Trump associates and Russia: the ties between them

A look at the known Russian contacts between Jeff Sessions, Michael Flynn and others

Two top Democratic politicians have  called on Jeff Sessions to resign. Photograph:  Yuri Gripas/Reuters

Two top Democratic politicians have called on Jeff Sessions to resign. Photograph: Yuri Gripas/Reuters

 

US attorney general Jeff Sessions has recused himself from an investigation into any ties between Moscow and president Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign after revelations that he talked with Russia’s ambassador to the United States twice during the presidential campaign.

Mr Sessions had faced mounting pressure from both parties on Capitol Hill that he step aside or resign.

Here is a look at the known contacts between Trump associates and Russia:

Jeff Sessions
The justice department acknowledged on Wednesday that the attorney general twice spoke with the Russian envoy when Mr Sessions was a senator and involved in Mr Trump’s presidential campaign.
Those discussions with ambassador Sergey Kislyak, first reported in The Washington Post, seem to contradict Mr Sessions’s sworn statements during his confirmation hearings when asked what he would do if “anyone affiliated” with the campaign had been in contact with Russia. Mr Sessions said in a statement on Thursday he “never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign”.

Michael Flynn
Mr Trump’s national security adviser resigned on February 13th after reports he misled White House officials about his contacts with Russia’s ambassador to the US — a situation Mr Trump was told about soon after he took office. Mr Flynn eventually lost the president’s trust after he said at first that he did not discuss sanctions with the Russian envoy during the transition, but later admitted he may have done so. Separately, in 2015, Mr Flynn gave a paid speech in Moscow and sat next to Russian president Vladimir Putin at a dinner.

Michael Flynn was Trump’s national security adviser. Photograph: Carlos Barria/Reuters
Michael Flynn was Trump’s national security adviser. Photograph: Carlos Barria/Reuters

Trump Organisation
Mr Flynn received a Ukrainian peace plan involving the Russian Crimea dispute just before he resigned. That plan was cobbled together by pro-Russian Ukrainian politician Andrii Artemenko and two men with ties to Mr Trump’s namesake company - longtime Trump lawyer Michael Cohen and former Trump Organisation business adviser Felix Sater, who confirmed the arrangement to the Associated Press. Mr Sater, a Russian-born former Mafia informant, was named by Mr Trump as an adviser to the Trump Organisation as recently as 2010, even though Mr Sater had been convicted in a major stock fraud scheme.

Paul Manafort
Mr Trump’s former campaign chairman resigned in August after the AP disclosed his firm’s covert lobbying efforts on behalf of the former pro-Russian ruling political party in Ukraine. Those efforts, which occurred before Mr Manafort joined the Trump campaign, included attempts to get positive press coverage of Ukrainian officials and efforts to undercut sympathy for Yulia Tymoshenko, an imprisoned rival of then-Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych. More recently, The New York Times reported that Mr Manafort and other members of Mr Trump’s campaign had repeated contacts with Russian intelligence officials; Mr Manafort said he had “never knowingly spoken to Russian intelligence officers”.

Paul Manafort is Trump’s former campaign chairman. Photograph: Justin Lane/EPA
Paul Manafort is Trump’s former campaign chairman. Photograph: Justin Lane/EPA

Donald Trump
Mr Trump said during the election he did not have any deals in Russia, but he held the 2013 Miss Universe Pageant in Moscow. Mr Trump has been contradictory when describing his personal relationship with Mr Putin, insisting during the campaign he had “no relationship with” the Russian leader and no recollection of ever meeting him. But several times in prior years, he has said the opposite. Mr Trump has had conversations with Mr Putin since the election, speaking to him shortly after he won the presidency and again eight days after he took office.

AP