US Politics in Trump era
Attorney General William P. Barr has held private meetings overseas with foreign intelligence officials seeking their help in a Justice Department inquiry that President Trump hopes will discredit U.S. intelligence agencies’ examination of possible connections between Russia and members of the Trump campaign during the 2016 election, according to people familiar with the matter.
The Kremlin said on Monday that Washington would need Russian consent to publish transcripts of phone calls between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. The Democratic-led House last week launched an impeachment inquiry into Trump in the aftermath of a whistleblower complaint alleging that Trump had solicited interference by Ukraine in the 2020 U.S. election for his own political benefit.
McConnell has been unpopular in his home state for years, but his approval rating plunged in one poll to a rock-bottom 18 percent — with a re-election campaign looming in 2020. In January, he had raised red flags among Republicans and -Democrats alike when he took a key role in lifting sanctions on Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a Putin ally under FBI investigation for his involvement in 2016 election-meddling; three months later, Deripaska’s aluminum company, Rusal, announced a $200 million investment in Kentucky.
Critics of a Kremlin-linked industrial giant investing $200 million in a new aluminum plant in Kentucky say it gives Moscow political influence that could undermine national security. Pointing to Moscow’s use of economic leverage to sway European politics, they warn the deal is a stalking horse for a new kind of Russian meddling in America, one that exploits the U.S. free-market system instead of its elections.
The United States formally withdrew from a landmark nuclear missile pact with Russia on Friday after determining that Moscow was in violation of the treaty and had no plans to come into compliance with it. U.S. President Donald Trump made the determination that the United States would terminate adherence to the 1987 arms control accord, known as the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), senior administration officials told reporters.
Last week, CNN published an explosive story related to the Trump-Russia case that raised important new questions about ties between Julian Assange, WikiLeaks, and Russia. The report said that CNN had obtained hundreds of pages of surveillance reports compiled for the Ecuadorian government by a Spanish security company, which showed that Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, received “in-person deliveries, potentially of hacked materials related to the 2016 U.S. election, during a series of suspicious meetings” while he lived in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee is quietly amassing documents on allegations of politically-motivated retaliation at the State Department; it’s looking into whether Trump has violated foreign emoluments and conflict of interest rules; and lawmakers are working to find out more about the president's relationship with Vladimir Putin and how he leads American foreign policy behind the scenes — all without the fanfare associated with the other committees’ work.
Mueller statement on Russia investigation: Special counsel says accusing Trump of a crime ‘not an option’ under DOJ guidelines – The Washington Post
Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III reiterated Wednesday that his office could not clear President Trump of obstructing justice, asserting in his first public remarks about his investigation that federal prosecutors cannot accuse the commander in chief of a crime, while suggesting Congress still may do so.
Former secretary of state Rex Tillerson told members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee that Russian President Vladimir Putin out-prepared President Trump during a key meeting in Germany, putting the U.S. leader at a disadvantage during their first series of tête-à-têtes. The U.S. side anticipated a shorter meeting for exchanging courtesies, but it ballooned into a globe-spanning two-hour-plus session involving deliberations on a variety of geopolitical issues, said committee aides, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss Tillerson’s seven-hour closed meeting with the committee.
President Trump said he spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin by phone for more than an hour Friday about topics including special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation but that he did not confront Putin about Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s final report focuses only on whether crimes were committed. It addresses two Russian conspiracies to interfere in the 2016 election—one involving a social media influence campaign and the other involving the hacking and dissemination of stolen emails. The Report then addresses whether Trump Campaign associates knowingly entered an agreement with the Russian government to assist those conspiracies.
Sanctioned Russian Oligarch’s Company to Invest Millions in New Aluminum Plant in Mitch McConnell’s State
Rusal, the aluminum company partially owned by Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, announced plans to invest around $200 million to build a new aluminum plant in Kentucky just months after the Trump administration removed it from the U.S. sanctions list.
Should William Barr Recuse Himself From Mueller Report? Legal Experts Say Attorney General’s Ties to Russia Are Troubling
A few of Barr’s previous employers are connected to key subjects in the probe. And some argue that, even if Barr didn’t break any rules, his financial ties to companies linked to aspects of the Russia investigation raise questions about whether he should—like his predecessor, Jeff Sessions—recuse himself.
