All information here is gathered from open-source (Wikipedia) and from news sources (links cite where information was gathered)
1987: Trump travels to Russia with interest to build a hotel in Moscow.
1987: Trump first meets Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev, military figure Alexander Lebed, Moscow’s mayor, Yuri M. Luzhkov in DC. Trump and Luzhkov discuss construction of a large shopping mall in Moscow.
1996: Trump partners with Liggett-Ducat, a small company which happens to be Russia’s number one cigarette brand, and planned to build an upscale residential development on a Liggett-Ducat property in Moscow.
2000: Trump begins partnership with a development company headquartered in New York represented by a Russian immigrant, Felix Sater, included building Trump Towers internationally, with Russia included.
2005: Felix Sater acts as an agent for building a Trump tower alongside Moscow River with letters of intent in hand and “square footage was being analyzed.”
2006: Trump’s children Donald Jr. and Ivanka stayed in the Hotel National, Moscow for several days, across from the Kremlin, to see promising partners, with the intent of doing real estate development deals. Sater traveled to Moscow with Ivanka and Donald Jr.
2006: Trump’s company begins to apply for a number of trademarks in Russia with the goal of real estate developments. These trademark applications include: Trump, Trump Tower, Trump International Hotel and Tower, and Trump Home.
2007: A company called Bayrock organized a potential deal in Moscow between Trump International Hotel and Russian investors. Trump was associated with Tevfik Arif, formerly a Soviet commerce official and founder of a development company called the Bayrock Group, of which Sater was also a partner. Bayrock searched for deals in Russia while Trump branded towers were attempting to further expand in the United States. Sater said, “We looked at some very, very large properties in Russia,” on the scale of “…a large Vegas high-rise.
2007: Trump Super Premium Vodka, bottles glazed with 24-karat gold, debuted in at the Millionaire’s Fair in Moscow. It was successful only until sometime in 2009. Trump attempted to create a reality show in St. Petersburg, starring a Russian athlete. However, this was not successful.
2008: Trump said as a speaker at a Manhattan real estate conference that he feared the outcome of doing business deals in Russia, but he really prefers “Moscow over all cities in the world” and that within 18 months he had been in Russia a half-dozen times.
- Russian spies attempt to recruit Carter Page, who later will go on to work for the Trump Presidential Campaign.
- The businessman, Carter Page, met with one of three Russians who were eventually charged with being undeclared officers with Russia’s foreign intelligence service, known as the S.V.R. The F.B.I. interviewed Mr. Page in 2013 as part of an investigation into the spy ring, but decided that he had not known the man was a spy, and the bureau never accused Mr. Page of wrongdoing.
- The court documents say that Mr. Page, who founded an investment company in New York called Global Energy Capital, provided documents about the energy business to one of the Russians, Victor Podobnyy, thinking he was a businessman who could help with brokering deals in Russia.
- In fact, Mr. Podobnyy was an S.V.R. officer posing as an attaché at the Russian mission to the United Nations.
- Court documents do not identify Mr. Page, but the details in a statement he emailed to reporters on Tuesday match the individual described as “Male-1” in the court case. Mr. Page’s contact with the Russian spy was first reported on Monday by BuzzFeed News.
- F.B.I. interviewed Mr. Page, who said he had first met Mr. Podobnyy at an energy symposium in New York earlier that year. Mr. Page said that he had exchanged emails with Mr. Podobnyy about the energy business, that they had met in person once to talk about the energy industry, and that he had also given Mr. Podobnyy documents about the energy business.
- In his emailed statement to the New York Times in April 2017, Mr. Page said, “as I explained to federal authorities prior to the January 2015 filing of this case, I shared basic immaterial information and publicly available research documents with Podobnyy who then served as a junior attaché at the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations.”
- Mr. Page, who at the time was also teaching a course on energy and politics at New York University, said in his statement that he had given the Russian “nothing more than a few samples from the far more detailed lectures I was preparing at the time for the students.”
Nov 11: Trump holds Miss Universe pageant in Moscow. The event’s location was secured thanks to licensing fees of nearly $20 million paid by a Moscow real estate development firm called the Crocus Group. Its president is a man named Aras Agalarov. Shortly after the pageant, Trump tweets his enthusiasm about working with Agalarov on a real estate development. Agalarov’s son, Emin, is a vice president of Crocus Group — and a pop singer. Later that month, a new video is released by Emin Agalarov, starring Donald Trump. Emin Agalarov’s publicist in the United States is a man named Rob Goldstone.
May 30: Professor Dr. Joseph Mifsud, Director of London Academy of Diplomacy at the University of East Anglia, who will later cultivate Trump campaign foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos in 2016, meets with Russian ambassador to the United Kingdom, Alexander Yaovenko.
Oct or Nov: Mifsud visits Washington D.C., speaking at American University, Mifsud expounded on his now-shuttered Russian intelligence front, the London Academy for Diplomacy (LAD) and encouraged students to join it. But while American University’s events page now describes Mifsud’s talk as “page not found,” a university video recorded Mifsud’s lecture for posterity. Introducing Mifsud, OAS spokesperson (now Ombudsperson), Cherry Tross, described her “great respect” for the professor and explained that he had delivered a “stellar” presentation to the OAS the day before.
Jan 26: US AG Eric Holder announces charges against Russian spy ring that attempted to recruit U.S. citizens in New York City.
- Attorney General Eric Holder, Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara for the Southern District of New York and Assistant Director Randall C. Coleman of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division announced charges today against Evgeny Buryakov, aka “Zhenya,” Igor Sporyshev and Victor Podobnyy in connection with Buryakov’s service as a covert intelligence agent on behalf of the Russian Federation (Russia) in New York City, without notifying the U.S. Attorney General of Buryakov’s status as an agent of Russia, as required by federal law. Buryakov was placed under arrest earlier today in Bronx, New York, and is scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn in federal court in Manhattan later today. Sporyshev and Podobnyy no longer reside in the United States and have not been arrested. By virtue of their prior positions in the United States on behalf of Russia, both of them were protected by diplomatic immunity from arrest and prosecution while in the United States.
