Russia, Trump, And Current Politics

After a few hours on the internet I have compiled a list of what the public knows about Russian involvement in the US and it’s potential connections to Trump and people around Trump.  This summed up in 20,000 words.

 

1979

Roger Stone is introduced to Donald Trump by notorious attorney Roy Cohn. (Harper, 2017)

 

1980

Roger Stone founds a lobbying practice with Paul Manafort; Trump becomes one of Stone’s first clients. In the 1980s, Trump hires Manafort as his lawyer on gambling and real estate issues. By 1988, Stone is one of Trump’s closest advisers. (Harper, 2017)

 

1996

Trump’s efforts to develop business in Russia date to 1987. In 1996, he applies for his trademark in that country. Discussing ambitions for a Trump hotel in 2007, he declares, “We will be in Moscow at some point.” (Harper, 2017)

 

August 1998

Russia defaults on its debt and its stock market collapses. As the value of the ruble plummets, Russian millionaires scramble to get money out of their country and into New York City, where real estate provides a safe haven for overseas investors. (Harper, 2017)

 

October 1998

Demolition of a vacant office building near the United Nations headquarters is making way for Trump World Tower. Donald Trump begins selling units in the skyscraper, which is scheduled to open in 2001 and becomes a prominent depository of Russian money. By 2004, one-third of the units sold on the 76th through 83rd floors of Trump World Tower involve people or limited liability companies connected to Russia or neighboring states. Assisting Trump’s sales effort is Ukrainian immigrant Semyon “Sam” Kislin, who issues mortgages to buyers of multimillion-dollar Trump World Tower apartments. In the late 1970s, Kislin had co-owned an appliance store with Georgian immigrant Tamir Sapir, and they had sold 200 television sets to Donald Trump on credit. By the early 1990s, Kislin had become a wealthy commodities trader and campaign fundraiser for Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who in 1996 appoints him to the New York City Economic Development Corporation. Meanwhile, Sapir makes a fortune as a New York City real estate developer. (Harper, 2017)

 

2000

Roger Stone serves as chairman of Donald Trump’s presidential exploratory advisory committee. (Harper, 2017)

 

2002

Russian-born Felix H. Sater and his company, Bayrock Group — a Trump Tower tenant — begin working with Trump on a series of real estate development deals, one of which becomes the Trump SoHo. Another development partner in Trump SoHo is the Sapir Organization, founded by Tamir Sapir. (Harper, 2017)

 

2002

Efforts to sell Russians apartments in Trump World Tower, Trump’s West Side condominiums, and Trump’s building on Columbus Circle expand with presentations in Moscow involving Sotheby’s International Realty and a Russian realty firm. In addition to buying units in Trump World Tower, Russians and Russian-Americans flood into another Trump-backed project in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida. In South Florida alone, members of the Russian elite invest more than $98 million in seven Trump-branded luxury towers.  (Harper, 2017)

 

2005

In a sworn deposition in 2008, Sater testifies that Trump gave Bayrock Group an exclusive deal to develop a project in Russia. “I’d come back, pop my head into Mr. Trump’s office and tell him, you know, ‘Moving forward on the Moscow deal.’ And he would say ‘All right… I showed him photos, I showed him the site, showed him the view from the site. It’s pretty spectacular.” But that early effort to develop a Trump Tower in Moscow fails. (Harper, 2017)

 

June 2005

Paul Manafort proposes that he undertake a consulting assignment for one of President Vladimir Putin’s billionaire oligarchs. Manafort suggests a strategy for influencing politics, business dealings and news coverage inside the United States, Europe and former Soviet republics to benefit Putin’s government. (Harper, 2017)

 

February 2006

Two of Trump’s children, Don Jr. and Ivanka, travel to Moscow. According to Sater, Donald Trump Sr. asked him to show them around: “He asked if I wouldn’t mind joining them and looking after them while they were in Moscow.” He summarizes the attitude of Trump’s children as “nice, big city, great. Let’s do a deal here.” Ten years later — October 2016 — Trump Organization general counsel Alan Garten tells Forbes that the presence of Sater and Trump’s adult children in Moscow at the same time had been a coincidence. (Harper, 2017)

 

Oct. 15, 2007

In an interview with Larry King, Trump says: “Look at Putin — what he’s doing with Russia — I mean, you know, what’s going on over there. I mean this guy has done — whether you like him or don’t like him — he’s doing a great job.” (Harper, 2017)

 

November 2007

Paul Manafort’s firm receives a $455,000 wire transfer from Ukraine Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych’s Party of Regions. Manafort had been hired to improve the image of Putin-backed Yanukovych, who was portraying himself falsely as an anti-corruption reformer seeking to move Ukraine closer to the West. “The West has not been willing to move beyond the Cold War mentality and to see this man and the outreach that he has extended,” Manafort says about Yanukovych at the time. Ukraine’s richest man — a billionaire industrialist — had introduced Manafort to Yanukovych. (Harper, 2017)

 

July 2008

As the Florida real estate market began to crash, Trump sells a Florida residence to a Russian oligarch for $95 million, believed to be the biggest single-family home sale in US history. The Russian oligarch never lived in the house and, since then, it has been demolished. Three years earlier, Trump had bought the home at auction for $41 million. (Harper, 2017)

 

September 2008

Donald Trump Jr. tells a real estate conference: “In terms of high-end product influx into the US, Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets; say in Dubai, and certainly with our project in SoHo and anywhere in New York. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia. There’s indeed a lot of money coming for new-builds and resale reflecting a trend in the Russian economy and, of course, the weak dollar versus the ruble.” (Harper, 2017)

 

January 2010—January 2011

After leaving Bayrock, Sater becomes “senior adviser to Donald Trump,” according to his Trump Organization business card. He also has a Trump Organization email address and office. The phone number listed on the card had belonged previously to a lawyer in Trump’s general counsel’s office. (Harper, 2017)

 

Sometime in 2010

At a key moment in the financially troubled Trump International Hotel and Tower in Toronto, the Russian-Canadian developer of the project receives $850 million from the sale of his share in a Ukrainian steel mill. A “Ukrainian industrial group” purchased the mill through five offshore companies, but the money came ultimately from Russia’s state-owned bank (VEB), whose supervisory board Vladimir Putin chaired. The developer thereafter put $15 million into Trump Toronto. (Harper, 2017)

 

April 8, 2013

Three Russians whom the FBI later accused of spying on the United States discuss efforts to recruit American businessman Carter Page. According to The Washington Post, “[T]he government’s application for the surveillance order targeting Page included a lengthy declaration that laid out investigators’ basis for believing that Page was an agent of the Russian government and knowingly engaged in clandestine intelligence activities on behalf of Moscow, officials said.” (Harper, 2017)

 

June 18, 2013

Trump announces that the 2013 Miss Universe beauty pageant, which he owns, will take place in Moscow. The next day, he tweets: “Do you think Putin will be going to The Miss Universe Pageant in November in Moscow — if so, will he become my new best friend?” While preparing for the pageant, Trump says, “I have plans for the establishment of business in Russia. Now, I am in talks with several Russian companies to establish this skyscraper.” (Harper, 2017)

 

July 8, 2013

After a BBC reporter questions Trump about Felix Sater’s alleged prior connections to organized crime, Trump ends the interview. (Harper, 2017)

 

Oct. 17, 2013

On The Late Show, David Letterman asks Trump, “Have you had any dealings with the Russians?” Trump answers, “Well I’ve done a lot of business with the Russians…” Letterman continues, “Vladmir Putin, have you ever met the guy?” Trump says, “He’s a tough guy. I met him once.” (Harper, 2017)

 

Nov. 5, 2013

In a deposition, an attorney asks Trump about Felix Sater. “If he were sitting in the room right now, I really wouldn’t know what he looked like,” Trump answers. When asked how many times he had ever spoken with Sater, Trump says, “Not many.” When asked about his July 2013 BBC interview during which he was questioned about Sater’s alleged connections to organized crime, Trump says he didn’t remember it. (Harper, 2017)

 

Nov. 11, 2013

Trump tweets, “TRUMP TOWER-MOSCOW is next.” (Harper, 2017)

 

November 2013

At the Miss Universe pageant, Trump says: “I do have a relationship [with Putin] and I can tell you that he’s very interested in what we’re doing here today… I do have a relationship with him… He’s done a very brilliant job in terms of what he represents and who he’s represented.” While Trump is in Moscow for the pageant, he and Alex Sapir (whose family’s company was one of the co-developers of Trump SoHo with Trump and Felix Sater) meet with the Russian real estate developer who had facilitated Trump’s $20 million deal to host the Miss Universe contest in Moscow. They discuss plans for a new Trump project in Russia. “The Russian market is attracted to me,” Trump tells Real Estate Weekly upon his return. “I have a great relationship with many Russians, and almost all of the oligarchs were in the room.” (Harper, 2017)

 

Feb. 22, 2014

Popular uprisings lead the Ukraine Parliament to oust President Viktor Yanukovych from office for gross human rights violations and dereliction of duty. With the help of Putin’s security forces, Yanukovych flees the country. But he leaves behind a handwritten ledger — the “Black Ledger” — with 22 entries for 2007 to 2012 purporting to show $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments designated for Paul Manafort or his firm from Viktor Yanukovych’s Party of Regions. (Harper, 2017)

 

March 6, 2014

At the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference, Trump says: “You know, I was in Moscow a couple of months ago. I own the Miss Universe Pageant and they treated me so great. Putin even sent me a present, a beautiful present.” On the same day, President Obama signs an executive order imposing sanctions on Russia for its unlawful annexation of Crimea. (Harper, 2017)

 

Sometime in 2014

Golf writer and co-author of Arnold Palmer’s memoir James Dodson plays golf with Donald and Eric Trump at Trump National Charlotte in North Carolina. In an interview airing May 5, 2017 on Boston’s public radio station, Dodson describes the episode, beginning with a question he asks Donald Trump before the round: “‘What are you using to pay for these courses?’ And he just sort of tossed off that he had access to $100 million. So when I got in the cart with Eric, as we were setting off, I said, ‘Eric, who’s funding? I know no banks — because of the recession, the Great Recession — have touched a golf course. You know, no one’s funding any kind of golf construction. It’s dead in the water the last four or five years.’ And this is what he said. He said, ‘Well, we don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia.’ I said, ‘Really?’ And he said, ‘Oh, yeah. We’ve got some guys that really, really love golf, and they’re really invested in our programs. We just go there all the time. Now that was three years ago, so it was pretty interesting.’” On May 7, 2017, Eric Trump calls Dodson’s claim “categorically untrue” and “complete garbage.”  (Harper, 2017)

 

June 16, 2015

Trump announces he is running for president. (Harper, 2017)

 

Aug. 6, 2015

The Trump campaign says it has fired Roger Stone; Stone claims he’d quit. Either way, Stone remains a prominent Trump surrogate for the rest of the campaign.  (Harper, 2017)

 

Aug. 21, 2015

Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions makes a surprise appearance at a Donald Trump rally and dons a “Make America Great Again Cap.” (Harper, 2017)

 

Late summer 2015

A member of Trump’s campaign staff calls Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn to ask if he’s willing to meet with Trump. Flynn agrees. Later, Flynn says four other Republican presidential candidates also reached out to him: Carly Fiorina, Scott Walker, Ben Carson and Ted Cruz. (Harper, 2017)

 

September 2015

An FBI special agent contacts the Democratic National Committee to report that at least one DNC computer system had been hacked by an espionage team linked to the Russian government. The agent is transferred to a tech-support contractor at the help desk, who did a cursory check of DNC server logs and didn’t reply to follow-up calls from the FBI agent. (Harper, 2017)

 

Sept. 21, 2015

On Hugh Hewitt’s radio program, Trump says, “The oligarchs are under [Putin’s] control, to a large extent. I mean, he can destroy them, and he has destroyed some of them… Two years ago, I was in Moscow… I was with the top-level people, both oligarchs and generals, and top-of-the-government people. I can’t go further than that, but I will tell you that I met the top people, and the relationship was extraordinary.” (Harper, 2017)

 

Sept. 29, 2015

Trump tells Bill O’Reilly: “I will tell you in terms of leadership he [Putin] is getting an ‘A,’ and our president is not doing so well.” (Harper, 2017)

 

Nov. 10, 2015

At a Republican primary debate, Trump says: “I got to know [Putin] very well because we were both on 60 Minutes. We were stablemates, and we did very well that night.” (Harper, 2017)

 

Nov. 30, 2015

When an Associated Press reporter asks Trump about Felix Sater, he answers, “Felix Sater, boy, I have to even think about it. I’m not that familiar with him.” Trump refers questions about Sater to his staff. (Harper, 2017)

 

Dec. 10, 2015

Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who would become Trump’s national security adviser, sits at Putin’s table for the 10th anniversary gala of Russia’s state-owned television propaganda network, RT. Flynn had made a paid appearance on the network. For his December speech, he nets $33,500 of the $45,000 paid to his speakers’ bureau. For all of 2015, Flynn receives more than $65,000 from companies linked to Russia. (Harper, 2017)

 

Late 2015

Britain’s spy agency GCHQ became aware of suspicious “interactions” between members of Trump’s campaign and Russian intelligence operatives. Over the next six months, a number of western agencies from Germany, Estonia and Poland share more information on contacts between Trump’s inner circle and Russians. (Harper, 2017)

 

Mid-January 2016

Flynn applies for a five-year renewal of his security clearance. (Harper, 2017)

 

Feb. 11, 2016

According to a May 22, 2017 letter from Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), investigators meet with Flynn to discuss his security clearance application. When asked about his Moscow appearance, Flynn reportedly says, “I didn’t take any money from Russia, if that’s what you’re asking me.”  (Harper, 2017)

