Which Trump ties have ties to Russia, too?

As the House and Senate take on separate investigations into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election, details of meetings and other connections between Russia and those within Trump’s circle continue to surface.

Here’s a breakdown of those connections.

Mike Flynn

Photo credit: AP

Trump ties:

Former national security adviser

Russian ties:

Had contact with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak

In December 2017, Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, becoming the first Trump White House official to face criminal charges and admit guilt so far in the wide-ranging investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Flynn also agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s probe, which focuses on Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible coordination between Russia and Trump’s team in the campaign that sent the Republican businessman to the White House.

Court papers make clear that Flynn knows the identities of at least two members of Trump’s transition team who were intimately aware of his outreach to Russian government officials in the weeks before the inauguration.

Mueller’s prosecutors did not reveal the names of the officials, but indicated they were senior and within Trump’s inner circle.

Flynn resigned from the Trump administration after The Washington Post revealed that he misled Vice President Mike Pence about the nature and extent of his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. But the resignation merely opened the door for a deeper look at Flynn’s activities.

In 2015, Flynn was paid $45,000 for participating in a Moscow event honoring RT, Russia’s state-backed TV network, and another $22,000 for making two Russia-related speeches. Last December, Flynn met with Kisylak at Trump Tower and on Dec. 29 made five phone calls to Kislyak – the same day President Obama announced sanctions against Russia. Though he initially denied it, Flynn did discuss sanctions and could be vulnerable to blackmail, according to intelligence officials.

Donald Trump Jr.

Photo credit: AP

Trump ties:

Son, runs Trump businesses

Russian ties:

Met with Russian lawyer who claimed to have intel on Hillary Clinton

The President’s eldest son met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya two weeks after his father won the GOP nomination after an intermediary promised him compromising information on Hillary Clinton from the Russian government.

Trump Jr. originally said the meeting was regarding a ban on American adoptions of Russian children, but later released the entire email exchange that led to the meeting which showed he was offered information. Trump Jr. said he considered the information “Political Opposition Research.” Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and then-campaign manager Paul Manafort also attended.

Trump Jr. is operating the family business. In a 2008 speech to a real-estate conference about emerging markets, he told attendees he had traveled to Russia six times in an 18-month period, saying that “buyers have been attracted to our projects.” The President himself has claimed he has no investments in Russia, but his son disclosed that Trump properties have Russian investors.

Jared Kushner

Photo credit: Getty images

Trump ties:

Son-in-law, adviser

Russian ties:

Met with Russian ambassador, Russian banker, Russian lawyer; directed Flynn to contact Russian officials in December, sources say

The president’s son-in-law, a key member of the administration’s inner circle, met during the election campaign with the Russian ambassador and a top-level Russian banker to discuss sanctions and a “backdoor channel” to Vladimir Putin, according to several reports.

Kushner has agreed to testify before the Senate investigative committee. A Trump spokesman has said Kushner’s meetings were appropriate, given that he functioned as the person of contact with foreign officials during the campaign.

He also attended the meeting between Trump Jr. and the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, which emails show was arranged under the premise that Veselnitskaya had compromising information about Hillary Clinton.

He is believed to be the “very senior official” who Michael Flynn said directed him to contact Russian officials around Dec. 22 about a UN resolution regarding Israel, NBC News reported Dec. 1, citing two people familiar with the matter.

Paul Manafort

Photo credit: AP

Trump ties:

Former campaign manager

Russian ties:

Did work for Ukraine, Russian billionaire; met with Russian lawyer

Trump chose the longtime Republican operative to take over his campaign in March 2016 as an effort to broaden and professionalize an operation that was gaining steam. But Manafort resigned in August after reports that he was part of a covert Washington lobbying operation on behalf of Pro-Russia factions in Ukraine without disclosing that work to the U.S. government. The Associated Press reported that Manafort’s firm received at least $1 million for his efforts, with payments coming from a bank in Belize. The U.S. Treasury Department, working with the FBI and CIA, also is looking at financial payments Manafort might have received through banks in Cyprus.

Further, AP reported that Manafort once secretly worked for a Russian billionaire close to Putin on a communications plan to influence politics, business dealings and news reports to Russia’s benefit.

Manafort’s spokesman has contended the work for the Ukrainian faction was “totally open and appropriate.” Manafort confirmed that he worked for Oleg Deripaska, the Russian billionaire, but said the work wasn’t pro-Russia in nature.

He also attended the meeting between Trump Jr. and the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, which emails show was arranged under the premise that Veselnitskaya had compromising information about Hillary Clinton.

Carter Page

Photo credit: AP

Trump ties:

Former adviser to campaign

Russian ties:

Investigated as Russian agent

A former foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, Page traveled to Moscow last summer, giving a Russian-friendly speech and meeting with a confidant of Russian President Vladimir Putin. After Page left the campaign, intelligence officials obtained a warrant to monitor his communications, reportedly on the suspicion that he was a Russian agent. They reportedly cited communications intercepted in 2013 concerning a Russian officer trying to recruit Page, who has vigorously denied any wrongdoing. Page worked in Moscow for three years (2004-7) as a Merrill Lynch executive.