- Carter Page was among the people Podobnyy attempted to recruit.
March: Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she served as secretary of state is made public. Clinton reveals that she turned over work-related emails to the government for the purposes of maintaining records but that personal emails on the server were deleted. Some 31,000 emails fell into that latter category, screened by a team of attorneys.
April: Russian intelligence-linked hacking group Fancy Bear gains access to DNC servers, targeted opposition research files. The Fancy Bear breach had access to the entire DNC research staff.
- A second group of hackers associated with Russian intelligence, named Cozy Bear, gain access to the DNC servers. The breach continues for over a year. Cozy Bear targets email and chat communications. This breach follows an earlier one by Fancy Bear, in April. The two groups, Cozy and Fancy Bear, did not appear to be working together. Fancy Bear is believed to have been working for Russian’s GRU, the military intelligence service and Cozy Bear working for FSB, the security agency of Russia, once led by Vladimir Putin.
- Russian Twitter accounts posing as Americans began lavishing praise on Mr. Trump and attacking his rivals within weeks after he announced his bid for the presidency in June 2015, according to the analysis by The Wall Street Journal.
June 15: Trump announces his candidacy for U.S. President.
Spring: U.S. intel begins surveillance of Russian associates communications with Trump associates (possibly Trump himself?)
Sept: 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 makes a cursory check of DNC server logs and does not reply to follow-up calls from the FBI agent, allegedly because of a belief that the call might have been a prank.
Sept 21: 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.”
Oct 28: Donald Trump signs a ‘letter of intent’ to construct a Trump-branded building in Moscow; a fact made public in August 2017.
Nov: Trump associate Felix Sater emails Trump lawyer Michael Cohen: “Michael, I arranged for Ivanka to sit in Putin’s private chair at his desk and office in the Kremlin. Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it. I will get all of Putin’s team to buy in on this”.
Dec 10: Retired Lieutenant General Michael T. Flynn gives a paid speech on world affairs in Moscow, at a gala dinner organized by RT News, an English-language Russian propaganda network. Flynn had appeared on RT as an analyst after he retired from the Army. The dinner is also attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is the guest of honor. Flynn is seated directly next to Putin; also seated at the head table are Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein and members of Putin’s inner circle, including Sergei Ivanov, Dmitry Peskov, and Alexey Gromov. For his December speech, Flynn 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.
Dec 11: Republican candidate Ted Cruz’s campaign was exposed for using psychological data pulled from tens of millions of Facebook users by Cambridge Analytica, The Guardian reported. The firm was later connected to the Trump campaign.
- Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen attempts to contact Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, requesting assistance towards construction of a Trump-branded building in Moscow.
- Zuckerberg meets with then-President Barack Obama and aides to talk about ISIS and counterterrorism efforts on Facebook following the shootings in San Bernardino. There was discussion of fake news and the election but no talk of Russia or other foreign entities, The Washington Post reported in September.
Feb 1: The Iowa caucuses are held, marking the official start of the 2016 presidential primary season. Hillary Clinton wins the Democratic caucus, while Donald Trump takes second place in the Republican contest.
Feb 28: Jeff Sessions, then a U.S. senator from Alabama and now the attorney general, formally endorses Trump for president. He becomes a high-profile surrogate during the Republican primaries.
Feb 29: Paul Manafort submits a five-page proposal to Trump outlining his qualifications to help Trump secure enough convention delegates and win the Republican presidential nomination. Manafort describes how he had assisted several business and political leaders, notably in Russia and Ukraine.
Mar 3: Jeff Sessions named chair of Trump’s national-security advisory committee.
Mar 10: Emails dressed up to look like they came from Google, the company that provided the Clinton campaign’s email infrastructure, first begin to circulate to their intended targets. The messages urged users to boost their security or change their passwords while in fact steering them toward decoy websites designed to collect their credentials.
One of the first people targeted was Rahul Sreenivasan, who had worked as a Clinton organizer in Texas in 2008 — his first paid job in politics. Sreenivasan, now a legislative staffer in Austin, was dumbfounded when told by the AP that hackers had tried to break into email@example.com. He said the address had been dead for nearly a decade.
Mar 14: George Papadopoulus joins Trump campaign
On or about Mar 14: Papadopoulus met with a London based professor while traveling in Italy who he understood to have substantial connections to Russian government officials
Mar 16: Wikileaks launches searchable archive for 50,547 pages of Hillary Clinton’s emails released previously by the State Department in May 2015. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/mar/16/hillary-clintons-email-archive-made-searchable-wik/
Mar 19: Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta’s Gmail account is hacked.
Among the people hackers targeted were top Clinton lieutenants — including campaign manager Robby Mook, senior adviser Jake Sullivan and political fixer Philippe Reines.
A malicious link was generated for Podesta at 11:28 a.m. Moscow time, the AP found. Documents subsequently published by WikiLeaks show that the rogue email arrived in his inbox six minutes later. The link was clicked twice.
Podesta’s messages — at least 50,000 of them — were in the hackers’ hands.
Mar 20: Papadopoulos meets with Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos in DC. Kammenos runs the Institute for Geopolitical Studies, which has a Memoradum of Understanding with the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies— which helped orchestrate Russia’s 2016 election interference. Kammenos opposes Russian sanctions and has ties to powerful Russian oligarchs close to Putin.