 

Feb. 17, 2016

As questions about Russia swirls around Trump, he changes his story: “I have no relationship with [Putin], other than he called me a genius.” (Harper, 2017)

 

Feb. 28, 2016

Jeff Sessions formally endorses Donald Trump’s candidacy for president. Three days later, Trump names Sessions chairman of his campaign’s national security advisory committee. (Harper, 2017)

 

Feb. 29, 2016

Paul Manafort submits a five-page, single-spaced, proposal to Trump. In it, he outlines his qualifications for helping Trump secure enough convention delegates to win the Republican presidential nomination. Manafort describes how he had assisted rich and powerful business and political leaders, including oligarchs and dictators in Russia and Ukraine: “I have managed presidential campaigns around the world.” (Harper, 2017)

 

March 14, 2016

Investigators issue a report on Flynn’s security clearance application. According to the summary in Rep. Cummings’ May 22 letter, Flynn told investigators that he was paid by “US companies” when he traveled to Moscow in December 2015. The report also says that Flynn told investigators he had not received any benefit from a foreign country. (Harper, 2017)

 

March 17, 2016

Jeff Sessions discusses Trump’s foreign policy positions, saying, “I think an argument can be made there is no reason for the US and Russia to be at this loggerheads. Somehow, someway we ought to be able to break that logjam. Strategically it’s not justified for either country.”  (Harper, 2017)

 

March 21, 2016

In a Washington Post interview, Trump identifies Carter Page as one of his foreign policy advisers. Page had helped open the Moscow office of investment banking firm Merrill Lynch and had advised Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom, in which Page is an investor. He blames 2014 US sanctions relating to Russia’s annexation of Crimea for driving down Gazprom’s stock price. Earlier in March 2016, Iowa tea party activist Sam Clovis had recommended Page to the Trump campaign. (Harper, 2017)

 

March 29, 2016

On Roger Stone’s recommendation, Paul Manafort joins the Trump campaign as convention manager, tasked with lining up delegates. (Harper, 2017)

 

April through November 2016

Mike Flynn and other advisers to the Trump campaign have at least 18 phone calls and emails with Russian officials, including six contacts involving Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. According to a later report by Reuters, Jared Kushner has at least two phone calls with Kislyak. (Harper, 2017)

 

April 20, 2016

Paul Manafort becomes Trump’s campaign manager. Reports surface about his 2007 to 2012 ties to Ukraine’s pro-Putin former president, whom Manafort had helped to elect. (Harper, 2017)

 

Late April 2016

The Democratic National Committee’s IT department notices suspicious computer activity, contacts the FBI, and hires a private security firm, CrowdStrike, to investigate. (Harper, 2017)

 

May 2016

CrowdStrike determines that highly sophisticated Russian intelligence-affiliated adversaries — denominated Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear — had been responsible for the DNC hack. Fancy Bear, in particular, had indicators of affiliation with Russia’s Main Intelligence Department (also know as the GRU). (Harper, 2017)

 

May 19, 2016

Paul Manafort becomes Trump’s campaign chairman and chief strategist. (Harper, 2017)

 

Early June 2016

At a closed-door gathering of high-powered foreign policy experts visiting with the prime minister of India, Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page hails Vladimir Putin as stronger and more reliable than President Obama and touts the positive effect that a Trump presidency would have on US-Russia relations. (Harper, 2017)

 

June 15, 2016

A hacker with the online persona “Guccifer 2.0” claims credit for the DNC hack and begins posting internal DNC documents on the Guccifer 2.0 website. CrowdStrike reiterates its conclusion that the hack had been a Russian intelligence operation. (Harper, 2017)

 

June 15, 2016

After the Ukrainian prime minister visits Capitol Hill, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and other Republican leaders meet privately. During the session, McCarthy says, “I’ll guarantee you that’s what it is… The Russians hacked the DNC and got the opp [opposition] research they had on Trump.” Moments later he says, “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump,” referring to Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) who is known in Congress as a fervent defender of Putin and Russia. Some of the lawmakers laugh, but McCarthy continues, “Swear to God.” According to a transcript prepared from a tape of the discussion, Ryan immediately interrupts the conversation, saying, “This is an off the record… [laughter] …NO LEAKS… [laughter] …alright? This is how we know we are a real family here… What’s said in the family, stays in the family.” When The Washington Post obtains the transcript in May 2017, it seeks comment from Ryan and McCarthy. Ryan’s spokesperson says, “That never happened. The idea that McCarthy would assert this is false and absurd.” As detailed in the Post video accompanying its eventual story, the Post reporter then says that he has a transcript of the discussion. Ryan and McCarthy respond that the transcript is false, maybe even made up, and certainly inaccurate. When the reporter says he has listened to an audio recording of the conversation, Ryan’s spokesperson says it was a failed attempt at humor. (Harper, 2017)

 

June 2016

Jared Kushner assumes control of all data-driven Trump campaign efforts, turning a nondescript building outside San Antonio, Texas into a 100-person data hub. Among the firms he retains is Cambridge Analytica, which reportedly has created “profiles” consisting of several thousand data points for 220 million Americans. Cambridge Analytica’s financial backers include hedge fund tycoon Robert Mercer, who also has a $10 million investment in Breitbart News, which, at the time, is run by Steve Bannon. (Harper, 2017)

 

July 5, 2016

FBI Director James Comey holds a press conference announcing that the bureau has closed its yearlong investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state. Comey says Clinton had been “extremely careless” in handling “very sensitive, highly classified information,” but does not recommend prosecution. Typically, when the FBI recommends closing a case, the Justice Department agrees and no public statement follows.

 

(Unconfirmed part.) One possible reason for Comey’s unusual announcement in the Clinton case could be the contents of a document that the FBI knew Russians had stolen when they hacked the DNC. In it, a Democratic operative suggested that Attorney General Lynch would not let the Clinton email investigation go too far. Comey may have worried that if Lynch announced an end of the investigation, and Russia later leaked the document, voters would doubt the investigation’s independence. (Harper, 2017)

 

July 6, 2016

Another batch of hacked DNC documents appears on the Guccifer 2.0 website. (Harper, 2017)

 

July 7, 2016

In a lecture at the New Economic School in Moscow, Carter Page criticizes American foreign policy. He says that many of the mistakes spoiling relations between the US and Russia “originated in my own country.” Page says he had sought and received permission from the Trump campaign to make the trip. (Harper, 2017)

 

July 14, 2016

Another batch of hacked DNC documents appear on the Guccifer 2.0 website.  (Harper, 2017)

 

July 15, 2016

I am pleased to announce that I have chosen Governor Mike Pence as my Vice Presidential running mate. News conference tomorrow at 11:00 A.M. (Harper, 2017)

 

July 18, 2016

The Washington Post reports that the Trump campaign worked behind the scenes ahead of the Republican Convention on a plank of the 2016 Party Platform that gutted the GOP’s longstanding support for Ukrainians’ popular resistance to Russia’s 2014 intervention. (Harper, 2017)

 

July 18, 2016

At a Heritage Foundation event during the Republican Convention, Jeff Sessions speaks individually with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. (Harper, 2017)

 

July 19, 2016

Bloomberg reports that over the past year, Trump’s debt load has almost doubled from $350 million to $630 million. (Harper, 2017)

 

July 2016

Carter Page and J.D. Gordon, national security advisers to the Trump Campaign, meet with ambassador Kislyak. They stress that Trump would like to improve relations with Russia.  (Harper, 2017)

 

July 22, 2016

On the eve of the Democratic National Convention, WikiLeaks releases its first trove of emails stolen from the DNC. (Harper, 2017)

 

July 24, 2016

When ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos asks whether there were any connections between the Trump campaign and Putin’s regime, Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort answers, “No, there are not. And you know, there’s no basis to it.” (Harper, 2017)

 

July 25, 2016

Trump tweets, “The new joke in town is that Russia leaked the disastrous DNC emails, which should never have been written (stupid), because Putin likes me.” (Harper, 2017)

 

July 27, 2016

At a press conference, Trump says, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.” At the same press conference, he insists, “I never met Putin. I’ve never spoken to him.” In an interview with CBS News, he reiterates: “But I have nothing to do with Russia, nothing to do, I never met Putin, I have nothing to do with Russia whatsoever.” (Harper, 2017)

 

During the summer of 2016

American spies are intercepting conversations involving senior Russian intelligence and political officials. Russians discuss using Paul Manafort and Mike Flynn — both of whom had prior contacts with Russia — to shape Trump’s opinions on Russia. Former CIA Director John Brennan notices suspicious contacts between Russian government officials and associates of Trump’s campaign. Brennan believes that the American election is under attack and worries that Trump’s campaign might be aiding the effort. Brennan refers his concerns to the FBI, the intelligence agency leading the investigation. (Harper, 2017)

 

By the end of July 2016

The FBI has opened an investigation into possible collusion between members of the Trump campaign and Russian operatives. (Harper, 2017)

 

July 31, 2016

Manafort denies knowing anything about the change in the Republican platform. That afternoon, Boris Epshteyn, Trump’s Russian-born adviser, spouts the Kremlin’s party line telling CNN: “Russia did not seize Crimea. We can talk about the conflict that happened between Ukraine and the Crimea… But there was no seizure by Russia. That’s an incorrect statement, characterization, of what happened.” (Harper, 2017)

 

On CNN, Jeff Sessions defends Trump’s approach to Russia: “This whole problem with Russia is really disastrous for America, for Russia and for the world,” he says. “Donald Trump is right. We need to figure out a way to end this cycle of hostility that’s putting this country at risk, costing us billions of dollars in defense, and creating hostilities.”  (Harper, 2017)

 

Trump tells ABC News he was not involved in the Republican Party platform change that softened America’s position on Russia’s annexation of Crimea. (Harper, 2017)

 

August 2016

The consulting firm headed by Trump’s national security adviser Mike Flynn begins lobbying for a company owned by a businessman close with Turkey’s President Erdogan. (Harper, 2017)

 

Aug. 4, 2016

CIA Director John Brennan warns the director of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) not to meddle in the election. (Harper, 2017)

 

Aug. 5, 2016

Trump surrogate Roger Stone writes an article for Breitbart News. Stone argues that Guccifer 2.0 had nothing to do with Russia. (Harper, 2017)

 

Carter Page’s ongoing public criticism of US sanctions against Russia over its actions in Ukraine and his praise for Putin generate increasing attention and concern. In response, Trump campaign spokesman Hope Hicks describes Page as an “informal policy adviser” who “does not speak for Mr. Trump or the campaign.” Later that month, after the FBI believes Page was no longer part of the Trump campaign, it obtains a Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act (“FISA”) warrant to monitor his communications. The initial 90-day warrant is renewed more than once. (Harper, 2017)

 

Aug. 6, 2016

NPR confirms the Trump campaign’s involvement in the Republican platform change on Ukraine. (Harper, 2017)

 

Aug. 8, 2016

Roger Stone addresses a Broward County, Florida Republican Party group. An audience member asks (near the 46-minute mark of the video) about his predictions for an “October surprise” based on materials in the possession of WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange. In response, Stone says, “I actually have communicated with Assange.” (Harper, 2017)

 

Aug. 12, 2016

On a #MAGA podcast (around the 7-minute mark), Stone says, “I believe Julian Assange — who I think is a hero fighting the police state — has all of the emails that Huma [Abedin] and Cheryl Mills, the two Clinton aides, thought they had erased…. I think Assange has them. I know he has them. And I believe he will expose the American people to this information, you know, in the next 90 days.” (Harper, 2017)

 

A batch of hacked Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) documents appear on the Guccifer 2.0 website. (Harper, 2017)

 

Stone tells Alex Jones that he was “in communication with Julian Assange.” Later, Stone continues, “I am not at liberty to discuss what I have.” (Harper, 2017)

 

Florida GOP consultant Aaron Nevins reaches out to hacker Guccifer 2.0, who had invited journalists to send questions via Twitter direct messages relating to information that Guccifer 2.0 had hacked from the DNC and the DCCC. Under his pseudonymous blog, Nevins begins posting links to Guccifer 2.0, along with highlights of the material. Nevins tells Guccifer 2.0 that releasing fresher data would have more impact and that the hacker should “feel free to send any Florida-based information.” (Harper, 2017)

 

Aug. 13, 2016

After receiving complaints about the publication of private information, Twitter and wordpress.com (host for the Guccifer 2.0 website) suspends the Guccifer 2.0 accounts.  (Harper, 2017)

 

Aug. 14, 2016

Roger Stone tweets, “[N]ow Guccifer 2.0 — why are those exposing the truth banned?” Without explanation, Twitter reinstates the Guccifer 2.0 account. In a private message to Guccifer 2.0, Roger Stone writes, “Delighted you are reinstated. Fuck the State and their MSM lackeys.” (Harper, 2017)

 

Aug. 14, 2016

The New York Times reports that Ukraine anti-corruption investigators were seeking to identify and recover assets that it claims former President Viktor Yanukovych had stolen from the Ukrainian people. Investigators had discovered the Black Ledger from Yanukovych’s pro-Russia Party of Regions. Later, Manafort questions the authenticity of the Black Ledger, claims it had been falsified and asserts that no public evidence exists that he or others received the payments listed on the ledger. (Harper, 2017)

 

Aug. 15, 2016

Continuing their private exchange, Guccifer 2.0 responds to Stone: “wow thank u for writing back and thank you for an article about me!!! do u find anything interesting in the docs I posted?” (Harper, 2017)

Guccifer 2.0 releases hacked DCCC documents on primaries in Florida. (Harper, 2017)

 

Aug. 16, 2016

Stone publishes an article in The Hill and asks Guccifer 2.0 to retweet it, “PLZ RT: How the election can be rigged against Donald Trump — thehill.com/blogs/pundits-…” Guccifer 2.0 responds: “done” and “I read u’d been hacked”  (Harper, 2017)

