Prosecutors Examining Ukrainians Who Flocked to Trump Inaugural

The Ukrainians were in Washington pushing plans that, in some cases, would have steered the incoming administration to lift tough sanctions on Russia.

Comments: 143

  1. OMG. More evidence of collusion. It’s a tsunami of building evidence. It appears they didn’t even try to hide it. They were so giddy and sure of themselves. Start the proceedings now.

  2. @M Camargo When corruption has always been part of your life and you've always gotten away with it you naturally become complacent. But doing these things as a private business with your daddy's name on the door is one thing, and doing them while on the public payroll is something else. Hopefully.

  3. A picture is worth a thousand briefs

  4. «The investigations are playing out against growing indications that some of the Ukrainians who came to Washington for the inaugural, or their allies, were promoting grand bargains, or “peace” plans, that aligned with Russia’s interests, including by lifting sanctions.» Two questions here : Firstly, In what way are actions taken at Mr Trump's inaugural ball, which, if I am not much mistaken, took place after the US presidential elections of 2016, at all relevant to «a full and thorough investigation of the Russian government's effort to interfere in the [US] 2016 presidential election» and Mr Mueller's mandate to investigate «any links and/or coordination between the Russian Government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump» ? Secondly, I wonder, in the event that there were any Ukrainians at Mr Trump's inaguaral ball or elsewhere pushing instead for further US «sanctions» against Russian interests, if they will be investigated. Or is foreign «interference» with US policy to be investigated, only in the event it advocates policies contrary to those approved by, e g, the New York Times ?... Henri

  5. Are you suggesting that we do not investigate foreign <> when it is possibly connected to private payments to decision makers? It is the payments that should set off alarms, not the specific change in policy.

  6. @mhenriday Perhaps the attendance at the inaugural festivities of these Pro-Russian Ukrainians-- which enabled them to directly lobby the ethically and patriotically challenged new administration to adopt a pro-Russian peace plan--were the capstone of much surreptitious skullduggery with the many treasonous members of Team Trump.

  7. @mhenridayThose for whom the facts do not align with their opinions simply deny the facts.

  8. The problem in describing the machinations regarding the Ukraine, Russia, and other foreign interests is the complex webs of intersection between and among the various players, parties and interests involved. Trump can readily describe it all as false news because he of all understands best the fact that the USA public, fed its facts solely by televised media, cannot understand anything so intricate that it needs more than three sentences to explain.

  9. It seems that Trump was selling US to the best bidders. Ukrainians and Russians thought that Trump owns US like Putin owns Russia. The truth is finally catching up with trump.

  10. There is so much conspiracy and corruption we are literally drowning in it. Last night on TV I heard Trumps supporters interviews that he has done so much good. I can’t name anything - can you?

  11. @Deirdre. Heard that too, hard to take. Crave the chance to ask such folks to give me a list of his great accomplishments, a futile wish, of course. There are Fox talking points believed by such diehard supporters of Trump virtually impossible to pierce.

  12. @deirdre - That depends which side you are on, doesn't it?

  13. @MJM Saving the planet; or, killing the planet? Tough choice; but, I pick saving it.

  14. Who would have ever imagine die hard Republicans, proud of their patriotism, who treasure saluting the flag while the Star Spangled Banner is playing would welcome a President who would believe the words of a Russian autocrat over his own intelligence agencies?

  15. @David Ronald Reagan is turning in his grave

  16. @David: "When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time." Maya Angelou

  17. And now I have another reason to be proud I marched in the Women’s March the next day, across town, from these characters. We marched within hours after these seedy partners swayed in the moment while thinking they hoodwinked us Americans, and they were soothingly getting away with it. La la la. Ah, that music for the newfound DC Trump family and their pals, foreign spies or otherwise, played on in the night. As we were trying to get some sleep in our seats, on our buses from cross country, on our way to DC, these corrupt sneaks were paying tribute to their foreign invaders, in the limelight, in the night, in the music, in our country’s most important governmental city. Women, you will have quite the march on your hands this year. Make every second count!

  18. @MIMA I was at that March, too! First protest in my life at the age of 54. If you go this year, remember to bring your own trash bag because of the #TrumpShutdown.

  19. This article makes you wonder how many GOP congressmen were involved in the shenanigans with Russia and Ukraine during the campaign and beyond. It is becoming more and more apparent that the Trump campaign was up to their ears in Russian influence and Clinton was right when she said “Putin’s Puppet “. With the way some of the GOPers went insane in their protection of Trump like Nunes, Chaffetz, Ryan, Pence and even McConnell, it really does make you wonder if they were/are compromised by the Kremlin. I

  20. @Radha GOP congressman that "were" involved? They're still involved and it's apparent to me the ones who are most involved and loyal to Trump. Pence, McConnell, Lindsay Graham, and Nunes are high on the list. Those who remain in the White House who are not in the House or Senate have taken the pledge of loyalty and will go down with the ship.

  21. Trump, his family, and the entire Republican party should be investigated as a criminal organization under the RICO Act.