- Papadopoulos is invited to attend Trump’s press conference at the Old Post Office Building, the future site of the Trump International Hotel DC. Papadopoulos is unexpectedly invited upstairs to meet and eat with Trump. Trump never reveals this meeting occurred, instead giving the impression (directly and through Sarah Huckabee Sanders) that he only met Papadopoulos once— on March 31, at the Trump International Hotel in DC.
- In a Washington Post interview, Papadopoulos is named by Donald Trump as one of five foreign policy advisors for the Trump campaign. Trump calls Papadopoulos an “excellent guy” in the interview.
- Trump also 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 had blamed 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.
Mar 22, 23, and 25: Though the heart of the Hillary Clinton campaign was now compromised, the email hacking efforts continued. Three new volleys of malicious messages were generated on the 22nd, 23rd and 25th of March, targeting communications director Jennifer Palmieri and Clinton confidante Huma Abedin, among others, raising red flags for the FBI, which had spent the previous six months urging the Democratic National Committee in Washington to raise its shield against suspected Russian hacking. In late March, FBI agents paid a visit to Clinton’s Brooklyn headquarters, where they were received warily, given the agency’s investigation into the candidate’s use of a private email server while secretary of state.
Mar 24: Papadopoulos meets with the professor (identified as Joseph Mifsud, director of the London Academy of Diplomacy) in London who brings along with him a female Russian national. In an email Papadopoulos describes her as “Putin’s niece.” He later learns that she is not, in fact, related to Putin. Following the meeting he relayed the meeting in an email to the Trump campaign team. The Campaign Supervisor responded “Great work.”
Mar 29: Paul Manafort joins Trump campaign to “help secure delegates” on recommendation from long-time Trump associate, and long-time business partner of Manafort, Roger Stone.
Mar 31: Papadopoulos attends “national security meeting” in DC with Trump and other foreign policy advisors. He tells the group while introducing himself that he could help arrange a meeting between Trump and Putin. “He went into the pitch right away,” said J. D. Gordon, a campaign adviser who attended the meeting. “He said he had a friend in London, the Russian ambassador, who could help set up a meeting with Putin.” Mr. Trump listened with interest. Mr. Sessions vehemently opposed the idea, Mr. Gordon recalled. “And he said that no one should talk about it,” because Mr. Sessions thought it was a bad idea that he did not want associated with the campaign, he said. Several of Mr. Trump’s campaign advisers attended the March 2016 meeting, and at least two of those advisers are now in the White House: Hope Hicks, the communications director, and Stephen Miller, a senior policy adviser. After Mr. Trump was sworn in, he could not escape questions about Russia. At a Feb. 16, 2017, White House news conference, a reporter asked Mr. Trump, “Can you say whether you are aware that anyone who advised your campaign had contacts with Russia during the course of the election?” “No,” Mr. Trump said. “Nobody that I know of. Nobody.”
Spring 2016: U.S. intelligence officials’ suspicions about Russian meddling in the election grow after their counterparts in Europe warn that Russian money might be flowing into the presidential election.
Early April: Papadopoulos emails Trump campaign regarding his Russian contacts and “outreach to Russia” despite reports that Sessions shut down the effort (or at least a discussion of the effort) at a March 31, 2016 meeting.
April 6: More than 60 bogus emails were prepared for Clinton campaign and DNC staffers, and the hackers began hunting for Democrats beyond New York and Washington, targeting the digital communications director for Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and a deputy director in the office of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The group’s hackers seemed particularly interested in Democratic officials working on voter registration issues: Pratt Wiley, the DNC’s then-director of voter protection, had been targeted as far back as October 2015 and the hackers tried to pry open his inbox as many as 15 times over six months.
April 10: Papadopoulos emails the female Russian national and they discuss setting up “a potential foreign policy trip to Russia.” The professor is copied.
April 11: Professor writes back that he will be traveling to Moscow on the 18th for meetings at the Russian government’s legislative assembly.
April 12: Someone paid $37 worth of bitcoin to the Romanian web hosting company THCServers.com, to reserve a website called Electionleaks.com, according to transaction records obtained by AP. A botched registration meant the site never got off the ground, but the records show THC received a nearly identical payment a week later to create DCLeaks.com.
April 18: Professor introduces Papadopoulos to a Russian MFA connection (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) to set up potential meeting.
April 20: By the second half of April, the DNC’s senior leadership was beginning to realize something was amiss. One DNC consultant, Alexandra Chalupa, received an April 20 warning from Yahoo saying her account was under threat from state-sponsored hackers, according to a screengrab she circulated among colleagues.
April 22: Russian MFA emails Papadopoulos suggesting they meet in London with the Russian Ambassador.
April 25: Papadopoulos emails a “senior policy advisor for the Campaign” saying “the Russian government has an open invitation by Putin for Mr. Trump to meet him when he is ready. The advantage of being in London is that these governments tend to speak a bit more openly in ‘neutral’ cities.”
April 26: Papadopoulos meets Professor at a London hotel. Professor tells him he just returned from meeting with high-level Russian government officials and learned that the Russians had obtained “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, saying “they (the Russians) have dirt on her” “the Russians had emails of Clinton”; “they have thousands of emails”
April 27: After meeting with Professor, Papadopoulos emails “Senior Policy Advisor” of Trump campaign: “Have some interesting messages coming in from Moscow about a trip when the time is right.” Papadopoulos also emailed a high-ranking Trump campaign official “to discuss Russia’s interest in hosting Mr. Trump. Have been receiving lots of calls over the last month about Putin wanting to host him and the team when the time is right.”
April 27: Trump briefly meets Kislyak in a pre-event reception line shortly before Trump delivers a major foreign-policy speech at an event hosted by the Center for the National Interest in Washington. Kislyak was among a group of ambassadors invited by the center to attend the event. Sessions was also in attendance, although there’s no evidence he met Kislyak at the reception. “The line moved quickly and any conversations with Mr. Trump in that setting were inherently brief and could not be private,” the center said in a March 8, 2017, statement. “Our recollection is that the interaction between Mr. Trump and Ambassador Kislyak was limited to the polite exchange of pleasantries appropriate on such occasions.”
