The (In)Complete (and growing) List of Trump’s Russia Ties

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(LAST UPDATE: 6/27/17 – Update “5b”)
 
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 dealings with Russia. I have no deals in Russia because we’ve stayed away.” – Donald Trump on the campaign trail, 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 its 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? 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, 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, Manifort was already offering his services on how he could “greatly benefit the Putin Government”. AP reports Manifort was paid “$10 Million dollars a year” through at least mid-2009.)

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.)
 

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.

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. 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 Manifort 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 “DeutcheBank”. Trump owes DeutcheBank hundreds of millions of dollars… their single biggest debtor.)

(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

 
So our list now:

  • Trump
  • Tillerson
  • Manafort
  • Flynn
  • Kushner
  • Sessions
  • Page
  • 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.
  • Ross
  • Bannon
  • Sater
  • Arif – multiple real estate deals including a failed attempt to build “Trump Tower Moscow” with Sater.
  • Shnaider
  • Priebus trying to bully the FBI into silencing reports linking Trump to Russia
  • The MI6/Steele Dossier.
  • Carving out an exemption for a Russian-owned pipeline manufacturer to provide pipe for the KXL and DAPL pipelines.
  • The firing of Federal Prosecutor Preet Bharara who was investigating Russian money laundering.
  • Blackwater’s Erik Prince
  • Trump’s personal lawyer Marc E. Kasowitz
  • Russian Mobster turned CIA informant, Felix Sater
  • …more?

And that’s the short list. 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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