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Trump-Russia connection

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When we confront foreign interference in American elections, it is important for us to avoid thinking politically as Republicans or Democrats and instead to think patriotically as Americans.
—Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein[1]
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein oversees the ongoing Special Counsel investigation.
Guide to:
U.S. Politics
Icon politics USA.svg
Hail to the Chief?
Persons of interest

At present, the Trump-Russia connection or Russiagate refers to the possible collusion[note 1] between the Trump presidential campaign and the Russian government to unfairly influence the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. It is not only the subject of controversy but also a full-fledged FBI counterintelligence investigation.[4][note 2]

The Trump-Russia investigation is not limited to the office of the Special Counsel; it has also included a separate criminal investigation by the FBI[5] and may include other investigations not yet made public. In mid-2018, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, appointed by Trump no less, revealed that there is a broad effort by the Department of Justice to combat Russian "information warfare" waged against the United States to undermine her democracy and critical infrastructure. Indeed, the Russian attempt to influence the 2016 Election was "just one tree in a growing forest," he said.[6] As of July 2018, the Special Counsel investigation has resulted in 191 criminal charges against 35 individuals and three companies resulting in five guilty pleas and one sentencing.[7] It goes without saying that the accused remain innocent until proven guilty, as are everyone else. Caution against speculation is advised.

Regardless of whether or not illicit ties with Russia are proven, Trump is a known associate of organized crime, including mafia figures, or oligarchs who have ties to mob bosses,[note 3] and much of his behavior could lead to obstruction of justice charges at best, if not money laundering at worst. In 2017, impeachment was technically possible, but — considering Republicans controlled both chambers of Congress — improbable.[8] In fact, it did not happen. After the 2018 midterm elections, however, Democrats regained control of the House of Representatives, and many new lawmakers are agitating for impeachment. Nevertheless, premature actions may invite public backlash. The Mueller probe has no public deadline.[9]

By July 2018, it is more accurate to call this a corruption probe, as Mueller both expanded the scope of his special counsel and worked with state officials to uncover all crimes involved with the Trump campaign. Trump's inner circle is being investigated for (aggravated) identity theft, various kinds of frauds, unauthorized computer access (hacking), money laundering, accepting illegal campaign contributions, making false statements to law enforcement, failure to register as foreign agents, obstruction of justice, and conspiracy against the United States of America.[10]

Policy advisers[edit]

He is a very flamboyant man, very talented, no doubt about that [...] He is the absolute leader of the presidential race, as we see it today. He says that he wants to move to another level of relations, to a deeper level of relations with Russia. How can we not welcome that? Of course we welcome it.
Vladimir Putin on Donald Trump, before he became the official GOP nominee[11]
He said Donald Trump is a genius and he is going to be the leader of the party and he's going to be the leader of the world or something [...] These characters that I'm running against said, 'We want you to disavow that statement.' I said, 'What, he called me a genius, I'm going to disavow it? Are you crazy?' [...] I think I'd have a good relationship with Putin.
—Donald Trump, gracefully embellishing his praise[12]

Trump's Russia adviser Carter Page has made a business on dealings with Russia. Page has had a lifelong fascination of Russia from the days of the Soviet Union; he has supported Putin in his writings for a while as a staunch defender of Russian intentions, and has accused the U.S. of red-baiting and adopting a Cold War mindset with regards to Russia – that and the fact the economic sanctions imposed on Russia affected his business dealings with GazpromWikipedia's W.svg and other Russian businesses.[13]

After hiring recruiting Paul Manafort, the former consultant to the pro-Kremlin Ukrainian politician Victor Yanukovich,Wikipedia's W.svg[14] as a volunteer campaign chairman,[15] Trump changed his position on Crimea from demanding stronger Western intervention from "weak", "ineffective", "worst president" Barack Obama.[16] Manafort's lobbying firm (Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly) worked for a number of unsavory dictators and human rights-abusing regimes, earning them a top 5 spot in fees earned from the so-called torturers' lobby in 1991-1992.[17]

Another Trump foreign policy advisor and retired army Lt. General Michael Flynn flew to Moscow in 2015 in order to attend a gala banquet in honor of RT, a channel which he has appeared on regularly,[18][19][20] and was seated at the head table, two seats away from Putin.[20] Michael Flynn, now the shortest-serving National Security Adviser in history, was forced to resign after being accused of lying about never talking to the Russians during the election. Since then, Manafort, Page, Jared Kushner (Trump's son-in-law), and several other Trump administration officials are receiving flak for their own connections to Russian oligarchs.

Business and mafia connections[edit]

Alimzhan Tokhtakhunov in 2011
I couldn’t care less. They do not represent the interest of the Russian state. Maybe they’re not even Russians. Maybe they’re Ukrainians, Tatars, Jews, just with Russian citizenship.
—Vladimir Putin, questioning the statehood of about 17% of Russian citizens[21] as well as that of most of his oligarch buddies[22]
Almost all of the oligarchs were in the room.
—Donald Trump, excitedly reminiscing about his 2013 Miss Universe contest in Moscow[23]

While a large number of the Russian oligarchs aren't actually ethnic Russians, this fact does not diminish their close connection to Russia and Putin. Many were born in now-independent former Soviet States and/or are ethnically Jewish.[24] Many of them wield the power of mobsters — for one, a person could easily end up getting iced having a most unfortunate accident heart attack, simply by reporting something previously unpublished about an oligarch. In fact, this happens quite a lot.[25]

Trump, who has had known American mafia ties,[26] would have no problems doing business with mafia-connected oligarchs in other countries. In fact, much of his known business dealings with Russian oligarchs boil down to his ties to the mafia, such as Felix SaterWikipedia's W.svg, a businessman who deals with Russian mobsters, and Oleg Deripaska,Wikipedia's W.svg an actual mob boss who's also an oligarch. According to Time magazine, the most obvious example of Trump and his Russian satellite business' interests is Trump SoHo:Wikipedia's W.svg

A lawsuit claimed that the business group, Bayrock, underpinning Trump Soho was supported by criminal Russian financial interests. While its initial claim absolved Trump of knowledge of those activities, Trump himself later took on the group's principal partner as a senior advisor in the Trump organization.

