At the heart of the inquiry into the alleged collusion between Trump and Russia is money. It provides concrete evidence of relationships, methods, and motives.
Law enforcement, congressional, and media investigations over the last two years have revealed that Kremlin-linked actors paid considerable sums of money to support Trump and curry his favor.
A Russian organization allegedly controlled by an oligarch close to Putin spent more than $1 million a month just on social media campaigns favoring Trump, according to the special counsel.
A Russian American energy tycoon—who boasted to a Kremlin official in July 2016 of being “actively involved in Trump’s election campaign”—donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Trump Victory fund. And a company affiliated with a sanctioned Russian oligarch paid $1 million to Michael Cohen, then Trump’s personal lawyer, for unspecified services after the election.
These and other transactions examined throughout the report establish that, during the campaign and presidential transition, Trump had several compromising financial entanglements with actors representing a hostile foreign power.
Moreover, while Trump vehemently denied business links to Russia during his campaign, the Kremlin knew otherwise. Recent filings by the special counsel allege that Trump hoped to make “hundreds of millions of dollars from Russian sources” for a project in Moscow that was advancing “at a time of sustained efforts by the Russian government to interfere with the U.S. presidential election.”
In his plea agreement, Cohen admits to suggesting that Trump could travel to Russia “once he becomes the nominee after the convention” to drum up support for the project.