On at least 20 different occasions during the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump and members of his political team, including members of his own family, issued public denials that the campaign had any contacts with Russia, according to a Guardian timeline. But subsequent revelations, including Special Counsel Robert Mueller's sentencing memo for Trump's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, filed on Friday, have now revealed those denials to be false.
On Sunday, the Washington Post published a list of all publicly known contacts between Russians or Russia-linked individuals and the Trump campaign, finding that at least 14 people involved with the campaign. This included Donald Trump, Jr., daughter Ivanka, and son-in-law Jared Kushner, who reportedly had contact with Russians during the 18-month campaign.
Nor were the contacts merely incidental.
"Some (Russians) offered to help (Trump's) campaign and his real estate business. Some offered dirt on his Democratic opponent," the Washington Post reported. "Repeatedly, Russian nationals suggested Trump should hold a peacemaking sit-down with Vladimir Putin — and offered to broker such a summit."
According to a list reported in a separate Washington Post article, the Russian and Russia-linked individuals who made contact with Trump associates or family members ranged from the then-Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, to baker Sergey Gorkov, the CEO of Russia's government-run financial institutions Vnesheconombank, to Russian Olympic weightlifter Dmitry Klokov, who offered to introduce Trump to Russian President Vladimir Putin to promote Trump's planned Trump Tower Moscow project, according to Buzzfeed News.
In November of 2016, Trump's then-communications director, Hope Hicks, issued a public statement.
"There was no communication between the campaign and any foreign entity during the campaign," she said, according to CNN.
As early as July of 2016, Trump himself commented on his campaign's Russia contacts.
"I can tell you I think if I came up with that they'd say, 'Oh, it's a conspiracy theory, it's ridiculous.'... I mean I have nothing to do with Russia. I don't have any jobs in Russia. I'm all over the world but we're not involved in Russia," he said, according to a BBC timeline.
But as Vox reported, negotiations on the Trump Tower Moscow real estate project were ongoing through June of 2016.
"The mounting number of communications that have been revealed occurred against the backdrop of 'sustained efforts by the Russian government to interfere with the U.S. presidential election,' as Mueller's prosecutors wrote in a court filing last week," the Washington Post reported.