Bayrock went on to be involved with a number of Trump projects globally.[27] Tevfik Arif,Wikipedia's W.svg born in Kazakhstan, was the founder of Bayrock Group.[28] Arif was accused of running an underage prostitution ring on his yacht, the Savarona, in 2010 by Turkish authorities; he was acquitted of all charges in 2011.[29][30] "Turkey deported nine Russian and Ukrainian women, including two under the legal age of consent, after authorities said they broke a prostitution ring aboard the Savarona…"[30]

The other development for Bayrock was the Sapir Organization, whose founder Tamir SapirWikipedia's W.svg was from Georgia (the former Soviet republic, not the U.S. state). A Bayrock official also "brokered a $50 million investment in Trump SoHo and three other Bayrock projects by an Icelandic firm preferred by wealthy Russians 'in favor with' President Vladimir V. Putin", according to The New York Times.[31] The suspicion surrounding the project meant that Bayrock's finance chief Jody Kiss sued Trump for fraud.[31] Russian-born Felix Sater, another important Bayrock figure, has deep business connections to Trump; in 2010, he was his "Senior Advisor".[32] Sater has two felony convictions (assault and racketeering) and organized crime ties (Genovese and Bonanno crime families).[32][33] Sater as it turns out is a long-time FBI informant who has relationships with six people on special counsel Robert Mueller's team.[34]

Alimzhan "Taiwanchik" Tokhtakhounov,Wikipedia's W.svg an ethnic Uyghur from Uzbekistan, has been accused of running an illegal gambling operation out of Trump Tower.[35][36] Tokhtakhounov was also indicted for rigging the 2002 Olympics.[35][36] Tokhtakhounov was a VIP attendee at Trump's Miss Universe 2013 pagent held in Moscow.[35][36] He is reportedly now living in Russia and is still wanted by the FBI[36] (at least until January 20, 2016). Aras Agalarov, an ethnic Azeri, was reportedly Trump's liaison to Putin during the 2013 pageant, for which Agalarov and others paid Trump $14 million.[37]

Trump's first real estate venture in Toronto was a partnership with two Russian-Canadian entrepreneurs. "The hotel's developer Talon International is run by Val Levitan and Alex Shnaider,Wikipedia's W.svg two Russian-Canadian entrepreneurs. Levitan made his fortune manufacturing slot machines and creating bank note validation technology, and Shnaider earned his in the post-glasnost steel trade," wrote Toronto Life in 2013.[38]

When Trump Sr. built a tower in Panama in 2008, Trump Jr. said at a real estate conference: "Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia".[39]

Special Counsel counterintelligence investigation[edit]

I wanna caution you that the people who speculate about federal investigations usually do not know all the relevant facts. We do not try cases on television or Congressional hearings. Most anonymous leaks are not from officials who are actually conducting these investigations.
—Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein[1]
Special Counsel Robert Swan Mueller III.
The order appointing Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections.

The FBI began investigating possible Trump-Russia collusion on July 31, 2016, a hundred days before the Election, code-named Crossfire Hurricane, as its investigation on Hillary Clinton was winding down. It was initially kept a secret so that the FBI can avoid the appearance of being lenient on Clinton and biased against Trump. Agents understood they would not be able to solve the case before Election Day and took the calculated risk that Clinton was going to defeat Trump, judging from poll results.[40] President Barack Obama was aware of the Russian plot, but did not want to be too public about it; he did not want to be perceived as trying to tilt the scale in favor of Clinton.[6] It was, however, later revealed on television by none other than then-FBI director James Comey himself,[note 4] which angered Trump, who felt he could not control Comey. The President was also deeply upset by the negative media coverage. This led to Comey's dismissal.[41]

One week after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in 2017 for refusing to terminate the ongoing investigation into the Trump campaign's possible collusion with Russia, Robert S. Mueller III was appointed as Special Counsel in charge of that investigation.[42] Atorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself, citing a conflict of interest as he was part of the Trump campaign in 2016.[43] Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, as Acting Attorney General, tasked Mueller with investigating whether or not Trump and his associates colluded with Russia and “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.” By the middle of 2018, Mueller has issued 22 indictments, and secured five guilty pleas.[44] In fact, the investigation has become so complex that Mueller had to recruit more prosecutors for his team;[45] they come from a variety of backgrounds, with experience ranging from the prosecution of corruption scandals, sanctions dodging, to hacking cases.[46] At least one person was fined and sentenced to prison.[47]