 

With “TRUMP 2000” posters in the background from what appears to be Stone’s home office, he again tells radio host Alex Jones (around the 6 1/2-minute mark of the interview) that he has had “back-channel communications” with WikiLeaks and Julian Assange who have “political dynamite” on the Clintons. (Harper, 2017)

 

In an interview on The Blaze, Stone says he has “communicated” with Julian Assange through a “mutual acquaintance.” He continues, “I think that Assange is going to be very influential in this election….” (Harper, 2017)

 

Aug. 17, 2016

Guccifer 2.0 sends another private message to Stone: “I’m pleased to say that u r great man and I think I gonna read ur books” “please tell me if I can help u anyhow it would be a great pleasure to me.” (Harper, 2017)

 

The Associated Press reports that in 2012 Paul Manafort had secretly routed more than $2 million from Ukraine President Yanukovych’s governing pro-Russia governing party to two US lobbying firms working to influence American policy toward Ukraine. (Harper, 2017)

 

Aug. 18, 2016

In a C-SPAN interview, Stone says (around the 48-minute mark of the broadcast) that he’s never met Julian Assange, but he has been in touch with him “through an intermediary — somebody who is a mutual friend.” He continues, “I expect you’re going to see more from Mr. Assange.”  (Harper, 2017)

 

Aug. 19, 2016

As reports of Manafort’s financial connections to Ukraine intensified, he resigns from the Trump campaign. (Harper, 2017)

 

On the day he resigns from the Trump campaign, Manafort records documents creating Summerbreeze LLC, a shell company that he controls. Shortly thereafter, Summerbreeze receives a $3.5 million loan from Spruce Capital, a small New York investment firm. Spruce’s co-founder is a developer of Trump hotel projects, including Trump International Hotel and Tower in Waikiki. One of Spruce’s financial backers, Alexander Rovt, is a billionaire who made his fortune in the privatization of the fertilizer industry in post-Soviet Ukraine. On Feb. 1, 2016, Rovt had shared a Manor College stage forum about Ukraine with Andrii Artemenko, a pro-Putin member of the Ukraine Parliament. In January 2017, Artemenko would resurface at the Manhattan Loews Regency hotel on Park Avenue with long-time Trump business associate Felix Sater and Trump’s personal lawyer Michael D. Cohen. During their meeting, Sater gives Cohen a sealed envelope containing Artemenko’s Ukranian-Russian peace plan and asks him to deliver it to Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn. The plan would have leased Crimea to Russia for 50 or 100 years, essentially ceding to Putin the territory he had annexed illegally. (Harper, 2017)

 

Aug. 21, 2016

Trump surrogate Roger Stone tweets, “Trust me, it will soon the Podesta’s time in the barrel. #CrookedHillary” (Harper, 2017)

 

Guccifer 2.0 posts hacked DCCC documents on Pennsylvania’s congressional primaries. (Harper, 2017)

 

On a local Maryland radio program, Stone denies (around the 6-minute mark of the broadcast) that Guccifer 2.0 is connected to the Russians: “The DNC leaks that nailed Deborah Wasserman Schultz in the heist against Bernie Sanders was not leaked by the Russians, it was leaked by Cruccifer [sic] 2, I should say hacked and leaked first by Cruccifer 2, well known hacker who is not in the employment of the Russians, and then WikiLeaks. So that whole claim is a canard.” (Harper, 2017)

 

Aug. 22, 2016

Responding to Florida GOP consultant Aaron Nevins’ Aug. 12 request, Guccifer 2.0 uploads almost 2.5 gigabytes of stolen documents — including the Democratic Party’s get-out-the-vote strategy for Florida — to Nevins’ Dropbox. Guccifer 2.0 then sends Roger Stone a link to Nevins’ blog. Nevins continues posting hacked documents through the end of August, culminating in the Sept. 8, 2016 release of the DCCC’s “Democrats Turnout Model” for Florida. (Harper, 2017)

 

Aug. 26, 2016

In an interview with Breitbart Radio, Stone says (near the 10-minute mark of the interview), “I’m almost confident Mr. Assange has virtually every one of the emails that the Clinton henchwomen, Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills, thought that they had deleted, and I suspect that he’s going to drop them at strategic times in the run up to the rest of this race.” (Harper, 2017)

 

Aug. 29, 2016

Stone tells a local Florida radio interviewer (around the 7-minute mark of the interview), “We’re going to, I think, see from WikiLeaks and other leakers see the nexus between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department.” About Assange, he says, “Perhaps he has the smoking gun that makes this handcuff time.” (Harper, 2017)

 

Aug. 31, 2016

Guccifer 2.0 posts documents hacked from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s personal computer. (Harper, 2017)

 

Late August 2016

CIA Director John Brennan briefs the top eight members Congress’ Intelligence Committees — the “Gang of Eight” — on intelligence that Russian cyberattacks were aimed at getting Trump elected. (Harper, 2017)

 

Sept. 8, 2016

Jeff Sessions meets Russian ambassador Kislyak in his Senate office. (Harper, 2017)

 

Sept. 9, 2016

Guccifer 2.0 sends Roger Stone a link to a blog post about voter turnout, along with this message: “hi what do u think of the info on the turnout model for the democrats entire presidential campaign? Basically how it works is there are people who will vote party line no matter what and there are folks who will actually make a decision. The basic premise of winning an election is turnout your base (marked turnout) and target the marginal folks with persuadable advertising (marked persuadable). They spend millions calculating who is persuadable or what we call a ‘soft democrat’ and who is a ‘hard democrat.’”  (Harper, 2017)

 

Sept. 15, 2016

Guccifer 2.0 posts hacked DCCC documents on New Hampshire, Ohio, Illinois and North Carolina. (Harper, 2017)

 

Sept. 16, 2016

Stone says on Boston Herald Radio (around the 12-minute mark), “I expect Julian Assange and the WikiLeaks people to drop a payload of new documents on Hillary on a weekly basis fairly soon. And that of course will answer the question of exactly what was erased on that email server.” He says he’s in touch with Assange “through an intermediary.” He also says that Hillary Clinton’s association with Putin and Russia’s oligarchs was “far more troubling to me than Donald Trump’s.” (Harper, 2017)

 

Sept. 23, 2016

Guccifer 2.0 posts hacked DCCC documents on chairman Rep. Ben Ray Lujan. (Harper, 2017)

 

Sept. 23, 2016

Michael Isikoff of Yahoo News reports US intelligence officials are seeking to determine whether Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page had opened up private communications with senior Russian officials, including talks about the possibility of lifting economic sanctions if Trump became president.  (Harper, 2017)

 

Sept. 25, 2016

Carter Page writes to FBI Director James Comey that in 2016 he “had not met with any sanctioned official in Russia….”  (Harper, 2017)

 

Sept. 26, 2016

Amid accusations that he has ties to Russia, Carter Page takes a leave of absence from the Trump campaign.  (Harper, 2017)

 

Sept. 28, 2016

FBI Director Comey appears before the House Judiciary Committee and refuses to answer questions about whether the bureau is investigating connections between members of the Trump campaign and Russia. “We do not confirm or deny investigations,” Comey says. (Harper, 2017)

 

Oct. 1, 2016

Six days before WikiLeaks releases emails that Russian hackers had acquired from Clinton campaign manager John Podesta’s email account, Trump’s informal adviser and surrogate Roger Stone tweets, “Wednesday@HillaryClinton is done. #Wikileaks.” (Harper, 2017)

 

Oct. 4, 2016

Trump tweets: “CLINTON’S CLOSE TIES TO PUTIN DESERVE SCRUTINY.” (Harper, 2017)

 

Oct. 4, 2016

Guccifer 2.0 posts documents hacked from the Clinton Foundation. (Harper, 2017)

 

Oct. 7, 2016

In a joint statement, the Department of Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence says, “The US Intelligence Community (USIC) is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of emails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations… We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.” But two other stories dominate the news cycle: WikiLeaks begins publishing stolen emails from the account of Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, and Trump’s infamous Access Hollywood tapes become public. (Harper, 2017)

 

Oct. 12, 2016

Roger Stone tells NBC News, “I have back-channel communications with WikiLeaks.” (Harper, 2017)

 

Mid-October 2016

The FISA court approves a secret surveillance order authorizing the Department of Justice to investigate two banks suspected of participating in Russia’s undercover influence operation relating to the US election.  (Harper, 2017)

 

Oct. 19, 2016

During the third presidential debate, Trump dismisses the Oct. 7 US intelligence findings: “[Clinton] has no idea whether it is Russia, China or anybody else… Our country has no idea.” And he says this: “I don’t know Putin. I have no idea… I never met Putin. This is not my best friend.”  (Harper, 2017)

 

Oct. 28, 2016

In a letter to key leaders in the House and Senate, FBI Director Comey says that in connection with the bureau’s closed investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server, it was reviewing emails on a computer belonging to Clinton adviser Huma Abedin. Comey says nothing about the ongoing FBI investigation into connections between the Trump campaign and Russia. (Harper, 2017)

 

Oct. 30, 2016

According to reporting by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, the $100 million plane belonging to the Russian oligarch who had bought a Florida residence from Trump for $95 million in 2008 was in Las Vegas on the same day Trump was holding a rally there. (Harper, 2017)

 

Oct. 31, 2016

Asked about news reports that the FBI was investigating connections between the Trump campaign and Russia, former campaign manager Manafort says, “None of it is true… There’s no investigation going on by the FBI that I’m aware of.” (Harper, 2017)

 

Nov. 3, 2016

According to reporting by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, the plane belonging to the Russian oligarch who had bought a Florida residence from Trump for $95 million in 2008 was at the single-runaway airport near Concord, North Carolina, where Trump was holding a rally. (Harper, 2017)

 

Nov. 5, 2016

In a letter to key leaders in Congress, Comey confirms that the FBI has completed its review of the additional Abedin emails and, as a result, has not changed its earlier recommendation not to recommend prosecuting Clinton for her use of a private email server. (Harper, 2017)

 

NOV. 8, 2016

Trump, defying polls, shocks the political establishment and beats Hillary Clinton to become the 45th president of the United States. It’s widely considered to be one of the biggest upsets in American political history. (Finnegan, 2017)

 

Nov. 9, 2016

After Putin announced Trump’s election victory, Russia’s Parliament erupts in applause. (Harper, 2017)

 

Nov. 10, 2016

Russia’s deputy foreign minister admits that during the campaign, the Kremlin had continuing communications with Trump’s “immediate entourage.” (Harper, 2017)

 

President Obama warns Trump during a 90-minute meeting at the White House that Flynn, a former U.S. Army lieutenant general and Defense Intelligence Agency chief, is a problem. The warning comes out in May during former acting Atty. Gen. Sally Yates’ testimony before Congress. (Finnegan, 2017)

 

In 2014, Obama had removed Flynn as the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency. (Harper, 2017)

 

Nov. 11, 2016

Vice President-elect Pence replaces Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) as chair of Trump’s transition team. (Harper, 2017)

 

NOV. 14, 2016

Putin calls Trump to congratulate him on his victory. According to a release by Trump’s transition team, the two men discuss “a range of issues including the threats and challenges facing the United States and Russia.” It goes on to add that Trump looks forward to “a strong and enduring relationship with Russia and the people of Russia.” (Finnegan, 2017)

 

Reporters ask Mike Flynn’s business associate Robert Kelley if Turkish interests had retained their consulting firm from August through Election Day because of Flynn’s close relationship with Trump. “I hope so,” Kelley says. The subject of Flynn’s lobbying activities for Turkey comes up again periodically in news reports throughout November and December. (Harper, 2017)

 

NOV. 18, 2016

Trump names Flynn as his choice for national security advisor. The decision is controversial. Flynn had attended a lavish dinner in Moscow in 2015 at which he sat next to President Vladimir Putin. He’d also received a speaking fee from a Russian government-run television network that U.S. officials consider a propaganda outlet. (Finnegan, 2017)

 

Nov. 18, 2016

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sends Trump transition team chair (and Vice President-elect) Mike Pence a letter expressing concerns about national security adviser-designate Mike Flynn’s conflicts of interest. Specifically, Cummings worries about Flynn’s work for an entity affiliated with the government of Turkey, as well as a paid trip to Moscow in December 2015 during which Flynn was “highly critical of the United States.” (Harper, 2017)

 

Nov. 28, 2016

Trump’s transition team acknowledges receipt of Cummings’ Nov. 18 letter regarding Mike Flynn. (Harper, 2017)

 

Late November 2016

In a meeting that includes senior Trump transition national security team members, national security adviser-designate Mike Flynn reveals he has scheduled a conversation with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. In attendance is Marshall Billingslea, a member of the team who had been a senior Pentagon official for President George W. Bush. He warns Flynn that any such communications carry risks because US intelligence agencies are almost certainly monitoring Kislyak’s conversations. After the meeting, Billingsea asks national security officials in the Obama White House for a copy of the classified CIA profile of Kislyak. (Harper, 2017)

 

Winter 2016

According to US Attorney Rod Rosenstein, during one of his first interviews with then-Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) to become deputy attorney general in the Trump administration, they discuss “the need for new leadership at the FBI.” (Harper, 2017)

 

Early December 2016

In Moscow, Russians arrest a Russian computer security expert and two high-level intelligence officers who worked on cyber operations. They are charged with treason for providing information to the United States. The arrests amount to a purge of the cyber wing of the FSB, successor to the KGB and the main Russian intelligence agency. (Harper, 2017)

 

December 2016

Officials in the Obama administration become concerned that the incoming administration would cover up or destroy previously gathered intelligence relating Russia’s interference with the election. To preserve that intelligence for future investigations, they spread it across the government. (Harper, 2017)

