The (In)Complete (and growing) List of Trump’s Russia Ties
March 13, 2017

 
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(LAST UPDATE: 11/14/17)
 
I‘ve stated more times than I dare count that I abhor Conspiracy Theories. Claims that “9/11 was an inside job” belong in the same rubbish bin as Sasquatch and Elvis sightings. But the evidence of links between the Trump campaign/White House and Russia (for whatever reason) are documented fact (often by photograph and peoples’ own admission) and continue to grow so fast, it is getting harder & harder to keep track of them all. So I’ve decided to start a list of people & events linking people connected to Trump (including the man himself) to Russia (and US/Russia policy.) I’m not positing “why” any of these people chose to come in contact with whatever Russian official/billionaire/oligarch for whatever reason, nor do i wish to draw any nefarious conclusions (not this post anyway) as to their goal. This is simply a list. Make of it what you will. It’s mere existence and length should raise eyebrows if not concern.
 

“I have no deals that could happen in Russia, because we’ve stayed away.” – Donald Trump press conference, January 11, 2017.

 

I keep hearing from so many Trumptonians who get a huge asinine belly laugh from any suggestion that Russia may be meddling in our Democracy (“My PopTart is stale! Blame Russia! Har! Har!”) Unless someone truly adores Russia and/or Putin, I can’t fathom for the life of me why anyone would rush to defend him/them, belittling any suggestion that Russia is anything but an innocent victim being targeted for character assassination by our “evil” Media. The closest I can fathom is some revulsion that… if true… it somehow benefits Hillary and/or could somehow miraculously make her president. I understand why you despise Hillary (okay, maybe not to your insane degree, but I did after-all write-in Bernie rather than vote for her), but this head-in-the-sand ridiculousness of dismissing evidence sight unseen that a dangerous & corrupt foreign power led by a brutal power-mad former KGB agent that has his critics locked up and/or murdered, may be… not just meddling but actually SHAPING U.S. policy to our detriment for their own personal gain… astounds me. After being accused of being a “traitor” during the eight years of the Bush Administration for not supporting his dangerous policies and corrupt government, I have no stomach for ridiculous borderline-traitorous fools who can’t set aside their hatred of Hillary… now extending to disdain for our own Free Press and First Amendment… long enough to examine mounting evidence that another country is manipulating the U.S. government from INSIDE the Oval Office!

I’m just curious what part of “the Russian thing” don’t they believe? Trump’s inexplicable fanboy love of Putin (even criticizing the U.S. to defend him)? The fact Trump appointed a man whom he had never met (Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson), someone who has had a friendly working relationship with Putin since 1999 and received Russia’s highest civilian honor, the “Medal of Friendship”, from Pootie himself… to be our Secretary of State… running a department whose primary job it is to aide/develop U.S. allies around the world and make life miserable for dictatorships like Russia/China/North Korea (and whose budget Trump now wants to cut by 37%), after not even being on Trump’s initial short list of nominees?

Or what about appointing a lobbyist for the Russian government… Paul Manafort… someone who had NEVER run a political campaign before, and is suspected of laundering tens of millions in Russian crime money… to run his presidential campaign?

And the list goes on (continued below.)

The List

Beside Russian “Medal of Friendship” winner Rex Tillerson mentioned above, we have:

Starting from the very beginning, as noted above, Trump’s first campaign manager Paul Manafort was forced to resign when it was discovered that he lied about having worked as a lobbyist on behalf of the Russian government in Ukraine and was paid millions of dollars at a time the United States was vociferously condemning Russia’s attempts to annex Ukraine. After his resignation, it was discovered that Manafort has also met with Konstantin Kilimnik, a Kiev-based operative with suspected ties to Russian intelligence, in April of that year (as well as at the Convention in July). Kilimnik revealed that Manafort was instrumental in… (next paragraph.)

(UPDATE 3/22/17: As early as 2005, Manafort was already offering his services on how he could “greatly benefit the Putin Government”. AP reports Manafort was paid “$10 Million dollars a year” through at least mid-2009.)

(UPDATE: 6/28/17: Why choose someone like Manafort… with NO experience running political campaigns… to run your campaign for president? Perhaps because of his connections to vast sums of Russian money? Like his business ties to Russian oligarchs such as Dmytro Firtash, a major Party of Regions backer who in 2008 partnered with Manafort in an $850 million plan to redevelop the famous Drake hotel in New York City? “Firtash, who acknowledged to the U.S. ambassador that he got his start in business with the permission of a Russian crime lord […] is under federal indictment in the Northern District of Illinois for bribery. He is [presently] under arrest in Austria pending his extradition to the U.S..” – NBC News

A Washington Post investigation revealed that the Trump campaign demanded the removal of any pro-Ukrainian plank from the GOP’s Convention platform. Former Trump campaign official J.D. Gorden said it was Trump himself (at the urging of Manafort) who personally demanded support for Ukraine be expunged from the GOP platform. Before the Convention, Republicans were VERY pro-Ukraine, with some even demanding we arm the Ukrainian rebels against Russian forces (particularly after Russia provided SAMs (Surface-to-Air-Missiles) to pro-Russian Ukrainian rebels who then shot down a Dutch passenger jet killing all 298 people on board. No explanation for Trump’s request was ever given. Instead, the Russians MAY have been assured that sanctions imposed upon them for these activities might be lifted under a Trump Administration.

In 2008, John McCain declared, “We’re all Georgians now” after Russia invaded the former Soviet nation of Georgia. In 2014, the GOP took the side of Ukraine after Russia annexed Crimea, even calling for the U.S. to arm the anti-Russian rebels. Now suddenly, we are chummy with Putin and Russia’s is behaving as if we might lift those sanctions on Russia.

