aside Timeline Of Trump-Russian Saga 2016/ Part IV

Trump nominated Jay Clayton to head the Securities

  • On June 19, 2017, Steven Harper of the Bill Moyers blog published an updated timeline:
  • Mid-January 2016: Flynn applies for a five-year renewal of his security clearance. [Added May 25, 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.” [Added May 25, 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.”
  • 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. [Added March 3, 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.” [Added April 10, 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. [Added May 25, 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.” [Added March 3, 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. [Supplemented April 24, 2017]
  • March 29, 2016: On Roger Stone’s recommendation, Paul Manafort joins the Trump campaign as convention manager, tasked with lining up delegates. [Added March 27, 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. [Revised May 30, 2017]
  • April to December 2016: Russia’s patent office grants 10-year extensions for six unused Trump trademarks that are set to expire in 2016. Trump had originally acquired the trademarks for hotel and branding deals that never materialized — including “Trump Tower” in 1996 and four more hotel-related trademarks in 2007, when Felix Sater and Bayrock Group were scouting potential deals in Russia. [Added June 19, 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.
  • 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. [Added March 13, 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). [Added March 13, 2017]
  • May 19, 2016: Paul Manafort becomes Trump’s campaign chairman and chief strategist. [Added March 27, 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. [Added March 6, 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. [Added March 13, 2017]
  • Also on 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. [Added May 18, 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. [Revised May 30, 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. 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. [Added April 24, 2017]
  • July 6, 2016: Another batch of hacked DNC documents appears on the Guccifer 2.0 website. [Added March 13, 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. [Revised March 20, 2017]
  • July 14, 2016: Another batch of hacked DNC documents appear on the Guccifer 2.0 website. [Added March 13, 2017]
  • July 15, 2016: Trump tweets:

    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.