 

Dec. 1 or 2, 2016

Unbeknownst to the press covering the comings and going at Trump Tower, Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak visits Trump Tower to meet with Kushner and Trump’s national security adviser-designate Mike Flynn. According to a later report in The Washington Post, Kislyak reports to his superiors in Moscow that Kushner makes a surprising suggestion: use Russia’s diplomatic facilities in the US for a secret and secure communications channel between Trump and the Kremlin prior to the inauguration. According to The Post, Kushner wanted to use the Russian embassy so that American officials could not monitor the discussions. Later that month, an anonymous letter tipped off The Washington Post to what Kushner had supposedly said at the meeting. (Harper, 2017)

 

DEC. 6, 2016

Trump’s transition team cuts ties with Flynn’s son, who had spread false stories on Twitter. (Finnegan, 2017)

 

Dec. 8, 2016

Carter Page is in Moscow for several days to meet with “business leaders and thought leaders.” (Harper, 2017)

 

Dec. 9, 2016

In response to a Washington Post report that the CIA had concluded Russia had intervened in the election to help Trump win, he says, “These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It’s now time to move on and ‘Make America Great Again.’ ” (Harper, 2017)

 

Paul Manafort tells CBS News he is not active in the Trump transition. Asked if he is talking to President-elect Trump, Manafort says, “I don’t really want to talk about who I’m speaking to, but I’m aware of what’s going on.” Interviewers also question him about the appearance of his name among the handwritten entries in the Ukraine Party of Regions’ Black Ledger from 2007 to 2012 (purporting to show more than $12 million in payments to him). Manafort responds that the ledger was fabricated. (Harper, 2017)

 

Dec. 11, 2016

Trump praises Rex Tillerson, chairman of ExxonMobil and recipient of Russia’s “Order of Friendship” Medal from Vladimir Putin in 2013, as “much more than a business executive” and a “world-class player.” Trump says Tillerson “knows many of the players” and did “massive deals in Russia” for Exxon. Two days later, Trump nominates him to be secretary of state. (Harper, 2017)

 

Asked about the earlier US intelligence report on hacking, Trump says, “They have no idea if it’s Russia or China or somebody. It could be somebody sitting in a bed some place. I mean, they have no idea.” (Harper, 2017)

 

Dec. 12, 2016

While in Moscow, Trump’s former campaign surrogate Jack Kingston meets with Russian businessmen to discuss what they might expect from a Trump administration. “Trump can look at sanctions,” Kingston says. “They’ve been in place long enough.” (Harper, 2017)

 

Dec. 13, 2016

NBC News’ Richard Engel reports from Moscow on Trump’s secretary of state pick, Rex Tillerson. Former Russian Energy Minister Vladimir Milov tells Engel that Tillerson was a “gift for Putin.” (Harper, 2017)

 

December 2016

At Kislyak’s request, Kushner meets secretly with Sergey Gorkov, chief of Russia’s state-owned bank VEB. US intelligence reportedly views Gorkov as a “Putin crony” and a graduate of a “finishing school” for spies. In 2010, VEB had been involved in a financial transaction that assisted the struggling Trump International Hotel and Tower project in Toronto. Since 2014, VEB has been subject to US sanctions over Russia’s annexation of Crimea and meddling in Ukraine. In December 2016, Kushner is still looking for more than $1 billion from investors to refinance Kushner Companies’ debt on its troubled 666 Fifth Avenue building. The public remains unaware of the Kushner/Gorkov meeting until March 2017, when The New York Times breaks the story. The White House characterizes it as a routine diplomatic encounter that went nowhere, but VEB says it was part of the bank’s ongoing business strategy. For months thereafter, the White House refuses to disclose the date of the meeting. On June 1, 2017, The Washington Post reports the results of its independent investigation: On Dec. 13, 2016, a private plane associated with VEB (and on which its executives travel) flew from Moscow to Newark airport outside New York City. The following day, the plane then flew to Japan, where Putin met with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Dec. 15.  (Harper, 2017)

 

DEC. 29, 2016

The Obama administration imposes sanctions on Russia in retaliation for Russia’s hacking of the Democratic National Committee in the summer and other efforts to interfere with the U.S. election. (Finnegan, 2017)

 

Flynn contacts Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak several times, including more than one telephone call. (Finnegan, 2017)

 

DEC. 30, 2016

Putin says he will not retaliate against the U.S. sanctions, surprising the Obama administration. Trump praises Putin. (Finnegan, 2017)

 

Late December 2016

Steve Bannon joins Flynn and Kushner for a secretive meeting with the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, who made an undisclosed visit to New York later in December. (Harper, 2017)

 

EARLY JANUARY

Intelligence officials, looking for clues to why Putin decided not to retaliate, discover Flynn’s conversations with Kislyak, whose communications the U.S. government routinely monitors. (Finnegan, 2017)

 

Jan. 3Jan. 4 and Jan. 5, 2017:

Trump tweets a series of attacks on the integrity of the US intelligence community’s findings that Russia had hacked the election. (Harper, 2017)

 

Jan. 4, 2017

National security adviser-designate Mike Flynn tells the transition team’s chief counsel Donald F. McGahn II that he is under federal investigation for secretly working as a paid lobbyist for Turkey. Flynn’s lawyer followed up, but did not get a call back until Jan. 6. (Harper, 2017)

 

Jan. 6, 2017

The CIA, FBI and NSA release their unclassified report, concluding unanimously, “Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election.” The three intelligence agencies agree that “the Russian government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible.” The report also states that WikiLeaks had been Russia’s conduit for the effort, writing “We assess with high confidence that Russian military intelligence (General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate or GRU) used the Guccifer 2.0 persona and DCLeaks.com to release US victim data obtained in cyber operations publicly and in exclusives to media outlets and relayed material to WikiLeaks.” (Harper, 2017)

 

Jan. 6, 2017

FBI Director Comey meets Trump for the first time at a meeting with the intelligence community to brief him on the investigation into Russian interference with the election. At the end of the meeting, Comey remains alone to brief Trump on some personally sensitive aspects of the information assembled, referred to as the “Steele dossier.” During that meeting, Comey says that the FBI does not have an open counter-intelligence case on him personally. Comey prepares a memo to document his conversation with Trump. (Harper, 2017)

 

Jan. 10, 2017

At Jeff Sessions’ confirmation hearing to become attorney general, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) asks him, “If there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of this campaign, what will you do?” Sessions answers: “I’m not aware of any of those activities. I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians, and I’m unable to comment on it.” (Harper, 2017)

 

President Obama’s national security adviser, Susan Rice, informs Trump of the military plan to retake the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa with the help of Syrian Kurdish forces. Obama’s team informed Trump because execution of the plan would not occur until after the inauguration. Turkey has long opposed US forces partnering with Kurdish forces in the region. Trump national security adviser-designate Flynn tells Rice to hold off on approving the mission. (Harper, 2017)

 

On or around Jan. 11, 2017

Erik Prince — the founder of the Blackwater private security firm, $250,000 donor to the Trump campaign, and brother of Trump’s nomination for secretary of education Betsy DeVos — meets secretly in the Seychelles Islands with a Russian close to Putin. Russia’s goal is to establish a back-channel line of communication with the Trump administration. The meeting had been arranged by the United Arab Emirates, and came soon after a meeting between the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, Mike Flynn and Jared Kushner in December. (Harper, 2017)

 

JAN. 11, 2017

At a news conference, Trump denies that he has ties with Russian officials. (Finnegan, 2017)

 

At his first news conference, Trump says, “As far as hacking, I think it was Russia. But I think we also get hacked by other countries and other people.” The final question of Trump’s first news conference comes from Ann Compton of ABC News: “Mr. President-elect, can you stand here today, once and for all, and say that no one connected to you or your campaign had any contact with Russia leading up to or during the presidential campaign?” Trump never answered her. Away from cameras and heading toward the elevators, he reportedly says, “No,” his team didn’t have contact with Russia. (Harper, 2017)

 

Sheri Dillon, Trump’s outside lawyer and a partner in the Morgan, Lewis & Bockius law firm, presents the plan to deal with Trump’s business conflicts of interest during his presidency. The plan allows Trump to retain beneficial ownership in all of his businesses. Across the political spectrumlegal experts agree the plan is a sham because, among other things, it does not require Trump to divest his holdings. (Harper, 2017)

 

Trump criticizes the U.S. intelligence community – comparing its practices to Nazi Germany – after a dossier, which suggested Russia had compromising information to use as blackmail against Trump, was leaked. (Finnegan, 2017)

 

JAN. 12, 2017

Washington Post columnist David Ignatius first reports on Flynn’s contacts with Kislyak. “What did Flynn say,” he asks, “and did it undercut the U.S. sanctions?” At a news conference, Trump again denies that he has ties with Russia. (Finnegan, 2017)

 

JAN. 13, 2017

Trump transition spokesman Sean Spicer denies that Flynn and Kislyak discussed sanctions. (Finnegan, 2017)

 

In response to The Washington Post’s article about Flynn’s Dec. 29 conversations with the Russian ambassador, press secretary Sean Spicer says it was only one call. They “exchanged logistical information” for an upcoming call between Trump and Vladimir Putin after the inauguration. (Harper, 2017)

 

Jan. 14, 2017

A member of Trump’s transition team says that Maryland US Attorney Rod Rosenstein will replace Sally Yates as deputy attorney general. In a statement to Congress on May 19, Rosenstein said that prior to his nomination, in one of his first meetings with then-Sen. Jeff Sessions after the election, he and Sessions had discussed the need for new leadership at the FBI. (Harper, 2017)

 

JAN. 15, 2017

Vice President-elect Mike Pence, in an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” denies that Flynn discussed sanctions with Kislyak. The timing was “strictly coincidental,” Pence said. “What I can confirm, having spoken to him about it, is that those conversations … had nothing whatsoever to do with those sanctions.” (Finnegan, 2017)

 

Appearing on CBS’ Face the NationVice President Pence says Flynn’s call to the Russian ambassador on the same day President Obama announced new sanctions was “strictly coincidental,” explaining: “They did not discuss anything having to do with the United States’ decision to expel diplomats or impose censure on Russia…. What I can confirm, having to spoken with [Flynn] about it, is that those conversations that happened to occur around the time that the United States took action to expel diplomats had nothing whatsoever to do with those sanctions.” Host John Dickerson asks Pence, “Just to button up one question, did any advisor or anybody in the Trump campaign have any contact with the Russians who were trying to meddle in the election?” Pence replies, “Of course not. And I think to suggest that is to give credence to some of these bizarre rumors that have swirled around the candidacy.” (Harper, 2017)

 

On Fox News Sunday, Pence denies contacts between Russia and the Trump campaign. Responding to Chris Wallace, Pence says, “All the contact by the Trump campaign and associates were with the American people.” On a third try, Wallace asks if Pence had ever asked Donald Trump if there were any contacts in the campaign between Trump or his associates and Russians, Pence answers, “Of course not.”  (Harper, 2017)

 

“We should trust Putin,” Trump tells The Times of London. Expressing once again his skepticism about NATO, Trump lambastes German Chancellor Angela Merkel. (Harper, 2017)

 

Jan. 18, 2017

On his application for national security clearance, Jared Kushner omits his December meetings with Russian Ambassador Kislyak and the chief of the Russian bank VEB. (Harper, 2017)

 

Jan. 19, 2017

The New York Times reports that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, along with advisers Roger Stone and Carter Page, are under investigation in connection with possible links to Russia. (Harper, 2017)

 

JAN. 20, 2017

Trump takes the oath of office and is sworn in as the 45th U.S. president. (Finnegan, 2017)

 

JAN. 21, 2017

Trump visits CIA headquarters, lauding agents for their tactics.

“There is nobody that feels stronger about the intelligence community and the CIA than Donald Trump,” he said. (Finnegan, 2017)

 

JAN. 22, 2017

Flynn is sworn in as national security advisor.