April 30: Papadopoulos emails Professor thanking him for his “critical help” arranging meeting between Trump campaign and Russian government, writing “it’s history making if it happens”
Late April: DNC’s IT department notices suspicious computer activity, contacts FBI and hires CrowdStrike to investigate.
May: Crowdstrike makes public Russian-linked hackers were likely responsible for DNC breach.
May 4: Russian MFA connection emails Papadopoulos and Professor, stating “I have just talked to my colleagues from the MFA. They are open for cooperation. One of the options is to make a meeting for you at the North America Desk, if you are in Moscow.” Papadopoulos replied that he was “glad the MFA is interested” and forwarded the email to the high ranking Trump campaign official and added “What do you think? Is this something we want to move forward with?”
- Trump becomes the presumptive Republican nominee for president after Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Ohio Governor John Kasich withdraw from the race.
- Papadopoulos contacts Corey Lewandowski about a potential Putin-Trump meeting.
May 5: Papadopoulos in a phone call with Trump campaign supervisor raised the idea of meeting with MFA.
May 13: Professor emails Papadopoulos saying “we will continue to liase through you with the Russian counterparts in terms of what is needed for a high level meeting of Mr. Trump with the Russian Federation.”
May 14: Papadopoulos emails high-ranking Trump campaign official, saying the “Russian government has also relayed to me that they are interested in hosting Mr. Trump.”
Mid to Late May: Before going to Athens, Papadopoulos makes the highest-level plea regarding a Trump-Putin meeting, emailing Campaign Manager Manafort. Manafort does not shoot down the idea but notes Trump himself will not attend such a meeting and someone needs to communicate this to the Russians.
May 17: Trump tweets about Hillary Clinton’s emails: “Wow, 30,000 e-mails were deleted by Crooked Hillary Clinton. She said they had to do with a wedding reception. Liar! How can she run?”
May 19: Manafort promoted to Campaign Chairman
May 21: Papadopoulos emails another high-ranking Trump campaign official, with subject line: “Request from Russia to meet Mr. Trump.” email includes May 4th email with MFA and adds “Russia has been eager to meet Mr. Trump for quite sometime and have been reaching to out me to discuss.” The official forwarded Papadopoulos’ email to another campaign official (without including Papadopoulos) and stated “Let’s discuss. We need someone to communicate that DT is not doing these trips. It should be someone low level in the campaign so as not to send any signal.”
May 26: Trump secures enough unpledged Republican delegates to assure that he will be nominated candidate for the presidency.
May 27: Putin arrives in Athens, Greece to meet with Panos Kammenos, President Pavlopoulos and others. Papadopoulos, traveling “incognito” and “with almost absolute secrecy” according to the Greek media, is in Athens on the same day and meeting with the same two Putin allies.
June 2016: Facebook approached the FBI with evidence of Russian accounts on the platform. The company’s security team had uncovered accounts linked to a Kremlin-backed hacking team APT28, according to The Washington Post.
- At a closed-door gathering of foreign policy experts visiting with the Prime Minister of India, Trump foreign policy advisor Carter Page hails Putin as stronger and more reliable than President Obama and touts the positive effect that a Trump presidency would have on U.S.-Russia relations.
- The FBI sends a warning to states about “bad actors” probing state voter-registration databases and systems to seek vulnerabilities; investigators believe Russia is responsible.
- Rick Dearborn, then Chief of Staff for Sessions, sends an email mentioning an individual from West Virginia seeking to connect Trump campaign members with Putin. Dearborn appears “skeptical” of the meeting request.
- After the trip, Page offered the campaign a readout, according to the transcript, and he spoke then to national co-chairman Sam Clovis, whom Page said separately asked him to sign a non-disclosure agreement. “I’ll send you guys a readout soon regarding some incredible insights and outreach I received from a few Russian legislators and senior members of the presidential administration here,” he wrote, according to an email quoted by California Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House intelligence panel. Page insists that the reference in his post-trip email regarding “insights” was describing things he learned from speeches given at the event.
- Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, Keith Kellogg, JD Gordon, Jeff Sessions and other members of the foreign policy team attended a dinner together at the Republican Club in DC near Capital South Metro Station, according to Carter Page in his November 2017 HPSCI hearing (Page 101). It was at that dinner that Carter says he mentioned to Jeff Sessions in passing that he planned to travel to Russia for a trip “completely unrelated” to his volunteer role in the campaign. “Understandably, it was as irrelevant then as it is now,” Mr. Page said. Mr. Page traveled twice to Russia in 2016. In January of 2017, Sessions will tell Congress under oath he knew of no campaign members who had met with Russian officials.
June 1: Papadopoulos emails high-ranking campaign official asking about Russia, he’s referred to campaign supervisor because “he is running point.” Papadopoulos emails the campaign supervisor saying “I have the Russian MFA asking me if Mr. Trump is interested in visiting Russia at some point. Wanted to pass this info along to you for you to decide what’s best to do with it and what message I should send (or to ignore).”
June 2: During a speech in San Jose a few days before the California primary, Trump again refers to the emails deleted from Hillary Clinton’s private server. “By the way, Hillary Clinton is missing 30,000 emails,” he says. “They’ve been deleted. 30,000. 30,000.” Trump was discussing a New York Times story about his relationships with women. He noted that one of the women critical of him in that story had previously praised him over email — which he still had in his possession.
June 3, 10:36 a.m.
Rob Goldstone emails Donald Trump Jr.:
Emin [Agalarov] just called and asked me to contact you with something very interesting.
The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.
This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and it’s government’s support for Mr. Trump – helped along by Aras and Emin.
