Key Figures in Russia-Campaign Probe
As the FBI and Congress are investigating possible connections between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and the Russian government, get to know the Americans with documented links to Russia.
Click on each person for more details
President Donald Trump
No formal accusations of illegal or illicit contact with Russia have been made against Trump. He’s said “I have no deals, I have no loans and I have no dealings” with Moscow and denied that his campaign colluded with Russia. But he fired FBI Director James Comey amid an investigation into possible campaign collusion, and reportedly told Russian diplomats the next day that doing so removed “great pressure” he faced. Comey later told the Senate that Trump urged him to stop investigating his first national security adviser, Michael Flynn.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions
Sessions, an early Trump backer, recused himself from any Department of Justice investigation into communications between Trump aides and Moscow. The move came amid calls for his resignation after it was revealed he had spoken with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. despite telling the Senate he had no contact with Russia. But he insisted to NBC News that he did not discuss any political campaign.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
As CEO of ExxonMobil, Tillerson cultivated a relationship with Russian state-owned oil company Rosneft and received the "Order of Friendship" award from President Vladimir Putin. But Tillerson was not a member of Trump’s campaign, and has denied ever lobbying against sanctions on Russia. After meeting with Putin as secretary of state in April, Tillerson said relations between their countries were “at an all time low.”
Trump’s son-in-law, a senior adviser, met with the Russian ambassador during the Trump transition, and, at the ambassador’s request, met with the head of a state-owned bank that is under U.S. sanctions for its involvement in the Russian annexation of Crimea. A worker for that bank, Vnesheconombank, has been convicted of spying for Russia in New York City. Kushner has volunteered to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee, and the White House said the meetings were part of his job on the transition.
The retired general and former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency served as Trump’s first national security adviser and a campaign surrogate. Flynn was fired for misleading the vice president about the nature of his conversations with the Russian ambassador, in which he allegedly discussed sanctions; the acting attorney general warned the White House that Flynn was vulnerable to blackmail. Flynn later disclosed Russian and Turkish sources were among more than $1 million he received in recent years. A Flynn lawyer made the Trump transition aware of a foreign connection, but the White House denies it was a red flag and said Trump wasn’t aware. The Senate denied Flynn’s request for immunity in exchange for cooperation with its investigation.
Trump’s second campaign chairman resigned amid scrutiny over past lobbying for a Ukrainian political party, which was not disclosed to the U.S. After the inauguration, The Associated Press reported on a document showing Manafort wrote a confidential strategy plan to boost the Russian government through politics, business and the news. The White House denied knowledge of it, while Manafort confirmed he worked for a Russian oligarch tied to Putin but denied representing Russia's political interests. A spokesman said he would retroactively register as a foreign agent for the work but he has yet to do so.
While he was a junior foreign policy adviser to Trump, Page gave a speech in Moscow critical of American policy. After the election, Page confirmed on MSNBC that he met with the Russian ambassador during the Republican convention, but wouldn’t say what they discussed. In court documents filed in March, it was revealed that Page provided a Russian intelligence operative with documents about the energy industry at a 2013 meeting. Page says he never acted as a liaison between the Trump campaign and Russian officials, and believes a secret warrant issued to monitor his communications was an illegal overreach from the Obama administration.
A former Trump campaign adviser with longtime ties to Trump, Stone said he spoke with Guccifer 2.0, the hacker who took credit for breaching the Democratic National Committee, but called the communication innocuous and has denied that he coordinated with WikiLeaks to release DNC emails. Stone has said that he and Trump do not "have anything to fear in a fair, balanced inquiry."
Rep. Devin Nunes
Nunes, R-Calif., recused himself from the House Intelligence Committee’s Russia probe despite being the committee chair because he was facing ethics claims that he made disclosed classified information without authorization. Nunes alarmed others on the committee when he took information about the U.S. investigation into Russian election meddling directly to Trump without sharing it with colleagues. It was later revealed he acquired the information on White House grounds.