And just who might have made such a suggestion to Russia? Trump’s first (and ever so brief) National Security Adviser General Michael Flynn, who twice denied any communication with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, actually met with the ambassador IN TRUMP TOWER (and we are to believe Trump himself wasn’t present? He denied knowing of the meeting and fired Flynn for “lying to him”.) Flynn met with the Russian ambassador the very same day President Obama announced new sanctions on Russia (after SEVENTEEN intelligence agencies found evidence they were behind the hacking of DNC & RNC servers). In addition, Flynn not only spoke to the Russian Ambassador, he actually flew to Moscow (ibid) the year before for “Russia Today’s” 10th anniversary celebration where he was literally seated at Putin’s right-hand-side (at the same table with 2012/2016 Green Party candidate Jill Stein… make of that what you will):
 

RT 10th Anniversary Dinner
Flynn & Stein at Putin’s table at RT Anniversary Dinner 2015

(Update 3/17: State owned RT paid Flynn $33,750 to fly to Russia to attend this dinner. This does not include airfare for him and his son and accommodations at a 5-star hotel. There is no evidence Flynn sought an exemption from the U.S. military to accept what would be an illegal payment from a foreign entity.)

(Update 7/11/17: GOP operative Peter W. Smith contacted Trump campaign advisor [and future National Security Advisor] Michael Flynn on Sept. 7, 2016 regarding his efforts to obtain “Hillary’s stolen emails” from Russian officials. Flynn agreed but there is no evidence he followed through on it. This story broke on July 3, 2017, but I did not mention it earlier because Smith was not part of the Trump campaign and it’s not clear if anything came of it. But with the revelation yesterday that Donald Trump Jr. was also contacted by Russia attempting to shop the stolen emails, it adds more credibility to the claim and highlights the extent of Russian efforts.)

And Flynn didn’t meet the Russian ambassador alone. Traveling WITH Flynn to Trump Tower was Trump’s son-in-law and now “political adviser” Jared Kushner (ibid: NYT link) to join him in the meeting Flynn lied about (and when Flynn denied meeting Kislyak, Kushner never spoke up to set the record straight.)

More recently, we have the case of former Senator turned Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who volunteered during his confirmation hearing that he had not spoken to anyone in the Russian Government while he was associated with the Trump campaign. In fact, Sessions HAD indeed met with the Russian ambassador twice during that time. He first stated that his meeting Ambassador Kislyak was so brief and inconsequential, it simply slipped his mind (not a quote). And maybe it was a brief encounter or simply part of his duties as a member of the Armed Services Committee, but he could simply said he never met with anyone “on behalf of the Trump campaign” or “only as part of my duties as Senator”. But he didn’t. He simply denied having ever spoken to “anyone” working for Russia. And it IS interesting how many contacts Kislyak was making inside the Trump campaign. He was one busy bee.

Another Russian connection: Why did Trump try to appoint American oil industry consultant, real estate mogul and former reality TV star Carter Page from Merrill Lynch’s Moscow office to be a National Security Consultant to his campaign? Page not only criticized U.S. and NATO policy towards Russia, he did so from Moscow. The “Dixie Chicks” gotta be feeling the sting of that one.

In one of the more bizarre (and IMHO, significant) Trump/Russia connections was Trump’s sale of a $41 Million dollar Palm Beach mansion to Russian fertilizer magnate Dmitry Rybolovlev sight unseen for $95 Million dollars (nearly 2.5x its worth, and never once used) only to then have it bulldozed four days after the election to build a $60 Million dollar home to sell at a $40 Million dollar loss. The Trump campaign vehemently denies ever “meeting” Rybolovlev, yet this same billionaire appeared at multiple Trump campaign events AND the RNC Convention in Cleveland… yet they’ve “never met”? (I find this connection most intriguing because I believe Bankrupt Trump needed money to finance his “self-funded” campaign, and this highly dubious $100 Million dollar windfall came at just the right time.)
 


 

(Addendum: Not only can Rybolovlev’s plane be seen at the same airport as Trump’s at multiple events, his yacht was also spotted docked near Trump’s biggest financial supporter and Breitbart News moneyman, Robert Mercer.)

Ever hear of Wilbur Ross before he was appointed to run of the Department of Commerce? Ross is a billionaire investor with close ties to Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg. Ross was the Vice-Chairman of “The Bank of (the nation of) Cyprus”, a now Russian-owned bank thanks to Ross and Rybolovlev, to which Trump owed $600 Million dollars. Ross’ Russian connection is a bit complicated (as is everything in the financial industry), so once again, I’ll let Rachel (who is quickly becoming the go-to source on the Trump/Russia nexus) pound out the details:
 


 

While no reported human or financial tie to Russia (yet), Trump’s Svengali, Steve Bannon, former head of Alt-Right racist conspiracy rag “Breitbart.com” who became Trump’s campaign manager and is now his Chief Political Strategist, is a self-described Leninist. In an interview with The Daily Beast, Bannon proudly claimed, “I’m a Leninist.” “Lenin,” he answered, “wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.” Trump’s got his Putin man-crush. Bannon has Lenin.

Felix Sater, a Russian-born businessman with Mafia connections and served time in jail for stabbing a man in the face with the stem of a margarita glass, approached Trump with a plan to license his name to build skyscrapers (including “a Trump tower on the site of an old pencil factory along the Moscow River”) across former Soviet-bloc nations, a few inside Russia, and in several U.S. cities with Trump’s name on them. The deal fell through but Trump and Sater remained friends. The Trump campaign denied knowing anything about Sater’s criminal past.

(Update 9/12/17: More on the man Trump claimed to barely know here.)

Also part of the Trump/Sater scam, Tevfik Arif, another Russian real-estate mogul who served a 17-year career in the Soviet Ministry of Commerce and Trade. In 2005, Trump entered into an agreement with Russian financial group “Bayrock” to build “Trump Tower Moscow”. The deal failed, but his partner, Arif, moved into Trump Tower NY and took office two floors below The Trump Organization.

Yet another Russian born real-estate mogul and business partner of Donald Trump is Alex Shnaider who partnered with Trump to build “Trump International Hotel and Tower” in Toronto. It may or may not be significant that Shnaider’s father-in-law, Boris J. Birshtein, is close friends with one of the heads of the Russian Mob [ibid “Soviet Ministry”.].

You may remember that White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus… though not tied to Russia himself, did violate ethics rules by personally requesting the FBI “knock down” any reports linking anyone in the Trump Administration to Russia. The FBI refused and the ethical breach was deemed nothing more than a “momentary” embarrassment for the Trump White House (on par with Kelly-Ann Conway endorsing Ivanka Trump’s wares during a TV interview while representing the President of the United States.)

