Drawing to a close

An illustrated guide to the many, many people in the Russia investigation’s orbit

Drawing to a close

An illustrated guide to the many, many people in the Russia investigation’s orbit
Illustrated by Steve Brodner

President Trump

Individual 1

Vladimir Putin

President of Russia

Jared Kushner

Senior adviser, son-in-law

Attended the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting. Led the campaign’s digital outreach efforts, which have been a focus of Mueller’s team, given the extent of Russian activity online.

Sam Clovis

Former Trump appointee at USDAand campaign and White House adviser

Point of contact for the campaign’s foreign policy advisory team, including Page and Papadopoulos.

Stephen K. Bannon

Former campaign CEO and senior adviser

Helped lead the campaign in its last few months and was in the West Wing during the period when FBI Director James Comey was fired.

Reince Priebus

Former chief of staff

Ran the West Wing during the first few months of Trump’s presidency, including when Comey was fired. As head of the Republican National Committee during the campaign, he was privy to the party’s inner workings.

Stephen Miller

Senior adviser

Helped draft the letter firing Comey.

Corey Lewandowski

Former campaign manager

Led the campaign until he was supplanted by Manafort.

George Papadopoulos

Former campaign adviser

Had repeated interactions with Russia-linked individuals. Appears to have precipitated the entire investigation when he told an Australian diplomat in 2016 that he knew of compromising material the Russians had on Hillary Clinton.

Sergei Millian

Belarus-born businessman

Reportedly an unwitting source for the Steele dossier. Worked to gain access to the Trump campaign through Papadopoulos.

Erik Prince

Founder of the private security company Blackwater

Met in January 2017 with a Russian official close to Putin. Prince described it as a chance encounter, but a witness cooperating with Mueller has said the meeting was planned to help establish a backchannel to the Kremlin.

Ivan Timofeev

Senior official at a Russian government-funded think tank

Contact of Papadopoulos, with contacts in the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Tried with Papadopoulos to arrange a meeting between Trump and Putin during the campaign.

Sergei Lavrov

Russian foreign minister

Met with Trump in the Oval Office the day after Comey’s firing. During the meeting. Trump revealed highly classified information that, according to U.S. officials, jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.

K.T. McFarland

Former deputy national security adviser

A close ally of Flynn. First told investigators she never spoke with Flynn about a discussion Flynn had with the Russian ambassador about sanctions during the transition. She revised her statement after Flynn’s guilty plea contradicted her initial claim.

Konstantin Kilimnik

Russian political operative

His meeting with Manafort and Gates at Manhattan’s Grand Havana Room on Aug. 2, 2016, is a fulcrum of the investigation. Prosecutors believe the men exchanged information, including internal polling data, then left through separate exits.

Alex van der Zwaan

London-based lawyer

Son-in-law of a prominent Russian-based banker and the first person sentenced in the Mueller probe, he received a 30-day sentence for lying to the FBI about his contacts with Gates.

Paul Manafort

Former campaign chairman

Extensive Russian ties and questionable financial activity came to light even before the campaign ended. He was convicted of bank and tax fraud in August and pleaded guilty in September to conspiring to defraud the United States and obstruct justice. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said this month that Manafort lied to prosecutors after agreeing to cooperate.

Rick Gates

Former campaign staffer

A longtime ally of Manafort who joined him on the campaign. Was indicted with Manafort on bank and tax fraud charges, but pleaded guilty and testified against Manafort.

Oleg Deripaska

Russian billionaire

Onetime Manafort business partner. Investigators say that, through Kilimnik, Manafort offered to give Deripaska “private briefings” on the campaign.

Vice President Pence

Pence was lied to by Flynn during the transition process, when Flynn denied he had discussions with the Russian ambassador about sanctions relief. Flynn was forced to resign just 24 days into his tenure as national security adviser.

