Far from being shy about having meddled in the 2016 election, members of the Russian government immediately spiked the proverbial football. On November 9, the morning after the election, Russian parliament burst into applause upon hearing the results of the election. The next day, Sergei Ryabkov, the country’s deputy foreign minister, told the news agency Interfax that “there were contacts” between the Russian government and the Trump campaign. “We are doing this and have been doing this during the election campaign,” Ryabkov said; “obviously, we know most of the people from [Trump’s] entourage. Those people have always been in the limelight in the United States and have occupied high-ranking positions. I cannot say that all of them, but quite a few have been staying in touch with Russian representatives.”
Despite statements from multiple Trump administration officials saying there had been no interactions between the Trump campaign and Kremlin-linked individuals, the American public has since come to know about dozens of these contacts, including:
- December 10, 2015: Michael Flynn attended the RT Gala in Moscow, where he sat at the same table as Russian President Vladimir Putin.
- October 2015-January 2016: Michael Cohen corresponded with Felix Sater and Dmitry Peskov in hopes of developing Trump Tower Moscow.
- March-April 2016: George Papadopoulos communicated with “The Professor” (now believed to be Joseph Mifsud) and “The Female Russian National” about “dirt” the Russian government has obtained on Hillary Clinton, including “thousands of emails,” information he relayed to multiple superiors.
- April 27, 2016: Donald Trump and Senator Jeff Sessions met with the Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak, hours before Trump gave a speech in which he called for warmer relations with Russia.
- April-July 2016: Paul Manafort emailed and met with his long-time deputy Konstantin Kilimnik to discuss setting up private briefings on the campaign for the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.
- May 2016: Donald Trump, Jr., met with the Russian banker Alexander Torshin at an NRA event in Louisville.
- June 2016: Trump campaign aide Rick Dearborn sent an email to superiors on the campaign about an individual who had approached him about setting up a meeting between Trump and Putin.
- June 9, 2016: Donald Trump, Jr., Jared Kushner, and Manafort met with Rob Goldstone, Natalia Veselnitskaya, Rinat Akhmetshin, and Ike Kaveladze in Trump Tower.
- July 7, 2016: While in Moscow to speak at the New Economic School, Carter Page spoke with the Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich, who “expressed strong support for Mr. Trump.”
- July 20, 2016: Sessions, Page, and J.D. Gordon met with Kislyak at the Republican National Convention.
- August 14, 2016: Roger Stone and Guccifer 2.0 exchanged messages on Twitter.
- September 8, 2016: Sessions met with Kislyak in Washington, D.C.
- October 11, 2016: Trump Jr. traveled to Paris to speak at the Kremlin-backed think tank The Center of Political and Foreign Affairs.
The Trump campaign also reportedly had at least one contact with the Putin-linked Ukrainian politician Viktor Medvedchuk, although who spoke with Medvedchuk and when remains unknown.
At least three individuals associated with the Trump campaign also had contacts with WikiLeaks, including: