Original historic Russian certificate from the Bank of Siberia
issued in 1912. This authentic document has an ornate border around it with a vignette of four men lounging around with various tools of employment: a gun, paper, pick-ax, and a pen and ledger. This item has the printed signatures of the Company’s Executive Chairman, and Executive Members, and is over 109 years old. Added to this certificate is an image of Donald Trump and the words "No Russian Collusion" and an embossed corporate seal which says "Donald Trump / Vladimir Putin Fake News Service, Inc. 2016".
Embossed Corporate seal
For many years, there has been intensive public scrutiny of Trump's ties to Russia. In a book excerpt published in Politico, former Guardian Russia correspondent Luke Harding stated that files declassified in 2016 indicated that Czech spies closely followed Trump and then-wife Ivana Trump in Manhattan and during trips to Czechoslovakia in the time after their marriage in 1977. Natalia and Irina Dubinin, daughters of then-Soviet ambassador Yuri Dubinin, are cited as indicating that a seemingly chance meeting of their father with Trump in the autumn of 1986, was part of Dubinin's assignment to establish contact with America's business elite and a determined effort by the Soviet government to cultivate Trump in particular.
This effort extended through a series of subsequent events, also documented in Donald Trump's book The Art of the Deal, including a meeting in 1986 between the Ambassador and Trump at Trump Tower and Dubinin's subsequent invitation to Trump to visit Moscow (which was handled via KGB-affiliated Intourist and the future Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin). Harding also asserts that the "top level of the Soviet diplomatic service arranged his 1987 Moscow visit. With assistance from the KGB... The spy chief [Vladimir Kryuchkov] wanted KGB staff abroad to recruit more Americans." Harding cited Trump as writing in The Art that the trip included a tour of "a half dozen potential sites for a hotel, including several near Red Square" and that he "was impressed with the ambition of Soviet officials to make a deal".
Through January 2019, The Moscow Project — an initiative of the liberal Center for American Progress Action Fund — had documented 101 contacts between sixteen Trump associates and Russia-linked individuals during the Trump campaign or transition.
During the 2016 campaign, Trump repeatedly praised Russian president Vladimir Putin as a strong leader, leading to jokes about their "bromance".
On various occasions from 2013 to 2015, Trump has said regarding Putin, "I do have a relationship with him", "I met him once", and "I spoke indirectly and directly with President Putin, who could not have been nicer". However, from 2016, during Trump's election campaign, Trump's stance changed. During a press conference Trump claimed, "I never met Putin, I don't know who Putin is ... Never spoken to him", and during another interview Trump said, "I have no relationship with him".
Several Trump advisers, including former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and former campaign manager Paul Manafort, have been connected to Russian officials, or to Viktor Yanukovich and other pro-Russian Ukrainian officials.
Russian agents were overheard during the campaign saying they could use Manafort and Flynn to influence Trump.[where?][when?][by whom?] Members of Trump's campaign, and later his White House staff, particularly Flynn and Jared Kushner, were in contact with Russian government officials both before and after the November election, including some contacts which they initially did not disclose. As of May 2017, the FBI is investigating several alleged links between Trump associates and representatives of the Russian government.
British and Dutch intelligence services have given information to their United States counterparts about meetings in European cities between Russian officials, associates of Putin, and associates of then-President-elect Trump. American intelligence agencies also intercepted communications of Russian officials, some of them within the Kremlin, discussing contacts with Trump associates.
The Wall Street Journal reported that United States intelligence agencies monitoring Russian espionage found Kremlin officials discussing Trump's associates in the spring of 2015. At the time, U.S. intelligence analysts were reportedly confused, but not alarmed, by these intercepted conversations. In July 2017, the conversations were re-examined in light of a recently disclosed Trump Tower meeting involving Donald Trump Jr. and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.
The New York Times reported that multiple Trump associates, including Manafort and other members of his campaign, had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials during 2016, although officials said that, so far, they do not have evidence that Trump's campaign had cooperated with the Russians to influence the election. Manafort said he did not knowingly meet any Russian intelligence officials. Flynn and now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions subsequently confirmed contacts after having initially denied them.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told CNN that the "electoral process" was not discussed during these meetings, and that Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak had also met with "people working in think tanks advising Hillary or advising people working for Hillary" during the campaign.
Chest height portrait of man in his sixties wearing a suit and tie
Russian diplomat Sergey Kislyak met with a number of U.S. officials.
In particular, Kislyak met with several Trump campaign members, transition team members, and administration nominees. Involved people dismissed those meetings as routine conversations in preparation for assuming the presidency. Trump's team has issued at least twenty denials concerning communications between his campaign and Russian officials; several of which later turned out to be false.
The Trump administration reportedly asked the FBI for help in countering news reports about alleged contacts with Russia.
Former ambassadors Michael McFaul and John Beyrle said they were "extremely troubled" by the evidence of Russian interference in the U.S. election. Both supported an independent investigation into the matter, but dismissed as "preposterous" the allegations that Kislyak participated in it, particularly through his meetings with the Trump campaign: "Kislyak's job is to meet with government officials and campaign people," McFaul stated. "People should meet with the Russian Ambassador and it's wrong to criminalize that or discourage it."
Washington Post letter
According to three officials who reviewed a letter sent to The Washington Post in December 2016, a meeting took place in Trump Tower on December 1 or 2 between Kushner, Kislyak, and Flynn. In the meeting, Kushner is alleged to have requested that a direct Russian-encrypted communications channel be set up to allow secret communication with Russia which would circumvent safeguards in place by the United States intelligence community. The goal would be to allow Flynn to speak directly to Russian military officials about Syria and other issues. No such communications channel was actually set up, according to the sources.
After the meeting, Kislyak sent a report of the meeting to the Kremlin using what he thought were secure channels, but it was intercepted by American intelligence. Kislyak was reportedly taken aback by the request and expressed concern of the security implications that would be at stake in having an American use secure communications between the Kremlin and diplomatic outposts.
Former Acting CIA Director Michael Morell stated in March 2017 that he had seen no evidence of collusion between Trump and the Kremlin. "On the question of the Trump campaign conspiring with the Russians here, there is smoke, but there is no fire, at all," Morell said.
In a March 2017 interview, James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence under President Obama, said that at the time of the intelligence community's report on the issue in January 2017, there was no evidence of any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives. Former FBI Director James Comey, who was dismissed from his position in May 2017, subsequently testified under oath as follows: "In one conversation, Trump suggested that if there were some 'satellite' associates of his who did something wrong, it would be good to find that out."
David A. Graham, staff writer at The Atlantic, has written: "It's no wonder Trump is upset about the dossier, but his mantra that 'there was no collusion [and] everybody including the Dems knows there was no collusion' rings false these days. While there's not yet any public evidence to indicate a crime was committed, or that Trump was involved, it is clear that the Trump campaign and later transition were eager to work with Russia, and to keep that secret."
After 22 months of investigation, Special Counsel Robert Mueller submitted his report to the Justice Department on March 22, 2019. It was summarized by Attorney General William Barr in conjunction with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. In Barr's summary of the report, he told the Senate Judiciary and House Judiciary Committee's chairs and ranking members that Mueller "did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election."
The Barr summary was confirmed by the released report, a redacted copy being made available to the public.
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