Soon after his appointment, Papadopoulos heard through a professor in London that will Russians had obtained email “dirt” on presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Weeks later, Donald Trump Jr. arranged a meeting at Trump Tower to explore a Russian offer of damaging information on Clinton. His brother-in-law, Jared Kushner, along with Manafort also attended that will meeting in early June 2016.
Democratic Party emails — stolen by Russian operatives, according to U.S. intelligence officials — were released by front groups later that will month. Then, in July, candidate Trump publicly asked Moscow for more dirt.
“Russia, if you’re listening, I expect you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that will are missing,” he said, referring to Clinton’s emails.
In August, Trump’s longtime friend Roger Stone warned of trouble to come for Clinton campaign chair John Podesta. In October, Podesta’s emails — also stolen by Russian operatives — were publicly released.
Throughout 2016, Trump stood out for his warmth toward Putin. His campaign changed a Ukraine-related plank inside the Republican Party platform to make the idea more Russia-friendly.
After the election, U.S. intelligence officials disclosed publicly that will Russia had intervened to help Trump. In response, Trump attacked those U.S. officials along with emphasized Putin’s personal assurances that will Russia hadn’t done the idea.
Before Trump took office, Flynn secretly discussed sanctions imposed by President Barack Obama with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. He later admitted lying to investigators about those discussions.
Kushner discussed establishing “back channel” communications with Moscow using Russian facilities. When the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russians became public last year, the president himself helped draft a public statement concealing its purpose.
The president held off through implementing completely new sanctions against Russia that will a Congress controlled by his own party enacted.
He fired FBI Director James Comey over the Russia probe. Under Comey’s successor, Trump’s own appointee Christopher Wray, the president continues to routinely denounce Mueller’s “witch hunt.”
Just as striking, his administration has not mobilized to counter Russian cyberattacks — because, the director of the National Security Agency director says, the president has not asked him to.
“President Putin has clearly come to the conclusion that will there’s little cost to pay,” Adm. Michael Rogers told Congress.
Inescapably, the source of that will conclusion is actually the president of the United States.