In April 2018, the FBI raided the office, residence, hotel suite, and safe-deposit boxes of Michael Cohen, Trump's longtime lawyer and personal fixer, in New York City, seizing financial records, computers, phones and privileged communications.[48] Despite a history of being one of Trump's most loyal aides, Cohen signaled he was willing to cooperate with prosecutors as he is himself a target of a criminal investigation for various kinds of fraud.[49] The loss of Cohen and his likely cooperation with law enforcement are devastating blows against Trump. On August 2018, Cohen pleaded guilty to eight counts of bank fraud, tax fraud, and illegal campaign contributions. Cohen's illegal campaign contributions include $130,000 to Stephanie Clifford (Stormy Daniels) and $150,000 to Karen McDougal as part of nondisclosure agreements on their extramarital affairs with Trump. Trump denied knowledge of the payments but later admitted he reimbursed Cohen. He insisted that it had nothing to do with his Presidential campaign.[50]

Curiously, Trump admitted that his son, Trump Jr., met with a Russian lawyer for information on a political opponent, contradicting previous statements that the meeting concerned the adoption of Russian children by American citizens. Trump insisted that there was no collusion and that it was completely legal. He also denied knowing about it at the time.[51]

Mueller has begun looking into Trump's tweets for evidence of the latter obstructing justice.[52]

White House Counsel Don McGahn has voluntarily sat down for about 30 hours of interview by the Mueller team over nine months. He is considered one of the key witnesses in this investigation. Trump said he allowed McGahn to do so in order to end the inquiry as soon as possible.[53]

Progress summary[edit]

The following lists summarize the progress of the Special Counsel thus far.

Guilty pleas:

Michael Flynn with Vladimir Putin at the 2015 RT celebration
  • Michael Flynn,Wikipedia's W.svg former national security adviser, guilty of lying to investigators. Flynn is cooperating with prosecutors.[44]
  • Richard Pinedo, guilty of identity fraud for selling dummy bank accounts to Russian agents.[44] He was sentenced to six months in prison, six months of home detention and two years of supervised release.[54]
  • George Papadopoulos,Wikipedia's W.svg former campaign aide, guilty of lying to investigators. Papadopoulos is cooperating with investigators.[44] He faces up to six months in prison.[55][note 5] He was ultimately sentenced to two weeks in prison and one year supervised release.[56]
  • Richard Gates III, former campaign and White House aide, guilty of conspiracy to defraud the United States and making false statements. Gates is cooperating with prosecutors.[44]
  • Alex van der Zwaan,Wikipedia's W.svg Dutch lawyer,[note 6] guilty of lying to investigators about his work with Gates. He was deported after serving a 30-day sentence on his conviction.[44]
  • Michael Cohen,Wikipedia's W.svg longtime lawyer and personal fixer, plead guilty to 8 counts of bank fraud, tax fraud, and illegal campaign contributions in August 2018.[50] In his guilty plea, Cohen implicated Trump directly in some of his acts.[57] Although the charges that Cohen plead guilty to were not related to the Russia investigation (the case was not handled in court by Mueller's team), the FBI had previously raided Cohen's house, hotel and office, seizing a trove of documents.[58] Mueller's team has been investigating whether this any evidence in the documents connect Trump to Russian illegal activity.[58] Due to Cohen's guilty pleas, Trump is now effectively an unindicted co-conspirator.[58][59] Cohen's lawyer, Lanny Davis, said that Cohen has information on whether Trump participated in a criminal conspiracy to hack into Democratic emails in 2016, and that Cohen would be "more than happy to tell the special counsel all that he knows."[60] In November 2018, Cohen also plead guilty to lying to Congress about a Moscow real estate project that Trump ("Individual 1") was pursuing at the same time as the 2016 election campaign.[61]
  • W. Samuel Patten,Wikipedia's W.svg guilty of one count of "failing to register with the Justice Department when he represented a Ukrainian political party known as the Opposition Bloc from 2014 through this year."[62] In his guilty plea, Patten admitted to illegally arranging for an American straw donor to funnel money from from an Ukrainian businessman to fund Trump's inauguration.[62] Patten had worked with Manafort (convicted) and suspected Russian intelligence operative Konstantin KilimnikWikipedia's W.svg (indicted by Mueller's team); he has worked for Cambridge Analytica's parent company, SCL.[62] In his plea agreement, Patten agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.[62]

Convicted/guilty pleas:

Mugshot of Paul Manafort.
  • Paul Manafort, former campaign chairman, charged with obstruction of justice, money laundering, tax fraud, failure to register as a foreign agent, failure to report foreign bank accounts, and making false statements.[44][63] Manafort was convicted in his first trial on 8 counts of tax and bank fraud charges with mistrials on 10 other charges in August 2018.[64]
As part of a plea agreement to avoid a second trial, on September 14, 2018, Manafort plead guilty to two criminal charges, that he cheated the IRS and that he violated foreign lobbying laws.[65] As part of the agreement, Manafort also agreed to fully cooperate with the Mueller investigation,[65] but then allegedly lied to the Special Counsel thereby invalidating his plea agreement.[66]