During a public reception at the White House attended by Comey, Trump hugs his FBI director and affectionately says, “He’s become more famous than me.” (Finnegan, 2017)

 

FBI Director James Comey is reluctant to attend a White House ceremony honoring law enforcement because, according to his friend Benjamin Wittes, he doesn’t want the director of the bureau to have a close relationship with any president. But Comey ultimately decides to go. Wittes later tells The New York Times and writes at Lawfare that Comey, noticing that the drapes were a similar shade of blue to his blazer, tried to blend in with them at the far end of the room — as far from Trump as he could get. As the ceremony concludes, Trump calls him over, saying, “Oh, and there’s Jim. He’s become more famous than me.” According to Wittes’ account, as Comey takes the long walk across the room, he is determined that he will not hug Trump. To protect the bureau’s integrity, Comey wants to avoid showing warmth toward him. As Comey preemptively reaches out to shake hands, Trump grabs his hand and attempts an embrace. Comey is “disgusted” and, according to Wittes, regards the move as a “physical attempt to show closeness and warmth in a fashion calculated to compromise him before Democrats who already mistrusted him.” (Harper, 2017)

 

JAN. 23, 2017

Spicer, now White House press secretary, tells reporters at the daily news briefing that he had talked with Flynn the night before about the calls with Kislyak and that there had been no discussion of sanctions. (Finnegan, 2017)

 

At Sean Spicer’s first press briefing, Spicer says that none of Flynn’s conversations with the Russian ambassador touched on the Dec. 29 sanctions. That got the attention of FBI Director James Comey. According to The Wall Street Journal, Comey convinced acting Attorney General Sally Yates to delay informing the White House immediately about the discrepancy between Spicer’s characterization of Flynn’s calls and US intelligence intercepts showing that the two had, in fact, discussed sanctions. Comey reportedly asked Yates to wait a bit longer so that the FBI could develop more information and speak with Flynn himself. The FBI interviews Flynn shortly thereafter. (Harper, 2017)

 

Jan. 24, 2017

According to a subsequent article in The Washington Post, Flynn reportedly denied to FBI agents that he had discussed US sanctions against Russia in his December 2016 calls with the Russian ambassador. (Harper, 2017)

 

JAN. 26, 2017

Yates, then the acting attorney general, tells White House Counsel Donald McGahn that Flynn and Kislyak had discussed the sanctions and that Flynn, having misled Pence and others, might be subject to Russian blackmail. McGahn briefs Trump. (Finnegan, 2017)

 

Jan. 27, 2017

McGahn asks Yates to return to the White House for another discussion about Flynn. He asks Yates, “Why does it matter to the Department of Justice if one White House official lies to another?” Yates explains that Flynn’s lies make him vulnerable to Russian blackmail because the Russians know that Flynn lied and could probably prove it. (Harper, 2017)

 

JAN. 27, 2017

At a one-on-one dinner at the White House, Comey is asked by Trump for his loyalty, according to a New York Times report of the encounter published after Comey is fired in May. Comey reportedly tells him he can offer his honesty. Comey would corroborate that version of events in congressional testimony in June. (Finnegan, 2017)

 

At lunchtime, Trump calls FBI Director Comey and invites him to dinner that evening. In a one-on-one White House dinner in the Green Room, Trump asks Comey if he would like to stay on as director, which strikes Comey as odd because Trump had told him in two earlier conversations that he wanted Comey to remain. Comey says that he intends to serve out his full 10-year term. He also says that he’s not “reliable” in the way politicians use that word, but that Trump could always count on him to tell the truth. A few moments later, Trump says, “I need loyalty; I expect loyalty.” An awkward silence follows. The conversation moves to other subjects, including Comey’s explanation of why the FBI must remain independent of the White House. At the end of the dinner, Trump repeats, “I need loyalty.” Comey responds, “You will always get honesty from me.” Trump replies, “That’s what I want, honest loyalty.” To end the awkward conversation, Comey says, “You will get that from me.” Afterward, Comey writes a detailed memo about the dinner and describes it to the FBI’s senior leadership team on the condition that they not disclose it while he remains director. (Harper, 2017)

 

During the week following the Jan. 20, 2017 inauguration

Trump administration officials are considering an executive order to lift unilaterally the US sanctions against Russia. Removing the sanctions also would have expanded greatly the Russian bank VEB’s ability to do business in the US, and allowed Americans to borrow from and provide financing to the bank. Five months later, Yahoo News’ Michael Isikoff breaks the rest of the story: “Unknown to the public at the time, top Trump administration officials, almost as soon as they took office, tasked State Department staffers with developing proposals for the lifting of economic sanctions, the return of diplomatic compounds and other steps to relieve tensions with Moscow.” State Department officials are so alarmed that they urge congressional leaders to pass legislation that would lock the sanctions in place. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) become involved. (Harper, 2017)

 

JAN. 28, 2017

In a one-hour phone call made while White House aides look on, Trump and Putin discuss combating terrorism, confronting Islamic State militants, the crisis in Ukraine and the Iranian nuclear deal, according to a statement from the Kremlin.

The leaders agree to a set a possible date and venue for a personal meeting, and vow to maintain “regular personal contacts,” the Kremlin statement says. The call is among a number Trump places to world leaders. (Finnegan, 2017)

 

Jan. 29, 2017

TIME photographs Trump at his desk in the Oval Office. Sitting across from him are Kushner and Flynn, about whom Acting Attorney General Sally Yates warned the White House earlier that week. The caption indicates that Trump is speaking on the phone with King Salman of Saudi Arabia. (Harper, 2017)

 

Jan. 30, 2017

Trump fires Acting Attorney General Sally Yates. According to his statement, the reason was that she had “betrayed the Department of Justice” by refusing to defend Trump’s travel ban in court. (Harper, 2017)

 

Jan. 31, 2017

The White House announces its intention to nominate Rod Rosenstein as deputy attorney general. (Harper, 2017)

 

Late January 2017

At the Manhattan Loews Regency hotel on Park Avenue, Trump’s personal attorney, Michael D. Cohen, meets with Felix Sater and Andrii Artemenko, a pro-Putin lawmaker from Ukraine. Artemenko and Sater gave Cohen a peace plan whereby Russia would lease Ukraine for 50 or 100 years and, eventually, get relief from US sanctions. According to The New York Times, Cohen says he would give the plan to national security adviser Michael Flynn. Responding to questions from The Washington Post, Cohen denies that statement, calling it “fake news.” (Harper, 2017)

 

Feb. 7, 2017

Sens. Cardin and Graham introduce bipartisan legislation that would bar Trump from granting sanctions relief to Russia without congressional involvement.  (Harper, 2017)

 

I don’t know Putin, have no deals in Russia, and the haters are going crazy – yet Obama can make a deal with Iran, #1 in terror, no problem!

Trump responds to a controversy stemming from comments he made during an interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly.

O’Reilly observed during the interview that Putin is “a killer.”

Trump answered: “You think our country is so innocent?” (Finnegan, 2017)

 

FEB. 8, 2017

Flynn, responding to questions from the Washington Post, once again flatly denies any discussions with Kislyak about sanctions. (Finnegan, 2017)

 

Jeff Sessions, the first senator to endorse Trump’s candidacy and the former chair of the Trump campaign’s national security advisory committee, becomes attorney general. Every Republican senator and Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia votes to confirm him. During the confirmation process, Sessions had said he was “not aware of a basis to recuse myself” from the Justice Department’s Russia-related investigations of Trump. (Harper, 2017)

 

FEB. 9, 2017

A spokesperson for Flynn retracts that denial, saying he does not remember talking about the sanctions but “can’t be 100% sure.”

Pence discovers for the first time, from a Washington Post article, that Flynn had misled him, his spokesman confirms. Pence subsequently learns that Trump had known about Flynn’s deception since Jan. 26, but hadn’t told him. (Finnegan, 2017)

 

FEB. 10, 2017

White House officials say Flynn called Pence to apologize for misleading him. Trump, asked by reporters on Air Force One, says he is not familiar with the Post report. (Finnegan, 2017)

 

On the Friday preceding Trump’s weekend at Mar-A-Lago, the plane belonging to the Russian oligarch who had bought a Florida residence from Trump for $95 million in 2008 flies from the south of France to Miami International Airport. (Harper, 2017)

 

FEB. 12, 2017

White House advisor Stephen Miller, dispatched by the administration to appear on several Sunday TV interview programs, declines to say whether Trump has confidence in Flynn. (Finnegan, 2017)

 

FEB. 13, 2017

4 P.M. ET Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway says Flynn has Trump’s full confidence.

5 P.M. ET Spicer says Trump is “evaluating the situation.”

9:30 P.M. ET The Post and the New York Times disclose that Yates had warned the White House about Flynn’s conversations.

11 P.M. EST White House announces Flynn’s resignation. Officials say he chose to step down. (Finnegan, 2017)

 

FEB. 14, 2017

Spicer says at the daily news briefing that the White House had been investigating Flynn’s conduct for more than two weeks and that he had been fired because of an “eroding level of trust.”

Several hours after Spicer’s briefing, Pence spokesman Marc Lotter says that the vice president “became aware of incomplete information that he’d received on Feb. 9 based on media accounts. He did an inquiry based on those media accounts.” (Finnegan, 2017)

 

Trump meets alone with Comey in the Oval Office and asks him to drop the investigation of Flynn, according to a memo of the encounter written by Comey and first reported May 16 by the New York Times. (Finnegan, 2017)

“I hope you can let this go,” Trump said to his FBI director, according to the reports, later confirmed by Comey’s congressional testimony. (Finnegan, 2017)

 

At the conclusion of an Oval Office meeting that includes Vice President Pence, Attorney General Sessions and FBI Director Comey, Trump asks everyone except Comey to leave. The last person to leave is Jared Kushner. When Comey and Trump are alone, Trump says, “I want to talk about Mike Flynn.” In a June 8 statement to the Senate Intelligence Committee, Comey recalls that Trump “began by saying Flynn hadn’t done anything wrong in speaking with the Russians, but he had to let him go because he had misled the vice president. He added that he had other concerns about Flynn, which he did not then specify.” After discussing the subject of classified information leaks, Trump returns to the topic of Flynn, saying, “He is a good guy and has been through a lot.” He repeats that Flynn hadn’t done anything wrong on his calls with the Russians, but had misled Pence. He then says, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.” Comey replies only that “he is a good guy.” Comey later testifies that he understood Trump to be requesting that the FBI drop any investigation of Flynn in connection with false statements about his conversations with the Russian ambassador in December. He writes up a memorandum of his conversation and discusses the matter with the FBI’s senior leadership.  (Harper, 2017)

 

The New York Times corroborates the Russian deputy foreign minister’s admission on Nov. 10. Based on information from four current and former American officials, The Times reports, “phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election.” (On June 8, 2017, former FBI Director James Comey said of the Times story: “In the main, it was not true,” without specifying its inaccuracies.) Meanwhile, on Feb. 14, advisers to Attorney General Jeff Sessions reiterate his earlier position: Sessions sees no need to recuse himself from the ongoing Justice Department investigations into Trump/Russia connections. (Harper, 2017)

 

FEB. 15, 2017

This Russian connection non-sense is merely an attempt to cover-up the many mistakes made in Hillary Clinton’s losing campaign. (Finnegan, 2017)

 

Trump tweets a series of outbursts attacking the Trump/Russia connection as “nonsense,” diverting attention to “un-American” leaks in which “information is illegally given out by ‘intelligence’ like candy.” Shortly thereafter, Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz and other congressional Republicans formally ask the Justice Department’s inspector general to investigate the leaks, but they and their GOP colleagues resist the creation of an independent bipartisan commission with the power to convene public hearings and discover the truth about the Trump/Russia connections. (Harper, 2017)

 

FEB. 16, 2017

The Democrats had to come up with a story as to why they lost the election, and so badly (306), so they made up a story – RUSSIA. Fake news! (Finnegan, 2017)

 

Trump continues his diversionary twitter assault on the intelligence leaks that were fueling intensified scrutiny of his Russia connections. At Trump’s afternoon press conference, he says: “I own nothing in Russia. I have no loans in Russia. I don’t have any deals in Russia… Russia is fake news. Russia — this is fake news put out by the media.” Reporters ask repeatedly about anyone else involved with Trump or his campaign. “No,” Trump says. “Nobody that I know of.” (Harper, 2017)

 

Feb. 17, 2017

FBI Director Comey meets privately with members of the Senate Intelligence Committee to discuss the Russia investigation. Immediately thereafter, the Committee sends a letter asking more than a dozen agencies, organizations and individuals — including the White House — to preserve all communications related to the Senate panel’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. (Harper, 2017)

 

The Senate Intelligence Committee sends Roger Stone a letter asking him to preserve any records he had in connection with the Committee’s inquiry into Russia’s interference in the US election. (Harper, 2017)

 

Feb. 19, 2017

NBC’s Chuck Todd questions Reince Priebus about Flynn’s firing. The White House line was that Trump had fired Flynn because he’d lied to Vice President Pence about his conversations with the Russians about US sanctions. But that left an awkward gap of more than two weeks during which Trump apparently knew about Flynn’s deception before firing him. “Why did more than a week go by before the vice president was informed of this issue?” Todd asks. “Well, I think he was always aware of the issue as to whether or not he talked about sanctions,” Priebus answers. Later, Todd asks about the more than two-week delay between Yates’ disclosure of Flynn’s deception and Trump’s decision to fire him. “Waiting that long, do you regret that it looks like that the vice president is essentially not in the loop?” Todd asks. “No,” Priebus replies, “the vice president’s in the loop on everything, Chuck.” (Harper, 2017)

 

Feb. 20-26, 2017

Trump continues his attacks on the media and the FBI leaks that were generating the Trump/Russia stories. (Harper, 2017)

 

Feb. 25, 2017

Nigel Farage, ex-leader of the UK Independence Party, key Brexit campaigner and one of Donald Trump’s most visible foreign supporters during and after the presidential campaign, dines with Trump, daughter Ivanka, son-in-law Jared Kushner and Florida Gov. Rick Scott at the Trump International Hotel in Washington. (Harper, 2017)

 

FEB. 26, 2017

Russia talk is FAKE NEWS put out by the Dems, and played up by the media, in order to mask the big election defeat and the illegal leaks! (Finnegan, 2017)

 

NBC’s Chuck Todd notes a pattern: Trump’s attacks on the press followed immediately after a new and unflattering Trump/Russia story breaks. (Harper, 2017)

 

Feb. 28, 2017

On a party line vote, the House Judiciary Committee kills Rep. Jerrold Nadler’s Resolution of Inquiry calling for Trump to provide documents relating to Trump/Russia connections and his business conflicts of interest. (Harper, 2017)

 

More than 10 days after the Senate Intelligence Committee had requested that the White House and other agencies preserve Trump/Russia-related communications, the White House counsel’s office instructs Trump’s aides to preserve such materials, according to a March 1 report by the Associated Press. (Harper, 2017)

 

March 1, 2017 

In response to reports in The Washington PostThe Wall Street Journal and The New York Times about Jeff Sessions’ pre-election contacts with the Russian ambassador, Sessions issues a statement saying he “never met with any Russian officials to discuss any issues of the campaign.” (Harper, 2017)

 

As Director Comey prepares to board a helicopter, he receives a message from the White House: Trump wants to speak with him urgently. Comey delays his flight but, according to Wittes, soon realizes that Trump wants only to “chitchat.” (Harper, 2017)