  22. @Radha-Start with Devin Nunes, the (former)House Intel Chair closely allied with Gen Flynn during his tumultuous tenure at the DIA going forward. In spring 2016, Nunes began providing private intel briefings to the Trump campaign. After Trump secured the nomination, he traveled with and fundraised for Trump. Limiting his role to that of “Transition Team member” has allowed major conflicts-of-interest to go unchallenged. But what explains Nunes' efforts to derail House, Senate, DoJ, FBI, and the Special Prosecutor's investigations into Russian interference? And his push to move the U.S. forward command from Germany to Azores? https://patribotics.blog/2018/03/10/did-carter-page-call-devin-nunes-from-moscow https://themoscowproject.org/explainers/the-nunes-file https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/02/devin-nunes-and-the-invention-of-fake-oversight/553694 Devin Nunes’s Family Farm is Hiding a Politically Explosive Secret - Sept. 20, 2018 https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a23471864/devin-nunes-family-farm-iowa-california/

  23. Even though we've been watching these dishonest charlatans for over two years now, it's still amazing to me how ignorant and naive they are about government...even "experienced" people, like the "distinguished" Flynn. They're motivated by nothing but pure greed. Surely it can't be that hard to come up with substantive charges on Trump, his family, his administration and many of his supporters.

  24. @kglen. It has always stupefied me as to why citizens choose to elect representatives who demonize the government they are elected to run. It started with the sainted Ronnie who loved the line that the most terrifying words in the English language were, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you.”

  25. The charge against the 12 Ukrainian attendees at the inauguration events is that they are Russian-oriented. That the Post is exercised about the expression of Russian interests in Ukraine means that it needs to learn some elementary recent Ukrainian history. To wit. About one-third of Ukraine still counts Russian as its native tongue even after a quarter century of official discrimination. Recent anti-Russian actions: In 2017, Ukraine banned importing books from Russia. No War and Peace in the original. Now, Russian-speaking Ukrainians will have Ukrainian books crammed down their throats. In 2017, Ukraine ordered TV and radio to be mainly in Ukrainian (75% nationally, 50% locally). Thus, Russian speakers are to get Ukrainian language radio and TV crammed down their throats. The 2017 law on education: Ukrainian is now the language of education at all levels except for a course or two in English or one of the official languages of the European Union I.e. no Russian in school. So, the Russian-speaking third of the students are to get Ukrainian, English, and, say, Dutch crammed down their throats while no instruction is allowed in their native tongue. These are a few of the bigoted actions by the dominant extremists of western Ukraine. They want to build a nationalist utopia by forcing everybody else to speak Ukrainian. The message is "Become Ukrainian or get out!" They call this "Nation Building". Civilized people call it "Ethnic Cleansing".

  26. @alyosha - Russia, the dominant power in the previous USSR, is notorious for taking over countries and regions and moving Russians into the area and imposing Russian culture and language, aimed at the eradication of the existing indigenous culture and language. Russia has coveted the Crimea since before Katherine the Great. So the Russian speakers in Crimea who are "forced" to speak and absorb Ukrainian are either Russian born or descendants of Russians. Some would see this as the Ukraine returning too its previous culture that was forcibly repressed by Russia/USSR. History makes it difficult to decide who was there first and which culture is/was indeed indigenous.

  27. @alyosha It's sad, because Ukraine's simply having two official languages, like Belarus does, would have avoided all problems. Ukraine is not among the WORST post-Soviet economies, and while others continue to grow, it shrinks and loses people. All this for fanatical anti-Russian language bias. It's pathetic beyond all comprehension. Sadly, the Quebec province of Canada has a similar story to tell.

  28. @alyosha 1. This is the Times, not the Post. 2. That sounds heavy-handed, but also somewhat like the reaction of other countries who were repressed under imperial rule, particularly when the home of the same empire threatens to try and reclaim them. Note also that the USSR instituted Russian as the official language in the Ukraine and other SSR territories despite the presence of their native tongues. /sarcasm warning/ By the way, thank goodness we're so enlightened that we don't have people in our government declaring that we should force people to learn or speak or watch TV or fill our government forms or (the list goes on) in english rather than people's native languages.

  29. Money is speech? Yep, and our government is for sale.

  30. If Mueller wants to investigate whether Flynn or his business partners might win if sanctions were ended he should also have a look at Hunter Biden, his Burisma company and its Ukrainian gas interests. It was then vice-president's Biden's son who taught the Ukrainian oligarchs how to buy favors from American politicians.

  31. “Met with Republican lawmakers.” Great if you could name them!

  32. “Lawyers for Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman who was paid tens of millions of dollars over the last dozen years by Russia-aligned Ukrainian interests, inadvertently revealed on Tuesday that he had communicated about a Ukraine-Russia peace plan with a business associate believed to have ties to Russian intelligence.” What makes you think this was inadvertent? I doubt it. This was in my view a clear message to Trump. Manafort is not playing around anymore. He wants his pardon.

  33. @BD He wants his pardon to avoid treason charges. Another comment has suggested what you are saying: the "slip-up" was intended to communicate with Trump. This would be a pretty good cover for any claim of "obstructing justice"by Manafort's team.

  34. It is not illegal to provide polling data to business associates who have ties to Russia. Paul Manafort could have sent polling data directly to the Kremlin without violating U.S. election laws. During the 2016 election campaign, the New York Times and other U.S. media outlets daily provided poll results to the entire world. Ukrainians who attended the inaugural would have broken no law by promoting grand bargains or "peace plans" that aligned aligned with Russian interests. As the article points out,"The transition of power in Washington attracted officials and business executives from around the world seeking entree and influence with the new administration."

  35. @William Case Ukrainians may not have broken any laws but it all still looks fishy. Why would a Ukrainian or Russian want US republican election poll data? Also, did all these Ukrainian politicians flock to Obama's inauguration? I don't think so. There's something wrong here.

  36. @William Case Yes yes yes, we know that mere "collusion" is legal. If the collusion aids or produces foreign interference with U.S. elections THAT is the felony.