  • 13 Russian nationals and three companies with Russian ties, charged with plotting to tamper with the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, espionage, and using stolen IDs.[44][note 7] Many of them, however, are outside U.S. jurisdiction.[68] Among the 13 was Yevgeny Prigozhin (Евгений Викторович Пригожин),Wikipedia's W.svg known as "Putin's chef" for his catering business and close personal ties to Putin. In 2018, Elena Khusyaynova,Wikipedia's W.svg an employee of Prigozhin under "Project Lakhta", was charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States for interfering in the 2018 US midterm elections.[69] Among the activities conducted under Prigozhin were pushing misinformation about divisive issues "including immigration, the Confederate flag, gun control and National Football League protests during the national anthem."[69][70] An attempt by the troll farm allegedly led by Prigozhin, a St. Petersburg-based firm named Concord Management and Consulting, to dismiss Mueller's indictments was rejected by a D.C. Circuit judge (appointed by Trump). This may be an attempt to catch a glimpse of Mueller's progress as no human defendant will likely appear at a U.S. court.[71]
  • 12 Russian military intelligence officers, charged with hacking the Democratic National Committee, infiltrating government agencies and state election boards, unauthorized computer access, aggravated identity theft, and money laundering (using cryptocurrency).[note 8][73][74] The indictments were announced on July 13th, 2018. Said individuals are outside U.S. jurisdiction.
  • Maria ButinaWikipedia's W.svg (Мария Бутина), a lifetime NRA member and the first Russian to be incarcerated, charged on July 15, 2018 with "conspiracy to act as an agent of the Russian Federation, and was ordered held without bond."[5] At her detention hearing, the FBI alleged that Butina has extensive contacts with the Russian FSB spy agency, and she has exchanged sex for business (presumably espionage) purposes, including an ongoing relationship with a Republican operative.[75] She was charged by the FBI but not by the Special Counsel's office, a sign that Trump's signaling of intent to obstruct justice by firing the Special Counsel[76] might fail.

Rogues gallery[edit]

Attempts to interfere with the Special Counsel investigation[edit]

Trump considered firing Mueller (at least) twice. In August 2018, he tried to get Attorney General Jeff Sessions to end the probe.[77] In case that becomes a reality, a bipartisan bill was put forward to prevent the Special Counsel from getting fired, unless there is a "good cause". Furthermore, the firing may only be done by a senior official from the Department of Justice. However, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell refused to bring the legislative proposal to the floor.[78] Visibly uncomfortable with the investigation, Trump has been using fiery rhetoric on Twitter to turn public opinion against it with some success,[79] calling the investigation a "witch hunt," and asserting that it is a waste of money. In reality, the Mueller probe has, by June 2018, cost only a fraction of the annual budget of a large district court.[44] Trump is also upset that Jeff Sessions recused himself from the investigation, saying that he "never took control" of the Justice Department. Sessions responded that the Department should be free from "political considerations."[80]

The New York Times reported September 2018 that Rod Rosenstein wanted to secretly record Trump back in 2017, leading to widespread speculation that Trump would fire Rosenstein, who called the report "inaccurate and factually incorrect," or that Rosenstein would resign. If Rosenstein resigns, Trump has more leeway to pick a successor. Firing Rosenstein makes him more difficult to replace.[81] Trump later said he had no plans to fire Rosenstein.[82]

In any case, the more Mueller and his team investigate, the more evidence of wrongdoing they find.[44] Because this is an ongoing investigation, Mueller and his team know much more than what has been made public.[42] Given the charter of this Special Counsel and the nature of this investigation, it is clear that the Mueller probe must be allowed to reach its logical conclusion. Any attempt by Donald Trump or any of his associates to "fight back" may be considered obstruction of justice, as are the firing of James Comey,[42] and refusing to be interviewed by investigators.[83] Trump's steadfast refusal to cooperate with law enforcement may lead to the Special Counsel issuing a subpoena to compel his testimony before a grand jury. The situation might escalate into a (multi-year) legal battle between Trump's attorneys and Mueller's team.[79] In September 2018, the Mueller team reportedly stopped insisting on a personal interview and agreed to accept written answers from Trump.[84]

After the 2018 midterm elections, Democrats gained control of the House of Representatives, providing the Mueller probe with additional protection.[note 9] In the scenario that Trump fires the Justice Department leadership and shuts down the Russia investigation, House Democrats can summon Robert Mueller for a televised hearing on his findings. If Trump tries to prevent the final report from the Special Counsel from being released to the public, a Democrat-controlled House has the subpoena power to fight it. Moreover, the House will not ignore the Special Counsel report now that it is in Democratic hands.[9] However, Trump immediately fired Jeff Sessions. Sessions' chief of staff Matthew Whitaker is now acting replacement. It is still unclear what this means for Rod Rosenstein.[43] Whitaker, a GOP loyalist and Trump supporter[85] who worked for a company that was shut down and fined for scamming,[86] is of the opinion that the Special Counsel has overstepped his mandate by investigating Trump's finances.[43] Whitaker is openly critical of the investigation and asserted there was no evidence for collusion or Russian interference in 2016 U.S. Presidential elections.[87] His appointment attracted bipartisan criticisms.[88] In particular, critics question his impartiality[89] and worry that Whitaker will be unwilling to protect the Special Counsel investigation from political interference.[85] Some top Democrats and protesters have asked Whitaker to recuse himself, but this seems unlikely.[87] Meanwhile, legal scholars are debating the constitutionality and legality of Whitaker's appointment, as he has not been confirmed by the Senate. Once again, there are calls for legislation to protect the Special Counsel, this time from Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah.[90][91] The state of Maryland filed a legal challenge against Whitaker's appointment. In any case, given the progress made by the Mueller probe, it may be too late to attempt to stop it now.[88]

Attempts to smear the Special Counsel[edit]

In late 2018, journalists picked apart a truly bizarre attempt to smear Robert Mueller with "scandalous" breaking news. In reality, the two men involved, Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman, are conspiracy theorists and social media provocateurs, anything but trustworthy. Their plot was to pay women to invent false allegations of sexual assault against the Special Counsel in order to undermine his ongoing investigation. But the narrative quickly crumbled because it could not be independently verified and online documents of allegations on a right-wing website were promptly removed. Wohl runs a company called "Surefire Intelligence," whose website and LinkedIn account were revealed to be fraudulent upon scrutiny; they use manipulated images or flat out stolen photographs, including those of celebrities, such as an Oscar-winning actor and a supermodel.[92] When an NBC journalist called the officially listed telephone number of Surefire Intelligence, they were redirected to Wohl's mother's voicemail inbox.[93]

