The trail of Trump and the Russians likely began before the Russian cyber attack against the U.S. that included a propaganda blitz and leaks intended to interfere with the American election of 2016. It included specific acts to influence an outcome favorable for Donald Trump.
Their initiative to infiltrate U.S. politics began by leveraging business consultants and relationships. Employing acts that are common among gangsters, the Russians sought individuals whose morals are soft and easily corrupted. They saw Donald Trump as being vulnerable when his corporation had a series of significant financial failures.
Other unscrupulous individuals, some of which are capitalists, found their motivation from consulting fees. There may have been something larger in play. If the participants could get an individual into the U.S. Presidency, then that incumbent could initiate policies favorable to their business interests. There could be some big plays in the petroleum industry, for instance. There could also be big plays in commercial development.
Today's news is that Democratic leaders are characterizing the Russian's involvement as being an act of war. Yes, it is because cyber attacks are acts of war or terrorism. When it is state-sponsored, that would be an act of war.
The FBI and CIA have a list of operatives and individuals who are part of their investigation. Who are the names who have appeared in public about which we citizens and journals know?
Behind the scenes, Treasury, FBI, and NSA agents are pouring over the Trump books and following the money. They have conducted surveillance and have much information about Trump surrogates and their conversations with Russian agents.
It is likely that Vladimir Putin is covering his tracks by assassinating those who might connect the dots on the Russian side of the equation. There are bankers involved including those in Cyprus about which information is known.
"Journalists have pinpointed at least 12 occasions, starting on Aug. 10, when Stone predicted bombshell disclosures about Clinton or her campaign staff. Almost always they mention WikiLeaks, and several times Stone claimed to be in touch with WikiLeaks boss Julian Assange.
At first, Stone seemed to imply that he was directly in touch with Assange. “I’ve actually communicated with Julian Assange,” he told a Republican gathering on Aug. 10. Six days later, he said during an Info Wars interview that he had “backchannel communications” with Assange, who was ready to unleash “political dynamite” on the Clintons.
Later, he softened his claim a bit to say their communication was “through an intermediary, somebody who is a mutual friend.”
"October 2007: Trump said Putin's doing a great job
"Look at Putin -- what he's doing with Russia -- I mean, you know, what's going on over there. I mean this guy has done -- whether you like him or don't like him -- he's doing a great job in rebuilding the image of Russia and also rebuilding Russia period," Trump told Larry King on CNN.
December 2011: Trump praised Putin's "intelligence" and "no-nonsense way" in his book
"Time to Get Tough."
"Putin has big plans for Russia. He wants to edge out its neighbors so that Russia can dominate oil supplies to all of Europe," Trump said. "I respect Putin and Russians but cannot believe our leader (Obama) allows them to get away with so much...Hats off to the Russians."
June 2013: Trump wonders if Putin will be his "new best friend"
"Will he become my new best friend?" Trump asked of Putin in a tweet wondering whether Putin would attend the 2013 Miss Universe pageant Trump brought to Moscow.
October 2013: Trump says Putin is outsmarting the US
"I think he's done really a great job of outsmarting our country," Trump told Larry King after Putin successfully dissuaded the US from striking Syria by arranging with the US for the removal of Syria's chemical weapons.
July 31, 2015: Trump says they'd get along
"I think I'd get along very well with Vladimir Putin. I just think so," Trump said in one of his first comments about the Russian leader since launching his presidential bid last June.
Oct. 11, 2015: Trump says they had good ratings together
Asked on CBS' "Face the Nation" about similarities between him and Putin, Trump pointed to their appearance on same edition of "60 Minutes."
"I think the biggest thing we have is that we were on '60 Minutes' together and we had fantastic ratings. One of your best-rated shows in a long time," Trump joked. "So that was good, right? So we were stable mates."
Trump said he and Putin "are very different," but that they would "get along very well."
"I think that I would probably get along with him very well. And I don't think you'd be having the kind of problems that you're having right now," Trump said.
Nov. 10, 2015: Trump reiterates that he and Putin "were stablemates"
"I got to know him very well because we were both on '60 Minutes,' we were stablemates, and we did very well that night," Trump said, despite the fact that he and Putin had been interviewed in separate countries at different times for the same news program.
It's a comment Trump has repeatedly made at rallies.