What do you think is the best way to handle this information and would you be able to speak to Emin about it directly?
I can also send this info to your father via Rhona, but it is ultra sensitive so wanted to send to you first.
“Rhona” is Rhona Graff, Donald Trump’s assistant.
Trump Jr. replies to Goldstone:
Thanks Rob I appreciate that. I am on the road at the moment but perhaps I just speak to Emin first. Seems we have some time and if it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer. Could we do a call first thing next week when I am back?
June 6, 12:40 p.m.
Goldstone to Trump Jr.:
Let me know when you are free to talk with Emin by phone about this Hillary info – you had mentioned early this week so wanted to try to schedule a time and day Best to you and family
Trump Jr. asks Goldstone over email if he can speak with Agalarov at that moment. In a later email, he asks Goldstone to have Agalarov call his cell phone.
Goldstone emails Trump Jr. to tell him that Agalarov is on-stage at the moment but that he can have him call in 20 minutes.
Trump Jr. thanks Goldstone for his help. It’s not clear from this email if the two spoke.
June 7, 4:20 p.m.
Goldstone emails Trump Jr.:
Emin asked that I schedule a meeting with you and The Russian government attorney who is flying over from Moscow for this Thursday.
I believe you are aware of the meeting – and so wondered if 3pm or later on Thursday works for you?
It’s still not clear, but this email may suggest that Trump Jr. and Agalarov spoke.
Trump Jr. suggests a meeting at 3 p.m. This is later changed to 4 p.m.
June 6: Clinton secures enough delegates to become the presumptive Democratic nominee for president.
June 7, evening: Trump wins the primaries in California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota, giving him the delegates to officially clinch the Republican nomination. During his victory speech that night, Trump promises more dirt on Clinton. “I am going to give a major speech on probably Monday (June 13) of next week and we’re going to be discussing all of the things that have taken place with the Clintons. I think you’re going to find it very informative and very, very interesting.”
June 9, 10:53am: Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican Party, enters Trump Tower. He’s there as the Trump campaign launches its effort to fundraise for the general election. That effort includes a lunch meeting that Manafort attends.
June 9: Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, Rinat Akhmetshin, Irakly Kaveladze, Rob Goldstone, Anatoli Samachornov, and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya meet at Trump Tower, in meeting arranged by long-time Trump acquaintance Rob Goldstone, on behalf of his client Emin Agalarov.
June 10: It was 4 p.m. on Friday June 10 when some 100 staffers filed into the Democratic National Committee’s main conference room for a mandatory, all-hands meeting. “What I am about to tell you cannot leave this room,” DNC chief operating officer Lindsey Reynolds told the assembled crowd, according to two people there at the time. Everyone needed to turn in their laptops immediately; there would be no last-minute emails; no downloading documents and no exceptions. Reynolds insisted on total secrecy. “Don’t even talk to your dog about it,” she was quoted as saying.
June 12: As the cybersecurity firm that was brought in to clean out the DNC’s computers finished its work, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told a British Sunday television show that emails related to Clinton were “pending publication.”
“WikiLeaks has a very good year ahead,” he said.
June 13: A hacker or group calling themselves Guccifer 2.0 releases over 10,000 names from the DNC in two spreadsheets and a list of objectionable quotes from Sarah Palin.
June 14: The Democratic National Committee publicly reveals that Russian hackers had broken into the party’s servers and accessed emails and opposition research.
June 15: William Bastone, the editor-in-chief of investigative news site The Smoking Gun, got an email bearing a small cache of documents marked “CONFIDENTIAL.” “Hi,” the message said. “This is Guccifer 2.0 and this is me who hacked Democratic National Committee.” Guccifer 2.0 acted as a kind of master of ceremonies during a summer of leaks, proclaiming that the DNC’s stolen documents were in WikiLeaks’ hands, publishing a selection of the material himself and constantly chatting up journalists over Twitter in a bid to keep the story in the press.
June 18: Guccifer 2.0 dumps a new batch of documents from the DNC servers, including personal information of 20,000 republican donors and opposition research on Trump.
June 19: Lewandowski says this is the day Carter Page sent his email informing Lewandowski, Hope Hicks, and JD Gordon he planned to take a trip to speak at the New Economy School in Moscow. Politico later reported that Corey Lewandowski, the Trump campaign manager at the time, signed off on the trip as long as Page didn’t make it as an official campaign representative. Page informed senior campaign officials Corey Lewandowski, Hope Hicks and JD Gordon about his trip ahead of time. Lewandowski, who was Trump’s campaign manager, told Page he should go if he wanted to, given it was not affiliated with the campaign. “If you’d like to go on your own, not affiliated with the campaign, you know, that’s fine,” Page recalled during the interview. Lewandowski denied ever receiving the email up until Nov 7th, when he admitted he may have received it.
June 20: Corey Lewandowski, Trump campaign manager is terminated from the Trump campaign.
June 24: Guccifer 2.0 appeared particularly excited to hear on June 24 that his leaks had sparked a lawsuit against the DNC by disgruntled supporters of Clinton rival Bernie Sanders. “Can it influence the election in any how?” he asked a journalist with Russia’s Sputnik News, in uneven English.
Late June: Guccifer 2.0 began directing reporters to the newly launched DCLeaks site, which was also dribbling out stolen material on Democrats. When WikiLeaks joined the fray on July 22 with its own disclosures the leaks metastasized into a crisis, triggering intraparty feuding that forced the resignation of the DNC’s chairwoman and drew angry protests at the Democratic National Convention. Guccifer 2.0, WikiLeaks and DCLeaks ultimately published more than 150,000 emails stolen from more than a dozen Democrats, according to an AP count. The AP has since found that each of one of those Democrats had previously been targeted by Fancy Bear, either at their personal Gmail addresses or via the DNC, something a finding established by running targets’ emails against the Secureworks’ list. All three leak-branded sites have distanced themselves from Moscow. DCLeaks claimed to be run by American hacktivists. WikiLeaks said Russia wasn’t its source. Guccifer 2.0 claimed to be Romanian.But there were signs of dishonesty from the start. The first document Guccifer 2.0 published on June 15 came not from the DNC as advertised but from Podesta’s inbox, according to a former DNC official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press. The official said the word “CONFIDENTIAL” was not in the original document. Guccifer 2.0 had airbrushed it to catch reporters’ attention.