A charity run by Prince Charles received donations from an offshore company that was used to funnel vast amounts of cash from Russia in a scheme that is under investigation by prosecutors, the Guardian can reveal. Money flowing through the network included cash that can be linked to some of the most notorious frauds committed during Vladimir Putin’s presidency.
In the latest example of Russian officials rubbing elbows with members of the American right, a newly emerged photo shows Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson standing alongside a key employee of sanctioned Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeev.
Last month, a new leak site called Distributed Denial of Secrets went live, compiling a cache of hacked emails and documents of Russian officials, confidants of sanctioned Russian oligarchs, and those steering Russian interference efforts. Among the revelations: A higher-up at the Bradley Foundation, one of the main financiers of right-wing groups in the U.S. — including the Daily Caller News Foundation and anti-immigrant organizations — apparently attended a notorious “pro-family” conference in Russia in 2014, held shortly after Russia began its invasion of Ukraine.
Evidence given by prosecutors to the defense team in the ongoing prosecution of a Russian troll farm accused of meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election was altered and posted online as part of a “disinformation campaign” to discredit the Russia probe, special counsel Robert Mueller’s team alleged in a court filing Wednesday.
The Democratic Coalition’s ongoing investigation just uncovered the following evidence linking GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to Russian oil money, some of which we first revealed in February 2017.McConnell recently voted to drop sanctions against Russian aluminum company RusAl which is still owned by one of Vladimir Putin’s sanctioned oligarchs, Oleg Deripaska. His action directly benefits one of the GOP leader’s major donors, whose fortune comes from Russian oil.
They lied to the public for months before Donald Trump was elected — and then repeatedly after he took office. They lied to Congress as lawmakers sought to investigate Russia’s attack on American democracy in 2016. And they lied to the FBI, even when they knew lying was a crime.
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.
In the days after President Trump fired James B. Comey as F.B.I. director, law enforcement officials became so concerned by the president’s behavior that they began investigating whether he had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests, according to former law enforcement officials and others familiar with the investigation.
President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia on Thursday welcomed President Trump’s announcement of a withdrawal of American troops from Syria, calling it “the right decision.” Mr. Trump said on Wednesday that he was ordering the withdrawal because the United States military had achieved its goal of defeating the Islamic State militant group in Syria. But the move caught many by surprise, including some of his military and diplomatic advisers.
President Donald Trump’s decision to declare ISIS defeated and order a full US withdrawal from Syria has been met with anger and disbelief by the Washington establishment that hoped for regime change in Damascus.
The Russian influence campaign on social media in the 2016 election made an extraordinary effort to target African-Americans, used an array of tactics to try to suppress turnout among Democratic voters and unleashed a blizzard of activity on Instagram that rivaled or exceeded its posts on Facebook, according to a report produced for the Senate Intelligence Committee.
The guilty plea Thursday of a woman accused of infiltrating the National Rifle Association on behalf of the Russian government has thrust the powerful conservative group into an uncomfortable spotlight as the organization appears to be facing declining donations and signs its fearsome political influence may be waning.
Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, admitted in court on Thursday that he had engaged in negotiations to build a tower in Moscow for Mr. Trump well into the 2016 presidential campaign, far later than previously known.
President Trump on Thursday abruptly canceled his planned meeting with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, citing the unresolved naval standoff between Russia and Ukraine and upending his hopes of further cementing the relationship between the two leaders.
Dick Cheney’s former top national-security aide has come under scrutiny from special counsel Robert Mueller, two people with knowledge of the probe tell The Daily Beast. It’s the latest sign that Mueller’s probe has expanded beyond the narrow bounds of Russian interference in American politics.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had warned SWIFT that there would be “penalties applied” to firms that do not comply with the latest round of sanctions. Stuck between a rock and a hard place, SWIFT could now face EU penalties for siding with the US and violating its own Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) laws prohibiting companies siding with sanctions.
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.
Meddling in foreign elections is bad. I think we can all agree on that. And almost everyone — bar Donald Trump — seems to believe that the Russian government meddled in the 2016 election. So that should be condemned. Here’s the problem, though: U.S. politicians and pundits cannot credibly object to Russian interference in U.S. elections without also acknowledging that the United States doesn’t exactly have clean hands.