Former British MI6 intelligence officer Christopher Steele was forced into hiding recently after publishing a dossier detailing a number of Trump/Russia ties as compiled by the British Secret Service. Steele finally surfaced two weeks ago after many of the accusations made in the dossier have since panned out:
 


 

Among things Steele points out: It was barely 3 weeks after Paul Manafort took over running the Trump campaign in March of 2016 that Trump started trashing NATO (an alliance of Western nations to defend against Soviet/Russian expansion/militarism.) Russia has despised NATO and sought to destroy it since it was formed over a half century ago.

(UPDATE #1: Not even 12 hours and we have our first update. Remember Trump’s pledge that the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines would be made exclusively using “American-made steel”? Well, scratch that. We have our first exemption and I’ll give you one guess who it benefits: 40% of the steel will now come from a Russian owned steel subsidiary operating in Canada.

(UPDATE #2: After refusing to resign, Trump fires Federal Prosecutor Preet Bharara, a 40 year career Federal prosecutor for Manhattan/Wall St whom Trump himself personally assured he’d be staying on (along with 45 other Federal prosecutors) who just happened to be investigating a multi-BILLION dollar money laundering scheme of Russian money through “DeutscheBank”. Trump owes DeutscheBank hundreds of millions of dollars… their single biggest debtor.)

(UPDATE #2b: Deutsche Bank is under investigation as the largest known Russian money launderer obscuring the source of TEN BILLION DOLLARS in Russian funds. Deutsche Bank also loaned Donald Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner hundreds of millions of dollars. Kushner was loaned $285 Million dollars by Deutsche Bank one month before the election.)

(UPDATE #3: 3/20/17: Secretary of State Tillerson announces he will be skipping an announced NATO summit to visit Moscow instead.)

(UPDATE #4: 3/21/17: There is no question Russia was actively supporting Trump via a sophisticated online “bot” based propaganda campaign.)

…whether or not the Trump campaign actively participated is still being investigated.

(UPDATE #5: 3/27/17: It was revealed today that not only did Trump’s son-in-law and close WH adviser Jared Kushner meet with Russian Ambassador Kislyak twice with Michael Flynn, he… along with another unnamed “top WH adviser”… also met with executives of Russian state-owned development bank Vnesheconombank (VEB), a Russian bank under Western economic sanctions over Russia’s incursion into Ukraine. More details on VEB as the bank Putin uses to funnel billions into his personal projects and their connections to trump can be seen here.)

(UPDATE 5b: 6/27/17: The Rachel Maddow Show reports that “VEB”, the bank Kushner met with, ISN’T A BANK. They have “No banking license”, “No cash”, and their entire board is made up of Russian government officials. The head of VEB, Sergey Gorkov, is not a banker but was trained at a “school” that trained KGB agents.)

(UPDATE #6: 3/28/17: A USA Today investigation into the origins of Trump’s wealth find ties to at least TEN wealthy Russian businessmen with ties to the Russian mob & organized crime. This is made more significant by the fact Trump denied having “any dealings with Russia” during the campaign.)

(UPDATE #7: 4/4/17: Buzzfeed reports that the man Trump appointed as his “Foreign Policy adviser & Counter-terrorism expert”, Carter Page, was recruited as a Russian spy in 2013. Their confirming source? Carter Page. More detail here.)

(UPDATE #7b: 4/4/17: In the above revelation about Carter Page, we also learn that Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner… whom Trump seems to have tasked with EVERYTHING from building his border wall to achieving peace in the Middle East… met with one of the spies who recruited Page… Evgeny Buryakov, an employee of Russian-owned Vnesheconombank in Manhattan… in April 2016 (one month before he was sentenced.). Vnesheconombank paid $45,000 for Burykov’s legal defense while his compatriots fled back to Russia. One wonders what vetting… IF ANY… the Trump transition team performed after appointing people like Page & Flynn to such high-level classified Intelligence positions within their administration. PS: Page is still there.)

(UPDATE #8: 4/4/17: The Washington Post has revealed that the UAE (United Arab Emirates) arranged a meeting in Seychelles between Erik Prince… founder/owner of “Blackwater“, the largest private mercenary army in the word that rose to infamy during the Bush Administration for corruption, violence and violations of International law… and an unidentified Russian “close to President Vladi­mir Putin”, to discuss the lifting of sanctions last January. Prince is an avid supporter of Trump, raised a quarter-million dollars for his campaign, and has many connections inside of the government including (now) his sister Betsy DeVos (whom Trump appointed his Secretary of Education.)

(UPDATE #9: 4/11/17: More on Carter Page. It was leaked to the Washington Post today that he was the subject of a FISA Warrant requested by the FBI for suspected communication with the Russians during the presidential campaign. This is significant for several reasons: 1) This is the first report that a member of the Trump campaign themselves were the subject of an investigation and not merely “overheard” as we listened in on the Russians, 2) because FISA warrants are not easy to get and, 3) as the WaPo points out, is “the clearest evidence so far that the FBI had reason to believe during the 2016 presidential campaign that a Trump campaign adviser was in touch with Russian agents.”

(UPDATE #10a: 4/13/17: “UK Intelligence” (GCHQ) reports that they first became aware in late 2015 of suspicious “interactions” between figures connected to Trump and known or suspected Russian agents. This is the earliest recorded report of interactions between the Trump Campaign and people working on behalf of the Russian government… before the Primaries even began.)

(UPDATE #10b: 4/14/17: So concerned was the director of GCHQ, that he *personally* contacted the head of the CIA… John Brennan… in the Summer of 2016. And so concerned was Brennan, that he contacts “eight top members of Congress” to report those findings.)

(UPDATE #11: 4/25/17: Evidence emerging that Russia may be using the same hackers/strategy to hack the computers of French presidential front-runner Emmanuel Macron. Macron’s opponent is White Nationalist Marine Le Pen, who has previously received millions from Russia, and has publicly met with Putin in Moscow to criticize French sanctions on Russia (just as Trump did.) Le Pen is virulently anti-immigrant and has been called “France’s Donald Trump.”)

