10 See, e.g., Meet the Press Interview with Donald J. Trump, NBC (Dec. 20, 2015) (Trump: “I think it would be a positive thing if Russia and the United States actually got along”); Presidential Candidate Donald Trump News Conference, Hanahan, South Carolina, C-SPAN (Feb. 15, 2016) (“You want to make a good deal for the country, you want to deal with Russia.”).
12 See, e.g., @realDonaldTrump Tweet 3/24/16 (7:47 a.m. ET); @realDonaldTrump Tweet 3/24/16 (7:59 a.m. ET).
Michael T. Flynn
National Security Advisor (Jan. 20, 2017 – Feb. 13, 2017), Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (July 2012 – Aug. 7, 2014), and Trump Campaign advisor. He pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about communications with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in December 2016.
14 See, e.g., Andrew Osborn, From Russia with love: why the Kremlin backs Trump, Reuters (Mar. 24, 2016); Robert Zubrin, Trump: The Kremlin’s Candidate, National Review (Apr. 4, 2016).
15 See, e.g., Mark Hosenball & Steve Holland, Trump being advised by ex-U.S. Lieutenant General who favors closer Russia ties, Reuters (Feb. 26, 2016); Tom Hamburger et al., Inside Trump’s financial ties to Russia and his unusual flattery of Vladimir Putin, Washington Post (June 17, 2016). Certain matters pertaining to Flynn are described in Volume I, Section IV.B.7, supra.
17 Tracy Wilkinson, In a shift, Republican platform doesn’t call for arming Ukraine against Russia, spurring outrage, Los Angeles Times (July 21, 2016); Josh Rogin, Trump campaign guts GOP’s anti-Russia stance on Ukraine, Washington Post (July 18, 2016).
1. Press Reports Allege Links Between the Trump Campaign and Russia
On June 16, 2015, Donald J. Trump declared his intent to seek nomination as the Republican candidate for President.9 By early 2016, he distinguished himself among Republican candidates by speaking of closer ties with Russia,10 saying he would get along well with Russian President Vladimir Putin,11 questioning whether the NATO alliance was obsolete,12 and praising Putin as a “strong leader.”13 The press reported that Russian political analysts and commentators perceived Trump as favorable to Russia.14
Beginning in February 2016 and continuing through the summer, the media reported that several Trump campaign advisors appeared to have ties to Russia. For example, the press reported that campaign advisor Michael Flynn was seated next to Vladimir Putin at an RT gala in Moscow in December 2015 and that Flynn had appeared regularly on RT as an analyst.15 The press also reported that foreign policy advisor Carter Page had ties to a Russian state-run gas company,16 and that campaign chairman Paul Manafort had done work for the “Russian-backed former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych.”17 In addition, the press raised questions during the Republican
9 @realDonaldTrump 6/16/15 (11:57 a.m. ET) Tweet.
11 See, e.g., Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees, CNN (July 8, 2015) (“I think I get along with [Putin] fine.”); Andrew Rafferty, Trump Says He Would “Get Along Very Well” With Putin, NBC (July 30, 2015) (quoting Trump as saying, “I think I would get along very well with Vladimir Putin.”).
13 See, e.g., Meet the Press Interview with Donald J. Trump, NBC (Dec. 20, 2015) (“[Putin] is a strong leader. What am I gonna say, he’s a weak leader? He’s making mincemeat out of our President.”); Donald Trump Campaign Rally in Vandalia, Ohio, C-SPAN (Mar. 12, 2016) (“I said [Putin] was a strong leader, which he is. I mean, he might be bad, he might be good. But he’s a strong leader.”).
16 See, e.g., Zachary Mider, Trump’s New Russia Advisor Has Deep Ties to Kremlin’s Gazprom, Bloomberg (Mar. 30, 2016); Julia Iofee, Who is Carter Page?, Politico (Sep. 23, 2016). Certain matters pertaining to Page are described in Volume I, Section IV.A.3, supra.
Foreign policy advisor to the Trump Campaign who advocated pro-Russian views and made July 2016 and December 2016 visits to Moscow.
Paul Manafort Jr.
Trump campaign member (March 2016 – Aug. 2016) and chairman and chief strategist (May 2016 – Aug. 2016).
Former president of Ukraine who had worked with Paul Manafort.