    [Added May 25, 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.
  • Also on July 18, 2016: At a Heritage Foundation event during the Republican Convention, Jeff Sessions speaks individually with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. [Added March 3, 2017]
  • July 19, 2016: Bloomberg reports that over the past year, Trump’s debt load has almost doubled from $350 million to $630 million. [Added May 8, 2017]
  • Also during the July 2016 Republican Convention: 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. [Revised March 6, 2017]
  • July 22, 2016: On the eve of the Democratic National Convention, WikiLeaks releases its first trove of emails stolen from the DNC.
  • 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.” [Added March 6, 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.” [Added March 3, 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.”
  • 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. [Revised May 30, 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. [Added April 24, 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.”
  • Also on July 31, 2016: 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.” [Added March 3, 2017]
  • And also on July 31, 2016: 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. [Added March 6, 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. [Added May 22, 2017]
  • Aug. 4, 2016: CIA Director John Brennan warns the director of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) not to meddle in the election. [Added May 30, 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. [Added March 13, 2017]
  • Also on Aug. 5, 2016: 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. [Added April 17, 2017]
  • Aug. 6, 2016: NPR confirms the Trump campaign’s involvement in the Republican platform change on Ukraine.
  • 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.” [Updated May 8, 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.” [Added April 24, 2017]
  • Also on Aug. 12, 2016: A batch of hacked Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) documents appear on the Guccifer 2.0 website. [Added March 13, 2017]
  • Also on Aug. 12, 2016: 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.” [Added April 24, 2017]
  • Also on Aug. 12, 2016: 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.” [Added May 30, 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. [Added March 13, 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.” [Added March 13, 2017]
  • Also on 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. [Added April 17, 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?” [Added March 13, 2017]
  • Also on Aug. 15, 2016: Guccifer 2.0 releases hacked DCCC documents on primaries in Florida. [Added March 13, 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” [Added March 13, 2017]
  • Also on Aug. 16, 2016: 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. [Added April 24, 2017]
  • Also on Aug. 16, 2016: 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….” [Added April 24, 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.” [Added March 13, 2017]
  • Also on Aug. 17, 2016: 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. [Added April 17, 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.” [Added April 24, 2017]
  • Aug. 19, 2016: As reports of Manafort’s financial connections to Ukraine intensified, he resigns from the Trump campaign.
  • Also on Aug. 19, 2016: 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. [Added April 17, 2017]
  • Aug. 21, 2016: Trump surrogate Roger Stone tweets, “Trust me, it will soon the Podesta’s time in the barrel. #CrookedHillary” [Added March 13, 2017]
  • Also on Aug. 21, 2016: Guccifer 2.0 posts hacked DCCC documents on Pennsylvania’s congressional primaries. [Added March 13, 2017]
  • Also on Aug. 21, 2016: 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.” [Added April 24, 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. [Added May 30, 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.” [Added April 24, 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.” [Added April 24, 2017]
  • Aug. 31, 2016: Guccifer 2.0 posts documents hacked from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s personal computer. [Added March 13, 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. [Added May 22, 2017]
  • Sept. 8, 2016: Jeff Sessions meets Russian ambassador Kislyak in his Senate office. [Added March 3, 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.’” [Added March 13, 2017]
  • Sept. 15, 2016: Guccifer 2.0 posts hacked DCCC documents on New Hampshire, Ohio, Illinois and North Carolina. [Added March 13, 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.” [Added April 24, 2017]
  • Sept. 23, 2016: Guccifer 2.0 posts hacked DCCC documents on chairman Rep. Ben Ray Lujan. [Added March 13, 2017]
  • Also on 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. [Added April 17, 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….” [Added April 17, 2017]
  • Sept. 26, 2016: Amid accusations that he has ties to Russia, Carter Page takes a leave of absence from the Trump campaign. [Added April 17, 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. [Added April 24, 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.”
  • Oct. 4, 2016: Trump tweets: “CLINTON’S CLOSE TIES TO PUTIN DESERVE SCRUTINY.”
  • Also on Oct. 4, 2016: Guccifer 2.0 posts documents hacked from the Clinton Foundation. [Added March 13, 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.
  • Oct. 12, 2016: Roger Stone tells NBC News, “I have back-channel communications with WikiLeaks.”
  • 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. [Added May 22, 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.”
  • 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. [Added April 24, 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. [Added March 6, 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.” [Added March 6, 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. [Added March 6, 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. [Added April 24, 2017]
  • Nov. 8, 2016: Election Day.
  • Nov. 9, 2016: After Putin announced Trump’s election victory, Russia’s Parliament erupts in applause.
  • Nov. 10, 2016: Russia’s deputy foreign minister admits that during the campaign, the Kremlin had continuing communications with Trump’s “immediate entourage.”
  • Also on Nov. 10, 2016: During their first meeting after the election, President Obama warns Trump about appointing Mike Flynn to a top national security post. In 2014, Obama had removed Flynn as the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency. [Added May 15, 2017]
  • Nov. 11, 2016: Vice President-elect Pence replaces Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) as chair of Trump’s transition team. [Added May 25, 2017] [Added May 25, 2017]
  • Nov. 14, 2016: 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. [Added May 22, 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.” [Added May 8, 2017]
  • Nov. 28, 2016: Trump’s transition team acknowledges receipt of Cummings’ Nov. 18 letter regarding Mike Flynn. [Added May 30, 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. [Added May 8, 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.” [Added May 30, 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. [Added March 3, 2017]
  • Also in 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. [Added March 3, 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. [Added May 30, 2017]
  • Dec. 8, 2016: Carter Page is in Moscow for several days to meet with “business leaders and thought leaders.” [Added March 6, 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.’ ”
  • Also on Dec. 9, 2016: 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. [Added April 17, 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.
  • Also on Dec. 11, 2016: 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.”
  • 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.” [Added March 3, 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.”
  • Sometime in 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. [Revised June 5, 2017]
  • Dec. 29, 2016: On the same day President Obama announces sanctions against Russia in retaliation for its interference in the 2016 election, national security adviser-designate Lt. Gen. Flynn places five phone calls to the Russian ambassador.
  • Dec. 30, 2016: After Putin makes a surprise announcement that Russia would not retaliate for the new sanctions, Trump tweets, “Great move on delay (by V. Putin) — I always knew he was very smart.”
  • 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. [Added May 30, 2017]
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11 comments

    • Dear Nan Mykel,

      Can you believe that only 37 of republicans even believe the basic tenet that Russia meddled with 2016 US elections?

      Thanks a million for all your support and for this reblog.

      Hugs, Gronda

  1. Thanks for sharing these detailed timelines. They show a deep relationship that has been denied, then admitted when pressed among several folks including the President. Plus, various changes toward Russia in the GOP platform and stances are interesting.

    • Dear Keith,

      The detailed timeline confirms for me that DDT’s days are numbered.

      I am just confounded about how his followers, 37% do not believe in any of this but then, they all listen to FOX TV. Can you believe Brett Hume tried floating the concept that even if DDT did collude with Russians to help him win, that this is not an illegal act? It’s just treason.

      Hugs, Gronda

      • Gronda, it is treason. This goes against everything we are as a country. Maybe this is akin to him shooting someone on 5th Avenue which the candidate said he could get away with in the eyes of his followers. It was an insulting remark, but he may be closer to the truth than not. Keith

  2. At least our Kremlin acolytes did it the discreet and gentlemanly (irony) way and joined the Intelligence Services (and those that fled to the then USSR were dumped and ‘forgotten’ by their handlers).

    • Dear Roger,

      The Russians are still the best at this game of espionage and they’ve proved it with co-opting the assistance of DDT and his republican Russian acolytes. President Putin and President Trump meet face to face for the first time in the near future. Wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the wall for this event.

      Hugs, Gronda .

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