The office of the Special Counsel broke its silence announcing that it was aware of the matter and had referred it to the FBI for investigation.[92]

Consciousness of guilt[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Consciousness of guilt

Trump has exhibited consciousness of guilt on several occasions according to some lawyers, indicating that he may very well be guilty of committing a crime or crimes.[94] Examples include:

  • "Pathetic groveling" before Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers to state publicly that Trump had not colluded with the Russians,[95]
  • Potential witness tampering regarding Trump Jr.,[96][97]
  • Claiming that there is a witch hunt after him,[98]
  • Repeated attempts to influence the criminal investigation against himself.[99]
  • The circumstances under which he fired FBI Director James Comey,[100][101][102]
  • Directing his lawyers to explore the pardoning powers of the presidency and ways to undercut the corruption probe, which is proving to be much broader than just election collusion with Russia[103]

Trump's behavior should be contrasted with Mueller's when the latter was accused of sexual misconduct. (See above.)

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Factual information[edit]

Fun and memes[edit]


  1. The word "collusion" has gotten bandied about frequently with regard to the Trump-Russia connection. Collusion is not a crime in and of itself, however. Conspiracy to commit a crime is a crime even if the conspired-to crime was never committed. Collusion is defined as:
    A deceitful agreement or compact between two or more persons, for the one party to bring an action against the other for some evil purpose, as to defraud a third party of his right.[2]
    Conspiracy is defined as:
    A combination or confederacy between two or more persons formed for the purpose of committing, by their joint efforts, some unlawful or criminal act, or some act which is innocent in itself, but becomes unlawful when done by the concerted action of the conspirators, or for the purpose of using criminal or unlawful means to the commission of an act not in itself unlawful.[3]
  2. There are no allegations that Russian interference actually affected the outcome of the Election, at least not yet.
  3. His old election rival Ted Cruz even once suggested Trump's tax returns could be key to finding out the full extent of Trump's mob ties.
  4. This is only fair since, after all, he did the same thing during the Clinton investigation.
  5. The fact that his sentence has been proposed suggests he has outlived his usefulness for the investigation.
  6. The lying Dutchman.
  7. Internet Research Agency LLC a/k/a Mediasintez LLC a/k/a Glavset LLC a/k/a Mixinfo LLC a/k/a Azimut LLC a/k/a Novinfo LLC, Concord Management and Consulting LLC, Concord Catering, Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin, Mikhail Ivanovich Bystrov, Mikhail Leonidovich Burchik a/k/a Mikhail Abramov, Aleksandra Yuryevna Krylova, Anna Vladislavovna Bogacheva, Sergey Pavlovich Polozov, Maria Anatolyevna B Ovda a/k/a Maria Anatolyevna Belyaeva, Robert Sergeyevich Bovda, Dzheykhun Nasimi Ogly Aslanov a/k/a Jayhoon Aslanov a/k/a Jay Aslanov, Vadim Vladimirovich Podkopaev, Gleb Igorevich Vasilchenko, Irina Viktorovna Kaverzina, and Vladimir Venkov[67]
  8. Viktor Borisovich Netyksho, Boris Alekseyevich Antonov, Dmitriy Sergeyevich Badin, Ivan Sergeyevich Yermakov, Aleksey Viktorovich Lukashev, Sergey Aleksandrovich Morgachev, Nikolay Yuryevich Kozachek, Pavel Vyacheslavovich Yershov, Artem Andreyevich Malyshev, Aleksandr Vladimirovich Osadchuk, Aleksey Aleksandrovich Potemkin, and Anatoliy Sergeyevich Kovalev[72]
  9. For completeness, Republicans expanded their majority in the Senate.


