Here’s what Americans have come to know amidst the sustained campaign of Russian cyberattacks, propaganda and misinformation against the United States. Donald Trump’s inner circle had a series of undisclosed meetings with Russian representatives including Trumps former campaign manager Paul Manafort who resigned amid allegations of Russian payola. The recent ousting of national security advisor Michael Flynn and the recusal of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who flatly denied under oath and in a written inquiry, that he did not have communications with Russian diplomats. These rolling disclosures invite further scrutiny regarding Trumps alliances with former advisors Carter Page, JD Gordon and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. This suspicious network extends to Trumps personal acquaintances with Ukrainian lawmaker Andrii Artemenko, Russian-born business associate Felix Sater and his personal attorney Michael Cohen, who all maintain lengthy Russian alliances. When these relationships are scrutinized within the context of Trumps long history of Russian entanglements a clear pattern begins to emerge.
Beginning with Donald Trump Jr’s statement that “Russians make up a disproportionate cross-section of our assets.” Trumps shady affiliations include Russian mobsters Anatoly Golubchik and Tevfik Arif. Two racketeers with separate business offices in Trump Towers who were eventually investigated by the FBI and convicted of money laundering, illegal gambling and bribery. Both underworld figures were closely associated with the Russian real estate mogul Aras Agalarov, who facilitated Trump deals in Russia in 2007, 2009 and 2013. Of course, any one of these direct and indirect connections with a network of Russian investors, kleptocrats, mobsters and politicians might have occurred at random within a global network of licit and illicit dealings. However, we cannot ascertain the extent of Trump’s involvement with Russia because he refuses to release his tax returns. All of which begins to question the very legitimacy of this presidency.