On an October afternoon before the 2016 election, a huge banner was unfurled from the Manhattan Bridge in New York City: Vladimir V. Putin against a Russian-flag background, and the unlikely word “Peacemaker” below. It was a daredevil happy birthday to the Russian president, who was turning 64. In November, shortly after Donald J. Trump eked out a victory that Moscow had worked to assist, an even bigger banner appeared, this time on the Arlington Memorial Bridge in Washington: the face of President Barack Obama and “Goodbye Murderer” in big red letters.
Ms. Butina’s efforts to deal in Russian jet fuel, detailed in hundreds of pages of previously unreported emails, were notable not just for their whiff of foreign intrigue but for who they involved: David Keene, a former president of the National Rifle Association and a prominent leader of the conservative movement, who has advised Republican candidates from Ronald Reagan to Mitt Romney. They also involved Mr. Keene’s wife, Donna, a well-connected Washington lobbyist, and Ms. Butina’s boyfriend, Paul Erickson, who ran Patrick J. Buchanan’s 1992 presidential campaign and who moved in rarefied conservative circles despite allegations of fraud in three states.
This week Ohr discussed that meeting with lawmakers in a private interview. From the AP: “Among the things Ohr said he learned from Steele during the breakfast was that an unnamed former Russian intelligence official had said that Russian intelligence believed “they had Trump over a barrel,” according to people familiar with the meeting.”
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.
Unfortunately for Pence — but fortunately for everyone in America who likes women’s rights, their gay uncle Sal, and R-rated movies — his future looks bleak as well. It’s not just Trump who should be worried about his connections to Paul Manafort, or indeed, to the occurrences at Trump Tower or during the transition period between Obama’s presidency and Trump’s.
In nearly three decades at the Justice Department, Mr. Ohr has made a career of supporting and facilitating important cases that targeted Russian organized crime. Now he is a target of President Trump, who has put his security clearance under review and attacked him publicly, and allies.
President Trump said on Sunday that a Trump Tower meeting between top campaign aides and a Kremlin-connected lawyer was designed to “get information on an opponent” — the starkest acknowledgment yet that a statement he dictated last year about the encounter was misleading.
The social network said in a blog that it had identified 17 suspect profiles on Facebook and seven Instagram accounts. It said that there were more than 9,500 Facebook posts created by the accounts and one piece of content on Instagram. In total more than 290,000 accounts followed at least one of the pages involved, it added.
According to CNN, Michael Cohen says President Trump knew in advance about the Trump Tower meeting from Don Jr., approved the meeting in advance, was looking forward to getting the dirt. A little backstory on this. Cohen has been suggesting that he knows this and is willing to testify to that effect. CNN is apparently the first to get this solid enough to report.
Conservative lawmakers on Wednesday introduced a resolution calling for the impeachment of Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, in a move that marks a dramatic escalation in the battle over the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. The effort, led by Reps. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), also sets up a showdown with House Republican leaders, who have distanced themselves from calls to remove Rosenstein from office.
The Russian intelligence agency behind the 2016 election cyberattacks targeted Sen. Claire McCaskill as she began her 2018 re-election campaign in earnest, a Daily Beast forensic analysis reveals. That makes the Missouri Democrat the first identified target of the Kremlin’s 2018 election interference.
Two days after President Trump’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russian officials offered a string of assertions about what the two leaders had achieved. “Important verbal agreements” were reached at the Helsinki meeting, Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, told reporters in Moscow Wednesday, including preservation of the New Start and INF agreements, major bilateral arms control treaties whose futures have been in question. Antonov also said that Putin had made “specific and interesting proposals to Washington” on how the two countries could cooperate on Syria.
Browder is the founder and CEO of Hermitage Capital Management and was the largest foreign investor in Russia until 2005. Since 2009 when his lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, died in prison after uncovering a $230 million fraud committed by Russian government officials, Browder has been leading a campaign to expose Russia's endemic corruption and human rights abuses.
President Trump refused to support the conclusion of U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election, saying at the end of his summit here Monday with Russian President Vladimir Putin that the autocrat privately gave him an “extremely strong and powerful” denial.
