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Politics

13 exclusive news stories that back the White House into a corner for its Russia ties

A series of bombshell stories from the Washington Post and The New York Times have exposed links between Trump administration officials and the Kremlin, as well as Trump's requests for "loyalty" from former FBI Director James Comey. The president has called them fake news.
2 Jun 2017 – 5:10 PM EDT

On Wednesday, February 8, national security advisor Michael Flynn told the Washington Post he had not discussed U.S.-imposed sanctions with the Russian Ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak.

But Flynn had discussed the sanctions, according to various sources who spoke to the Post that day. Although the White House had previously denied the claim, by February 14 Flynn was out of a job. And since then, the Washington Post and The New York Times have each broken a number of spectacular stories about the relationship between Trump administration officials and the Kremlin.

Univision counted 13 exclusive stories (seven by the Post, six by the Times) that unearth a complex narrative, outlining a series of private, undisclosed meetings held between Kislyak and Flynn, as well as with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and senior advisor Jared Kushner. They also expose President Trump's requests for "loyalty" from former FBI Director James Comey. Here are those stories and the White House reaction that followed each:


Reports surface that national security adviser Michael Flynn discussed U.S.-imposed sanctions against Russia with the Russian Ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak, before Trump took office. That is contrary to statements made previously by Trump officials: vice president-elect Mike Pence had explicitly stated in January that Flynn and Kislyak had not discussed the sanctions.
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On the day Flynn resigns, the Post reports that acting attorney general Sally Yates informed the Trump White House in January that she believed Michael Flynn had “misled senior administration officials about the nature of his communications with the Russian ambassador to the United States.”
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Donald J. Trump‏ @realDonaldTrump
The real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington? Will these leaks be happening as I deal on N.Korea etc?
2/14/2017
Donald J. Trump‏ @realDonaldTrump
This Russian connection non-sense is merely an attempt to cover-up the many mistakes made in Hillary Clinton's losing campaign.
02/15/2017
During his confirmation hearing to become attorney general, Jeff Sessions affirmed that he had “not had communication with the Russians.” But that was a lie, the Post reports. Sessions spoke twice in 2016 with Kislyak, including in a “private meeting” in September in Sessions’ office.
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Donald J. Trump‏ @realDonaldTrump
Jeff Sessions is an honest man. He did not say anything wrong. He could have stated his response more accurately, but it was clearly not intentional. This whole narrative is a way of saving face for Democrats losing an election that everyone thought they were supposed to win. The Democrats are overplaying their hand. They lost the election, and now they have lost their grip on reality. The real story is all of the illegal leaks of classified and other information. It is a total "witch hunt!"
3/03/2017
Donald J. Trump‏ @realDonaldTrump
Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism! ... Just out: The same Russian Ambassador that met Jeff Sessions visited the Obama White House 22 times, and 4 times last year alone.
03/04/2017
While filling out an application questionnaire for top-secret security clearance, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner was supposed to list encounters he had with foreign government officials. But Kushner left off a December meeting with Kislyak and another with the head of a Russian state-owned bank, the Times reports.
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The same day the Washington Post revealed that Jared Kushner had omitted information about his meeting with Russian officials, President Trump ordered an attack in Syria in response to the Syrian government's chemical weapons attack that killed more than 80 civilians.
The Post breaks down events that lead up to FBI Director James Comey’s firing May 9. Trump assured the firing did not have to do with the Russia investigation, but the accounts of anonymous officials contradict that, painting “a conflicting narrative centered on the president’s brewing personal animus toward Comey.”
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Donald J. Trump‏ @realDonaldTrump
The Democrats have said some of the worst things about James Comey, including the fact that he should be fired, but now they play so sad!
5/10/2017
Donald J. Trump‏ @realDonaldTrump
James Comey will be replaced by someone who will do a far better job, bringing back the spirit and prestige of the FBI.
05/10/2017
Just a week after he was sworn in as president, Trump summoned Comey to the White House for a private dinner, during which he asked for Comey’s “loyalty." Comey declined to make that pledge. Later in the dinner, Trump again asked for Comey’s loyalty, said sources. Comey demurred.
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Donald J. Trump‏ @realDonaldTrump
Russia must be laughing up their sleeves watching as the U.S. tears itself apart over a Democrat EXCUSE for losing the election... Yesterday, on the same day- I had meetings with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the FM of Ukraine, Pavlo Klimkin.
5/11/2017
Donald J. Trump‏ @realDonaldTrump
Again, the story that there was collusion between the Russians & Trump campaign was fabricated by Dems as an excuse for losing the election.
05/12/2017
One day after dismissing Comey, Trump welcomed Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Kislyak to the White House. During that meeting, Trump went “off script” and began describing highly classified information, the Post reports.
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White House spokesman Sean Spicer called press reports "downright dangerous" and said they weaken U.S. national security. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said the president did not have an inappropriate conversation and said he did not compromise national security.
Donald J. Trump‏ @realDonaldTrump
As President I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety. Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism.
5/16/2017
The day after Flynn resigned, Trump asked Comey to “let this go,” referring to the FBI's investigation into the administration's dealings with Russia. During a meeting in the Oval Office, Trump added “[Flynn] is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”
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As Trump tried to get closer to Comey, the FBI Director worried that Trump was “[jeopardizing] the FBI’s independence,” the Times reports. To a friend, Comey described a ceremony at the White House, during which Trump tried to give him a hug.
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Donald J. Trump‏ @realDonaldTrump
I have been asking Director Comey & others, from the beginning of my administration, to find the LEAKERS in the intelligence community...
5/16/2017
A newly surfaced document seems to suggest Trump fired Comey precisely due to the Russia investigation. During a May White House meeting after Comey's firing, Trump stated to Lavrov and Kislyak: “I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job. I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”
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In response to The New York Times' report, White House spokesman Sean Spicer issued a statement saying: "By grandstanding and politicizing the investigation into Russia's actions, James Comey created unnecessary pressure on our ability to engage and negotiate with Russia."
Kushner held a series of meetings in December with Russian ambassador Kislyak and Moscow banker Sergey Gorkov, the Post reports. Also present at one of the meetings was national security advisor Michael Flynn.
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During December meetings between Kushner and Kislyak, the two spoke about the possibility of establishing a secret, secure communications channel between the Trump transition team and Moscow. They discussed using Russian diplomatic facilities, potentially “to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring," the Post reports.
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Donald J. Trump‏ @realDonaldTrump
It is my opinion that many of the leaks coming out of the White House are fabricated lies made up by the #FakeNews media.
5/28/2017
Donald J. Trump‏ @realDonaldTrump
Whenever you see the words 'sources say' in the fake news media, and they don't mention names it is very possible that those sources don't exist but are made up by fake news writers. #FakeNews is the enemy!
5/28/2017
After Flynn's February 13 resignation and Trump's subseqent request of Comey to end the investigation into Flynn, Comey went to the Attorney General. On February 15, Comey asked Sessions not to leave him alone with the president anymore.
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Carlos Chirinos, Senior Politics Editor at Univision, contributed to this story.

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