ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
87°
Mostly Cloudy
H 85° L 78°
  • cloudy-day
    87°
    Current Conditions
    Mostly Cloudy. H 85° L 78°
  • cloudy-day
    83°
    Evening
    Mostly Cloudy. H 85° L 78°
  • cloudy-day
    79°
    Morning
    Partly Cloudy. H 89° L 77°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest top stories

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

National
Who are the key players in the Trump-Russia investigation?
Close

Who are the key players in the Trump-Russia investigation?

FILE - In this Feb. 13, 2017 file photo, Mike Flynn arrives for a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington. Flynn, President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, who was fired from the White House last month, has registered as a foreign agent with the Justice Department for work that may have aided the Turkish government in exchange for $530,000. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

Who are the key players in the Trump-Russia investigation?

Here are some of the key players in the Trump-Russia story.

Paul Manafort

Manafort was the chairman of Donald Trump’s campaign but resigned in August 2016 after revelations surfaced about his work on behalf of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. 

Yanukovych was a supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin. According to The Associated Press, Manafort “helped a pro-Russian governing party in Ukraine secretly route at least $2.2 million in payments to two prominent Washington lobbying firms in 2012, and did so in a way that effectively obscured the foreign political party's efforts to influence U.S. policy.” 

A U.S. lobbyist must declare publicly if they represent any foreign leaders or political parties. The New York Times reported that Manafort spoke to Russian intelligence officials last year via telephone calls that were monitored by U.S. intelligence agencies. 

Manafort has denied that he spoke with the Russians. Manafort has also been linked to handwritten ledgers that list cash payments of $12.7 million by Manafort’s name. 

Manafort agreed in September 2018 to cooperate with investigators while pleading guilty to charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice through witness tampering. 

However, the special counsel’s office said in a court filing in December 2018 that despite the agreement, Manafort told “multiple discernible lies” about his contact with Trump administration officials and with a Russian associate.

On Jan. 25, 2019, a federal judge set a hearing for Feb. 4 to hear lawyers argue over whether Manafort lied repeatedly to the investigators he had promised to help. 

Michael Cohen

Cohen was Donald Trump’s personal attorney. 

According to a New York Times report, Cohen was involved with a peace plan for the Ukraine and Russia that involved the U.S. removing sanctions on Russia in return for Russia ending its support of pro-Russia separatists fighting the Ukrainian government in eastern Ukraine.

In addition to having sanctions removed, the deal would allow Russia to cement its control over Crimea. Russian annexed Crimea in 2014. 

The Times story claims that Cohen delivered the peace plan to Michael Flynn, the national security adviser who was forced to resign in Janurary, 2017. 

Cohen told The Washington Post that he did not deliver a plan to Flynn, but that he had met with businessman Felix Sater and Ukrainian lawmaker Andrii Artemenko in New York in January and talked about a peace plan for the Ukraine for “about 15 minutes.” 

Artemenko said that the plan was, indeed, delivered to the White House.

Cohen pleaded guilty in August 2018, to eight counts of tax and finance violations in federal court. Cohen says that a federal candidate, believed to be Trump, directed him to break campaign finance laws.

Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison in November 2018.

He testified before Congress in both private an public during the last week of February 2019.

Michael Flynn

Flynn was Trump’s national security adviser – for three weeks. 

He was forced to resign when it became known that he misled Vice President Mike Pence on conversations Flynn had with the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak. 

U.S. intelligence sources said that Flynn talked with Kislyak about sanctions placed on Russia by former president Barack Obama in late December. 

Flynn also worked for “Russia Today,” a state-owned TV show. He was paid for a visit he made to Russia to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Russia Today, and could be in trouble for that visit if it was not approved by the Defense Department and the State Department. 

Flynn was registered with the Justice Department as a foreign agent prior to Election Day. He was registered for $530,000 worth of lobbying work that may have aided the Turkish government. 

The AP reported that the Trump transition team was told that Flynn likely needed to register as a foreign agent before taking a top national security role.

Sergey Kislyak

Kislyak was the Russian ambassador to the United States.

He spoke with Flynn in December 2016 about sanctions that had been brought against Russia for its alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election. That conversation eventually, led to Flynn's resignation. 

Kislyak also met with then-Sen. Jeff Sessions (former attorney general) on at least two occasions. 

Sessions says he barely remembers what was said and that the meetings were brief. He did not disclose the meetings during his confirmation hearing in response to a question about what he would do if someone in Trump’s campaign had had contacts with Russian officials. 

Soon after he was confirmed, Sessions recused himself from any potential investigation into Russian meddling with the election or ties with Trump’s campaign.

CNN reports that Kislyak, in an October speech to the Detroit Economic Club, “denied meeting with Trump or campaign officials during the course of 2016 presidential election, but acknowledged that he met with members of Congress and others who approached him at events.”

Carter Page 

Page was a foreign policy adviser to Trump in the early days of his campaign. 