Just a few hours after President Trump doused expectations of extracting any confession from President Vladimir V. Putin on Russia’s election meddling when they meet on Monday, his own Justice Department issued a sweeping indictment of 12 Russian intelligence agents for hacking the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton presidential campaign. The bold move, precisely the kind that Mr. Trump has long resisted, demonstrated how he is almost wholly untethered from his administration when it comes to dealing with Moscow.
A Swing-State Election Vendor Repeatedly Denied Being Hacked by Russians. The New Mueller Indictment Says Otherwise.
Shortly before the 2016 presidential election, Russian military hackers tried to trick employees of VR Systems, a Florida-based e-voting vendor, into downloading computer-hijacking malware, according to a top-secret NSA report published by The Intercept last year. As recently as last month, the company denied any breach occurred. But, in fact, the hacking attempt worked, judging from an indictment of 12 Russian military officers prepared by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and handed down by a grand jury today.
A dozen Russians were criminally charged on Friday with hacking and leaking the emails of senior Democrats during the 2016 presidential election campaign.Grand jury indictments against the 12 alleged Russian intelligence officials were announced by Rod Rosenstein, the deputy US attorney general, at a press conference in Washington.
The media has treated the notion that Russia has personally compromised the president of the United States as something close to a kook theory. A minority of analysts, mostly but not exclusively on the right, have promoted aggressively exculpatory interpretations of the known facts, in which every suspicious piece of evidence turns out to have a surprisingly innocent explanation. What is missing from our imagination is the unlikely but possible outcome on the other end: that this is all much worse than we suspect.
Just weeks before his back-to-back summits with NATO members in Belgium and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Finland, President Trump is legitimizing Russia’s claim that it did not interfere in the 2016 election, contradicting the conclusions of U.S. intelligence agencies.
The Russian firm that special counsel Robert Mueller has charged with funding Russia’s election meddling on social media and is run by an oligarch known as “Putin’s chef” challenged Mueller’s legal authority in court filings Monday. Concord Management was among the defendants named in an indictment approved by Mueller’s grand jury in February. Mueller accused Concord Management of funding the organization of internet trolls who allegedly created fake social media accounts in the lead-up of 2016, and charged it with conspiracy to defraud the United States.
Buyers connected to Russia or former Soviet republics made 86 all cash sales — totaling of nearly $109 million — at 10 Trump-branded properties in South Florida and New York City, which raises red flags for federal officials looking into money laundering
One day in late May 2016, Roger Stone — the political dark sorcerer and longtime confidant of Donald Trump — slipped into his Jaguar and headed out to meet a man with a Make America Great Again hat and a viscous Russian accent. The man, who called himself Henry Greenberg, offered damaging information about Hillary Clinton. Stone and Caputo’s interactions with Greenberg mean that at least 11 Trump associates or campaign officials have acknowledged interactions with a Russian during the election season or presidential transition.
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.
Trump’s comments, made just hours before he arrived in Canada for the annual G-7 summit, have further scrambled talks with other leaders, most of whom were already fuming about the U.S. leader’s protectionist trade policies. But in a sign that European unity against Trump is cracking, new Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said he agreed with Trump and wanted Russia back in the fold.
Trump aides colluded with foreign governments. There’s ample evidence on many fronts, from legal documents to reliable reporting. This doesn’t mean that a crime was committed, because, as Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and others have pointed out, collusion is not a crime per se. But it does mean that attempts to dismiss the Russia investigation as a witch hunt that lacks any evidence are not merely disingenuous—they’re simply wrong.
China has purchased record amounts of soybeans from Russia in recent months amid trade tensions with the U.S., Bloomberg reported. The world's biggest soybean importer, China has nearly tripled its imports from Russia, according to Bloomberg. Russian trade data show the country sold 850,000 metric tons of soybeans to China between July 2017 and mid-May this year. The record sales represent more than twice the 340,000 tons sold during the previous growing period.
The Russian lawyer who met with Trump campaign officials in Trump Tower in June 2016 on the premise that she would deliver damaging information about Hillary Clinton has long insisted she is a private attorney, not a Kremlin operative trying to meddle in the presidential election.