Trump personally announced Page as a member of his campaign’s foreign policy team in March 2016, but has since distanced himself.

Jeff Sessions

Photo credit: AP

Trump ties:

U.S. attorney general

Russian ties:

Met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak

The U.S. attorney general, during testimony under oath at his confirmation hearings, had twice told senators that he had no contact with any representative of the Russian government about the 2016 election before or after Election Day. Then The Washington Post reported that Sessions in fact met with Kisylak in July and September. Sessions recanted his previous statements and said he would recuse himself from any campaign-related investigations.

Rex Tillerson

Photo credit: AP

Trump ties:

Secretary of state

Russian ties:

Developed as CEO of ExxonMobile

The secretary of state is the former CEO of ExxonMobil, where he developed deep ties with Russia. In 2011, his company signed a $500 billion joint venture with Rosneft, the Russian state oil company, to drill for oil on the Arctic shelf and develop oil in Siberia. Soon after, Putin gave Tillerson the Russian “Order of Friendship” medal.

In his first weeks in office, Tillerson reportedly has stood for holding a hard line on the economic sanctions imposed on Russia after it invaded Crimea. Unlike Trump, Tillerson has said it’s “well-established” that Russians meddled in the 2016 U.S. election. He met with Putin in April; the two reportedly found little agreement on issues such as sanctions and Syria.

Roger Stone

Photo credit: AP

Trump ties:

Friend, adviser

Russian ties:

Communicated with suspected Russian operative

A self-proclaimed political “dirty trickster” going back to the Nixon years, Stone has been a longtime Trump friend and adviser and former associate of Paul Manafort’s. Along with Manafort, Flynn and Page, Stone is one of four people whose calls and contacts with Russian officials are under investigation by U.S. law enforcement, according to The New York Times.

Among other issues, Stone has acknowledged he’s communicated with “Guccifer 2.0,” the online handle that has claimed responsibility for hacking Democratic emails. American officials believe the Guccifer handle is a front for Russian security operatives. But Stone has said the contact was after the hacked emails were released. “It’s only fair that I have a chance to respond 2 any smears or half truths about alleged “Collusion with Russians” from 2day’s Intel Hearing,” Stone wrote on Twitter.

Felix Sater

Photo credit: WireImage/Mark Von Holden

Trump ties:

Works with Trump businesses

Russian ties:

Part of attempts to garner Russian business deals

The Russian-born immigrant (who has a home in Port Washington, records show) once did prison time for stabbing a man in a bar, was convicted in a Mafia-related racketeering scheme in which he later became a witness for the prosecution and has worked as an FBI informant. He also has worked with the Trump organization scouting real-estate deals for more than a decade.

He was part of several attempts by Trump to garner business deals in Russia, starting with a 2005 effort to build a “Trump Tower” in Moscow. In 2006, Sater reportedly accompanied Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump around the city to meet with potential business partners. The tower was never built. But later, Bayrock (which was headquarter in Trump Tower in New York) and Trump partnered to build properties in New York and Florida, financed by Russian and Kazakhstan money, according to a lawsuit, CNN reported.

In February, The New York Times reported that Sater and Michael D. Cohen, the president’s personal lawyer, helped deliver to the Trump administration a Russia-Ukraine peace settlement proposed by a pro-Russia Ukrainian lawmaker. Trump, in a 2013 deposition, reportedly said he barely knew Sater.

Sergey Kisylak

Photo credit: NASA

Trump ties:

Contact with U.S. officials under scrutiny

Russian ties:

Ambassador to U.S.

He has been Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. for 9 years, an uncommonly long tenure. U.S. intelligence officials have called him a spy and a recruiter of spies, according to reports — which Russia denies.

Conversations with Kislyak — prior to Trump taking office — are what led to Flynn’s abrupt resignation and Session’s decision to recuse himself from the various probes of Russian meddling in the U.S. election. His meeting with Trump son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner also is under scrutiny.

George Papadopoulos

Photo credit: AFP/Getty Images

Trump ties:

Former Trump campaign adviser

Russian ties:

Had contact with Russians

Before joining Trump’s campaign, Papadopoulos billed himself as an international energy consultant – though he only graduated from DePaul University in 2009 and was largely unknown in foreign policy circles.

However, Trump’s campaign named him as one of eight foreign policy advisers in March 2016, as it scrambled to develop policy positions on key international issues.

In October 2017, Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents about his dealings with several Russians who were offering information on Trump’s Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.

As part of a sworn statement to the court, Papadopoulos said he repeatedly met in 2016 with Russians offering “dirt” on Clinton. Papadopoulos says he then relayed that and other messages from the Russians to senior members of Trump’s GOP campaign.

Trump later downplayed Papadopoulos’s role, calling him a mere campaign volunteer and dismissing him as a “liar.”


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