organization.
In 2016, Russian central bank official Alexander Torshin, joined Donald Trump Jr. at a table at a National Rifle Association Dinner. A few months later, October 2016, the son of Donald Trump gave a paid speech in Paris to the Center of Political and Foreign Affairs, a French “think tank’ to advocates for Russia.
Randa Kassis, founder of the group, told the Washington Post last week that she went to Moscow right after the election and briefed Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov about Trump Jr. and what he said in Paris.
Sources close to the special counsel’s investigation of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia has documents showing other meetings between Trump’s people and Russia both before and after the election.
One includes a meeting between controversial Blackwater mercenary founder Erik Prince and the United Arab Emigrates about setting up a “back channel” link with Trump.
Investigators are also probing Trump’s financial dealings to see is Russian money is part of his complex accounting system.
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