Trump-Russia graphic 2.0

The president’s lawyers say he has absolutely, positively no income from Russia — with ‘a few exceptions.’

Graphic by Rob Dennis.

President Donald Trump this week fired FBI Director James Comey, the man in charge of the Trump-Russia criminal investigation.

Having acknowledged that the firing was at least partly because of “this Russia thing,” Trump then repeated his false claim that his only ties to Russia are one house sale and a beauty pageant that was held a “long time ago.”

The Miss Universe pageant actually was held in Moscow in 2013. While there, Trump met with more than a dozen Russian oligarchs and reached an agreement with an Azeri billionaire to pursue a Trump Tower in Moscow. And that’s just one of Trump’s many, many connections to Russia.

It seems like a good time to update our graphic showing how many Trump-Russia ties there really are.

Feel free to share it with your member of Congress at their next town hall — assuming they hold one. Here is the original story, and here are some additional connections:

Erik Prince

Prince, the brother of Trump Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, is the founder and former CEO of the notorious private security firm Blackwater USA.

Prince supported Trump’s campaign for president, reportedly advised Trump’s transition team on intelligence and defense, and visited the Trump transition offices in December. The following month, Prince met secretly in the Seychelles with a Russian close to President Vladimir Putin, the Washington Post reported.

The FBI is investigating the meeting, according to the Post.

More on Carter Page

Page has worked with Sergey Yatsenko, a former deputy chief financial officer at Russian state-controlled gas company Gazprom.

Yatsenko told Bloomberg he worked with Page to help a Russian investor explore an oil investment in Iraqi Kurdistan, and to advise a Chinese investor looking to buy Russian oil assets.

In 2013, Page met with and passed documents to a Russian spy in New York, BuzzFeed News reported. The Russian operative, Victor Podobnyy, was a member of Russia’s foreign intelligence service, the SVR, working under diplomatic cover. Podobnyy was charged along with two others in 2015 as part of a Russian spy ring.

Page acknowledged being in contact with Podobnyy, but said he only “shared basic immaterial information and publicly available research documents.”

Another member of the spy ring, Evgeny Buryakov, was working under cover at the Russian state-controlled Vnesheconombank in Manhattan. He pleaded guilty to conspiring to act as a foreign agent, and was sentenced to 30 months in prison.

The head of Vnesheconombank, Sergey Gorkov, met with Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner in December. The bank has been under sanctions since the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Eric Trump

A golf writer said Eric Trump told him three years ago that the Trump Organization received Russian funding for its golf course projects.

Author James Dodson said he met Donald Trump during a 2014 visit to the Trump national golf club in Charlotte, N.C.

Dodson, the co-author of Arnold Palmer’s autobiography, said he asked Trump how he financed his golf courses, and Trump told him he had access to $100 million. Dodson said he then asked Eric Trump where the financing was coming from, since banks weren’t funding golf construction because of the recession.

Dodson said Eric Trump responded, “Well, we don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia.”

Eric Trump has denied the story.

Alfa-Bank

In October, Slate reported that a computer server registered to the Trump Organization had been frequently “pinged” by Alfa-Bank — Russia’s largest private commercial bank.

Alfa-Bank head Petr Aven “worked with Vladimir Putin in the St. Petersburg government — and according to several accounts, helped Putin wiggle out of accusations of corruption that might have derailed his ascent,” according to Slate.

The activity from Alfa-Bank made up 80 percent of the activity on the Trump server. Virtually all of the other activity on the server came from a company called Spectrum Health. Spectrum’s chairman of the board is Dick DeVos — husband of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

There is no known information regarding the nature of the communications between the two companies and the server. However, Slate reported that activity increased “at election-related moments.”

The server was renamed shortly after reporters from the New York Times questioned Alfa-Bank about the server. Soon after that it was shut down.

Alex Shnaider

Trump was a minority investor in the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Toronto with Russian-born billionaire Alex Shnaider, who co-founded the Midland Group international holding company with Ukrainian oligarch Eduard Shifrin.

In October, Shifrin and his daughter were granted Russian citizenship by Putin’s decree.

Vnesheconombank, which was tied to the Russian spy ring and whose chairman met with Kushner in December, helped Shnaider finance the Toronto hotel by buying $850 million in stock from Shnaider at a key moment for the project, the Wall Street Journal reported.


Comey’s firing comes as the Trump-Russia investigation is ramping up on several fronts. Just a few days earlier, Comey reportedly asked the Department of Justice for more resources in the Russia investigation. He had started receiving daily rather than weekly updates on the investigation.

In the hours leading up the firing, CNN learned that federal prosecutors have issued grand jury subpoenas to associates of former national security adviser Michael Flynn. The Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday also subpoenaed documents from Flynn after he refused the committee’s initial request for the documents.

The committee also has sent a series of document requests to other Trump associates, including former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former campaign advisers Page and Roger Stone. It has received only two responses — one of them from Page.

In addition, the committee has asked the Treasury Department for information related to Trump and his associates, Sen. Mark Warner told CNN. The Treasury Department’s criminal investigation division has been investigating allegations of foreign money-laundering through U.S. real estate transactions.

The investigation could easily touch on Trump businesses. Lawyers for the city of Almaty in Kazakhstan claim the daughter of a former Kazakh minister paid $3.1 million to buy three condos in the Trump SoHo as part of a money-laundering scheme, according to the Financial Times.

Numerous foreign buyers, including those from Russia, have purchased units at Trump properties in the United States. A Reuters investigation found that 63 Russians bought at least $98.4 million worth of property at seven Trump-branded towers in southern Florida alone.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is leading a judiciary committee investigation, said Tuesday that he also wants to investigate business ties between Trump and Russia.

In response, Trump released a letter Friday from the law firm of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, which said a review of his tax returns for the past 10 years doesn’t show “any income of any type from Russian sources” — with, ahem, “a few exceptions.”

Those exceptions include the “immaterial” condo sales described above, which add up to tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars.

The firm has deep business ties to Russia and was named “Russia Law Firm of the Year” in 2016.

Note: Updated May 19 with new graphic and information about Alfa-Bank and Alexander Shnaider.

Read the latest about Trump-Russia and other news at Lobby99.

Like what you read? Give Rob Dennis a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.