Mid June to Mid August: Papadopoulos pursues “off the record” meeting between one or more campaign representatives and “members of the President Putin’s office and the MFA” On or about June 19, he emailed the high-ranking Trump campaign official stating “The Russian MFA messaged and said that if Mr. Trump is unable to make it to Russia, if a campaign rep (me or someone else) can make it for meetings? I am willing to make the trip off the record if it’s in the interest of Mr. trump and the campaign to meet specific people.”
- Carter Page, a national-security adviser for the Trump campaign, speaks at a graduation ceremony at the New Economy School in Moscow. During the speech, Page criticized the U.S. and other Western powers for “[impeding] potential progress through their often hypocritical focus on ideas such as democratization, inequality, corruption and regime change.”
- Page will later admit, in early November, during a seven-hour, closed-door interview before the House Intel Committee, that he met with Russian deputy prime minster Arkadiy Dvorkovich during his July 2016 trip to Moscow.
- Page will also admit in that interview that he told Jeff Sessions, who was then a U.S. senator and is now attorney general, and Sam Clovis, then the national co-chairman of Trump’s campaign, that he was traveling to Moscow to make a speech at the New Economic School. It was on that trip that he met with the Russian officials.
- On Oct. 18 later this year, Sessions will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee that he was not aware of anyone in the Trump campaign that had communications with the Russians.
July 18-21: RNC Convention takes place in Cleveland
July 18: Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak attends the convention, meeting Page and J. D. Gordon as Trump’s foreign policy advisors, they stress that he would like to improve relations with Russia. Sessions speaks with Kislyak at a Heritage Foundation event. Gordon lobbies to remove arms sales to Ukraine from the Republican platform, citing concerns over conflict escalation in Donbass.
July 21: Trump formally accepts Republican nomination.
July 22: Wikileaks leaks 19,252 emails from seven key officials of the DNC online.
July 24: Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned as chairwoman of DNC over email scandal.
July 25: Cybersecurity firm tell DNC and Clinton campaign that Russian intel most likely behind hack and forwarded them to Wikileaks.
July 25-28: DNC Convention takes place in Philadelphia
July 27: Trump says he “hopes” Russia can find Clinton’s missing emails at news conference. Trump later says he was being sarcastic.
July 28: Hillary Clinton formally accepts the Democratic nomination.
July 28: RNC staff are told by RNC counsel’s office to preserve all campaign related documents. www.buzzfeed.com/henrygomez/rnc-tells-staff-to-preserve-all-documents-related-to-2016
End of July: CIA Director John Brennan, alarmed over intelligence that Russia is trying to “hack” the election, forms a working group of officials from the CIA, FBI and NSA. According to later testimony by James Comey, the FBI starts a counter-intelligence investigation about Russian interference, including possible coordination between Trump associates and Russia.
August 4: Brennan calls his Russian counterpart Alexander Bortnikov, head of the Federal Security Service (FSB), to warn him against meddling in the presidential election.
August 14: New York Times reports on Manafort’s dealings in Ukraine https://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/15/us/politics/paul-manafort-ukraine-donald-trump.html
On or about August 15: Campaign supervisor (Clovis) told Papadopoulos “I would encourage you” and another foreign policy advisor to the campaign to “make the trip, if it is feasible.” The trip never took place.
August 18: The FBI issues a nationwide “flash alert” warning state election officials about foreign infiltration of election systems in two states, later reported to be Arizona and Illinois. The alert includes technical evidence suggesting Russian responsibility, and urges states to boost their cyberdefenses. Although labeled for distribution only to “NEED TO KNOW recipients,” a copy is leaked to the media.
August 19: Manafort resigns
August 26: Assange states that Clinton is causing “hysteria” about Russia, following her claims that Russian intelligence was behind the leaks. He also says “The Trump campaign has a lot of things wrong with it, but as far as we can see being Russian agents is not one of them.
August: Trump donor Rebekah Mercer asks the CEO of Cambridge Analytica whether the company could better organize the Clinton-related emails being released by WikiLeaks.
Sept: George Papadopoulos had a one-on-one working-level meeting with the unnamed UK FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) official. The meeting took place with an unidentified, high-ranking member of the UK’s department that handles foreign affairs. A working-level meeting means that Papadopoulos and the FCO official had substantive talks; it was not simply to exchange pleasantries. They likely discussed policy and Trump’s positions on various aspects of foreign policy, per one of the U.K. government sources. This is the first confirmation that Papadopoulos had a major role in the Trump foreign policy team, especially with one of the United States’ important and steadfast allies. Since the news of Papadopoulos’s arrest became public, White House officials and people in President Trump’s orbit have consistently tried to downplay his role in the campaign.
- Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Press Secretary, October 30: “It was extremely limited. (Papadopolous) was a volunteer position. And again, no activity was ever done in an official capacity on behalf of the campaign. He was a volunteer on the campaign.”
- President Trump, October 31: ‘Few people knew the young, low level volunteer named George”
- Corey Lewandowski, former Trump Campaign Manager, October 31: “George was a low-level volunteer who might have attended a meeting of the foreign policy advisory team. He was not a person who was involved with the day-to-day operations of the campaign, or a person who I recall interacting with.”