Page is the head of an investment company known as Global Energy Capital. He was publicly accused by then-Senate Minority leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) of being a link between Trump and the Russian government. 

Page has also been accused of being a go-between for the Trump campaign and high-level Russian officials. 

He was in Moscow for three days in mid-July 2016, and according to reporter Michael Isikoff, intelligence sources claim he met with Igor Sechin, the head of the Russian state oil company. 

Sechin is said to have been working on a plan to have Western sanctions against the company lifted. 

Page has denied he met with any government officials while in Russia last July. He has criticized US sanctions on Russia as "sanctimonious expressions of moral superiority.”

Andrii V. Artemenko

Artemenko is a Ukrainian politician who opposes Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and claims to have evidence of Poroshenko’s corruption. 

He crafted a plan for peace in Ukraine with himself as president, and Politico has reported that Artemenko met with Cohen and businessman Felix Sater, a business partner of Trump’s, to discuss that plan. 

Felix Sater 

Sater, a Russian-born businessman, served as managing director for the New York-based real estate firm the Bayrock Group.

The Bayrock Group worked with Cohen to advance the Trump Tower Moscow real estate project.

According to The New York Times, Sater met with Ukrainian politician Artemenko and  Cohen in New York in January 2017 to discuss the sanctions that had been put on Russia. 

The story said that Sater was given a letter which proposed a deal to lift Russian sanctions by withdrawing Russian forces from eastern Ukraine. The letter was to go to Cohen to be delivered to Flynn, the then-national security adviser to the president.

According to other court filings, Cohen and someone identified as “Individual 2” — who is believed to be Sater — discussed efforts to get the Russian government to approve the Trump Tower Moscow real estate deal as late as June 2016. The filing also says it was discussed to have Cohen travel to Russia in connection with the project in 2016.

The Trump campaign said that discussions about Trump Tower Moscow had ended well before June 2016.

Igor Sechin

Sechin is the head of Russia’s state oil company, Rosneft. 

According to reporting by Isikoff, a U.S. intelligence source said that Sechin was desperate to have Western sanctions against him and Rosneft lifted, so he arranged to meet with Page. 

Isikoff reported that Sechin offered Page the brokerage of a 19 percent stake in Rosneft in exchange for the lifting of U.S. sanctions on Russia. Page has denied this report. 

Jeff Sessions

Jeff Sessions is a former senator and attorney general. He was the first sitting senator to endorse Trump’s campaign.

He appeared with Trump at some campaign stops and was rumored to be under consideration for vice president.

During 2016, Sessions met with Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Kislyak, at least twice. Sessions said that the meetings were in line with his duties as a senator and that nothing about Russia’s potential involvement with the 2016 presidential election was discussed. 

Sessions did not disclose those meetings during his confirmation hearings in response to an indirect question about Russia’s involvement in the election. 

Sessions recused himself from any potential investigation into Russian meddling with the election and ties with Trump’s campaign. 

On Nov. 7, 2018, Sessions submitted his letter of resignation to President Trump. 

Roger Stone

Stone is a longtime friend of Trump’s and was an informal adviser to his campaign. 

Stone was investigated by the FBI over whether he had inappropriate contact with Russian officials, and on Jan. 25 2019, he was indicted for lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstruction of an official proceeding.

Stone told CBS News before he was indicted that he suspected he was being investigated, and said, “Sure, they’ll get my grocery lists, they may get the emails between my wife and I, but here’s what they won’t get -- any contact with the Russians.” 

Despite saying in a speech that he had communicated with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, he claims did not know Wikileaks was going to publish emails stolen from Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. 

The Smoking Gun reported that Stone was “in contact with the Russian hacking group that U.S. intelligence officials have accused of illegally breaching the Democratic National Committee’s computer system” and Podesta’s email account. 