  1. 1.0 1.1 WATCH NOW: Rod Rosenstein Holds Press Conference for Law Enforcement Announcement. CBS News. July 13th, 2018.
  2. What is Collusion? Black's Law Dictionary, 2nd ed.
  3. What is Conspiracy? Black's Law Dictionary, 2nd ed.
  4. FBI announces investigation of Trump Moscow Project
  5. 5.0 5.1 Maria Butina, Russian gun rights advocate, charged in U.S. with acting as Russian Federation agent by Tom Jackman & Rosalind S. Helderman (July 16, 2018 at 3:28 PM) The Washington Post.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Russia Campaign ‘Just One Tree in a Growing Forest,’ Rosenstein Says. The New York Times. July 19th, 2018.
  7. The Number of Criminal Charges Mueller Has Officially Filed Against 35 Defendants Is Pretty Staggering Naham, Matt. Law and Crime JUL.13.18
  8. Russia dossier: what happens next – and could Donald Trump be impeached?
  9. 9.0 9.1 Mueller has powerful new House allies as he bears down on Trump. Politico. November 7, 2018.
  10. "Mueller releases list of more than 500 pieces of evidence against Manafort," John Bowden, The Hill.
  11. "Putin says ‘talented’ Trump is ‘absolute front-runner,’ welcomes pledge to work with Russia". 17 December, 2015. RT.
  12. Siemaszko, Corky (August 2, 2016). "The Donald and Vlad: Timeline of a Bad Bromance". NBC News. 
  13. Mider, Zachary (March 30, 2016). "Trump’s New Russia Adviser Has Deep Ties to Kremlin's Gazprom". Bloomberg Politics. 
  14. Myers, Steven Lee; Kramer, Andrew E. (July 31, 2016). "How Paul Manafort Wielded Power in Ukraine Before Advising Donald Trump". The New York Times. 
  15. Donald J. Trump Announces Campaign Convention Manager Paul J. Manafort March 29, 2016.
  16. Michael, Crowley (August 3, 2016). "Trump changed views on Ukraine after hiring Manafort". Politico. 
  17. The Torturers' Lobby: How Human Rights-Abusing Nations Are Represented in Washington by Pamela Brogan (1992) The Center for Public Integrity. ISBN 0-9629012-9-6.
  18. Costa, Robert (July 9, 2016). "A curveball in Trump's Veep search: He's seriously considering a retired general". Washington Post.
  19. Beauchamp, Zack (July 9, 2016). "Michael Flynn, the retired general on Donald Trump's VP shortlist, explained". Vox.
  20. 20.0 20.1 Crowley, Michael (May/June 2016). "The Kremlin's Candidate: In the 2016 election, Putin's propaganda network is picking sides". Politico Magazine.
  21. See the Wikipedia article on Ethnic groups in Russia.
  22. Hey, Putin: Don’t pin this on the Jews by Catherine Rampell (March 12, 2018 at 7:52 PM) The Washington Post.
  23. Crowley, Michael (May 15, 2016). "When Donald Trump brought Miss Universe to Moscow". Politico.
  24. See the Wikipedia article on Russian oligarch.
  25. See the Wikipedia article on List of journalists killed in Russia.
  26. Just What Were Donald Trump's Ties to the Mob? by David Cay Johnston (May 22, 2016) Politico.
  27. Nesbit, Jeff (August 2, 2016). "Donald Trump's Many, Many, Many, Many Ties to Russia". 
  28. Aston Villa takeover: Business associate of US billionaire Donald Trump current 'front-runner'. Exclusive: Club need owner with deep pockets after annual losses of £52m last year and may have found them in Tevfik Arif by Russell Lynch (Thursday 29 May 2014) The Independent (archived copy from March 26, 2016).
  29. Trump pal busted for allegedly running hooker ring on yacht by Brian Kates & Rich Schapiro (Friday, October 1, 2010, 4:00 AM) Daily News.
  30. 30.0 30.1 Kazakh businessman Tevfik Arif denies sex party allegations. Arif describes charges that he bankrolled party on Turkish yacht – once used by Kemal Ataturk – as 'imaginary'. Update: In April 2011, Tevfik Arif was acquitted of all charges Monday 2 April 2012 07.26 EDT) Associated Press' (archived copy from March 30, 2016).
  31. 31.0 31.1 Mcintire, Mike (April 5, 2016). "Donald Trump Settled a Real Estate Lawsuit, and a Criminal Case Was Closed". The New York Times. 
  32. 32.0 32.1 Donald Trump And The Felon: Inside His Business Dealings With A Mob-Connected Hustler by Richard Behar (Oct 3, 2016 @ 07:59 AM) Forbes.
  33. Russian Organized Crime (accessed December 29, 2016)
  34. The Asset: How A Player In The Trump-Russia Scandal Led A Double Life As An American Spy by Anthony Cormier & Jason Leopold (March 12, 2018, at 8:56 a.m.) Buzzfeed.
  35. 35.0 35.1 35.2 Manhattan U.S. Attorney Charges 34 Members and Associates of Two Russian-American Organized Crime Enterprises with Operating International Sportsbooks That Laundered More Than $100 Million: Twelve Charged with Racketeering, Others Charged with Money Laundering, Extortion, Fraud, Operating Illegal Poker Rooms in New York City; One Enterprise Allegedly Laundered Money from Russia, Ukraine Through Cyprus Shell Companies, Bank Accounts to U.S. (April 16, 2013) FBI: New York Field Office (archived copy)
  36. 36.0 36.1 36.2 36.3 How Did an Alleged Russian Mobster End Up on Trump's Red Carpet? And here's a coincidence: The guy was indicted for being part of a global gambling ring run out of Trump Tower The ring was busted in Trump Tower in 2013 but Tokhtakhounov was not present by David Corn and Hannah Levintova (Sep. 14, 2016 5:00 AM) Mother Jones