- Michael Caputo, former Trump Campaign Aide, October 31: “He was a coffee boy. He had nothing to do with the campaign.”
Sept 4: Donald Trump Jr. Tweets about Wikileaks for the first time.
Sept 8: Sessions meets with Kislyak a second time, in Sessions’ office; he later says they discussed Ukraine and terrorism.
- Wikileaks tweets that the DNC is bracing for the release of more documents.
- Wikileaks tweets a promotion of Guccifer newly leaked DNC documents
- Second mention on Twitter for Guccifer docs on Wikileaks account the same day.
- Wikileaks tweets a correction of the password
- Wikileaks advises how to download torrents
- Wikileaks tweets again the DNC archive
- Donald Trump Jr. receives a decryption key and website address for hacked DNC documents, which were already made public by Wikileaks a day earlier.
- Wikileaks claims The Guardian has 1,500 leaked GOP docs
Sept 29: Comey testifies before the House Judiciary Committee, confirming that federal investigators have detected suspicious activities in voter registration databases, as stated in the August 18 alert.
Oct 7: Podesta’s emails begin to be leaked online by Wikileaks. It’s later learned that a hacking group, Fancy Bear, affiliated with Russian intelligence, was responsible for the hack. The DHS and the ODNI issue a joint statement accusing the Russian government of breaking into the computer systems of several political organizations and releasing the obtained material via DCLeaks, WikiLeaks and Guccifer 2.0, with the intent “to interfere with the U.S. election process. Hillary Clinton’s phone began buzzing with crank messages after its number was exposed in a leak from the day before. The number had to be changed immediately; a former campaign official said that Abedin, Clinton’s confidante, had to call staffers one at a time with Clinton’s new contact information because no one dared put it in an email.The same afternoon, just as the American electorate was digesting a lewd audio tape of Trump boasting about sexually assaulting women, WikiLeaks began publishing the emails stolen from Podesta. The publications sparked a media stampede as they were doled out one batch at a time, with many news organizations tasking reporters with scrolling through the thousands of emails being released in tranches. At the AP alone, as many as 30 journalists were assigned, at various times, to go through the material. Guccifer 2.0 told one reporter he was thrilled that WikiLeaks had finally followed through. “Together with Assange we’ll make america great again,” he wrote.
Oct 18: Jeff Sessions testifies before the Senate Judiciary committee. He refused to discuss his conversations with Trump about Jim Comey and Russia.
Oct 19: During the third presidential debate, Clinton blames Russia for the DNC email leaks and accuses Trump of being a “puppet” of Putin. A Financial Times probe finds evidence a Trump venture has links to alleged laundering network.
Oct 27: Details on Trump’s digital operation called “Project Alamo” are explored in a Bloomberg report. For example, his team created a Facebook ad with the text, “Hillary Thinks African Americans are Super Predators,” and targeted it to African American voters in order to “depress Clinton’s vote total,” Bloomberg wrote. “I wouldn’t have come aboard, even for Trump, if I hadn’t known they were building this massive Facebook and data engine,” Steve Bannon told Bloomberg. “Facebook is what propelled Breitbart to a massive audience. We know its power.” At the Valdai Discussion Club yearly forum, Putin denounces American “hysteria” over accusations of Russian interference, saying “Does anyone seriously think that Russia can influence the choice of the American people?
Oct 13: Trump’s eventual National Security Advisor Mike Flynn pushes messages from Russian-backed troll accounts on Twitter, including @TEN_GOP
Flynn’s son, Michael Flynn Jr., was an even more ardent consumer of Russian troll content, retweeting the propaganda accounts 47 times in all, according to data in the Polititweet archive. Ten_GOP, an account he retweeted 37 times, benefited the most, with five retweets defending General Flynn, one purporting to debunk Russian election interference, and another pushing misinformation about a Twin Falls, Idaho assault case that Russia was then using to inflame anti-refugee sentiment in the US. The troll account Pamela_Moore13 got eight retweets, and Jenn_Abrams and rightnpr (“Right and Proud”) each enjoyed a single retweet from the junior Flynn, who also favored the Russian account USA_Gunslinger (“Gunslinger Girl” from “Wisconsin”) with a personal reply on election day.
Nov 5, 7: Flynn continued to push messages from Russian-backed troll accounts on Twitter.
Nov 8: Donald Trump is elected President of the United States
Nov 10: Zuckerberg made his first public statements about the effect of fake news on the election. He rejected the notion that it had any impact. – “Personally I think the idea that fake news on Facebook, which is a very small amount of the content, influenced the election in any way. I think is a pretty crazy idea. Voters make decisions based on their lived experience,” Zuckerberg said. Kislyak states that Russia was not involved with U.S. election hacking. In a private Oval Office meeting, Obama warns Trump against hiring Flynn.
Nov 14: Facebook employees spoke out against Zuckerberg’s dismissal of fake news affecting the election and formed an “unofficial task force,” BuzzFeed reported.
Nov 15: In an interview with Wired, Trump’s digital director Brad Parscale said, “Facebook and Twitter were the reason we won this thing. Twitter for Mr. Trump. And Facebook for fundraising.” Meanwhile, Facebook and Google said they would no longer allow ads to appear on fake news sites via their advertising networks.
Nov 18: Trump announces he will nominate Sessions to be Attorney General and Flynn as National Security Adviser. Elijah Cummings, ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, writes a letter to Pence warning that Flynn’s connections to Russia and Turkey might create conflicts of interest. He asks the Trump administration’s transition team for documents related to Flynn. Receipt of the letter is acknowledged on November 28.
Nov 19: Zuckerberg published a late-night blog post on steps his company was taking to fight fake news.
“The bottom line is: we take misinformation seriously,” Zuckerberg wrote. “We take this responsibility seriously. We’ve made significant progress, but there is more work to be done.”