  37. @Hunter It is not illegal for foreign nations to interfere in U.S. elections. All nations that perceive they are affected by U.S. foreign policy, which is to say most nations, meddle in U.S. election. Russia is accused of hacking DNC email; that illegal. Some Russian nationals place paid political ads that support one candidate over another. That is a FECA violation. But Russia or Russian haven't been charged with "interfering" in the 2016 election. That was not illegal. Putin could have publicly endorse Trump without violating U.S. election laws. He could have publish documents incriminating Hillary Clinton, if he had them, without violating U.S.election laws.

  38. Sam Patten did not plead guilty to buying inaugural tickets for “a prominent Ukraine oligarch” as the article asserts. That is not a crime. Patten pleaded guilty to violating the Foreign Agent Registration Act by not registering with the Justice Department’s FARA Registration Unit. The New York times should correct the error because it creates the false impression that doing lobbying work for Ukraine oligarchs considered pro-Russia is illegal. It is not illegal. Patten would not vibe in trouble if he had registered with the FARA Registration Unit. The FARA Registration Unit's goal is voluntary compliance. When the FARA Registration Unit discovers someone has failed to register as a foreign agent, its normal protocol is to notify them that they have to register. Many U.S. lobbyists ignore the FARA requirement because it has a history of being selectively enforced only against lobbyists who work for countries that fall out of favor with the United States. It is now being selectively applied against lobbyists connected with the Trump campaign, Russia, or Ukrainians deemed pro-Russia.

  39. @William Case No need to explicitly state the obviously and inescapably implicit. The astute reader makes the connection and correct conclusion.

  40. @William Case You say: "Patten would not be in trouble if he had registered with the FARA Registration Unit," though he wasn't required to. Too bad he didn't just tell the truth about being involved as a FARA lobbyist. Evidently he lied to the FBI, and this is why he is in trouble. Sounds like Patten is involved in covering up his involvement in trying to influence American policy toward the Russians. Apologizing for Patten and other lobbyists who don't follow the spirit of the law doesn't make them appear more honorable.

  41. @William Case WRONG. Patten pled guilty to failing to observe the requirements of FARA. He was not forced to plead guilty to other possible offenses, as part of a cooperation agreement. https://www.vox.com/2018/8/31/17805310/sam-patten-mueller-plea-manafort Robert Mueller got another cooperator Sam Patten, an associate of Paul Manafort and Cambridge Analytica, struck a plea deal. Quote: Patten also admits to helping his Ukrainian oligarch client get around the prohibition on foreign donations to Donald Trump’s inauguration committee. The oligarch sent $50,000 to Patten’s company, and then he gave that money to a US citizen, who bought the four tickets. The tickets were given to the oligarch, Kilimnik, another Ukrainian, and Patten himself. End quote Here is a link to the plea agreement: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4806783-Sam-Patten-plea-agreement.html In consideration of your client's guilty plea to the above offense, and upon the completion of full cooperation as described herein, no additional criminal charges will be brought against the defendant for his heretofore disclosed participation in criminal activity, including FARA offenses, false statements to and obstruction of the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and causing foreign money to be paid to the 2016-17 Presidential Inaugural Committee. It would be helpful if you would state the FACTS, rather than your stilted description of the events that took place.

  42. It certainly looks as if there isn't anything that Trump does not try to sell to the highest bider, regardless of he implications. What to make of this is a decision that needs to be taken by Mueller and a court of law. But I do not believe that the faulty redactions are a mistake. This probably more a signal to Trump and his cronies that the proverbial brown stuff is about to hit the fan and that it is time consider a solution on how to save Cohen from doing more time.

  43. It's evident that Trump's presidency has created a quandary completely unaddressed by the early framers of our Constitution: There are no "do-overs" in the rulebook. As a result, we're faced with a single question: How do you handle a president whose election is completely illegitimate, due to fraud and foreign influence?

  44. @Jim In Tucson I recommend a tried and tested way of dealing with lawlessness. (1) Assemble Evidence (2) Put the evidence before a Judge and Jury (3) Eliminate ALL allegations that are mere hearsay, opinion, supposition, etc. Works for me. Hope it does for you also.

  45. @Robert Jennings I would agree, except that would give us Pence, who has no more legitimate claim to the Presidency than Trump. Neither of these men belongs in the White House; they were put there via Vladimir Putin's manipulations, not by the American voters.

  46. @Jim In Tucson I don't know how to handle this illegitimate presidency, but IMHO none of the SCOTUS or other judicial appointments should stand if it is proven beyond a reasonable doubt the election results were thrown via a conspiracy against the United States. These lifetime appointments have longstanding impact, to limit damage perhaps the term lengths can change if nothing else. As a voting American I am darned sick and tired of my vote not counting due to gerrymandering and voter suppression. Changes are needed in how presidents are vetted as well.

  47. I’d like to see a feature article, written in two columns, that has the following data: Column one lists all the things Russia has done for this president. For example, known evidence of election tampering, quotes by Putin, loans and deals, and anything else that’s verifiable. Column two would list all the things Trump has done for Russia. Examples include ceding Crimea, lifting of sanctions, etc. The overall headline would read “Quid Pro Quo?”. The general public (not regular NYT readers) needs to see this simple opinion-free fact list, so they can judge for themselves.

  48. Trump’s buildings are full of Russian money and it clearly looks like his campaign was too. And, it is obvious the Russians are getting what they paid for. Why is McConnell/GOP okay with that? What are they hiding? At this point I find it hard to believe that the tax cut was worth giving Trump a pass on what sure appears to be treason.

  49. @Maureen McConnell and the GOP are ok with it because they have no agenda other than raising money and opposing anything associated with the Dems. McConnell has been in the Senate a long time: name his legislative achievements? I rest my case.