Dec. 17, 2015: Trump returns Putin's praise
Donald Trump issued a statement after Putin praised the real estate mogul as a "talented person" and "the absolute leader of the presidential race."
"It is always a great honor to be so nicely complimented by a man so highly respected within his own country and beyond," Trump said in a statement. "I have always felt that Russia and the United States should be able to work well with each other towards defeating terrorism and restoring world peace, not to mention trade and all of the other benefits derived from mutual respect."
Trump took heat from his GOP rivals for the statement, but refused to back down.
Dec. 18, 2015: Trump defends against allegations Putin has ordered the killings of journalists
"He's running his country and at least he's a leader, unlike what we have in this country," Trump said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "I think our country does plenty of killing also."
Feb. 17: Trump says he'd be "crazy" to disavow Putin's praise
"I have no relationship with him other than he called me a genius. He said Donald trump is a genius and he is going to be the leader of the party and he's going to be the leader of the world or something," Trump said, embellishing Putin's praise.
"These characters that I'm running against said, 'We want you to disavow that statement.' I said what, he called me a genius, I'm going to disavow it? Are you crazy? Can you believe it? How stupid are they."
"And besides that wouldn't it be good if we actually got along with countries. Wouldn't it actually be a positive thing. I think I'd have a good relationship with Putin. I mean who knows," he continued.
April 28: Trump says maybe they'll get along
"Maybe we will, maybe we won't," Trump says when asked by Bill O'Reilly about whether he and Putin would have a good relationship.
"I'm saying that I'd possibly have a good relationship. He's been very nice to me," Trump said. "If we can make a great deal for our country and get along with Russia that would be a tremendous thing. I would love to try it."
July 28: Trump says he'd be firm with Putin
"I would treat Vladimir Putin firmly, but there's nothing I can think of that I'd rather do than have Russia friendly, as opposed to the way they are right now, so that we can go and knock out ISIS with other people," Trump said at a news conference.
But that wasn't Trump's only comment on Putin during the event.
He also refused to call on Putin to stay out of the election, "I'm not going to tell Putin what to do. Why would I tell him what to do?"
"Why do I have to get tough on Putin? I don't know anything other than that he doesn't respect our country," he continued.
Trump also predicted a better US-Russia relationship under his administration.
"President Trump would be so much better for US-Russian relations. It can't be worse," Trump said.
And of course, Trump said Putin would respect him more than Clinton, his Democratic rival who has been fiercely critical of Putin.
"I don't think he has any respect for Clinton. I think he respects me. I think it would be great to get along with him," Trump said."
"Paul Manafort, who was Trump’s campaign manager at the time the first emails went public, has longstanding ties to the Russian state. He resigned in late August 2016 — right in the middle of the campaign — after a secret ledger was discovered with his name in it, suggesting he had quietly received $12.7 million between 2007 and 2012 from Ukraine’s pro-Russian former president, Viktor Yanukovych.
Just this week, evidence emerged that Manafort had, as recently as 2009, been paid by a Russian oligarch to lobby on behalf of the Kremlin in Washington."
Michael T. Flynn, a Trump campaign adviser who went on to be his national security adviser, was paid more than $65,000 by companies linked to Russia in 2015, including an American branch of a cybersecurity firm believed to have connections to Russia’s intelligence services, according to congressional investigators. Mr. Flynn was forced to resign after misrepresenting his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the United States.
‘Manafort had arranged for Trump to meet with his first choice for the job on July 13: Indiana Governor Mike Pence. Afterward, the plan was for Trump and Pence to then fly back to New York together and a formal announcement would be made, a campaign source said of Manafort’s thinking.’
‘What had previously been reported as a “lucky break” by the New York Times was actually a swift political maneuver devised by the now-fired campaign manager. Set on changing Trump’s mind, he concocted a story that Trump’s plane had mechanical problems, forcing the soon-to-be Republican nominee to stay the night in Indianapolis for breakfast with the Pence family on Wednesday morning.’
‘Swayed by Pence’s aggressive pitch, Trump agreed to ditch Christie and make Pence his VP the following day, according to a source.’
"Last July, the month that WikiLeaks began releasing the hacked emails, Carter Page, a foreign policy adviser to Mr. Trump, visited Moscow for a speaking engagement. Mr. Page has declined to say whom he met there, but he has said they were mostly scholars."
Going to GITMO?