(UPDATE #12a: 4/26/17: As noted in #11, Russian meddling extends well beyond the election of Trump and promoting Le Pen in France. There is also suspicion Russia aided “Brexit“, Great Britain’s vote to leave the European Union [also a goal of Le Pen], and MAY have helped Turkish dictator Erdogan… who ALSO wants Turkey out of NATO… to win a recent crucial vote to give him even more power, but also the ridiculous… yet well funded… “#CalExit” movement to have California succeed from the United States to becomes it’s own country… which opened it’s very first [fake] embassy in Moscow [no, I’m not kidding.])

(UPDATE #12b: 4/26/17: [ibid 12a link] Politico now reports that the more than half-million dollars paid to former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn to lobby on behalf of the Turkish government apparently did not come from the Turkish government but in fact Russia. Like the wealthy Russian Fertilizer Magnate mentioned in this report that bought a Trump mansion sight unseen for 2-1/2 times its cost, Russia uses wealthy Russian industrialists… made wealthy via being handed control of entire formerly Soviet industries… to funnel money to various political projects. And one of those wealthy industrialists… the head of the “Siberian Energy Group”… is the man who paid Flynn nearly $600,000 to lobby the U.S. on behalf of the Turkish government. Additional information here.)

(UPDATE #13: 5/7/17: While not directly connected to the 2016 race, Trump’s son Eric told a WBUR reporter in 2014 that Russia was behind a $100 Million loan so his father could build a new golf course when U.S. banks were reluctant to fund such a project following The Great Recession of ’08. This contradicts Trump’s denials on the campaign trail he had no business dealings with Russia. It also establishes an existing lucrative relationship between him and Russia.)

(UPDATE #14: 5/5/17: The Washington Post and The AP report that the Trump Transition Team themselves warned Mike Flynn that the U.S. government may be monitoring his contacts with Russia. THEY KNEW yet they hired him anyway. The Obama Administration was so concerned about the Trump Campaign’s coziness with Russia that they waited until just four hours before informing them of their intention to expel all Russian diplomats from the Russian embassy in retaliation for meddling in the election, because they feared “someone” inside the Trump transition team might warn Moscow of what was coming, giving them time to destroy any evidence [either of election meddling or connections to the Trump campaign.])

(UPDATE #15: 5/10/17: Donald Trump fires FBI Director James Comey one day after former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee that she had been investigating connections between the Trump Campaign, Trump’s business interests, and Russia, and one week after Comey testified he had inadvertently “overstated” the number of emails Hillary Clinton’s campaign advisor Huma Abadeen has forwarded to her husband Anthony Weiner in his infamous October 28th announcement he was reopening the investigation into her emails. Comey was not told in advance he was to be fired, only learning of his dismissal *while he was delivering a speech before FBI employees*. The New York Times reports that just days before his own firing, Comey requested additional resources to investigate possible Russian interference in our election. Last March, Comey testified before the House Intelligence Committee that the FBI was indeed investigating possible links between the Trump campaign and Russian government.)

(UPDATE #16: 5/16/17: In the midst of his controversial firing of FBI Director Comey, Trump invites Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Kislyak to the Oval Office where he (inadvertently?) revealed Top Secret “code-word level intelligence.” American media was banned from the meeting in the Oval Office, while Russian media… with their cameras and electronic equipment… were not.)
 

Trump revealed classified info to Russians

 
(UPDATE #17: 5/18/17: Reuters reports finding evidence of 18 additional instances of contacts between Russia and the Trump Campaign, including Putin’s “fixer”, a former Soviet “lawyer” named Medvedchuk.)

(UPDATE #18: 5/24/17: The lawyer Trump hired, Marc E. Kasowitz, to defend him against allegations of collusion with Russia is also the lead attorney in a federal civil lawsuit against “OJSC Sberbank”, which is majority-owned by the Russian government. Kasowitz is Trump’s longtime lawyer, who defended him in a failed libel case against the NYTimes, and against women claiming Trump sexually assaulted him (which was eventually settled), as well as assisting in the “Trump University” fraud case [ibid] which was also settled without admitting guilt.)

(UPDATE #19: 5/25/17: The NYTimes is reporting that in the Summer of 2016, American spies investigating possible Russian interference in our election caught Russian officials “discussing how to exert influence over Donald J. Trump through his advisers [Flynn & Manafort]“. The information “was considered credible enough for intelligence agencies to pass [along] to the F.B.I. […] and open a counterintelligence investigation.”

(UPDATE #20: 6/08/17: Former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony under oath corroborates most all reporting to date regarding Russian interference in the November 2016 election. Comey agrees to only testify regarding possible Trump Campaign connections in closed/private session.)

(UPDATE #21: 6/15/17: Following their joint testimony before the Senate two weeks earlier, Trump asked the director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, and to Adm. Mike Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, to publicly refute the testimony of former FBI Director James Comey and deny the existence of any evidence of collusion between the Trump Campaign & Russia during the 2016 election. Both declined.)

(UPDATE #22: 6/20/17: Bloomberg is reporting that a Russian Mobster who swindled millions from investors, Felix Sater, became a business partner with Trump as a New York real estate developer specifically for his access to funds from Putin. More details here & here.)
 

Easy access to Putin cash

 

UPDATE #23: 7/8/17: Donald Trump Jr., son-in-law Jared Kushner and campaign manager Paul Manafort all met with Natallia Veselnitskaya, a Russian “adoption” lawyer with ties to the Kremlin, during campaign at Trump Tower in June of 2016. It seems unlikely the meeting with Veselnitskaya was arranged simply because she’s an “adoption” lawyer or why THREE high-profile members of the Trump campaign would concern themselves with “Russian/American adoptions” in the middle of a presidential campaign, but regardless, it’s just one more example of the Trump campaign denying contact with the Russians during the campaign that proves they were lying. This wasn’t an “accidental” encounter at a random event. This was in Trump Tower, and if it had anything to do with “adoption”, do you think they’d forget about it and not want to share that information?

