Trump Advances in the Primaries
March 2016 represented a major turning point for the Trump campaign. That month, Trump picked up enough victories in Republican primaries, including Michigan, Mississippi, Florida, and Hawaii, that he began to cement his status as the front-runner for the party’s nomination.
As he gained momentum, Trump began to build his campaign from a small, largely-family run team to a larger, more conventional operation. In the process, Trump brought on several individuals with connections to Russia, including Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort. Then, in an interview with The Washington Post on March 21, 2016, Trump introduced his foreign-policy team, chaired by then-Senator Jeff Sessions. The list included two individuals who have since come to occupy important roles in the ongoing investigation into the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia: Carter Page and George Papadopoulos. Though at the time the announcement drew attention because they were relatively unknown and appeared to have few qualifications, both have since emerged as key individuals, the former due to his many connections to Russia and his trip to Moscow in July 2016 and the latter after he pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud regarding Russian “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. Papadopoulos was also reportedly in contact throughout the campaign with Sergei Millian, a Belarusian-born American citizen who was reportedly Sources D and E in the Steele dossier.