At least 16 associates of President Donald Trump had connections with Russian operatives during the 2016 presidential election and transition, court filings and news reports show.
CNN compiled a list on Monday from information gathered from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election interference and the Trump campaign's role in it. Mueller is also believed to be pursuing an obstruction of justice case against Trump for his attempts to thwart investigators searching for the truth.
"These communications came in the form of face-to-face meetings, phone calls, text messages, emails and video chats," CNN noted. "Everyone on this list denies participating in any 'collusion' with the Russians."
Mueller's "witch hunt," as Trump calls it, has unearthed quite a few witches.
- Paul Manafort. Trump's one-time campaign chair who was convicted in August of a slew of financial crimes. Manafort has ties to Ukrainian and Russian oligarchs and was busted for feeding the Trump administration information about Mueller's probe.
- Rick Gates. Manafort's campaign deputy with Russian ties. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy against the United States in February and has been cooperating with Mueller.
- Michael Flynn. Trump's first National Security Advisor who was fired after 24 days for (so we're told) lying to Vice President Mike Pence over his ties to Russia. Flynn was also in secret contact with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the campaign and transition. He pleaded guilty to lying to investigators last December and has been a cooperating witness. Mueller in return recommended no jail time. Filings show Flynn is a key asset in a number of other crimes that have not been made public.
- Donald Trump Jr. Trump's eldest son who helped arrange the 2016 Trump Tower meeting.
- Michael Cohen. Trump's former lawyer and fixer who in August pleaded guilty to eight counts of bank and tax fraud. Last month he admitted to lying to prosecutors about his role in an effort to build a Trump tower in Moscow. Cohen told investigators that Trump was actively pursuing the project in secret while running for president. Mueller's filings detail how Cohen was a "political synergy" conduit between the Trump campaign and Russia.
- Jared Kushner. Suggested a secret back-channel with Russia during the transition, was in attendance at the Trump Tower meeting, and had contact with Kislyak and Russian banker Sergey Gorkov.
- Avi Berkowitz. Kushner's assistant who met with Kislyak during the presidential transition.
- Ivanka Trump. Forwarded an email to Cohen from the wife of the Russian offering "political synergy."
- Felix Sater. Former Trump real estate associate helping to facilitate the Trump Tower Moscow deal.
- George Papadopoulos. Served a week in prison for lying to the FBI about his communications with Russians claiming to have damaging material on Clinton.
- Jeff Sessions. Former attorney general who failed to disclose his contacts with Kislyak at the Republican National Convention and in his Senate office shortly before the election.
- JD Gordon. Trump campaign associate who met with Kislyak during the convention and one other event.
- Roger Stone. Veteran conservative political consultant connected to Wikileaks, suspected of arranging the dump of Clinton's emails in the summer of 2016. He exchanged Twitter messages with hacker Guccifer 2.0.
- Michael Caputo. Helped arrange a meeting between Stone and a Russian offering dirt on Clinton.
- Erik Prince. Held a secret meeting with a Russian banker in the Seychelles in January 2017. Prince is the brother of Education Secretary Betsy Devos.
The "no collusion" narrative is falling apart.
On Monday, Trump again took to Twitter to assail the investigation as a "witch hunt" with no "smocking [sic] gun."
It did not go well.
Last week, the Justice Department suggested that Trump is a felon, after court filings revealed he instructed his Cohen to violate campaign finance laws by making hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy playmate Karen McDougal, both of whom claim to have had affairs with Trump in the 2000s.