Shortly after President Donald Trump was inaugurated last year, top Republican fundraiser Elliott Broidy offered Russian gas giant Novatek a $26 million lobbying plan aimed at removing the company from a U.S. sanctions list, according to documents obtained by The Intercept.
Democratic Party files lawsuit alleging Russia, the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks conspired to disrupt the 2016 campaign
The Democratic National Committee filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit Friday against the Russian government, the Trump campaign and the WikiLeaks organization alleging a far-reaching conspiracy to disrupt the 2016 campaign and tilt the election to Donald Trump.
President Trump on Sunday vowed in a tweet that there would be a “big price to pay” for the reported chemical attack that killed dozens of people in a rebel-held enclave in Syria, leading international condemnation of the incident from democracies and authoritarian regimes alike.
Buried in the campaign finance reports available to the public are some troubling connections between a group of wealthy donors with ties to Russia and their political contributions to President Donald Trump and a number of top Republican leaders. And thanks to changes in campaign finance laws, the political contributions are legal. We have allowed our campaign finance laws to become a strategic threat to our country.
Media Giant Sinclair Hired Reporter From Russian Propaganda Outlet RT Who Produced ‘Must-Run’ ‘Deep State’ Segment
The United States' largest owner of television stations, Sinclair Broadcast Group, mandated that its outlets run a segment on the so-called deep state that was produced by a former reporter for the Russian propaganda outlet RT, according to a new report.
Trump administration expels 60 Russian officers, shuts Seattle consulate in response to attack on former spy in Britain
The Trump administration on Monday ordered the expulsion of 60 Russian intelligence and diplomatic officers in New York and Washington and the closure of the Russian Consulate in Seattle, joining European allies in retaliation for the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain.
Incoming White House national security adviser John Bolton recorded a video used by the Russian gun rights group The Right to Bear Arms in 2013 to encourage the Russian government to loosen gun laws.
President Trump on Tuesday congratulated President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia on his recent re-election victory, but failed to ask him about either the fairness of the Russian vote, which Mr. Putin won with a lopsided margin, or about allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
President Trump appeared on Sunday to abandon a strategy of deferring to the special counsel examining Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, lashing out at what he characterized as a partisan investigation and raising questions about whether he might seek to shut it down.
The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, has subpoenaed the Trump Organization in recent weeks to turn over documents, including some related to Russia, according to two people briefed on the matter. The order is the first known instance of the special counsel demanding records directly related to President Trump’s businesses, bringing the investigation closer to the president.
Mueller gathers evidence that 2017 Seychelles meeting was effort to establish back channel to Kremlin
Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has gathered evidence that a secret meeting in Seychelles just before the inauguration of Donald Trump was an effort to establish a back channel between the incoming administration and the Kremlin — apparently contradicting statements made to lawmakers by one of its participants, according to people familiar with the matter.
As Russia’s virtual war against the United States continues unabated with the midterm elections approaching, the State Department has yet to spend any of the $120 million it has been allocated since late 2016 to counter foreign efforts to meddle in elections or sow distrust in democracy.
Alexander Torshin's links to NRA leaders are deeper than previously known, NPR has learned. He claims to have met Donald Trump in 2015 and served as a U.S. election observer in 2012 through the NRA.
Hope Hicks, the White House communications director and one of President Trump’s longest-serving and closest advisers, abruptly announced Wednesday that she plans to resign — sending a jolt through a West Wing besieged by internal tumult and the intensifying Russia investigation. Hicks has been interviewed by Mueller’s team, and on Tuesday she testified for nine hours before the House Intelligence Committee as part of its separate Russia investigation. She admitted to telling what one person familiar with her testimony characterized as white lies.
The young tech guru who ran the Trump campaign’s digital operations from his office in San Antonio is an extremely controversial choice to run the president’s 2020 campaign. That’s because Parscale is intimately tied to a company called Cambridge Analytica, a shady data analytics firm that has become a major focus of both the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russian meddling in the election and special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.
A former top adviser to Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign pleaded guilty on Friday to fraud and lying to investigators in the special counsel inquiry into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and will cooperate with the investigation.
President Trump questioned the intensifying special counsel investigation of his 2016 campaign and his administration while attacking his own national security adviser, the FBI, Hillary Clinton, former president Barack Obama, Democrats in Congress, CNN and others in a remarkable nine-hour span of tweets that included profanity and misspellings.