  50. @Maureen Yes, treason and McConnell/GOP are Trump and Putin's co-conspirators. How else do you explain the un-American behavior?

  51. @Maureen: are Mitch and other GOP traitors also on Putin's payroll? That's what I wonder - how treasonous is this regime? I suspect all to be deep in the pockets of the Russian. mob.

  52. "No collusion......no collusion....!" ...except for everywhere you look. Investigate Impeach Indict Incarcerate Trump is a Matryoshka-Doll-In-Chief. Time to reject Moscow on the Potomac. Russian-Republicanism is no way to run America, except into the oligarchic ground.

  53. @Socrates I understand that the loss of world domination is very painful for those who are used to imposing their will, even by force of arms, on everyone around, but the United States should have been ready for this in the last century. They missed time ...

  54. However, two wrongs don’t make a right. Russia and its stooges in the US government will someday pay dearly for their overreach. We haven’t seen the end of this story. Not by a long shot.

  55. The New York Times views efforts of Ukrainians who promote peaceful solutions to hostilities connected with the Russian annexation of Crimea as hostile to U.S. foreign policy because the proposed solutions align with Russian interests. This would have been true under the Obama administration, but not necessarily true under the Trump administration. Trump campaigned on promises to promote better U.S.-Russian relations. Not all Americans are eager to restart the Cild War or think Russia was wrong to annex Crimea. Annexation is what Crimea wanted. In 1954, the Supreme Soviet transferred Crimea to Ukraine without giving its citizens a chance to vote on the transfer. The legitimacy of the 1954 transfer, which violated Soviet law, has always been in question. After the breakup of the Soviet Union, Crimea conducted a referendum that asked its citizens whether they wanted to join Russia or remain part of Ukraine. They voted overwhelming in favor of joining Russia. There is no doubt that the referendum accurately reflected the will of the people. According to census data, 65.3% of Crimea’s population are ethnic Russians, 15.7% are ethnic Ukrainians and 12.2% are Crimean Tatars.

  56. @William Case The problem I see is that the United States of America is a Democracy. We Americans want it to stay that way. Putin/Russia and oligarchs are only interested in gaining power for themselves. Quite frankly, we don't need that here in the U.S. Do I trust any "vote" these countries report on??? Of course not. Look at what was done to our 2016 elections.

  57. @William Case This post does not pass the smell test. "The legitimacy of the 1954 transfer, which violated Soviet law" - that was the assertion of Russian Federation Office of the Prosecutor General's statement in 2015. 100% revisionist history in the service of the Kremlin narrative seeking to justify its land grab and violation of Ukraine's territorial integrity.

  58. @William Case, the policy shifts of which you speak may indeed be valid. But you’re conveniently forgetting that Trump likely has, at the very least, undisclosed financial ties to Russian operatives who are promoting these policies. Mueller’s inquiry may disclose even more disturbing links between Russia and Trump concerning Russia’s influence on the US election. I think you’re being pollyannaish about Trump’s pro-Russia policies, which also involves his repeated efforts to retreat from NATO and other longstanding alliances that help keep Russia’s ambitions in check.

  59. Ban ALL dark money. Bring it into the light so we can prevent the cancer of corruption.

  60. @Ex-Conservative Bees against honey? This is ridiculous! The US emerged as a gangster country of criminal newcomers from around the world and it is cheaper to destroy them than to cure )

  61. @Zradogon There will always be tremendous amounts of money in politics. Make it transparent.

  62. This is not rocket science. Over a period of years Trump built a relationship with Putin and several oligarchs. Putin decided to help his friend get elected , particularly since he hated Clinton. After Trump won with efficient hacking from Russian black hats, the friendship has continued. Notice the exclusive meeting with the Russian delegation in the Oval Office where all Americans were barred and photos were taken by Russians. This election was rigged and stolen by Trump with Russian help. This is a coup of the American government. Putin has made a joke of our American election system by manipulation of the electoral college. Putin and Trump made fools of us!

  63. @Michael Kittle "He who laughs last laughs best."

  64. @Michael Kittle I think Putin backed Trump as much for Clinton's strong anti-Russian policies as for Trump's perceived weakness. I don't agree that Trump had a relationship with Putin going back years. You just had to see the glow on Trump's face the first time he met Putin President to President. So much authoritarian power, so much ability to run a country for one's corrupt goals, so little ability for other branches of government to exhort their authority. Trump looks like a blushing schoolgirl every time he is alone with Putin.

  65. @Michael Kittle That's how I see it. I have been convinced over and over with various facts that Putin and Trump are working together. Trump is a traitor and so is his family. They have committed treason and the question that remains is whether Trump and his conspirators go to prison.

  66. What keeps me going is the track record of Mueller and his team. If they find criminal behavior, their case will be airtight. And we will see one or more Trumps in prison.

  67. This is for Alesha. Don't get so exercised about the relations between Russia and Ukraine, which are insoluble. My Mother was born in the Ukraine in 1924. Per the law on education, Russian was the official language. Classes were conducted exclusively in Russian. Ukrainian literature was only allowed as a secondary subject, and was taught in Russian. TV when it came was exclusively in Russian. No Ukrainian was allowed in business or commercial settings. The message was "get Russian or get out." Kto Kovo?

  68. @Laura D. Weeks In what part of Ukraine your Mother was born: most probably, it was in Crimea. Moreover, during 20th and 30th of the last century authorities maintained so-called Ukrainization policies: all newspapers, radiobroadcasting and books, as well as education were mostly in Ukrainian. That was the main reason why Odessa intellectuals (Babel, Katayev brothers, Bagrytski, Alesha moved to Moscow in the 20th). The policies you refer to were in place in 70th and 80th before the SU collapse (but even under such policies there were two official languages - one of the former president Yanukovich's unfulfilled promises) .