  37. Inside Trump’s financial ties to Russia and his unusual flattery of Vladimir Putin by Tom Hamburger et al. (June 17, 2016) Washington Post.
  38. McClaren, Leah (July 2, 2013). "Trumped: the multi-million-dollar lawsuit over Toronto’s most controversial new condo-hotel". Toronto Life. 
  39. Hamburger, Tom; Helderman, Rosalind S.; Birnbaum, Michael (June 17, 2016). "Inside Trump's financial ties to Russia and his unusual flattery of Vladimir Putin". Washington Post. Archived from the original.
  40. Code Name Crossfire Hurricane: The Secret Origins of the Trump Investigation. The New York Times. May 16, 2018.
  41. The one phrase that doomed Comey. Politico. May 10, 2017.
  42. 42.0 42.1 42.2 Where Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation stands, one year later. PBS Newshour. May 16th, 2018.
  43. 43.0 43.1 43.2 Jeff Sessions Forced Out As Attorney General After Constant Criticism From Trump. NPR. November 7, 2018.
  44. 44.0 44.1 44.2 44.3 44.4 44.5 44.6 44.7 44.8 44.9 Trump-Russia investigation explained: what we know and what happens next. The Guardian. June 14th, 2018.
  45. Mueller Taps More Prosecutors to Help With Growing Trump Probe. Bloomberg. July 5th, 2018.
  46. Inside Mueller’s New Army. The Daily Beast. July 11th, 2018.
  47. Lawyer Alex van der Zwaan jailed for 30 days in Mueller's first conviction. The Guardian. April 3rd, 2018.
  48. F.B.I. Raids Office of Trump’s Longtime Lawyer Michael Cohen; Trump Calls It ‘Disgraceful’. The New York Times. April 9th, 2018.
  49. Will Michael Cohen flip on Trump? The key questions answered. The Guardian. July 2nd, 2018.
  50. 50.0 50.1 Michael Cohen Pleads Guilty to Eight Counts. The Hill. August 21, 2018.
  51. Trump Admits Son Met Russian For Information on Opponent. BBC News. August 5, 2018.
  52. NYT: Mueller looking through Trump's tweets. CNN. July 26th, 2018.
  53. One of the Most Important Witnesses in Mueller's Obstruction Probe Voluntarily Sat Down for Over 30 Hours of Questioning. The Business Insider. August 19, 2018.
  54. Calif. man ensnared in Mueller probe sentenced to 6 months in prison. The Hill. October 10, 2018.
  55. George Papadopoulos: Mueller Proposes Sentence For Ex-Trump Aide. BBC News. August 18, 2018.
  56. Papadopoulos sentenced to 14 days in jail in Mueller probe. The Hill. September 7, 2018.
  57. Michael Cohen says he worked to silence two women ‘in coordination’ with Trump to influence 2016 election by Devlin Barrett et al.(August 21, 2018 at 10:30 PM) The Washington Post.
  58. 58.0 58.1 58.2 Michael Cohen: Trump’s greatest fear comes true by Jennifer Rubin (August 21, 2018 at 5:07 PM) The Washington Post.
  59. Whether or not *called* an unindicted co-conspirator, that’s what the sitting president IS as of close of business today, August 21, 2018, a day that will live in legal infamy. That's the import of two of Michael Cohen’s guilty pleas. by Laurence Tribe (11:58 PM - 21 Aug 2018) Twitter.
  60. Cohen lawyer Lanny Davis suggests his client has knowledge implicating Trump in ‘criminal conspiracy’ to hack Democratic emails by Isaac Stanley-Becker (August 22, 2018 at 2:20 AM) The Washington Post.
  61. Michael Cohen, Trump's former lawyer, pleads guilty to lying to Congress about Moscow project by Rosalind S. Helderman et al. (November 29, 2018 at 2:16 PM) The Washington Post.
  62. 62.0 62.1 62.2 62.3 In guilty plea, American political consultant agreed he steered an illegal foreign donation to Trump's inauguration by Spencer S. Hsu & Rosalind S. Helderman (August 31, 2018 at 2:02 PM) The Washington Post.
  63. Trump ex-campaign chief Manafort lied, court told. BBC News. August 1, 2018.
  64. Manafort convicted on 8 counts; mistrial declared on 10 others by Matt Zapotosky et al. (August 21, 2018 at 7:48 PM) The Washington Post.
  65. 65.0 65.1 Manafort will cooperate with Mueller as part of guilty plea, prosecutor says by Spencer S. Hsu, Devlin Barrett & Justin Jouvenal (September 14 at 12:53 PM) The Washington Post.
  66. Mueller ended plea agreement because Manafort allegedly lied about business dealings: report by Chris Mills Rodrigo (11/28/18 09:16 PM EST) The Hill.
  67. United States of America v. Internet Research Agency LLC a/k/a Mediasintez LLC a/k/a Glavset LLC a/k/a Mixinfo LLC a/k/a Azimut LLC a/k/a Novinfo LLC, Concord Management and Consulting LLC, Concord Catering, Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin, Mikhail Ivanovich Bystrov, Mikhail Leonidovich Burchik a/k/a Mikhail Abramov, Aleksandra Yuryevna Krylova, Anna Vladislavovna Bogacheva, Sergey Pavlovich Polozov, Maria Anatolyevna B Ovda a/k/a Maria Anatolyevna Belyaeva, Robert Sergeyevich Bovda, Dzheykhun Nasimi Ogly Aslanov a/k/a Jayhoon Aslanov a/k/a Jay Aslanov, Vadim Vladimirovich Podkopaev, Gleb Igorevich Vasilchenko, Irina Viktorovna Kaverzina, and Vladimir Venkov Criminal No. (18 U.S.C. §§ 2, 371, 1349, 1028A) Case 1:18-cr-00032-DLF, Department of Justice.
  68. Russian troll farm, 13 suspects indicted in 2016 election interference by Devlin Barrett, Sari Horwitz & Rosalind S. Helderman (February 16, 2018) The Washington Post.
  69. 69.0 69.1 Justice Dept. charges Russian woman with interference in midterm elections by Matt Zapotosky et al. (October 19, 2018) The Washington Post.