The special counsel investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election charged 13 Russian nationals and three Russian organizations on Friday with illegally using social media platforms to sow political discord, including actions that supported the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump and disparaged his opponent, Hillary Clinton.
The defining moment of Jeff Sessions's time as attorney general has been when he recused himself from oversight of the Russia investigation. That quickly led to the appointment of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who is now extensively probing President Trump. And by all accounts, it seriously strained Sessions's relationship with Trump, who thinks Sessions should be protecting him and doing his bidding.
Trump Administration Waives Punishment For Convicted Banks, Including Deutsche — Which Trump Owes Millions
The Trump administration has waived part of the punishment for five megabanks whose affiliates were convicted and fined for manipulating global interest rates. One of the Trump administration waivers was granted to Deutsche Bank — which is owed at least $130 million by President Donald Trump and his business empire, and has also been fined for its role in a Russian money laundering scheme.
The head of the research firm behind a dossier of allegations against Donald Trump told congressional investigators that someone inside Trump’s network had also provided the FBI with information during the 2016 campaign. It was released by the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California. Feinstein said she released the transcript to set the record straight. “The innuendo and misinformation circulating about the transcript are part of a deeply troubling effort to undermine the investigation into potential collusion and obstruction of justice,’’ she said.
Even though Lindsey Graham wasn’t running for anything in 2016 either, he took $800,000 from this same Kremlin oligarch. Again, the donation was legal. And realistically speaking, it’s incredibly difficult to believe that someone like Graham could be coaxed into throwing away his legacy and going on a crime spree to protect Donald Trump, simply because someone handed him eight hundred grand. So what’s really going on here?
Throw a dart at a map of the world and there’s a solid chance it will land near a spot where a Trump family business has allegedly gotten caught up in a money laundering scheme. There’s Panama, where the Trump Ocean Club is said to have washed dirty cash for Russian gangsters and South American drug cartels. There’s Azerbaijan and the Trump Baku, where the money allegedly being laundered was said to belong to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.
As the flagrant anti-F.B.I. rhetoric instilled by Donald Trump and his allies seeps into the Republican mainstream, the G.O.P. is expanding its push to cast doubt on the efforts of Robert Mueller and his team.
Thanks to Mueller’s ongoing investigation, we now know that prior to President Donald Trump’s inauguration, members of his inner circle went to bat on behalf of Israel, and specifically on behalf of illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, behind the scenes and in opposition to official U.S. foreign policy. That’s the kind of collusion with a foreign state that has gotten a lot of attention with respect to the Kremlin – but colluding with Israel seems to be of far less interest, strangely.
Mr. Flynn, who appeared in federal court in Washington, acknowledged that he was cooperating with the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, into Russian interference in the 2016 election. His plea agreement suggests that Mr. Flynn provided information to prosecutors, which may help advance the inquiry.
President Trump over the summer repeatedly urged senior Senate Republicans, including the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, to end the panel’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, according to a half dozen lawmakers and aides. Mr. Trump’s requests were a highly unusual intervention from a president into a legislative inquiry involving his family and close aides.
Donald Trump’s commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, is doing business with Vladimir Putin’s son-in-law through a shipping venture in Russia. Leaked documents and public filings show that Ross holds a stake in a shipping company, Navigator, through a chain of offshore investments. Navigator operates a lucrative partnership with Sibur, a Russian gas company part-owned by Kirill Shamalov, the husband of Putin’s daughter Katerina Tikhonova.
Until Monday, there was no evidence that Trump knew about any campaign contacts with Russians or their intermediaries. But tucked away in the guilty plea of George Papadopoulos is a piece of information that undermines Trump’s February statement and draws him more directly into the scandal. According to Papadopoulos, when he attended a March 31, 2016 campaign national security meeting he told the small group, which included President Trump, that he had ongoing communications with Russians that would allow him to facilitate a meeting between Trump and Vladimir Putin.
A former campaign aide to Donald Trump, George Papadopoulos, who sought to secure a meeting between the future US president and Vladimir Putin has pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents working for special counsel Robert Mueller as part of his investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.