JANUARY 26, 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Donald Trump and at least 17 of his campaign officials and advisers had as many as 100 contacts with Russian nationals and WikiLeaks or their intermediaries before the U.S. leader was sworn into office, a new analysis from The New York Times shows.
Among the interactions, detailed in previous reporting, documents submitted to Congress, court records and accusations related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing Russia probe, were more than 100 in-person meetings, phone calls, texts, emails and private messages sent over Twitter.
Despite Trump and members of his campaign team’s repeated denials of having communicated with Russians, the report suggests that Trump himself had at least six contacts before the Republican National Convention (RNC) in July 2016, himself. One of those contacts included signing a letter of intent to develop a Trump Tower in Moscow, the Times reported.
According to the newspaper, Aras Agalarov, a Russian billionaire who hosted the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow alongside Trump, reached out to the then-presidential candidate on multiple occasions ahead of the RNC convention. The Russian magnate’s son, Emin, also reportedly contacted Trump.
More specifically, Agalarov sent a letter to Trump shortly after the primaries began, saying he had “great interest” in the now-U.S. leader’s campaign.
Despite that, Trump denied having interactions with Russian nationals shortly after accepting the Republican presidential nomination, the Times reported.
According to the newspaper’s analysis, the president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., had at least 17 contacts with Russians and a Russian intermediary, including the now-infamous arrangement of the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting.
Meanwhile, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, reportedly had at least six contacts with Russians, including the Trump Tower meeting, as well as a meeting with a Russian ambassador during Trump’s transition period.
The full list of those who had interactions with Russians, in addition to Trump, Trump Jr. and Kushner are the U.S. leader’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen, his daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump, former attorney general Jeff Sessions, former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, former deputy White House Chief of Staff Rick Dearborn.
The group of 17 of the president’s associates also includes former advisers Michael Caputo, Carter Page and J.D. Gordon, aides Dan Scavino and Avi Berkowitz, Erik Prince and longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone, who was indicted by Mueller earlier this week.
The Times report further states that at least 10 other associates were told about communications with Russians, but did not have any themselves.