  69. "As recently as last month, prosecuters were still investigating illegal foreign lobbying" and these Russian favorable lobbyists didn't just approach Trump and his most corrupt administration in history, but also many Republicans in Congress, who are probably still getting paid to move forward with removing sanctions from Russia that Mnuchin is advocating and the now Democratic House is investigating. Mueller has probably connected the dots of why a dozen or more Ukrainian oligarchs with pro -Russian policies were attending the inauguration and festivities with tickets bought and paid by straw donors. What amazes me, and continues to amaze me, is they carried on in broad daylight with little concern for ever getting in any kind of trouble. Why is that? Is it because they had reason to believe that Trump had their backs and was supportive of what they were doing? If the president can get away with 'murder on Fifth Avenue' and not lose any votes, how much more at ease they must have been. This is still true. If our president can get away with conspiring with a foreign government to win the election, and changing policies of our government to favor Russia, while continuing to kowtow to Putin, all of the criminals out there can feel more safe doing their dirty deeds, as we have become like an authoritarian regime, where our dear leader can do as he pleases with no repercussions. Justice needs to be served. The day of reckoning will come.

  70. @GraceNeeded Whey should they have feared anything: they knew that there was a deal between Putin and Flynn & Trump. And the proof was in the pudding. There had been meetings with many members of the Trump campaign; Manafort, an experienced Russian "plant", had been installed as Campaign Chair with his long time associate Richard Gates as Vice Chair who would be moving on to the Transition Team; and the GOP platform had been changed at the Convention to signal the benefits awaiting the Russians. For the Russians, it was even better than they imagined. It also endeared them to Putin , himself a world call intelligence agent, who proved that he was so much smarter than the Americans. At best it is a conspiracy. At worst it is treason.

  71. @JL-Add in Trump's recent removal of U.S. sanctions on Putin buddy Oleg Deripaska's companies. Deripaska is a member of Mr. Putin’s inner circle who has been under investigation for money laundering, ordering the murder of a businessman, accused of threatening the lives of business rivals, illegally wiretapping a government official, taking part in extortion and racketeering, bribing a government official, and has links to a Russian organized crime group. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/19/us/politics/sanctions-oleg-deripaska-russia-trump.html https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/02/opinion/deripaska-sanctions-russia-manafort.html

  72. Manafort worked for the Yanukovych gov't to try to help Ukraine get into the EU. The EU refused because the country had far too much debt. The EU recommended that Ukraine go to the IMF for help. Which sunk the plan. Manafort was contacted by Israeli officials because they were afraid of the anti Semitic elements surrounding the eventual illegal coup that overthrew Yanukovych. What these people thought Manafort could accomplish is unknown. Manafort may have committed fraud unrelated to the Russian investigation. But all this confusing noise from the Mueller investigation is no closer to showing a concerted effective attempt by the Russian gov't to throw the election to Trump. On the contrary Trump has done much of what Clinton campaigned on. An aggressive neo con effort to undermine Putin.

  73. @c harris Another pro-Russian opinion. You couldn't possibly have read this article and come to the conclusion that trumps efforts have been to undermine Putin. It's not possible.

  74. No one contributes and attends such events unless they want something. What favors were dispensed in regard to this?

  75. The pull of Russia is simple -- easy money and lots of it. It has been reported that the Trump Tower Moscow deal would have netted Trump $200 million. But that's nothing compared with what the deal really offered. It was a door to a world where a guy like Trump, devoid of any ethics or morals, could snatch up billions. And it was a lifelong dream of his to be a full-fledged member of this world. There is already lots of evidence that Trump has been flirting with Russian operatives for decades. There was the all-expenses paid trip to Moscow in the 1980's (where Trump Tower Moscow was first broached) and the subsequent NYT and WaPo op-eds in which Trump touted the Kremlin agenda There was at least a decade of Russian cash pouring into Trump-owned real estate. And there was possibly billions in Russian funding when American banks considered Donald trump a pariah.

  76. Sadly, I think Trump will be re-elected in 2020. I do believe he will be impeached or resign in his second term; due to a preponderance of evidence, that he worked with Russia, who manipulated voters to get him elected, and massive money laundering and other crimes. Pence is as guilty. We will have to appoint someone interim like we did Ford. Trump could be the first American president to do prison time. We can pull through this terrible time in our republic. It is a huge set back to have a true criminal in office. Instead of infrastructure bills setting us on the road to the future. We get this fake crisis of the lame wall by Mexico that wouldn't work. I am still optimistic about the USA. We still are a desirable place to live. I believe the USA has more light around her because of the democracy, which is the voice if the people.

  77. Five years ago Trump was observed eating borscht. A sure sign of his involvement with these Russians? I understand Mueller has formed a task force to investigate the relationship between his love of borscht and the russian involvement in the election.

  78. Hard to avoid a sense of collusion here. It's easy to get lost in the sheer volume of sketchy contacts and quid pro quo. On the most basic level though, there's a straight A to B flow chart. Russia interfered with the election on Trump's behalf. Trump immediately moved to reciprocate by removing sanctions. Sanctions he and his colleagues stood to benefit personally from removing. In the interest of due process, we need to connect all the other dots. However, the Trump-Russia transaction is already plainly understood. The Trump administration is in this up to their necks

  79. Vladimir Putin's small investment in hacking our election has generated the largest ROI in political history. He now has more influence over the United States government than we American voters do.