Read More

The Latest News Headlines

  • Officials are investigating after an explicit video was shared “inadvertently and unknowingly” from a Mississippi teacher’s phone, authorities said. >> Read more trending news  According to a statement from Horn Lake police, the department received information regarding the video Wednesday.  DeSoto County Schools are conducting an investigation into the video, which reportedly showed explicit content of a teacher in the district. Police said if there was a “criminal element regarding the release of the video,” Horn Lake officers will then initiate a full investigation. School officials have not identified the teacher who was seen in the video, and the contents of the video have not been released at this time. The school district did confirm to WHBQ that the teacher involved is no longer an employee there. Again, officials told WHBQ that the video was shared without the teacher’s knowledge.
  • The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is asking for the public's help identifying a suspect they say committed a burglary involving a battery in Arlington. According to police, their investigation has revealed that a suspect entered a victim's home overnight while she was asleep. Police say the suspect woke up the victim, threatened and battered her, and then took some of her belongings.  If you have information on who this individual is, you're urged to contact the sheriff's office at (904) 630-0500 or Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.
  • In a series of tweets Friday, President Donald Trump announced new retaliatory tariffs against China, bumping up taxes by 5 percentage points.  >> MORE: China, Trump ratchet up tensions with new tariffs >> Read more trending news  Here’s a look at trade tariffs and what they do. What is a tariff? A tariff is a tax on imports or exports that increases their prices. Tariffs are used by governments to make foreign products less attractive to consumers in order to protect domestic industries from competition. Money collected under a tariff is called a duty or customs duty. What types of tariffs are there?There are two types of tariffs – an ad valorem tariff and a specific tariff. An ad valorem tariff is a tariff that is a fixed percentage of the value of an imported good. If the price of the imported good goes up, the ad valorem tariff goes up. If it goes down, the tariff goes down. For instance, if a company exports an item to the United States costing $50 and the ad valorem tariff on that product is 20 percent, the company would have to pay the tariff -- $10 in this case -- to export the product to the U.S. If the price of the item goes up to $75, the company will have to pay a tariff of $15 to sell the item in the US. A specific tariff is a fixed amount of money placed on the item no matter the cost. Say there is a $20 specific tariff on that $50 item. The company exporting the item to the US would have to pay $20 to sell the item in the U.S. If the item goes up in cost to $75, the company will still have to pay $20 to export the item. Why should I care if the US government puts a tariff on items? The manufacturer pays for that, right? Sure, manufacturers pay the tariff upfront, but the cost of the tariff will be passed along to the consumer. Or, if the cost of the tariff is too high for those exporting goods, then they stop exporting goods. Tariffs affect the cost of goods you buy, and the U.S. buys many more products than it sells. So, why slap tariffs on goods if it will hurt the US consumer? The theory is that as goods made by people outside the U.S. get more expensive, manufacturers within the country will either increase their production of the product or other companies will begin to produce the product, thus strengthening the U.S. economy.
  • The Baker County Sheriff's Office is announcing an arrest, following an incident Thursday were a young child was found unresponsive in a hot car. According to the sheriff's office, the 3-year-old boy's mother is now being charged with child neglect. Deputies say 23-year-old Katie Davis failed to provide the toddler with proper care and supervision.  Investigators say the boy's father had been at work all night and went to bed at approximately 7:00 AM, Thursday morning. They say that Davis also went back to sleep around that same time with the child, despite having slept some the night before.  Investigators say when Davis woke up around 1:30 PM, she realized the boy was no longer in the bed. We're told that she then discovered him inside the couple's car outside, where some of his toys had been kept.  Deputies say Davis and her husband were able to get him out by smashing one of the windows and unlocking the doors.  The boy was airlifted to Wolfson Children's Hospital in Jacksonville, Thursday afternoon. Deputies said Friday he's recovering and stable.
  • According to many polls, Americans – especially those who say they are Democrats -- are not that fond of the Electoral College. Neither are many of the Democratic candidates for president. >> Read more trending news  With just over 14 months until the 2020 presidential election, a movement to change the way electoral votes are awarded and who will be elected president has gained some steam. The National Popular Vote Compact (NPV), which has its roots in the most contested presidential election in U.S. history, sets in state law a policy that awards all a state’s electoral votes to the candidate who wins the national popular vote. Under the Electoral College system used today, 48 states have a “winner-take-all” system that awards all the state’s electoral votes to the person who gets a majority of votes in that state. The Electoral College does not take into consideration that national popular vote. Sixteen states, along with the District of Columbia, have passed the NPV agreement. They are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Rhode Island. While legislation has been passed in the 16 states and the District of Columbia, the agreement would not go into effect until states with a collective 270 electoral votes — the number needed to win the presidency — agree to join. Currently, the District of Columbia and the 16 states in the agreement hold a combined total of 196 electoral votes, meaning the pact would need enough new state members to get 74 electoral votes.Supporters say the system would give the person who got the most votes country-wide the presidency he or she deserves. Opponents say states would be forced to hand over electoral votes to a candidate who did not win that state. For instance, in the 2016 election, a state such as Florida, in which President Donald Trump earned more votes, would have had to pledge its 29 electoral votes to Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton, who won the national popular vote in the 2016 election. The Electoral College of today was established by the Twelfth Amendment to the Constitution which replaced the method for electing the president and vice president provided in Article II, Section 1, Clause 3. Under the system, when voters cast a ballot for president, they are actually choosing members of the Electoral College, called electors, who are pledged to that presidential candidate. Following the election for president, electors then meet to choose the president. Electors almost always vote for their state’s popular vote winner, and some states have laws requiring them to do so. However, electors are not bound by federal law to vote for a specific candidate – for instance, the one who won the popular vote in their state. In 29 states and the District of Columbia, electors are bound by state law or by a pledge they sign to vote for the candidate who won the popular vote of the state they represent. Five men have won the presidency in the Electoral College while not winning the country’s popular vote: John Quincy Adams in 1824, Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876, Benjamin Harrison in 1888, George W. Bush in 2000 and Donald Trump in 2016. The National Popular Vote campaign goes back to Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore's loss to Bush in 2000, according to The Associated Press. Gore won the popular vote but lost the election over a vote count in Florida.

The Latest News Videos