 

March 2, 2017

Trump says he has “total confidence” in Jeff Sessions and he shouldn’t recuse himself from the Russia investigation. An hour later, Sessions recuses himself “from any existing or future investigations of any matters related in any way to the campaigns for President of the United States.”  (Harper, 2017)

 

Despite an earlier denial, former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page admits to meeting with Russian ambassador Kislyak during the campaign. Another adviser, J.D. Gordon, admits that he’d met with Kislyak during the Republican Convention in July. Gordon says he had successfully urged changes in the party platform that Trump had sought to soften US policy regarding Ukraine. (Harper, 2017)

 

The New York Times reports, and the White House confirms, a previously undisclosed meeting involving Mike Flynn, Jared Kushner, and Russian Ambassador Kislyak. According to The Times, “Michael T. Flynn, then Donald J. Trump’s incoming national security adviser, had a previously undisclosed meeting with the Russian ambassador in December to ‘establish a line of communication’ between the new administration and the Russian government, the White House said on Thursday. Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and now a senior adviser, also participated in the meeting at Trump Tower with Mr. Flynn and Sergey I. Kislyak, the Russian ambassador.” (Harper, 2017)

 

March 4, 2017

Trump is reportedly furious that Jeff Sessions had recused himself from the Trump/Russia investigation. He unleashes a tweet-storm, claiming that President Obama had wiretapped his phones during the presidential campaign. Stunned by Trump’s outburst, White House staffers begin searching for evidence to support his false wiretap claimAmong those reportedly involved in the effort are White House Counsel Donald McGahn II and Ezra Cohen-Watnick, a 30-year-old Trump transition team member whom former national security adviser Mike Flynn had brought to the White House as senior director for intelligence programs. (Harper, 2017)

 

Stone tweets — then deletes — about his communications with Assange: “[N]ever denied perfectly legal back channel to Assange who indeed had the goods on #CrookedHillary.” Forty minutes later, the tweet was gone. (Harper, 2017)

 

March 5, 2017

FBI Director Comey asked the Justice Department to rebut publicly Trump’s assertion that President Obama had ordered the wiretapping of Trump’s phones. Meanwhile, Sean Spicer announces that neither Trump nor the White House would comment further on Trump/Russia matters until Congress completes an investigation into whether President Obama’s executive branch abused its powers during 2016 election.

 

March 7, 2017

WikiLeaks releases a trove of alleged CIA documents relating to the agency’s hacking tools for smartphones, computers and internet-connected devices. (Harper, 2017)

 

Michael Ellis, 32-year-old general counsel to Nunes’ intelligence committee, joins White House Counsel McGahn’s office as “special assistant to the president, senior associate counsel to the president and deputy National Security Council legal adviser.” (Harper, 2017)

 

Former national security adviser Mike Flynn files registration documents confirming that between August 2016 and Election Day, he’d earned $530,000 for lobbying work on behalf of a company owned by a Turkish businessman. Flynn acknowledges that his work as a foreign agent could have benefitted the Turkish government.  (Harper, 2017)

 

March 8, 2017

Nigel Farage meets with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at the Embassy of Ecuador in London, where Assange had found sanctuary since 2012. (Harper, 2017)

 

March 9, 2017

In an online press conference, Assange threatens to release more documents relating to CIA’s hacking capabilities and methods. (Harper, 2017)

 

When reporters ask Sean Spicer about Nigel Farage’s meeting with Julian Assange and whether Farage was delivering a message from Trump, Sean Spicer says, “I have no idea.” (Harper, 2017)

 

Responding to questions about Mike Flynn’s lobbying activities for Turkish interests during the campaign and thereafter, Vice President Mike Pence tells Fox News’ Bret Baier twice that he’d just learned of it: “Well, let me say, hearing that story today was the first I’d heard of it. And I fully support the decision that President Trump made to ask for Gen. Flynn’s resignation.” BAIER: “You’re disappointed by the story?” PENCE: “The first I heard of it, and I think it is, uh, it is an affirmation of the president’s decision to ask Gen. Flynn to resign.” Asked whether Trump knew about Flynn’s activities on behalf of Turkish interests, Sean Spicer says, “I don’t believe that that was known.” (Harper, 2017)

 

March 10, 2017

Trump campaign surrogate Roger Stone admits that in August 2016 he had engaged in private direct messaging with Guccifer 2.0, whom US intelligence agencies later identified as the persona for the Russian hacking operation. Describing the messages as “completely innocuous,” Stone says, “It was so perfunctory, brief and banal I had forgotten it.” (Harper, 2017)

 

Mike Flynn’s replacement as national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, tells Ezra Cohen-Watnick that he is reassigning him. Unhappy with the decision, Cohen-Watnick appeals to Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner. They intervene and take the issue to Trump, who orders that Cohen-Watnick should remain in his position. (Harper, 2017)

 

March 12, 2017

John McCain tells CNN’s Jake Tapper that former Trump adviser and surrogate Roger Stone “obviously” needs to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee concerning his communications with Guccifer 2.0. McCain says that Stone should also explain fully his involvement matters relating to Ukraine’s pro-Putin former president.  (Harper, 2017)

 

March 13, 2017

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr says Roger Stone’s communications with Guccifer 2.0 are part of the Committee’s ongoing investigation and that Stone could be called to testify. (Harper, 2017)

 

March 14, 2017

House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes and ranking member Adam Schiff invite former acting Attorney General Sally Yates to testify before their committee at an open hearing on March 28, 2017. (Harper, 2017)

 

March 15, 2017

Roger Stone is riding in the front passenger seat of a car near Pompano Beach, Florida, when another car broadsides his, shifts gears, backs up and speeds away. In January, Stone had claimed that he was poisoned in late 2016 with polonium, a radioactive material manufactured in a nuclear reactor and used to kill former KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko in 2006. Litvinenko had defected to Britain and become an outspoken critic of Putin. As he lay in a hospital bed, he said Putin had been responsible for his impending death. On Jan. 21, 2016, retired British High Court Judge Sir Robert Owen concluded a House of Commons inquiry and issued a 328-page report finding that Litvinenko’s accusation was probably correct. (Harper, 2017)

 

The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes, says the committee has no evidence to support Trump’s March 4 wiretapping claim. “I don’t think there was an actual tap of Trump Tower,” Nunes says. “Are you going to take the tweets literally? If you are, clearly the president is wrong.” (Harper, 2017)

 

On the subject of his wiretapping claims, Trump tells Fox News, “I think you’re going to find some very interesting items coming to the forefront over the next two weeks.” (Harper, 2017)

 

March 16, 2017

Senate Intelligence Committee leaders issue a joint statement rebutting Trump’s unfounded assertion that President Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower: “Based on the information available to us, we see no indications that Trump Tower was the subject of surveillance by any element of the United States government either before or after Election Day 2016.” (Harper, 2017)

 

March 17, 2017

Roger Stone says he had only just received the letter from the Senate Intelligence Committee, dated Feb. 17, asking him to preserve his records relating to Russian election interference. Quoted in The New York Times, Stone says, “I had never heard allegations that Guccifer 2.0 was a Russian asset until now, and am not certain it’s correct.” He says that his 16 interactions with Guccifer 2.0, which included public Twitter posts and private messages, were all part of “exchanges,” not “separate contacts.” (Harper, 2017)

 

 

MARCH 20, 2017

Comey confirms that the FBI is investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials to influence the 2016 election. (Finnegan, 2017)

 

On the morning of FBI Director Comey’s testimony before Congress on his agency’s investigation into Russian election interference, Trump tweets: “The Democrats made up and pushed the Russian story as an excuse for running a terrible campaign. Big advantage in Electoral College & lost!” Hours later, Comey testifies that the FBI was investigating Russian interference with election, including “the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts.” With respect to Trump’s wiretapping claims, Comey says, “I have no information that supports those tweets.” (Harper, 2017)

 

In a House Intelligence Committee public hearing, Paul Manafort’s name comes up more than two dozen times. (Harper, 2017)

 

Within days of March 20, 2017

Less than a week after FBI Director Comey’s testimony, Trump personally calls the director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, and the director of the National Security Agency, Adm. Mike Rogers, and asks them to deny publicly the existence of any evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia prior to the election. A senior intelligence official later tells The Washington Post that Trump’s goal is to “muddy the waters” about the scope of the FBI probe at a time when Democrats are ramping up their calls for the Justice Department to appoint a special counsel. A NSA official reportedly documents Rogers’ conversation with Trump in a contemporaneous memo. Coats and Rogers deem Trump’s request inappropriate and refuse. Testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 7, 2017, Rogers refuses in open session to answer questions about his conversations with Trump about FBI Director Comey. But Rogers goes on to assert that he does not recall ever feeling “pressured” to interfere with any ongoing investigation. Coats adopts Rogers’ response, as do fellow testifying witnesses Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe. (Harper, 2017)

 

March 21, 2017

In his daily press briefing, Sean Spicer says that, with respect to the Trump campaign, Paul Manafort had “played a very limited role for a very limited period of time.” (Harper, 2017)

 

MARCH 22, 2017

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Tulare), who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, goes to the White House to review classified information regarding the Russia inquiry.

 

After the meeting, Nunes says that conversations by Trump transition officials may have been inadvertently picked up by U.S. surveillance. (Finnegan, 2017)

 

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), chair of the House Intelligence Committee, bypasses his fellow committee members and goes directly to the White House with alleged evidence that Trump associates may have been “incidentally” swept up in foreign surveillance by American spy agencies. Nunes refuses to release the information or name his sources, even to fellow committee members. And he confirms that he still had seen no evidence to support Trump’s claim that President Obama had ordered his wires tapped. (Harper, 2017)

 

In a joint letter to White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, the chairman and ranking member of the House Oversight Committee request information and documents relating to payments that former national security adviser Mike Flynn received from entities affiliated with foreign governments, including Russia and Turkey. (Harper, 2017)

 

As a briefing from several government agencies concludes in the Oval Office, Trump asks everyone to leave, except recently confirmed Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Trump then complains to them about FBI Director Comey’s Trump/Russia investigation and asks Coats to intervene and get Comey to back off. Coats discusses the matter with other officials and decides that Trump’s request is inappropriate. Testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 7, 2017, Coats refuses in open session to discuss his conversations with Trump. (Harper, 2017)

 

March 23, 2017

In a letter to acting Assistant Attorney General Samuel R. Ramer, Sally Yates’ lawyer disagrees with the Justice Department’s objections to Yates’ anticipated congressional testimony. Associate Deputy Attorney General Scott Schools responds that Yates’ testimony is “likely covered by the presidential communications privilege and possibly the deliberative process privilege.” But Schools adds that Yates needs only the consent of the White House, not the Justice Department, to testify. (Harper, 2017)

 

March 24, 2017

Paul Manafort, Carter Page and Roger Stone volunteer to be interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee. (Harper, 2017)

 

Yates’ lawyer writes to White House Counsel McGahn about Yates’ upcoming testimony before the House Intelligence Committee. He notes that unless McGahn objects before 10 a.m. on March 27, Yates will appear and answer the committee’s questions. (Harper, 2017)

 

House Intelligence Committee’s Russia hearings are canceled indefinitely. (Finnegan, 2017)

 

Rep. Nunes cancels public hearings scheduled for March 28. Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former CIA Director John Brennan and former acting Attorney General Sally Yates had been slated to testify before his committee. Nunes postpones their appearances indefinitely. (Harper, 2017)

 

March 26, 2017

In an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Roger Stone says, “I reiterate again, I have had no contacts or collusions with the Russians. And my exchange with Guccifer 2.0, based on the content and the timing, most certainly does not constitute collusion.” (Harper, 2017)

 

March 27, 2017

Trump tweets that the House Intelligence Committee should be looking into Bill and Hillary Clinton’s ties to Russia: “Trump Russia story is a hoax.” (Harper, 2017)

 

During lunch with Benjamin Wittes, Comey says he’s worried about Trump’s nominee for deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein. “Rod is a survivor,” he says, explaining that a person doesn’t survive for more than 25 years across Republican and Democratic administrations without making compromises. “So I have concerns.” Wittes later says he thinks Comey’s concerns stemmed, in part, from his “loyalty dinner” with Trump. If Trump had asked Comey for personal loyalty, what had he asked of Rosenstein? (Harper, 2017)

 

The New York Times reports the previously undisclosed December meeting between Kushner and Sergey Gorkov, head of the Russian bank VEB. On May 29, 2017, the White House says that Kushner met the banker “in his capacity as a transition official.” The Senate Intelligence Committee wants to question Kushner about both of Kushner’s December meetings with Kislyak and Gorkov. (Harper, 2017)

 

March 30, 2017

The Senate Intelligence Committee opens its hearings into the Trump/Russia investigation. Clinton Watts, senior fellow at George Washington University’s Center for Cyber and Homeland Security and former FBI agent, testifies that the committee should follow the money funding misinformation websites. Watts then adds a more ominous suggestion: “Follow the trail of dead Russians,” he says. “There’s been more dead Russians in the past three months that are tied to this investigation who have assets in banks all over the world. They are dropping dead, even in Western countries.” Eight Russian politicians, activists, ambassadors and a former intelligence official have died since Trump’s election. Some were apparent assassinations. (Harper, 2017)

 

The New York Times reports that Nunes’ sources for the information that he’d reviewed nine days earlier on White House grounds — and then reported to Trump directly without informing anyone on his committee — are two members of the Trump administration: Ezra Cohen-Watnick (the NSC staffer whose job Trump had saved personally around March 13) and Michael Ellis (who had served as general counsel of Nunes’ committee before becoming Trump’s “special assistant, senior associate counsel and deputy National Security Council legal adviser” on March 7). (Harper, 2017)

 

 