UPDATE #23b: 7/10/17: “Uday Bevis Donald Trump Jr, after claiming last March he never participated in any campaign-related meetings with Russian nationals, now admits he met with Veselnitskaya but claims it was to discuss “Adoption”. The New York Times is reporting Trump Jr. agreed to the meeting because he was promised “damaging information on Clinton” from Moscow. Agreeing to meet with a hostile foreign adversary to obtain information on your opponent is perhaps the VERY DEFINITION OF COLLUSION, and it is inconceivable Trump Sr was not aware of what his son, son-in-law and campaign manager were doing in Trump Tower one or two floors beneath his office.

UPDATE #23c: 7/10/17: The likely REAL purpose of the meeting with Veselnitskaya? She is “best known for mounting a multipronged attack against the Magnitsky Act, an American law that blacklists suspected Russian human rights abusers.” The law… passed under Bush and continued under Obama… infuriates Putin and wants it repealed. Russia’s response to the law was to halt Russian/American adoptions. But to lift that, we would have to repeal the Magnitsky Act.
 


 

UPDATE #23d: 7/14/17: The number of people on the Russia-side of the table in the meeting between Donald Trump Jr and Russian lawyer Veselnitskaya has grown to FOUR FIVE, including (Russian-born?) Russian/American (dual-citizenship) lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin, British music publicist Rob Goldstone, former Russian counterintelligence officer “Anatoli Samachomov“, and now known Russian money-launderer “Ike Kaveladze“. Akhmetshin says Veselnitskaya invited him along because a client of hers was concerned that an American hedge fund which “seemed to be linked to the [Democratic National Committee] was violating Russian tax and securities law.” Clearly, “Russian/American adoption” was not the sole purpose Natallia arranged the meeting.

UPDATE #23e: 7/18/17: Newly revealed eighth person present as the secret meeting between Trump Jr and former Russian Prosecutor Veselnitskya was notorious Russian money launderer “Ike Kaveladze” (like Samachomov, a Russian born naturalized American citizen.) in the late 90’s, Kaveladze created a company called “International Business Creations” that established 2,000 U.S. corporations and bank accounts that moved $1.4 Billion through American banks. Why was a known Russian money launderer present at a meeting that *supposedly* was all about Russian/American adoption? As the saying goes: “Follow the [laundered] money.”

Addendum: In 2008, Veselnitskya defended a man named Denis Katsyv, who was accused of laundering $230 Million dollars in Russia and ended up paying “Millions” in fines. So the presence of Kaveladze… with his own history on money laundering… at this meeting raises even more questions.
 

The Fredo 8
The Fredo 8

 
UPDATE #24: 7/13/17: May 2015, the NSA notices a spike in Russian chatter regarding Trump just before he announces his candidacy. May 2016, U.S. surveillance suggests Russian funds flowing to Trump campaign.

UPDATE #25: 7/19/17: Trump’s scheduled private meeting with Vladimir Putin at the G20 in Hamburg was scheduled for only 20 minutes but ended up lasting over an hour. Today we learn that later during dinner (with a hundred other people present), Trump sat next to Putin and had a SECOND private chant with him that last *another* hour. Trump did not invite his own translator, relying on Putin’s own translator. When news of the second private meeting was revealed, ONLY THE RUSSIANS spoke to the Press to describe the meeting and what was discussed.

UPDATE #26: 7/25/17: My thanks to “The Rachel Maddow Show” for pointing out on their 7/24/17 episode that back in October… before the election… “CrowdStrike” (the same Internet Security organization that first detected the source of the hacking of the DNC) detected an unusual link between a computer server belonging to the Trump campaign and computer servers belonging to yet another Russian bank… “Alfa Bank”:
 

(After suspecting a bot attack on the Trump servers due to the amount of traffic) The researchers quickly dismissed their initial fear that the logs represented a malware attack. The communication wasn’t the work of bots. The irregular pattern of server lookups actually resembled the pattern of human conversation… conversations that began during office hours in New York and continued during office hours in Moscow. It dawned on the researchers that this wasn’t an attack, but a sustained relationship between a server registered to the Trump Organization and two servers registered to an entity called Alfa Bank.

…When the researchers pinged the server, they received error messages. They concluded that the server was set to accept only incoming communication from a very small handful of IP addresses.

Eighty-seven percent of the DNS lookups (from the Trump server) involved the two Alfa Bank servers. “It’s pretty clear that it’s not an open mail server,” Camp told me. “These organizations are communicating in a way designed to block other people out.”

 

According to “CrowdStrike”, this was a near “dedicated connection”… a “hotline”… between the two computer servers. As a PC tech in civilian life, I understand the lingo of computer networking and find this revelation damning… likely not a bigger story due to it’s complexity, but to me, it’s like finding a key to a Putin Love Nest in Trump’s desk drawer wrapped in a bow. While others are focused on “communications” between the Trump campaign and Russia, I’ve been stressing focus on Russian Money Laundering and “just who financed the Trump Campaign?”)

UPDATE #27: 7/27/17: In an update on 6/28/17 (above), I noted a link between Manfort’s Lobbying firm and “a Ukrainian oligarch named Dmytro Firtash in a plan to redevelop the famous Drake Hotel in New York.” Firtash “got his start in business with the permission of a notorious Russian crime lord.” That crime lord appears to be Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, who was paid $7.35 million toward management fees for Manafort and his partners in connection with an investment fund, according to a court filing in the Cayman Islands. Deripaska once was denied entry to the United States because of alleged mafia ties.” Firtash himself was indicted by the Justice Department in 2014 over bribery allegations in India and is now living in exile in Austria.

Manafort’s company (of which Manafort has limited liability) is in debt to “pro-Russia interests” for as much as “$17 Million dollars.”

UPDATE #28: 7/27/17: Trump nominates “Brian Benczkowski” to be the new head of the Justice Department’s criminal division. Benczkowski’s lawfirm, “Kirkland & Ellis” where he is a partner, was hired to represent Russia’s “Alfa Bank” (see Update #26 above)… one of the largest banks in Russia… to “investigate” allegations Alfa’s servers were connected to the Trump campaign. Coincidence?