  80. There is no significant statistics that Russian influence in the Presidential election had any influence on who won.. The polls after the election indicated more of a anti Hillary vote and a general distaste for the then present political establishment and a feeling by many of being left out and forgotten. Trump played on that and won. This whole thing is a distraction so the corporation can reap their profits that will not trickle down to us-as we fight for higher wages instead of living from paycheck to paycheck. You have been had again.

  81. Somewhere, sometime during the Trump campaign or even before, a very secretive conversation took place in which the Russans, having already entrapped Trump as they would any double agent, told him this: We will help you become the president of the U.S. on one condition: Lift the sanctions. It was a Devil's bargain and the president is now serving at the behest of Putin, thus explaining his obsequious behavior to all things Russia. The complexity of proving this is why the Mueller investigation has lasted as long as it has. When the truth finally gets out it will go down as the greatest scandal in American history.

  82. There is not a crisis at the southern border-that is an distraction from the information that Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs brought fistfuls of money to the United States and tried to alter American policy on Russian sanctions.They viewed Trump and his cohorts as ripe for the picking by simply offering money and celebrating the inauguration of a man who could be bought.How did these oligarchs get visas to visit our country?

  83. Trump wanted to make millions of dollars off of a new building in Russia. Russian oligarchs wanted sanctions lifted so they could spread their money freely around the world. The Russian government wanted to diminish the US in the eyes of the world so it could continue its adventures through Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Trump becoming president was the key ingredient in all their plans.

  84. I have learned to bite my tongue when reading "TRUMP NEWS" or seeing something on the boob tube. I just bookmark it and read later or stare at the screen in a meditative state. My wife has two BFF, one of whom voted for the Grifter-in-Chief. I will have nothing to do with her. "She is my friend and is important to me," she says, and my response is "She is your friend, not mine and I will have nothing to do with her. Nothing." She is as greedy as Trump et al but I would never say that to her face.

  85. One thing about a true capitalist is they’re perfectly ok with the idea of buying others and others buying them. They don’t understand why that might be wrong. Kind of like a murderer killing someone they don’t like. Putin could smell this on trump from miles away and is manipulative enough to use him for his own purpose. Too bad 63 million Americans can’t comprehend this.

  86. Russophobic paranoia has turned most American politicians into mindless puppets of US financial and industrial clans, known throughout the world. Vain attempts to find a "Russian footprint" harms America more than Russia. However, the worse America and its vassals, the better the rest of the world )

  87. Will we ever see the day when security comes into the Oval Office and order Trump to leave the premises and to take all his belongings with him immediately?

  88. We need to know what influential members of the Republican Party took part in meetings at Trump’s hotel with the Russian leaning Ukrainians. It’s not just Trump and Flynn, the rot will likely be shown to include elected Republicans and the NRA. Suspect Mr. Mueller has this well in hand, will Trump’s sycophants and lawyers succeed in supressing his report? I doubt it, but it will be another horrifying fight.

  89. did we ever get the text of the speech Hillary gave to wall st players?

  90. I suppose we've already forgotten how Obama officials were caught red-handed trying to be kingmakers in Ukraine? And I wonder how many foreign officials could be indicted by their own governments for colluding with the US. It has to be thousands. And we're talking actual high crimes, here, like bribed generals. I'm reminded about something about glass houses and stone throwing.

  91. In order to combat this sneaky kind of foreign invasion of our democracy, Americans will need the support of Republicans. For all their flag-waving and patriotic bumper stickers, I never would have dreamed that we might not get it...

  92. Douglas Adams. "The job of the president of the galaxy is to draw attention away from power." When does the investigation into Mitch McConnel begin?

  93. They came from all over, to pay their respects...and pay and pay and pay....

  94. I wonder if they will interview the barbers, hairdressers, and bartenders. A lot of good information is revealed to those service persons.

  95. Once again we get a picture of Melania looking oh so uncomfortable with the Donald. Two years ago I would have said that Trump & Co. were likely guilty of a number of offenses, but not of colluding with Russia. I would have said that Trump's business, which he refused to divest himself of, had a lot of Russian investors to make happy, and this was why he was so bizarrely pro-Russian. But we have learned a lot in these last two years. For example we now know that Manafort was feeding confidential campaign data to the Russians and that there was a meeting at Trump tower where team Trump solicited aid from the Russians. And we have learned so much more that makes your head spin; how the lives of the wealthy plutocrats crosses so many international boundaries that they can never be trusted to act in a patriotic manner, and how even an American institution like the NRA would welcome infiltration by our enemies, the Russians. With Trump, our age of innocence has come to an end.

  96. Folks we are not adversaries with the Ukraine. The Ukrainian government has been battling pro Russians rebels for years. The Obama administration had supported the present Ukraine government with their endeavors to remain free of Russia. As a side issue the liberals seem bent on turning back the clock to those wonderful days of the Cold War where each side had their fingers on the nuclear trigger.

  97. the thing is Trump & his people don't think or know that there is something illegal with this. they believe it's okay to talk to whomever they want about whatever they want even if it is "above" the law. they believe they are entitled, as long as it gets them more money, that is!

  98. They are thinking the US is a free country. Silly them

  99. If Barrack Obama had done a tenth of what Trump had done, the Republican Party would have thrown him in Gitmo. But then again hypocrisy and bigotry are what the GOP are built. It’s so sad that one of our two major political parties is full of nothing but racists and ignorant religious fanatics. Everyday that Trump is in office the idea of breaking up this country becomes more and more appealing.

  100. please. stop already.

