By the numbers: The Trump orbit's contacts with Russians
Posted November 21, 2017 5:51 p.m. EST
(CNN) — Here is a look, by the numbers, at all the known contacts between Trump associates and Russians. From meetings to emails, to text messages and Skype sessions, these lists have been growing throughout the year as more details drip out in the investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 US elections.
At least 12 Trump associates had contacts with Russians during the campaign or transition There were at least 19 face-to-face interactions with Russians or Kremlin-linked figures There were at least 51 communications -- meetings, phone calls, email exchanges and more. This flies in the face of at least nine blanket denials from Trump world of any contacts with Russia
More on Trump associates' contacts with Russians
At least 12 of President Donald Trump's associates had contact with Russians during the presidential campaign or transition, according to their own statements, court filings and reporting from CNN and others.
Some interactions were straightforward, like a public handshake with the Russian ambassador. Others are more controversial, such as a secret meeting to get "dirt" on Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
This number has grown throughout the year, largely thanks to public reporting that has forced new acknowledgments and explanations from Trump's associates. All of the Trump associates who have spoken out deny any improper contacts with Russians and deny participating in any collusion with the Kremlin to influence the US election.
Trump's aides and associates had at least 19 face-to-face meetings with Russians or people affiliated with the Russian government during the presidential campaign and transition, according to their public statements, court filings and reporting from CNN and other outlets.
Some of these meetings were about the campaign -- like Trump adviser George Papadopoulos' meetings with Russians in Europe. Others were claimed to be for non-campaign purposes, like when then-Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., met the Russian ambassador in his Senate office.
In all, there were at least 51 communications during the campaign or transition between Trump associates and Russians or people closely affiliated with the Russian government, according to their public statements, court filings and reporting from CNN and other news outlets.
These interactions include face-to-face meetings, phone calls, text messages, emails, private messages on social media and online video chats. The vast majority of these exchanges became known only after Trump took office.
About one-third of these interactions came from Papadopoulos and were revealed in October in court filings prepared by special counsel Robert Mueller's team before Papadopoulos' guilty plea.
On at least nine occasions, Trump and his senior officials denied that there had been any contacts whatsoever with Russians during the campaign or that there were any ties between the campaign and Russians.
These denials petered out last spring as more and more interactions were reported in the media. But before those reports, Trump himself and other senior administration officials offered blanket denials that had been any communication between campaign officials and Russians.
"Russia is a ruse," Trump said in February. "I have nothing to do with Russia. Haven't made a phone call to Russia in years. ... I have nothing to do with Russia. To the best of my knowledge no person that I deal with does."
Days after the election, now-White House Communications Director Hope Hicks issued denials on behalf of the Trump campaign about the issue of Russia contacts. She told The New York Times that the campaign was "not aware of any campaign representatives that were in touch with any foreign entities" during the election. And she told The Associated Press that "there was no communication between the campaign and any foreign entity during the campaign."