An informal coalition of influential conservative leaders and groups, some with close connections to the White House, has been quietly working to nurture protests and apply political and legal pressure to overturn state and local orders intended to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Lev Parnas, the Soviet-born businessman who played a central role in the campaign to pressure Ukraine to investigate political rivals of President Trump, completed his break with the White House on Wednesday, asserting for the first time in public that the president was fully aware of the efforts to dig up damaging information on his behalf.
Elliott Broidy had the kind of past that might have given a more traditional White House reason to keep him at a distance: A wealthy businessman, he had pleaded guilty in 2009 to giving nearly $1 million in illegal gifts to New York State officials to help land a $250 million investment from the state’s pension fund.
When the Trump administration announced last month that it was lifting sanctions against a trio of companies controlled by an influential Russian oligarch, it cast the move as tough on Russia and on the oligarch, arguing that he had to make painful concessions to get the sanctions lifted. But a binding confidential document signed by both sides suggests that the agreement the administration negotiated with the companies controlled by the oligarch, Oleg V. Deripaska, may have been less punitive than advertised.
“People overseas often want to hear that you know so-and-so, and can make a call to solve their problem,” said Erich Ferrari, a leading Washington sanctions lawyer who said he has tried to disabuse prospective clients of such notions. It is a perception that matches up with the pay-to-play mind-set that defines politics in many parts of Africa, Asia, the Middle East and the former Soviet states.
As tanks, artillery and combat troops streamed from Russia into Ukraine in 2014, the United States government dispatched a multiagency team of technical experts to Kiev to help the fragile government there shore up its energy supply for the coming winter.The head of that team, William N. Bryan, was a career civil servant with an expertise in energy infrastructure and security.
An American lobbyist on Friday admitted brokering access to President Trump’s inauguration for a pro-Russian Ukrainian oligarch in a scheme that highlighted the rush by foreign interests to influence the new administration.
The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, brought new obstruction charges on Friday against President Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and added allegations against a close associate, who prosecutors suspect has ties to Russian intelligence.
The new national security adviser has been quietly taking advice from a few associates. Some have business interests that overlap with the National Security Council. Nearly two months into Mr. Bolton’s tenure, some people familiar with the N.S.C. say the influence of his associates can be seen in the agency’s effort to crack down on leaks, as well as an exodus of agency staff and a roster of candidates now under consideration to take their place, and have taken to calling the associates a “shadow N.S.C.”
For Elliott Broidy, Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign represented an unparalleled political and business opportunity. An investor and defense contractor, Mr. Broidy became a top fund-raiser for Mr. Trump’s campaign when most elite Republican donors were keeping their distance, and Mr. Trump in turn overlooked the lingering whiff of scandal from Mr. Broidy’s 2009 guilty plea in a pension fund bribery case.
For years, a coalition of well-funded groups on the religious right have waged an uphill battle to repeal a 1954 law that bans churches and other nonprofit groups from engaging in political activity. Now, those groups are edging toward a once-improbable victory as Republican lawmakers, with the enthusiastic backing of President Trump, prepare to rewrite large swaths of the United States tax code as part of the $1.5 trillion tax package moving through Congress.
Five years ago, Paul Manafort arranged for a prominent New York-based law firm to draft a report that was used by allies of his client, Viktor Yanukovych, the Russia-aligned president of Ukraine, to justify the jailing of a political rival. And now the report is coming back to haunt it.