  101. @Sterling...Us hypocrites and bigots wish you real well in your new country - or countries. You guys can have your free everything. Us guys will be able to enjoy the comraderie of fellow racists and ignorant religious fanatics without listening to your constant virtue-signaling scolding and shaming. Lincoln was right. A house divided against itself is eventually going to collapse. Vio con dios. Please.

  102. In all of my years reading the NYTimes I don't ever recall there being an editorial about Russians attending a presidential inauguration. What has happened to the Republican party?

  103. @Truscha Back when I was a Republican, no member of the party would have admitted to even lukewarm, much less friendly, feelings about Russia. Remember the screaming when Obama initiated an attempt at a reset when Putin was temporarily out of the President's seat. What a difference a little back door money makes.

  104. FROM THE ARTICLE “I heard from various sources that there was a plan to summarily lift sanctions on Russia,” said Daniel Fried, a veteran diplomat who stayed on for the first several weeks of the Trump administration as the State Department’s coordinator for sanctions policy. “I was approached by people who were nervous that the United States was about to do something irretrievably stupid.” ======= 1. 'The United States' had already done the most "irretrievably stupid" thing on November 8, 2016. 2. NO COLLUSION … just an outright sale or lease of 'proxy powers' to Vlad & The Oligarchs (now playing daily in 'otherwise American' theatres everywhere).

  105. Russia's goal is the destruction of America.

  106. While the Times is investigating why a flock of Ukrainians were so eager to come to Washington to attend the Trump inaugural celebration event, my thoughts wander to this question, especially as former Vice-President Biden ponders a run for the presidency in 2020, why, in 2014, did Biden's son, Hunter Biden and his associate Devon Archer, a trustee of the Heinz Family Office, join the board of one of Ukraine's largest gas companies, Burisma Holdings, controlled by the controversial Ukrainian oligarch,Thor Kolomoisky, at a time when then Vice-President Biden was President Obama's point person in dealing with Ukraine? As we explore why these Ukrainians were in Washington, why not look into the roles of the Bidens in Ukraine? https://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/09/world/europe/corruption-ukraine-joe-biden-son-hunter-biden-ties.html

  107. Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and their fellow Democrats are all that is preventing the United States from descending fully into the autocratic, fascist state that Trump is trying his hardest to create. We are not being protected by the boot-licking Republican controlled Senate, nor by the partisan Kavanaugh Supreme Court. Remain strong and faithful to the US Constitution, Nancy and Chuck. Be our heroes. History and the rest of Western civilization will judge you.

  108. @LNW ...Now, don't get carried away with this stuff about being faithful to the US Constitution. Let's not forget that it is an outdated testament to an old, white racist patriarchy founded on the precepts of Western Civilization. More specifically, it is responsible for the Electoral College, Wyoming's 2 Senators, Free Speech for deplorables and dregs, Freedom of Religion for Evangelicals, Due Process for drunks and rapists, and so on. Let's hope that Chuck and Nancy will soon have a modern Constitution [for want of a better word] to guide us into our true destiny. Then, they will be our heroines!

  109. My follow up question to this article would be how many NRA members were there? It's become pretty clear Russia was funneling money through the NRA to bolster trumps campaign. For instance was Maria Buttina there? Somebody for all those oligarchs to dance with. It's scary that our president is so in bed with these people.

  110. And the results of the Ukrainian's being there is what? We don't really care. Give us the list of who would have been there if Hillary won the election.

  111. @Ricardoh People NOT on the list for Hillary's inauguration celebration: Ukranian oligarchs working under the auspices of Putin.

  112. @Ricardoh Begin with, The Europeans, The Canadians, The Mexicans, The Asians, The Africans, The Australians; but sadly, most likely not the Russians.

  113. @Vickie Wasn't it Hillary who handed the Russians a device with the wrong Russian word for "reset" on her first visit to Moscow? Shouldn't Mueller be investigating?

  114. Hey New York Time - THESE are the top stories. Not his blathering about his vanity hate wall. THIS. This is the IMPORTANT stuff. Remember back when Nixon was getting exposed during Watergate? The corruption and investigations that were front page headline news? Remember??? This stuff is 1,000 times worse. You spent 2 years running front page spreads about an EMAIL SERVER for God's sake. Get it right. A criminal is residing in our White House and is selling us out to our enemies.

  115. @John Well said. And, I've passed through Stowe on the way to Fleetwood.

  116. Is it any wonder our support of the Ukraine resulted in Russian interference with elections? This didn't start with Trump, this was a big Obama goof. Playing in a Superpowers backyard with the only intent of antigonizing them. The Democrats deserved to loose, fairly or not. Our policy with Ukraine was just dumb.

  117. Foreigners in Washington during Obama Administration good. Foreigners in Washington during Trump Administration bad.

  118. @Shamrock Name some foreigners who helped get President Obama elected...

  119. sounds hypocritical doesn't it?

  120. @Shamrock: You are missing the point. If any President, of any party, or is for sale to a foreign government, or a foreign government has leverage over the President,that is wrong. Particularly if the foreign government is a hostile government.

  121. What a discovery!!! SOME people from Ukraine who MAY know some RUSSIANS may have attended a party to TRY to get close to President TRUMP. Is this an IMPEACHABLE offence???

  122. No, not impeachable, just the 1,000th coincide involving Russians. Trump- "I have nothing to due with Russia/Russians"....Nothing here....HA!

  123. @Robert Jennings Let's hope so for this most corrupt administration.

  124. @john...The 1,000th coincide. Wow! That's a lot of coincides.