Benczkowski was a top aide to Jeff Sessions, both when Sessions was a senator and led Trump’s Justice Department transition team before returning to “Kirkland & Ellis” in January where he was assigned to represent Alfa Bank up until June 6th (just last month.)

UPDATE #29: 7/27/17: In May, the Sessions Justice Department abruptly settled a lawsuit against Prevezon Holdings for a mere $6 Million with no admission of guilt. Prevezon stood accused of laundering $230 Million in Russian crime money through (Trump-owned?) real-estate investment in Manhattan. “Veselnitskaya represents the family of Pyotr Katsyv (ibid: Update #23), the former vice governor of the Moscow region, whose son, Denis, owns the real-estate company Prevezon.” Another coincidence?

UPDATE #30: 7/31/17: As mentioned in my recent update to Trump’s Russian Money Laundering Ties, New Republic investigative journalist Craig Unger documented Trump’s history of doing business with Russian criminals (both in government and the Russian Mob… which is redundant) going back decades (see: “Tevfik Arif” above), buying real estate in Manhattan & Florida using crime money… accounting for much of Trump’s wealth.

UPDATE #31: 8/1/17: The Washington Post is reporting that Donald Trump himself personally drafted his son’s statement regarding his meeting with Veselnitskaya, personally deciding to claim the meeting was regarding “adoption” instead of obtaining “dirt” on Clinton. This raises “Obstruction of justice” concerns (first raised by his firing of Comey), choosing to deliberately mislead the public (once again) suggests “Consciousness of guilt.”

UPDATE #31b: 8/2/17: The New York Times is reporting Trump talked to Putin at the G20 “for nearly an hour” (Trump claimed “like 15 minutes”) regarding his son the day before Don Jr’s statement. During an interview, Trump *volunteered* that he (too) talked to Putin about “adoption” (to bolster his son’s claim?) and even referenced his son’s meeting despite not even being asked.

UPDATE #32: 8/29/17: The number of Russian-linked banks connected to Trump grows to 4. Sberbank (see update #18 Trump’s lawyer), AlfaBank (#26 “linked servers”), VEB (#5 Kushner & #7b Carter Page), Deutsche Bank (#2/2b German bank charged with laundering millions in Russian crime money and to whom Trump is deep in debt to the tune of hundreds of millions), and now “VTB Bank” (of which Russia owns 60.9%). Felix Sater (update #22) contacted Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen in 2015 (during the campaign) on his efforts to finance “Trump Tower Moscow”, announcing “I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected.”. Sater’s belief was that America seeing Trump negotiate a major real estate deal with one of America’s biggest enemies would show want an incredible negotiator & diplomat he was. The deal fell through and the Tower was never built. But this marks the fourth Russian-linked bank that was in contact with the Trump campaign and stood ready to loan Trump hundreds of millions of dollars.

Cohen emailed Sater back, announcing he arranged for Trump’s daughter Ivanka to travel to Moscow to discuss the project and perhaps meet with Putin himself, even arranging for him to allow her to sit in Putin’s personal chair. Ivanka dismissed the idea that she was anything but a tourist while in Moscow, but conceded she “may” have sat in Putin’s chair. And how many “tourists” are invited to sit in the Russian presidents chair inside the Kremlin? Seriously. This also quashes any idea Cohen wasn’t an enthusiastic supporter of Sater’s plan and didn’t discuss it with members of the Trump family.
 

Cohen arranges for Ivanka to sit in Putin's chair.

UPDATE #32b: 8/29/17: The Washington Post reports that Cohen emailed one of Putin’s top aides, Dmitry Peskov, hoping (or so it appears) he could get Putin’s assistance in helping move the project along, telling him, “Over the past few months I have been working with a company based in Russia regarding the development of a Trump Tower” in Moscow, requesting a meeting with Peskov to “discuss specifics” and “arrange meetings with the individuals involved.” If you think Cohen did all this without the knowledge of Trump himself, trying to arrange a multi-million dollar hotel deal in Moscow and then stick his boss with the bill, in the middle of the presidential campaign when his boss is busily denying having any business dealings with Russia, you’re daft.

UPDATE #32c: 8/29/17: WaPo also reports that on the day of the third GOP Primary debate, Trump himself signed a letter of intent to pursue the “Trump Tower Moscow” deal. ABC News reports the proposed tower would have been “the tallest building in the world” had it of been built. At the time of the signing, Trump assured ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that his business had “no relationship to Russia whatsoever.” [ibid]

UPDATE #33: 9/08/17: Donald Trump Jr testified for the second time before the Senate Judiciary Committee investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election, and this time revealed three additional previously undisclosed contacts (in addition to his meeting at Trump Tower) between him and yet another Russian citizen, Russian pop-star Emin Agalarov (Emin’s publicist, Ron Goldstone, is the one who arranged the Trump Tower meeting with Veselnitskaya), the son of Russian real estate mogul Aras Agalarov whom Trump co-owned the Miss Universe pageant that was held in Moscow in 2013. Don Jr contacted Emin because he supposedly provided his father, Aras, “with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia [that] would be very useful to your father [Trump Sr].” Trump Jr… in a response written by his father aboard Air Force One… previously claimed the purpose of the meeting with Veselnitskaya was to discuss the lifting of Putin’s freeze on “Russian adoptions” (despite the fact his email invitation from Goldstone never mentions adoption.) Don Jr now following up with three more contacts with Emin Agalarov seeking dirt on Hillary after the NY meeting he deemed “a bust”, seems to blow a hole in the suggestion the purpose of the meeting was simply to discuss Russian adoption, NOT “seeking dirt on Hillary from the Russian government” (just as the invitation promised.)

UPDATE #33b: 9/13/17: Video of Trump at the 2013 Miss Universe pageant praising the Agalarov’s as “one of the great families in Russia”.

UPDATE #34: 9/21/17: The scrutiny of former campaign manager Paul Manafort has massively intensified in recent weeks, including reports of a no-knock 3AM raid on his home last August where investigators were given permission to “pick the lock” to enter his home to secure documents they feared Manafort might attempt to destroy if he knew investigators were about to enter. And no one has yet to explain why Trump appointed Manafort… a lobbyist for the Russian government’s interests in Ukraine, someone he did not know before the campaign and whom had NEVER run a political campaign before… was suddenly put in charge of the presidential campaign of a major party’s candidate for president of the United States.

