At least 17 officials and advisers from President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign had direct or indirect contacts with Russian nationals before his inauguration, according to a new article from The New York Times. The Times analysis indicates that these Trump people were in contact with Russians over 100 times before Trump took office in January of 2017.
Trump himself had at least six such contacts before the Republican National Convention (RNC) which took place in July of 2016. One of Trump’s personal contacts involved signing a letter of intent to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, the Times reported.
In addition, a Russian billionaire who hosted the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow with Trump, Aras Agalarov, talked to Donald Trump multiple times before the RNC convention took place. Agalarov’s son, Emin, was also in direct contact Trump himself on several occasions.
Aras Agalarov sent a letter to Trump shortly after the 2016 presidential primaries began saying that the friend of Putin had “great interest” in his campaign, the Times noted.
Trump denied his, and his campaign’s, contacts and interactions with Russian nationals throughout the campaign and even after winning the Republican presidential nomination.
The Times compiled the damning data by analyzing their own articles, documents submitted to Congress, and court records related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
In addition to the 17 named individuals who were in contact with Russians, ten other Trump campaign associates were informed about the campaign’s Russian interactions.
The president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., reportedly had at least 17 direct contacts with Russians or a Russian intermediary, although he has denied most of these took place. The most famous of Don Jr.’s contacts took place when he arranged the notorious June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Russians and senior members of the Trump campaign.
Junior’s contacts also included exchanging private Twitter messages with WikiLeaks, the organization which published thousands of emails which had been stolen by Russian agents from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign.
The president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who is a White House senior adviser, had at least six contacts with Russians, according to the Times. Kushner’s contacts included meeting with the Russian ambassador during Trump’s transition as well as attending the Trump Tower meeting.
Longtime Trump friend and campaign adviser Roger Stone, who was arrested by the FBI yesterday, had the most contacts, according to the Times.
Stone reportedly had a minimum of 18 contacts with Russian nationals and WikiLeaks before Trump took was inaugurated as president.
Stone’s arrest yesterday occurred after he had been indicted on seven counts in connection with Mueller’s investigation into Russian collusion by the Trump campaign.
Stone’s indictment states that a “senior Trump campaign official” was “directed to contact Stone about any additional releases and what other damaging information [WikiLeaks] had regarding the Clinton Campaign.”
“Stone thereafter told the Trump Campaign about potential future releases of damaging material by [WikiLeaks],” the indictment reads.
Stone is the sixth campaign aide and associate of Trump to be charged in Mueller’s Russia probe. Others include Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen, adviser George Papadopoulos, ex-campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
According to the Times, Cohen had at least 17 contacts with Russians during the campaign and transition, including being heavily involved in the plans to build Trump Tower Moscow. He also had other meetings with Russian oligarchs on other matters.
Papadopoulos, Manafort and Flynn all had many contacts with Russians throughout the campaign and transition before Trump took over the presidency.
This new detailed analysis by the Times is helpful because it shows just how extensively the Trump campaign worked with Russia in order to get Trump elected.
History will show that Donald Trump’s presidency is illegitimate, and it was won using criminal means that including committing treason and conspiring with America’s biggest foreign adversary.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.