  125. It may have slipped your notice that Ukrainians and Russians hate each other and are currently in a state of war.

  126. @Oakwood The ‘state of war’ between Russia & Ukraine, especially at the time of the 1016 Inauguration, is highly complex, and confounded by the complex relationship between corrupt Ukrainian officials & the Kremlin (hence Manafort’s dealings w Yanukovich, Kremlin operative posing as legit Ukraine presidential material). Easily googled. So no, Oakwood. A Ukrainian official kowtowing to Trump on DC soil is not an innocent occurrence; were this Ukrainian state official not pro-Putin /financially or procedurally useful to Trump, and not in an ethical way, he wouldn’t have been there. Period.

  127. @Oakwood It didn't slip our notice that the reporting states "pro-Russian" Ukrainians.

  128. How many more contacts between the Trump campaign and his various associates with Russia or Russian aligned Ukrainian politicians do we need to acknowledge that Trump and his people were in bed with people who's mission was to remove the sanctions and give Russia a free hand in the region? There were obvious quid pro quo's here that define conspiracy if not treason.

  129. When reading this article, my thoughts turned to Russian writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who spent 11 years in Russian Labor camps and in exile for criticizing Soviet Union dictator Joseph Stalin. My recalling the author’s warnings has occurred repeatedly since Trump began campaigning to be the 2016 Republican Presidential candidate. Each time, Trump’s obvious captivation with Russia, and especially with Putin, has preceded my remembering words of Solzhenitsyn, the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1970. In his 1975 Warning to the West, Solzhenitsyn wrote, “We must recognize that a concentration of evil and a tremendous force of hatred is spreading throughout the world. We must stand up against it and not hasten to give, give, give everything that it wants to swallow” (p. 46). Also, the Russian historian warned against the “major trend in the world … of shortsighted concessions; a process of giving up and giving up and giving up in the hope that perhaps at some point the wolf will have eaten enough” (p. 46). Though Trump did not yet understand the wolf-like qualities of Putin, Senator John McCain did, as he demonstrated by rebuking Putin’s major offensive in Syria that followed Putin’s first telephone chat with President-elect Trump on November 14. May the U.S. stop conceding to both Trump and to Putin long before the wolf is gorged.

  130. What is really going to be surprising, is if there was anyone working on the Trump campaign who DIDN'T have an under the table deal with the Russians that depended upon the sanctions being lifted.

  131. Why does Trump and everyone around him seem to have relationships with Russian oligarchs or pro-Russian Ukrainians? What's more important to ask is, why do they all lie about these ties? And one more question: which Republicans were making deals with pro-Russian Ukrainians at the inauguration? The answer may explain why so many in the GOP have suddenly changed their stance towards Russia.

  132. VERY interesting, Comrade Trump! Now let's see you full financial disclosure. Since no American bank will touch you because you're such a terrible financial risk (and you claim to be a "stable genius" and successful "businessman"), where did all of your and Kushner's money come from? Where its the extra $100,000,000 even from the "party fund" and what did you do with your fake charitable "foundations"? How about fake Trump University and all those AC Casino failures? The Moscow Trump Tower? The money-laundering condos in Trump properties? Off-shore accounts? Such a reputable soul. Cheap trash if I've ever seen it!

  133. Now I am really confused. Those Ukrainians! First, during the Obama administration, the US helps overthrow the elected government that supported Russia and propped up neo-Nazis during the so called Maiden Revolution. In 2016, Ukraine and Russia were at loggerheads and war in eastern Ukraine. I thought Ukraine was an ally and Russia was enemy. I must be getting my propaganda mixed up. So they found a pro-Russian Ukrainian among the 12. Oh my!

  134. after 2 1/2 years of investigation, this is what we are grasping at now? let's check out pictures of who was attending inauguration? someone needs to take a step back, take a deep breath and realize, what the heck are we doing here?

  135. Whatever. Trump is the best Russian President we've ever had.

  136. @Massimo Podrecca...I dunno. Bush was pretty simpatico with Vlad - oh, those eyes into the Russian's soul. Barack had his moments, too - one that comes to mind is BHO allowing his bro to police the "red line in the sand". Or, when he, B, sat on the IT communities' poop on Russkie interference in US elections as early as 2012.

  137. It is beyond clear that the Trump organization sought out Kremlin assistance with internet propaganda, so this is just more interesting detail of his corruption. But I was drawn to the photo of the destitute farm woman on the front page, and wondering what kind of people would pay more than her annual income to swan around for a few hours in expensive clothing and pretend every day is their wedding reception. Somehow I doubt President Carter threw these kind of private inauguration bacchanals.

  138. Trump the traitor and impostor whose motto is self before country. Always favoring Russia and Putin.....love to have the photos and recordings the Russians have on him.

  139. So what if they did? They acted in the best interest of their homeland. Can you blame them, seriously? This newspapers choices are getting very poor these days, I'd say.

  140. One or two coincidences are believable, but so many people with Trump and Russian contacts is more than coincidence, it is suspect. Funny that there were not dozens of British, Canadian or French “donors” at the Inauguation. Speaking of donors, where is the accounting for all of the millions raised. My guess is that Trump’s gala was probably a cash bar, so the money was not spent on booze !!

  141. As every person with a law degree will tell you, this stuff has to be investigated. There is enough here to keep a division of lawyers employed investigating, prosecuting, defending, spinning and otherwise using their immense knowledge of the 4.3 million federal laws and their fine honed rhetoric to produce enough evidence to fuel 330 congressional hearing and at least 77 lawsuits to keep our nation safe and produce an abundance of employment in high-paying jobs. GDP should be bumped up several percentage points within just the first few months. Wow. I'm so grateful these nefarious peace plots were uncovered before they could be hatched. God bless Hamerica.