Previously, Manafort’s connection to a Kremlin-connected billionaire Russian mobster named Oleg Deripaska (Update #27 above) was noted. Now we know Manafort contacted Deripaska less than two weeks before the RNC Convention (where Trump would accept his Party’s nomination for president) and offered (in an email) to provide him with private briefings on the race. Manafort’s spokesman says this was simply him attempting to contact Deripaska “to collect a debt” (by using the offer of giving away secret campaign information, or the promise of “access” to the potential next president of the United States… as a lure?)

UPDATE #35a: 9/23/17: Manafort may have actually “encouraged” Russia to meddle in the 2016 presidential race. This might be connected to the recent revelation by Facebook that a Russian “Troll Farm” backed by the Kremlin purchased 3,000 ads between June 2015 and May 2017 that either promoted Donald Trump or attacked Hillary Clinton.

UPDATE #35b: “BTA Bank“, the largest bank in Kazakhstan, was awash in scandal in 2009 when it was discovered that the banks’ chairman, Mukhtar Ablyazov, secretly directly between $8 & $12 Billion in loans to companies he personally had a stake in. Ablyazov fled the country and started using BTA to finance land development deals in Russian Georgia. In 2012, Trump flew to Georgia to secure hundreds of millions in loans from Ablyazov (who was evading arrest in several countries) to build another Trump Tower hotel there. The Tower was never built. It was all a massive money-laundering scheme where the bank sold $12 million in property through a series of shell corporations it personally owned, until eventually selling the property back to itself, under the guise of respectability by doing business with the likes of Donald Trump.

UPDATE #36: 8/16/17: Trump WH started pushing the claim “Hillary colluded with Ukraine” TWO DAYS BEFORE Russian hackers released a “hacked” email suggesting Hillary colluded with Ukraine. How did the Trump White House know what was coming?

UPDATE #37: 8/24/17: Rinat Akhmetshin (see #23d above), deputy head of Russian intelligence, who was invited by Veselnitskaya to meet with Don Jr in Trump Tower NYC with the promise of “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, controlled a team of Russian hackers. That meeting with Don Jr, Kushner & Manafort took place (“coincidentally”) just two/three days before the DNC was hacked.

UPDATE #38: 10/13/17: CBS News reports that the lawyer representing Russian real estate mogul Aras Agalarov (see Update #33) released a statement from his client noting that a newly released email from Russian lawyer Veselnitskaya (dated the day of her Trump Tower meeting with Don Jr which he agreed to three days before) makes no mention of “offering dirt on Hillary Clinton” and therefore proves he had “no involvement in Russian attempts to hack the election.” Aras’s lawyer? Scott Balber, Donald Trump’s former lawyer who sued comedian Bill Maher in 2013 for suggesting Trump’s father was an orangutan.

UPDATE #39: 10/30/17: The Mueller Investigation hands down its first indictments in the Russia Investigation against former campaign manager Paul Manafort, his business advisor Rick Gates, and Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos. Gates was charged in connection to Manafort’s “money laundering” activity, and Papadopoulos was charged with (and plead Guilty to) “making false statements to the FBI” about his contacts with foreigners claiming to have “high-level” connections to the Russian government… including a woman he (falsely) believed to be “Putin’s niece.” Papadopoulos was also the first person in the Trump campaign to learn (April 27, 2016) of Russia’s interest in arranging a meeting between Russian officials and Donald Trump, and soon after (May 1st) of their possession of the emails stolen from Clinton Campaign servers in March. According to his emails [ibid], Papadopoulos emailed an undisclosed “campaign supervisor” that the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs was interested in arranging a meeting with Donald Trump in Moscow. That undisclosed adviser emailed back that “[t]here are legal issues we need to mitigate, meeting with foreign officials as a private citizen” and should “communicate” back (to Russia?) that Trump himself “will not be doing these trips” (likely leading to the Manafort/Kushner/Don Jr meeting in Trump Tower in July.) Papadopoulos was praised by another member of the Trump campaign (now identified as former campaign supervisor and now Agriculture Secretary nominee Sam Clovis) for the Russian offer to provide the stolen emails and relaying their interest in meeting with Candidate Trump. Reports are that Papadopoulos may be a “proactive cooperator”, meaning he is actively assisting the Mueller investigation… perhaps even having “worn a wire.”

UPDATE #39b: 11/1/17: The indictment against Manafort singles out a number of suspicious purchases by Manafort between 2008 & 2013 (long before joining the Trump Campaign) that look an awful lot like evidence of “money laundering”:
 

Notable transactions in Manafort Indictment. Direct money transfers (between 2008-2013) from his account in the Russian-owned Bank of Cyprus to the accounts of:
 
“Yiakora Ventures Limited” for “Home Improvement”: $1,195,814
“Yiakora Ventures Limited” & “Global Highway Ltd” for “Antique Rugs”: $934,350
“Yiakora Ventures Limited”, “Global Highway Ltd”, “Leviathon Advisors Ltd”, “Lucicle Consultants Limited” & “Global Endeavor Inc” for:
  “Men’s Clothing”: $849,215
  “Landscaping”: $655,500

Total listed in indictment (all paid for by direct wire transfer from the “Bank of Cypress” to the same holding companies):

“Home Improvement”: $5,434,793
“Home Automation, Lighting & Home Entertainment”: $1,319,281
“Antique Rugs”: $934,350
  “(Purchases related to Antique Rug vendor”): $100,000
“Men’s Clothing”: $849,215
“Landscaping”: $655,500
“Antique’s Dealer”: $623,910
“Clothing (Beverly Hills)”: $520,440
“Investment Co”: $500,000
“Florida Contractor”: $432,487
“Landscaper (Hamptons)”: $164,740
“Payments related to 3 Range Rovers”: $163,705
“Contractor in Virginia”: $125,650
“Home Audio/Video Installation”: $112,825
“Purchase of Mercedes Benz”: $62,750
“Purchase of Range Rover”: $47,000
“Property Management Co in South Carolina”: $46,000
“Florida Art Gallery”: $31,900
“Housekeeping in NY”: $20,000

Total: $12,144,546

 
On their own, these purchases appear benign… exactly how money laundering works. But nearly all of these purchases were “direct wire transfers” from his account at the “Bank of Cyprus” (Cyprus is an island nation off the coast of Turkey in the Mediterranean Sea) to a select group of Holding Companies in the United States over & over, paying the same holding company for “Home Improvement” as for “Men’s Clothing” and “Landscaping” totaling millions of dollars.