  70. United States of America v. Elena Alekssevna Khusyaynova Case No. 1:18-MJ-464 (2018) United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
  71. U.S. judge rejects move to dismiss Mueller indictment against Russian firm. Politico. November 15, 2018.
  72. In The United States District Court For The District Of Columbia. United States Of America v. Viktor Borisovich Netyksho, Boris Alekseyevich Antonov, Dmitriy Sergeyevich Badin, Ivan Sergeyevich Yermakov, Aleksey Viktorovich Lukashev, Sergey Aleksandrovich Morgachev, Nikolay Yuryevich Kozachek, Pavel Vyacheslavovich Yershov, Artem Andreyevich Malyshev, Aleksandr Vladimirovich Osadchuk, Aleksey Aleksandrovich Potemkin, and Anatoliy Sergeyevich Kovalev Criminal No. (18 U.S.C. 2, 1956, And 3551 Et Seq.)
  73. 12 Russian Agents Indicted in Mueller Investigation Eileen Sullivan and Katie Benner. New York Times. JUL.13.18
  74. Robert Mueller charges 12 Russian intelligence officers. The Financial Times. July 13th, 2018.
  75. Alleged Russian agent Maria Butina had ties to Russian intelligence agency, prosecutors say by Tom Jackman & Rosalind S. Helderman (July 18, 2018 at 12:26 PM) The Washington Post.
  76. Trump tried to fire Mueller in December: report by Jacqueline Thomsen & Max Greenwood (04/10/18 07:16 PM EDT) The Hill.
  77. Trump says Sessions should end Mueller investigation 'right now'. CNN August 1, 2018.
  78. McConnell: I won't put legislation to protect Mueller on Senate floor. CNN. April 18th, 2018.
  79. 79.0 79.1 Trump resists Mueller interview, leaving difficult decision on subpoena before fall elections. Los Angeles Times. July 15th, 2018.
  80. Sessions Hits Back at Trump: DOJ Won't Be 'Improperly Influenced'. CNN. August 23, 2018.
  81. After chaotic day, Rosenstein stays in job but will meet with Trump. Reuters. September 24, 2018.
  82. Trump says he has no plans to fire Rosenstein. The Hill. October 8, 2018.
  83. White House close to refusing interview with Russia investigation. The Guardian. July 9th, 2018.
  84. Special Counsel Reportedly Agrees To Accept Written Answers From Trump. NPR. September 5, 2018.
  85. 85.0 85.1 New acting attorney general is a GOP loyalist from Iowa. Associated Press. November 7, 2018.
  86. Acting Attorney General Sat on Board of Company Accused of Bilking Customers. The New York Times. November 8, 2018.
  87. 87.0 87.1 What the acting attorney general thinks of the Mueller probe. PBS NewsHour. November 8, 2018.
  88. 88.0 88.1 How Trump’s move to put a loyalist over Mueller is already backfiring. Politico. November 13, 2018.
  89. Former Attorney General Says Whitaker Appointment 'Confounds Me'. NPR. November 10, 2018.
  90. Future seems uncertain for Trump's acting attorney general. The Associated Press. November 10, 2018.
  91. Collins: Mueller 'must be allowed' to continue Russia probe. The Hill. November 7, 2018.
  92. 92.0 92.1 Trump Russia: Bungled plot emerges to smear Robert Mueller. BBC News. October 31, 2018.
  93. Mueller refers sex misconduct scheme targeting him to FBI for investigation. NBC News. October 30, 2018.
  94. Trump is desperate to protect himself. But from what? by Ruth Marcus (January 5, 2018) The Washington Post.
  95. So Trump went, MAGA hat in hand, trolling for seals of approval. Pathetic groveling proves consciousness of guilt. by Laurence Tribe (5:33 AM - 23 May 2017) Twitter.
  96. If Trump knew Jr wd need to testify under oath this cd be witness tampering + evidence of consciousness of guilt by Laurence Tribe (1:09 PM - 1 Aug 2017) Twitter.
  97. This is beyond just consciousness of guilt by @realDonaldTrump. This is a cover-up. Fun fact: Nixon resigned because of the cover-up. by Ted Lieu (3:01 AM - 1 Aug 2017) Twitter.
  98. I am a Dem. The evidence shows not just collusion, but also Obstruction of Justice by @POTUS on multiple occasions. The below tweet by @realDonaldTrump again screams CONSCIOUSNESS OF GUILT. by Ted Lieu (6:17 PM - 10 Jan 2018) Twitter.
  99. As a former prosecutor, it is clear to me that the repeated attempts by @POTUS to influence the criminal investigation against him, such as this attempt to order AG Jeff Sessions to not recuse, screams CONSCIOUSNESS OF GUILT. by Ted Lieu (3:20 AM - 5 Jan 2018) Twitter.
  100. As a former prosecutor, I find Trump's firing of Comey SCREAMS consciousness of guilt and a cover up. We need a special prosecutor NOW. by Ted Lieu (2:49 AM - 10 May 2017) Twitter.
  101. Article based on 30 sources shows @POTUS fired Comey primarily b/c of the Russia probe. ->CONSCIOUSNESS OF GUILT!!<- by Ted Lieu (6:42 AM - 11 May 2017) Twitter.
  102. WaPo: "Can we ask him to shut down the investigation? Are you able to assist in this matter?" by Ted Lieu (5:10 AM - 23 May 2017) Twitter.
  103. CONSCIOUSNESS OF GUILT by Ted Lieu (5:08 AM - 21 Jul 2017) Twitter.
  104. Rep. Rohrabacher: Indictment of NRA-linked Russian is 'stupid' by Kyle Cheney (07/17/2018 03:09 PM EDT) Politico.
  105. ‘I Probably Am the Person Referred to’ in Russian Hacking Indictment, Says Trump Adviser Roger Stone by David Z. Morris (July 14, 2018 3:29 PM EDT) Fortune.
  106. Corsi, Backing Away From Plea Deal, Wants to Take On Mueller by Andrew M Harris & David Kocieniewski (November 28, 2018, 2:50 PM PST) Bloomberg.