Michael Flynn

Former national security adviser

The highest-ranking Trump aide to plead guilty as part of the investigation. Mueller argued that Flynn should receive no prison time because of his substantial assistance in the investigation. U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan delayed sentencing, which suggests Flynn may still go to prison.

Aras and Emin Agalarov

Russian father-and-son billionaires

Aras (left) and Emin (right) financed Trump’s Miss Universe pageant in Moscow in 2013, then requested the 2016 sit-down at Trump Tower. Phone records provided to Congress show that Trump Jr. and Emin spoke briefly three days later.

Maria Butina

Russian agent and gun rights activist

The first Russian national convicted of seeking to influence U.S. policy in the run-up to the 2016 election by acting as a foreign agent. Butina admitted to working with an American political operative to forge connections with the National Rifle Association and conservative leaders and candidates.

Alexander Torshin

Former Russian government official

Putin ally supervised Butina’s activities and became a regular at NRA events, meeting with Trump Jr. at an event in Louisville.

Viktor Vekselberg

Russian billionaire

One of Russia’s richest men and part of Putin’s inner circle. Gave Cohen a reported half-million dollars after the election.

Richard Pinedo

California man who pleaded guilty to identity theft. Prosecutors said Pinedo significantly aided the investigation by linking anonymous Internet activity to charged Russians.

Internet Research Agency

Russian state-sponsored “troll factory” based in St. Petersburg. It was named in a February 2018 indictment as the hub of an ambitious effort to trick Americans into following and promoting Russian-fed propaganda online.

Roger Stone

Republican political operative

Mueller has charged that Stone, a longtime Trump ally, sought to gather information about hacked Democratic Party emails at the direction of an unidentified senior campaign official and engaged in extensive efforts to hide the details of his actions.

Julian Assange

WikiLeaks founder

During the campaign, Stone claimed that he was in contact with Assange. Since then, Stone has emphatically denied any communication with Assange or advance knowledge of WikiLeaks document dumps.

Jerome Corsi


Randy Credico

Radio host

Jason Sullivan

Social media consultant

Stone associates whom Mueller has questioned about a potential WikiLeaks connection.

Guccifer 2.0

According to a Mueller indictment, the online persona was operated by a dozen Russian military intelligence officers conspiring to hack Democrats.

Stormy Daniels

Adult-film star

Says she had an affair with Trump a decade ago. Trump lawyer and fixer Cohen came under federal investigation over a $130,000 payment he made to Daniels during the 2016 campaign to keep her silent. Cohen pleaded guilty and agreed to work with the Mueller investigation. Daniels is suing Trump to void a nondisclosure agreement about her claims. She also sued him for defamation, but a federal judge dismissed that case.

Michael Cohen


Told a federal judge that Trump was pursuing a deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow throughout the first half of 2016 — as the candidate was stepping onto the world stage as a political figure and breaking with the GOP by praising Russia and Putin, whose help Cohen sought for the project.

Felix Sater

Russian-born businessman

The point person for the 2016 Trump Tower Moscow project. Sater suggested to Cohen that they give a $50 million penthouse to Putin as a way to market the tower: “If we have Putin in the penthouse every oligarch in Russia would want to live in that building.”


Rob Goldstone

British music publicist

Set up the 2016 Trump Tower meeting, promising incriminating information about Clinton as part of a Russian effort to help the Trump campaign.

Carter Page

Former campaign adviser

Page was under surveillance by the FBI for his contacts with Russian actors beginning in October 2016.

Sergey Kislyak

Former Russian ambassador

Met with several Trump advisers during the campaign (Sessions, Page) and during the transition (Flynn, Kushner).

Donald Trump Jr.


Attended the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting.

Ike Kaveladze

U.S.-based employee of Aras Agalarov’s company

Attended the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting on behalf of Aras and Emin Agalarov.

Natalia Veselnitskaya

Moscow-based lawyer

Attended the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting. Said she was there to persuade the Trump campaign to oppose the Magnitsky Act, which imposed sanctions on Russia.

Credits: Illustrated by Steve Brodner.