Signs of Collusion – Part 2
By Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson)
It turns out 24 paragraphs detailing 24 discrete Trump-Russia ties isn’t enough to encompass how entwined Trump is with Russia, so in this thread—Part 2 in the series—I offer 23 more connections.
#1: Below is a link to Part 1 of the series, which itemizes 24 discrete Trump-Russia ties. Remember: the ties detailed here are a fraction of what Special Counsel Mueller knows; we mustn’t pretend the damning evidence we have is *all* the damning evidence.
Signs of Collusion – Part 1
#2: Trump NatSec advisor Erik Prince secretly traveled to UAE at the command of the UAE’s Royal Family so he could have a clandestine meeting *on Russia sanctions* with a top Putin ally—the Russian Direct Investment Fund manager. Prince lied to Congress about all aspects of this.
#3: Trump NatSec advisor Flynn secretly worked with Trump pal Thomas Barrack and Iran-Contra criminal Robert “Bud” McFarlane to lobby Trump to drop Russia sanctions—the better to make money off a deal to bring nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia via Russian-built nuclear reactors.
#4: In 2002, Trump tried to rig the Miss Universe pageant—by leaning illegally on judges—to award the title to Miss Russia, whose two boyfriends at the time were a) one of the top real estate developers in Saint Petersburg, a market Trump wanted access to, and b) Vladimir Putin.
#5: In 2003, Trump was saved from bankruptcy by the sudden, miraculous appearance of Russian mobster Felix Sater in his orbit. Sater found Trump new partners and tenants—often, Russians—and they helped make Trump rich again. Trump then perjured himself over whether he knew Sater.
#6: Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort was secretly contacting Putin ally Oleg Deripaska during the 2016 presidential campaign, at one point promising him special access to the Trump campaign—and to Trump’s thinking on Russia policy—via clandestine “briefings” on those topics.
#7: After it was revealed Don Jr. met Kremlin agents at Trump’s house—Trump Tower—at a time Trump was in the building and meeting with Don, Jared, and Manafort on the same topics they met the Kremlin agents to discuss, Trump witness-tampered by writing his son’s false statement.
#8: Trump’s campaign hired Bannon/Mercer-run Cambridge Analytica to target voters via “psychographics.” There’s evidence Cambridge Analytica leaked its data to the Kremlin to aid its massive propaganda campaign. Emails *from Cambridge Analytica to WikiLeaks* have been discovered.
#9: *After* it was known Trump’s NatSec team had met to talk Russia policy and receive orders from Trump on sanctions, Sarah Huckabee Sanders lied—from the White House—on how many times the team met. She said once—it was three times, plus innumerable group calls and email chains.
#10: Trump National Security Advisor Flynn dined with Putin in Moscow during the presidential campaign—*while he was advising Trump*. He admits they discussed Russia policy. The chances he didn’t brief the man he was advising on what Putin said—and what Flynn said back—are *nil*.
#11: Trump selected as Secretary of State a man who didn’t want the job, wasn’t qualified, and has revealed himself to be as bad at it as anticipated. But Tillerson had one qualification—he’s not just a Putin pal, but had received the *Russian Order of Friendship Medal* from him.
#12: During the presidential campaign—while he was a Trump NatSec advisor—Trump’s future National Security Advisor Mike Flynn received tens of thousands of dollars directly from Kremlin propaganda network RT. He then lied about it on TV and failed to disclose it on federal forms.
#13: Months ago, both houses of Congress voted overwhelmingly—517 to 5—to impose new sanctions on Russia for its massive election interference campaign (correctly classified as “cyber-war”) on the United States. Trump is now protecting Putin by refusing to impose those sanctions.
14: Three of Trump’s top NatSec advisors—Schmitz, Gordon, Page—went to Budapest in 2016. Budapest is the European HQ for Russia’s FSB. It was Gordon’s sixth trip to the tiny EU nation in recent years; Page admits meeting an unnamed Russian; *no one knows* what Schmitz was doing.
#15: In 2013, the Trumps developed close business and personal ties with the Agalarovs—a Kremlin-linked family of oligarchs who’ve acted as Putin agents before (including delivering gifts to Trump from Putin). Trump stayed in touch with them throughout the presidential campaign.
#16: Alexander Torshin—a Putin-linked Russian banker and “long-time Trump acquaintance”—met Trump at an NRA conference weeks before Trump announced his run, then tried to set up a secret Putin-Trump meet in May 2016. He then tried to secretly meet Trump at an event this February.
#17: At a time it was *widely known* that the way to reach Trump was to send an email to Hope Hicks—Trump doesn’t use email—Russian intelligence did so several times, suggesting they felt Hicks and Trump would be amenable to the contacts. The FBI had to warn Hicks not to respond.
#18: In 2004, Trump bought a Miami mansion no one wanted for $40 million. After making no improvements to either the land or the property and failing to sell it for *four years*, in 2008 Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev—facing no competing offers—gave him $95 million for it.
#19: In 2014, Eric Trump told reporter James Dodson his father got “all the funding he needed” for his golf courses—a big part of his financial portfolio—from Russian banks. Dodson had no reason to lie, but Eric denied it vehemently—underscoring how dangerous that truth would be.
#20: Trump made his Campaign Manager a man who’d been out of politics for years and is known largely not just for working on behalf of Putin allies in Ukraine but having angled for years to do direct propaganda work for the Kremlin itself—outreach which has since been documented.
BONUS: Fears that the Kremlin recorded “kompromat”—blackmail—on Trump at the Ritz Moscow in November 2013 have been stoked by Trump’s repeated lies about his trip, his bodyguard’s confession it could’ve happened, and as many as eight witnesses found by the BBC and intel agencies.
BONUS: After Trump’s son Don began engaging in a back-and-forth correspondence with Russian front-operation WikiLeaks in September 2016, the Trump campaign responded to WikiLeaks’ pro-Trump overtures by inserting praise of WikiLeaks into then-candidate Trump’s daily stump speech.
BONUS: The 4 ambassadors Trump invited to the VIP event before his first foreign policy speech (Mayflower Hotel, 4/27/16)—that’d be 4 of a possible 195—all *breached diplomatic protocol to attend* and were all from nations involved in Russia’s sanctions-impacted Rosneft oil deal.
BONUS: Trump has repeatedly angled—almost *desperately*—for private meetings with Putin, including orchestrating pretenses for them. Each time they’ve met, they’ve exceeded the allotted time for such a meeting by 300% and breached protocol in how the meetings have been conducted.