March 30, 2017

Flynn asks for immunity in exchange for testifying to the House and Senate intelligence committees investigating Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election, negotiations that were first reported by the Wall Street Journal. (Finnegan, 2017)

 

In the morning, according to Comey’s June 8 statement, Trump calls Comey at the FBI, asking what Comey can do to “lift the cloud” of the Russia investigation overhanging the presidency. Trump asks Comey to “get out” the fact that Trump personally is not a subject of the FBI investigation. According to Comey, Trump says “he had nothing to do with Russia” and “had not been involved with hookers in Russia,” referring to allegations in the “Steele dossier.” Trump “went on to say that if there were some ‘satellite’ associates of his who did something wrong, it would be good to find that out…” (Harper, 2017)

 

March 31, 2017

Trump tweets, “Mike Flynn should ask for immunity in that this is a witch hunt (excuse for big election loss), by media & Dems, of historic proportion!”  (Harper, 2017)

 

During an appearance with Bill Maher, Roger Stone denies that Guccifer 2.0 was an arm of Russia. “I’ve had no contacts with Russians,” he insists. (Harper, 2017)

 

 

APRIL 1, 2017

It is the same Fake News Media that said there is “no path to victory for Trump” that is now pushing the phony Russia story. A total scam! (Finnegan, 2017)

 

APRIL 3, 2017

Trump calls Putin to condemn a terrorist attack that killed 11 and injured dozens in a St. Petersburg subway. Putin was in St. Petersburg, his hometown, at the time of the attack. (Finnegan, 2017)

 

APRIL 6, 2017

Nunes steps aside from the Russia investigation – because he himself is under investigation. The House Ethics Committee, in a separate announcement, said it was looking into allegations that Nunes had improperly disclosed classified material, the same material involved in his nighttime White House meeting. Rep. K. Michael Conaway (R-Texas) takes over as head of the Intelligence Committee’s Russia inquiry, with help from Reps. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) and Tom Rooney (R-Fla.). (Finnegan, 2017)

 

The New York Times reports that Jared Kushner’s application for national security clearance had failed to disclose his December meetings at Trump Tower with Russian Ambassador Kislyak and the CEO of the Russian bank, VEB. In a statement, Kushner’s attorney says that after learning of the error, Mr. Kushner told the FBI: “During the presidential campaign and transition period, I served as a point-of-contact for foreign officials trying to reach the president-elect. I had numerous contacts with foreign officials in this capacity. … I would be happy to provide additional information about these contacts.” (Harper, 2017)

 

April 11, 2017

In the morning, according to Comey’s June 8 statement, Trump calls Comey to ask what he’d done to “get out” the fact that he wasn’t personally being investigated. Comey replies that he’d sent Trump’s request to the acting attorney general, but had not heard back. Trump says that “the cloud” was getting in the way of his ability to do his job. Comey replies that White House counsel should contact the Department of Justice leadership to make the request. Trump says he would do that and adds, “Because I have been very loyal to you, very loyal; we had that thing you know.” Comey does not reply or ask him what Trump means by “that thing.” Comey says only that the way to handle it was to have the White House counsel call the acting deputy attorney General. Trump says that was what he would do and the call ends.  (Harper, 2017)

 

The FBI obtains court permission to monitor the communications of Trump campaign advisor Carter Page since last summer, according to a Washington Post report. The U.S. believed he was acting as a Russian agent. (Finnegan, 2017)

 

April 12, 2017

The Associated Press confirms that newly obtained financial records show Paul Manafort’s firm had received two wire transfers — one in 2007 and another in 2009 — corresponding to two of the 22 entries next to Manafort’s name in Ukraine’s Party of Regions Black Ledger. Manafort’s spokesman says Manafort intended to register retroactively with the US Justice Department as a foreign agent for the work he had done on behalf of political interests in Ukraine through 2014. (Harper, 2017)

 

April 13, 2017

Former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page tells ABC’s George Stephanopoulos he won’t reveal who brought him into the Trump campaign. Page also says he didn’t recall discussing the subject of easing Russian sanctions in conversations with Russian officials during his July 2016 trip to Moscow. “We’ll see what comes out in this FISA transcript,” Page says, referring to surveillance collected after the FBI obtained a secret court order to monitor him under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. “Something may have come up in a conversation… I have no recollection.” Later he continues, “Someone may have brought it up. I have no recollection. And if it was, it was not something I was offering or that someone was asking for.” Page says that from the time of his departure as an adviser to the Trump campaign through Inauguration Day, he maintained “light contact” with some campaign members. (Harper, 2017)

 

April 19, 2017

The White House refuses the March 22 bipartisan request from the House Oversight Committee for more information and documents relating to payments that former national security adviser Mike Flynn received from entities affiliated with the Russian and Turkish governments. (Harper, 2017)

 

April 25, 2017

The Senate Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism reveals that it has scheduled former acting Attorney General Sally Yates and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to testify on May 8, 2017. (Harper, 2017)

 

The Senate confirms Rod Rosenstein as deputy attorney general. Because Attorney General Jeff Sessions had recused himself from matters relating to the 2016 presidential election, including the Trump/Russia investigation, Rosenstein becomes the top Justice Department official supervising FBI Director Comey on that investigation. FBI Director Comey later testifies (at the 1:18 mark) that he explains to Rosenstein his “serious concern about the way in which the president is interacting, especially with the FBI….” (Harper, 2017)

 

Flynn reportedly receives a message from Trump to “stay strong.” When the story appears on May 18, the White House does not respond to a request for comment. (Harper, 2017)

 

 

APRIL 27, 2017

The Pentagon inspector general is investigating whether Flynn violated military rules by accepting foreign payments from Russia and Turkey, which is disclosed by a House committee. According to documents released, Flynn was warned in 2014, when he was retiring from the military, not to accept payments from foreign governments without advance approval from the Pentagon. (Finnegan, 2017)

 

April 28, 2017

The chair and vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee send letters to several former Trump campaign advisers, including Carter Page, Mike Flynn, Paul Manafort and Roger Stone. Among other requests, the letters ask for a “list of all meetings between you and any Russian official or representative of Russian business interests which took place between June 16, 2015 and Jan. 20, 2017.” The letters also request information about any such meetings of which they are aware, as well as all documents relating to Trump campaign communications with Russian officials or business representatives. The committee also seeks information about any financial and real estate transactions related to Russia from June 15, 2015 through Trump’s inauguration. (Harper, 2017)

 

April 29, 2017

In an interview airing on Trump’s 100th day in office, he tells CBS’ John Dickerson, “The concept of Russia with respect to us [the Trump campaign] is a total phony story.” Dickerson then asks, “You don’t think it’s phony that they, the Russians, tried to meddle in the election?” Trump answers, “That I don’t know.” Later, Trump says, “I’d love to find out what happened.” (Harper, 2017)

 

 

MAY 2, 2017

For the first time since tensions rose over U.S. missile strikes on a Syrian air base, Trump and Putin talk by phone. After those strikes, Trump had said relations with Russia “may be at an all-time low.” White House officials later said that during this phone call, Putin asked Trump to meet with Russian officials. (Finnegan, 2017)

 

FBI Director Comey was the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton in that he gave her a free pass for many bad deeds! The phony…

…Trump/Russia story was an excuse used by the Democrats as justification for losing the election. Perhaps Trump just ran a great campaign? (Finnegan, 2017)

 

MAY 3, 2017

Comey defends his decision to alert Congress just days before the presidential election that he would further investigate Hillary Clinton’s emails.

“It makes me mildly nauseous to think that we might have had some impact on the election,” he said. (Finnegan, 2017)

 

In response to Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who asks FBI Director Comey about Trump’s April 29, 2017 interview in which he said that the hacking of the DNC “could’ve been China, could’ve been a lot of different groups,” Comey answers, “The intelligence community with high confidence concluded it was Russia.” (Harper, 2017)

 

May 5, 2017

The chair and vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee issue a joint statement, saying: “Three days ago, Carter Page told Fox News he was cooperating with the Committee’s investigation into Russian activities surrounding the 2016 Election. Today we have learned that may not be the case.” The statement expresses the hope that Page “will live up to his publicly-expressed cooperation with our effort.” (Harper, 2017)

 

May 6-7, 2017

Trump spends the weekend at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey. Since March, he’s been fuming over Comey’s congressional appearance, in which the FBI director had acknowledged the FBI’s ongoing investigation into Trump campaign ties to Russia and had refuted Trump’s false claim that President Obama had wiretapped him. In the weeks that followed, Trump grew angrier and talked about firing Comey. At Bedminister, Trump grouses over Comey’s May 3 congressional testimony — especially his comment about being “mildly nauseous” at the thought that his actions relating to the Clinton investigation might have affected the outcome of the election. (Harper, 2017)

 

May 8, 2017

Trump informs a small group of his closest advisers, including Vice President Mike Pence, Jared Kushner and White House counsel Don McGahn, that he plans to fire FBI Director James Comey. According to The New York TimesMcGahn counsels Trump to delay dismissing Comey; Kushner urges him to proceed. (Harper, 2017)

 

Yates, the former acting attorney general, testifies that she warned the Trump administration about Flynn on three occasions. On the same day, former Obama administration officials confirm that Obama had warned Trump about Flynn, just two days after the election. (Finnegan, 2017)

 

General Flynn was given the highest security clearance by the Obama Administration – but the Fake News seldom likes talking about that.

Director Clapper reiterated what everybody, including the fake media already knows- there is “no evidence” of collusion w/ Russia and Trump.

The Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax, when will this taxpayer funded charade end? (Finnegan, 2017)

 

Trump follows Kushner’s advice and, according to ABC News, Kushner, White House counsel Don McGahn, Vice President Pence and chief of staff Reince Priebus begin to prepare talking points about Comey’s planned firing. Meanwhile, Trump summons Attorney General Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein to the White House, where he instructs them provide a written justification for removing Comey. Before Rosenstein prepares the requested memo, he knows Trump intends to fire Comey. (Harper, 2017)

 

MAY 9, 2017

Trump ousts Comey, and the White House releases memos from Deputy Atty. Gen. Rod Rosenstein and Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions. Rosenstein ties his recommendation to dismiss Comey to his handling of the Clinton email investigation.

In his dismissal letter to Comey, Trump includes this passage: “While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the bureau.”

The White House says that in addition to Trump and the Justice Department, the FBI’s “rank-and-file had lost confidence in their director.” (Finnegan, 2017)

 

On May 9, federal prosecutors issued grand jury subpoenas seeking business records from people who worked with Flynn when he was a private citizen.  (Amanda Becker, 2017)

 

Over Turkey’s objections, the Pentagon announces that the US will partner with Kurds to retake the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa. On Jan. 10, the Obama administration had presented President-elect Trump with a plan to partner with the Kurds against ISIS, but his then-national security adviser-designate Mike Flynn had killed it.  (Harper, 2017)

 

May 10, 2017

Vice President Mike Pence says repeatedly that Comey’s firing occurred because Sessions and Rosenstein recommended it: The deputy attorney general “came to work, sat down and made the recommendation for the FBI to be able to do its job that it would need new leadership. He brought that recommendation to the president. The attorney general concurred with that recommendation.” (Harper, 2017)

 

Deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says Trump had been thinking about firing Comey “since the day he was elected,” but reiterates Pence’s position that Sessions and Rosenstein were “absolutely” the impetus for the firing. (Harper, 2017)

 

The Washington Post and The New York Times report that Trump had been the impetus for Comey’s firing, not Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein. (Harper, 2017)

 

Rod Rosenstein speaks by phone with White House counsel Don McGahn. According to The Wall Street Journal, Rosenstein insists that the White House correct the misimpression that Rosenstein initiated the process leading to Comey’s firing. He suggests that he can’t work in an environment where facts aren’t reported accurately. (Harper, 2017)

 

The White House releases a new timeline of the events relating to Comey’s firing. It recites that the impetus for removing Comey had come from Trump, not the deputy attorney general. But the White House acknowledges that Trump met with Sessions and Rosenstein on May 8 to discuss “reasons for removing the director” and that the attorney general and his deputy sent their written recommendations to Trump on May 9. (Harper, 2017)

 

House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) asks the Justice Department’s inspector general to investigate Comey’s firing. (Harper, 2017)

 

On May 10, the Senate Intelligence Committee issued the first subpoena in its Russia investigation, demanding documents from Flynn. He provided the first batch on June 6. (Amanda Becker, 2017)

 

Trump meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at the White House. The New York Times later reported that during their meeting Trump said, “I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job.” (Finnegan, 2017)

 

At an Oval Office meeting with Russia’s Ambassador Kislyak, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and their aides, Trump reveals highly classified intelligence about the Islamic State and American counterterrorism plans. The meeting occurs because Putin previously had asked Trump to meet with Lavrov, and, Trump later says, he didn’t feel he could say no. Kislyak’s presence was unexpected. The intelligence that Trump reveals is so sensitive that it has not been shared with American allies and has been tightly restricted within the US government. Minutes after the meeting ends, Kislyak’s presence becomes known when the Russian news agency TASS publishes photographs that a Russian photographer had taken of the session. The White House had not permitted any US news organization to attend any part of the meeting, even for photographs. During the meeting, Trump also discusses the Comey firing. “I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job,” Trump says. “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.” Then he adds, “I’m not under investigation.” (Harper, 2017)

 

MAY 11, 2017

NBC News’ Lester Holt interviews Trump about Comey’s firing. Holt asks Trump whether Comey was truthful in telling the president that he wasn’t under investigation. Trump responds: “I know that I’m not under investigation. Me. Personally. I’m not talking about campaigns; I’m not talking about anything else.” (Finnegan, 2017)

 

Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, testifying at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, contradicts the White House when asked whether the rank-and-file of the FBI had lost confidence in Comey.