And if that isn’t suspicious enough, as mentioned earlier, Wilbur Ross… Trump’s Secretary of Commerce… was the Vice-Chairman of the Russian-owned “Bank of Cyprus”.

The fact all of these transactions took place years before Manafort joined the Trump campaign (as Trump pointed out) is irrelevant (other than wondering why a Russian lobbyist and apparent money launderer for the Russian government with NO experience running a political campaign would be put in charge of running the national campaign of the GOP presidential nominee of whom he had never met.) It’s enough dirt to threaten him with prison & bankruptcy if he doesn’t cooperate with the Mueller investigation. If he reveals he was laundering Russian money into “Bankrupt Trump’s” “self-financed” presidential campaign and can prove Trump was aware of it, he is likely to sing like a bird for a reduced sentence (or even “probation”.)

UPDATE #40: 11/3/17: New York Times reports that Carter Page, Trump’s Foreign Policy Adviser, according to emails released by the House Intelligence Committee, notified the Trump campaign of his trip to Moscow in July of 2016 to meet with Russian officials. This is following the revelation that another Trump adviser, George Papadopoulos, ALSO informed the campaign of his meeting with Russian officials [ibid] for which he was praised, so all those times members of the Trump campaign said they knew of “no one” in the campaign who had been in contact with Russian officials, someone was lying.

UPDATE #41: 11/7/17: 13.4 Million (financial) records leaked from 19 off-shore tax havens, dubbed “The Paradise Papers” revealed that multi-billionaire Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross (noted above as the Vice-Chairman of the Russian owned “Bank of Cyprus” before appointment by Trump) failed to disclose in his confirmation hearing that he has “a stake” (of undisclosed amount) in “Navigator Holdings”, that has received more than $68 Million in revenue since 2014 from Russian energy company Silbur“, one of the largest gas companies in Russia, co-owned by the son-in-law of Russian President Vladimir Putin, “Kirill Shamalov”. Other Silbur stakeholders include “Gennady Timchenko” and “Leonid Mikhelson”. “Timchenko… was targeted by the U.S. and other Western nations for sanctions after Russia’s invasion of the Ukrainian region of Crimea in 2014” and “Mikhelson has also been sanctioned by the Treasury Department for propping up Putin’s rule.” (link.) Sibur’s main shareholder, Mikhelson, is Russia’s richest man. Ross’ stake in Navigator is estimated to be between $2-$10 Million, the result of a more than doubling in the stock value of Navigator Holdings buoyed by the shipping deal struck with “Silbur”.

UPDATE #42: 11/13/17: The Washington Post published a list of 30 Trump campaign staffers known to have been in contact with Russian officials. I’m proud to say nearly all of them are present in our own list which is FAR more extensive than the WaPo listing. Among those they included that I missed:

 o J.D. Gordon, Trump’s national-security policy representative for the Republican National Convention, is the one who urged Trump to walk back the “pro-Ukraine” plank of the GOP platform which originally called for supporting the Ukrainian Army with “lethal defense weapons” to fend off the Russian military as it invaded that country to annex it. Gordon apparently did so after meeting with Russian Ambassador Kislyak AT the RNC Convention.

 o Sam Clovis, who most recently withdrew his name as Trump’s nominee for “Chief Scientist” at the Dept of Agriculture despite being neither a scientist nor possessing agricultural experience, was the Trump campaign’s national co-chairman and George Papadopoulos’ immediate superior. Clovis admitted [ibid link #42] to discussing Papadopoulos’ efforts to arrange a meeting between Trump and Putin once Papadopoulos turned over an email exchange he had with Clovis, who responded, “Great work” and that he would “work it through the campaign.”
 
So our list now:

  • Trump
  • SoS Rex Tillerson
  • Campaign Manager Paul Manafort
  • NatSec Advisor General Mike Flynn
  • Son-in-Law Jared Kushner
  • Attorney General Senator Jeff Sessions
  • National Security Consultant Carter Page
  • Peter W. Smith – GOP operative actively contacting Russia looking for Clinton emails.
  • Trump’s $100 Million dollar sweetheart deal selling a $40 Million dollar mansion to a Russian fertilizer billionaire who never even visited it only to later have it bulldozed for a $40 million dollar loss.
  • Sec of Commerce Wilbur Ross
  • Bretbart CEO turned Campaign Director turned Chief Strategist Steve Bannon
  • (Now former) Chief of Staff Reince Priebus trying to bully the FBI into silencing reports linking Trump to Russia
  • Blackwater’s Erik Prince
  • Trump’s personal lawyer Marc E. Kasowitz
  • Donald Trump Jr.
  • Trump Campaign computer servers linked to “Alfa Bank”.
  • Trump’s nominee to head the Justice Department’s criminal division, Brian Benczkowski
  • Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen
  • Scott Balber, one of Trump’s personal lawyers, hired to represent Russian real estate mogul Aras Agalarov, accused of soliciting “dirt on Hillary Clinton” to Don Jr.
  • Rick Gates, Paul Manafort’s “business adviser”
  • George Papadopoulos, Trump campaign “foreign policy adviser.”
  • J.D. Gordon – Trump’s national-security policy rep for the RNC Convention
  • Sam Clovis – Trump campaign’s national co-chairman

…more?

I intend/expect to update this list frequently so bookmark it and return often. And if you know of any Trump/Russia contacts/associations I may have missed, I encourage you to please list them in the Comments.
 

Where there's smoke...

 


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March 13, 2017 · Admin Mugsy · One Comment - Add
Posted in: Crime, Election, mystery, myth busting, National Security, Politics, Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Scandals

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