“No, sir, that is not accurate,” he told Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), adding, “I hold Director Comey in the absolute highest regard.” (Finnegan, 2017)

 

MAY 12, 2017

Trump tweets, “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”

“Again, the story that there was collusion between the Russians & Trump campaign was fabricated by Dems as an excuse for losing the election.”

“James Comey better hope that there are no “tapes” of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!” (Finnegan, 2017)

 

The White House releases a one-page March 8, 2017 letter from Trump’s outside lawyers — Sheri Dillon and William Nelson at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. The carefully worded letter states that “with a few exceptions” totaling about $100 million, Trump’s tax returns from 2005 “do not reflect” any “income from Russian sources,” “debt owed by you or [The Trump Organization] to Russian lenders,” “equity investments by Russian persons or entities,” or “equity or debt investments by you or [The Trump Organization] in Russian entities.” The letter does not define “Russian” or purport to determine whether or to what extent individuals from Russia, Ukraine, or other former Soviet-bloc countries may have used shell corporations through which they may have conducted transactions with Trump businesses. Months earlier, Dillon had developed and presented Trump’s business conflicts of interest plan whereby Trump retained all ownership in his businesses. (Harper, 2017)

 

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) — a unit that specializes in combating money-laundering — will share financial records with the Senate Intelligence Committee investigating Trump’s ties to Russia. (Harper, 2017)

 

Between May 13 and May 15, 2017

                        After seeing Trump’s “tapes” tweet, Comey remembers that he has contemporaneous memos of his conversations with Trump. He gives them to a friend at Columbia Law School and asks his friend to provide them to the press. (Harper, 2017)

 

MAY 15, 2017 Classified intelligence

The Washington Post reports that Trump shared highly classified information about Islamic State with Russian diplomats during a meeting the previous week. The information came, according to the report, from a source that had not authorized the U.S. to share it with the Russians. (Finnegan, 2017)

 

National security adviser H.R. McMaster issues a 40-second “non-denial denial” of the Washington Post story that Trump disclosed highly classified intelligence to Russian Ambassador Kislyak and Foreign Minister Lavrov. McMaster says, “The story that came out tonight as reported is false… At no time, at no time were intelligence sources or methods discussed. And the president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known.” The Post story had said nothing about disclosure of “intelligence sources and methods.” “I was in the room,” McMaster concludes, “It didn’t happen.” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who also attended the Oval Office meeting with the Russians, issues a statement saying the group “did not discuss sources, methods or military operations.” (Harper, 2017)

 

At his daily press conference, Sean Spicer refuses — seven times — to answer whether Trump is secretly recording his conversations. (Harper, 2017)

 

Trump meets in the Oval Office with the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, who had arranged the January 2017 meeting in the Seychelles Islands between Erik Prince and a Russian close to Putin. (Harper, 2017)

 

MAY 16, 2017

The New York Times reports that a memo written by Comey to document a Feb. 14 conversation with Trump includes Comey’s account of the president asking him to end the Flynn investigation. Comey would confirm that information in his June testimony. (Finnegan, 2017)

 

In response to press reports that former FBI Director James Comey had written a contemporaneous memorandum documenting Trump’s Feb. 14 request to halt the Flynn investigation,the White House issues an unattributed statement that concludes: “This is not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the president and Mr. Comey.” (Harper, 2017)

 

Trump Tweets, As President I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining…. …to terrorism and airline flight safety. Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism. (Harper, 2017)

 

National security adviser McMaster tells reporters repeatedly that Trump’s disclosure of intelligence with the Russians was “wholly appropriate.” As his press conference ends, McMaster says that Trump “wasn’t even aware where this information came from. He wasn’t briefed on the source or method of the information either.” (Harper, 2017)

 

MAY 17, 2017

Putin calls the concern over the Trump administration’s ties to Russia “political schizophrenia.” He also offers to share Russian records of the meeting between Trump and Lavrov with the U.S. Congress, if the White House approves. (Finnegan, 2017)

 

Former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III is named the special counsel to take over the Justice Department’s Russia investigation. (Finnegan, 2017)

 

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein names former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to oversee the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference with the election. In a White House statement, Trump says, “As I have stated many times, a thorough investigation will confirm what we already know — there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity. I look forward to this matter concluding quickly.” (Harper, 2017)

 

MAY 18, 2017

With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special councel appointed!

“This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!” (Finnegan, 2017)

 

At a joint news conference with the president of Colombia, a reporter asks Trump whether he ever asked former Director Comey to close or back down the investigation into Michael Flynn. “No. No,” Trump answers. “Next question.” He goes on to characterize the ongoing Trump/Russia investigation as “totally ridiculous” and a “witch hunt.” Then he adds, “Director Comey was very unpopular with most people, I actually thought when I made that decision. And I also got a very, very strong recommendation, as you know, from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.”  (Harper, 2017)

 

TIME reports that congressional investigators are reviewing whether Cambridge Analytica or Breitbart News played any role in working with Russian efforts to help Trump win the election. (Harper, 2017)

 

 

MAY 19, 2017

News outlets report that the FBI is investigating a Trump aide in connection to the Russia inquiry. Six days later, it was revealed that it is Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. (Finnegan, 2017)

 

Vice President Pence faces added scrutiny on what he knew about Flynn’s connections to Turkey and Russia — and when he knew it. Democrats on the House Oversight Committee post a Nov. 18, 2016 letter from Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) to Pence, who at the time was vice president-elect and chair of the presidential transition team. The letter expressed concerns about national security adviser-designate Flynn’s ties to those countries. In response to the posting, Pence’s spokesperson states, “The vice president stands by his comments in March upon first hearing the news regarding Gen. Flynn’s ties to Turkey and fully supports the President’s decision to ask for General Flynn’s resignation.” A White House aide adds, “I’m not sure we saw the letter.” Democrats on the House Oversight Committee then post the formal Nov. 28, 2016 transition team message acknowledging receipt of Cummings’ letter. (Harper, 2017)

 

The Senate Intelligence Committee announces that former FBI Director Comey will testify in a public hearing after Memorial Day. (Harper, 2017)

 

Reuters reports on efforts by White House lawyers to undermine Robert Mueller’s credibility. They’re particularly interested in a rule that restricts newly hired government lawyers from investigating clients of their former employer for at least one year. By executive order on Jan. 28, 2017, Trump had extended that period to two years; however, the Justice Department can waive the rule. Mueller’s law firm WilmerHale represents Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort, but the firm says that Mueller has not personally worked with any Trump-related clients. Meanwhile, CNN reports that White House lawyers are also researching impeachment procedures. (Harper, 2017)

 

May 22, 2017

The Washington Post reports that at a meeting in March, Trump asked Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and National Security Agency Director Adm. Michael S. Rogers to publicly deny any existence of evidence that the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia. The Post’s sources said the men did not comply. (Finnegan, 2017)

 

Rather than produce documents in response to a subpoena from the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mike Flynn invokes his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Paul Manafort and Roger Stone produced some documents in response to the committee’s request. (Harper, 2017)

 

MAY 23, 2017 Coats is questioned about meeting

During a Senate Armed Services Committee meeting, Coats is asked about the Washington Post report.

“It’s not appropriate for me to comment publicly on any of that,” he says. (Finnegan, 2017)

 

Former CIA Director John Brennan testifies before the House Intelligence Committee that during the summer of 2016, he noticed suspicious contacts between Russian government officials and associates of Trump’s campaign. Brennan says that he knew the US election was under Russian attack and feared that the Trump campaign might be aiding the effort. (Harper, 2017)

 

May 24, 2017

In response to media reports that Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ application for national security clearance had failed to disclose his contacts with Russian officials, Sessions says he was “instructed not to list meetings with foreign dignitaries and their staff connected with his Senate activities.” (Harper, 2017)

 

MAY 26, 2017

The Washington Post reports that Trump’s son-in-law proposed a private back channel between the Kremlin and Trump’s transition team during a meeting in December. (Finnegan, 2017)

 

The Washington Post reports that the Senate Intelligence Committee has demanded that the Trump campaign produce all Russia-related documents, emails and phone records dating to June 2015, when the campaign was launched. (Harper, 2017)

 

May 27, 2017

Reuters reports that Jared Kushner had at least three previously undisclosed contacts with Russian Ambassador Kislyak during and after the presidential campaign. Two were phone calls between April and November. His attorney says that Kushner “has no recollection of the calls as described” and asks Reuters for the dates that they allegedly occurred. (Harper, 2017)

 

May 28, 2017

In three Sunday morning talk show appearances, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly says that if Kushner was trying to a create a backchannel to communicate with the Russian government, it was a “good thing.” Veteran diplomatic and intelligence experts remain unconvinced. (Harper, 2017)

 

May 31, 2017

The House Intelligence Committee approves the issuance of subpoenas to Mike Flynn, Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen, and the businesses that each of them runs. Separately, several news outlets report that House Committee Chairman Nunes, who had recused himself from the committee’s Trump/Russia investigation, issued subpoenas to former Obama administration officials on the issue of “unmasking” — revealing the names of persons referenced in intelligence reports. (Harper, 2017)

 

The Washington Post reports that the Trump administration is moving toward returning two suspected espionage compounds to Russia. When President Obama issued new sanctions on Dec. 29, he said that the compounds — located in New York and Maryland — were being “used by Russian personnel for intelligence-related purposes” and had given Russia 24 hours to vacate them. (Harper, 2017)

 

Sergey Gorkov, head of Russian bank VEB, refuses to comment in response to reporters’ questions about his December 2016 meeting with Jared Kushner. (Harper, 2017)

 

June 1, 2017

Putin tells reporters that “patriotically minded” private Russian hackers might have been involved in cyberattacks that interfered with the US election. “We’re not doing this on the state level,” Putin says. (Harper, 2017)

 

June 2, 2017

Special counsel Robert Mueller assumes control over a federal grand jury criminal investigation of Mike Flynn’s ties to Turkey, as well as the criminal investigation involving Paul Manafort. (Harper, 2017)

 

JUNE 5, 2017

Reality Leigh Winner, an NSA contractor with a top security clearance, is arrested for allegedly leaking classified documents to the Intercept about Russian hacking during the election.

Winner’s arrest marks the first time under the Trump administration that someone was charged with leaking classified information. (Finnegan, 2017)

 

JUNE 6, 2017

On May 10, the Senate Intelligence Committee issued the first subpoena in its Russia investigation, demanding documents from Flynn. He provided the first batch on June 6. (Amanda Becker, 2017)

 

JUNE 6, 2017

Trump on June 6 chose former U.S. Justice Department official Christopher Wray, who represented New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in the so-called Bridgegate scandal, to be the next FBI director. Wray will need Senate confirmation. (Amanda Becker, 2017)

 

JUNE 7, 2017

One day before he testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Comey’s seven-page opening statement is released. It details five one-on-one meetings that Comey had with Trump, either in person or by phone.

The statement says Trump asked Comey to drop the investigation on Flynn, lift the “cloud” of the Russia investigation and publicly state that Trump was not under investigation. (Finnegan, 2017)

 

JUNE 8, 2017

During his testimony, Comey addresses 15 senators’ questions over the course of three hours. In regards to the Russia investigation, he says:

There’s “no doubt” that Russia meddled in the U.S. election.

He took Trump’s expression of “hope” that he end the Flynn investigation as a directive.

He won’t publicly discuss the FBI investigation of Flynn or possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia during the election. (Finnegan, 2017)

 

Trump’s personal attorney, Marc Kasowitz, issues a statement saying that Trump “feels completely vindicated” by Comey’s testimony. Shortly thereafter, reports circulate that Trump’s legal team is planning to file a complaint with the Justice Department inspector general against Comey for “leaking” memos of his conversations with Trump. (Harper, 2017)

 

June 9, 2017

Trump tweets Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication…and WOW, Comey is a leaker! (Harper, 2017)

 

Trump accuses Comey of lying under oath to the Senate Intelligence Committee and agrees “100 percent” to provide his version of events under oath. He refuses to answer whether he has tapes of his conversations with Comey. (Harper, 2017)

 

JUNE 13, 2017

Less than a week after Comey testifies, the spotlight turns to Sessions, the attorney general. During nearly three hours of answering Senate Intelligence Committee questions about his actions pertaining to the Russia investigation, he:

Says he does not remember meeting any Russia diplomat at the Mayflower Hotel.

Denies colluding with Russia.

Says he in effect had recused himself from the Russia inquiry from his first day on the job, before he officially did so, and had never been briefed on the status of the investigation. He says his letter to Trump recommending Comey’s firing did not conflict with his recusal. (Finnegan, 2017)

 

JUNE 14, 2017

The Washington Post, in an exclusive story, reports that officials requesting anonymity have confirmed Mueller, the special counsel, is investigating Trump for possible obstruction of justice. The Post notes that this is a major development in the Russia investigation, as Trump had previously been told that he, personally, was not under investigation.

“The FBI leak of information regarding the President is outrageous, inexcusable and illegal,” said Mark Corallo, a spokesman for Trump’s lawyer Marc Kasowitz. (Finnegan, 2017)

 

 

References

Amanda Becker, C. 2. (2017, June 14). US News. Retrieved from http://www.usnews.com: https://www.usnews.com/news/top-news/articles/2017-06-14/what-we-know-about-us-probes-of-russian-meddling-in-2016-election

Finnegan, C. S. (2017, June 14). LA Times. Retrieved from http://www.latimes.com: http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-trump-flynn-comey-russia-timeline-2017-htmlstory.html

Harper, S. (2017, June 13). Moyers and Company. Retrieved from http://billmoyers.com: http://billmoyers.com/story/the-trump-resistance-plan-a-timeline-russia-and-president-trump/

 

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