Nov 22: Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner talked about targeting voters on Facebook as part of a Forbes cover story. “Chatting over McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish sandwiches, Trump and Kushner talked about how the campaign was underutilizing social media. The candidate, in turn, asked his son-in-law to take over his Facebook initiative,” Forbes wrote.
“I called somebody who works for one of the technology companies that I work with, and I had them give me a tutorial on how to use Facebook micro-targeting,” Kushner told Forbes.
Early December 2016:
- In Russia, Sergei Mikhailov, FSB cyber chief, Ruslan Stoyanov, senior researcher with Kaspersky Lab, and Dmitry Dokuchayev, a hacker known as “Forb”, are arrested for treason. Kushner meets Russian banker and FSB Academy graduate Sergei Gorkov. The meeting was first reported in March 2017, and attracted interest of federal and congressional investigators in May.
- Wilbur Ross, eventual Commerce Secretary for Donald Trump, files disclosure forms which state he has a financial state in a shipping company, Navigator Holdings, which has ties to the Kremlin. The information is revealed in the Paradise Papers leak in early November 2017. Ross said in a government ethics disclosure filed after his nomination that he held an investment worth as much as $10 million in shipping company Navigator Holdings. But news organizations including the New York Times alleged over the weekend he did not disclose that the company’s clients include a Russian energy company called Sibur whose owners include Putin’s son-in-law and the oligarch, who is close to the Kremlin and has been sanctioned by the U.S. government.
Dec 1 and 2: According to an anonymous letter to The Washington Post citing leaked intercepts of Russian diplomatic communications, during a transition team meeting at Trump Tower, Kushner asks Kislyak about the potential to communicate directly with the Kremlin over a Russian-encrypted channel. Flynn also attends the meeting.
Dec 15: Clinton tells a group of donors in Manhattan that Russian hacking was ordered by Putin “because he has a personal beef against me” due to her accusation in 2011 that Russian parliamentary elections that year were rigged.
Dec 26: Oleg Erovinkin, a former KGB official, is found dead in the back seat of his car in Moscow. He was suspected of assisting former MI-6 agent Christopher Steele in compiling a dossier alleging Trump ties to Russia as part of opposition research.
Dec 29: Obama expels 35 Russian diplomats, locks down two Russian diplomatic compounds, and expands sanctions against Russia. Flynn has telephone conversations with Kislyak to discuss sanctions.
Jan 5: Obama is briefed on the intelligence community’s findings. Flynn, Bannon and Kushner meet with the king of Jordan. According to BuzzFeed, they discuss a plan to deploy American nuclear power plants in Jordan with security support from a Russian company. “People close to the three Trump advisers” deny the allegations.
- A report from the Director of National Intelligence linked social media and Russian propaganda advocating for Trump’s election. “A journalist who is a leading expert on the Internet Research Agency claimed that some social media accounts that appear to be tied to Russia’s professional trolls—because they previously were devoted to supporting Russian actions in Ukraine—started to advocate for President-elect Trump as early as December 2015,” the report read.
- A few months after the DNI report, in November of 2017, the WSJ found that the propaganda campaign started earlier than December, and actually began in June 2015, a few weeks before Trump announced his campaign for President. The earlier starting point of pro-Trump tweets highlights the breadth of the Russian effort to manipulate social media during the 2016 election. Kremlin-paid actors sowed division among Americans with fake pages and accounts, inflammatory postings and thousands of paid ads aimed at both liberal and conservative audiences, according to testimony before Congress last week.
Jan 9: Kushner is named Senior Advisor to the President.
- BuzzFeed reported the existence of the Trump-Russia dossier (also called the Steele dossier), a series of reports prepared by a private intelligence source in Great Britain. The unverified dossier alleged various connections and collusion between Trump associates and Russia before and during the 2016 presidential election.
- In a confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Attorney General Jeff Sessions denies communicating with the Russian government in the course of Trump’s election campaign. Senator Al Franken, Democrat of Minnesota, asked Sessions about contacts between the campaign and Russia. “I’m not aware of any of those activities,” Mr. Sessions said. He denied having any such contacts himself. Democrats condemned those remarks as misleading when it was revealed that Mr. Sessions held meetings with the Russian ambassador during the campaign. Last month, Mr. Franken renewed his questioning. “You don’t believe that surrogates from the Trump campaign had communications with the Russians?” he asked. “I did not, and I’m not aware of anyone else that did,” Mr. Sessions replied. “And I don’t believe it happened.” He did not make any reference to Mr. Papadopoulos. Mr. Sessions has said he answered honestly because he was being questioned in the context of Russian officials continuously exchanging information with campaign advisers. Mr. Gordon said that while the March 2016 meeting technically contradicted Mr. Sessions’s testimony, he defended the attorney general. “This is something he heard way back in March from some young man who was not authorized to speak for the campaign,” he said. “I don’t blame Senator Sessions for not remembering that.” He said that only in the political “gotcha game” could the matter be considered significant.
- Trump tweets, “Russia has never tried to use leverage over me. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA – NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!” USA Today says this is “not exactly true”
- Erik Prince, a Trump campaign donor, brother of soon to be named Secretary of Education Betsy Devos, and former owner of Blackwater mercenary company, meets in the Seychelles with an unidentified Russian said to be close to Putin. The meeting was organized by the United Arab Emirates and reportedly includes talks of a “back-channel” with Moscow to try and influence Russian policy in the Middle East.
Jan 15: Interviewed on CBS’ Face the Nation and Fox News Sunday, Vice President-elect Pence repeatedly denies any connection between the Trump campaign team and Russians.
Jan 17: Sessions states in writing that he has not been “in contact with anyone connected to any part of the Russian government about the 2016 election.” Sessions had been accused of failing to disclose two meetings with Russian ambassador Kislyak.
Jan 18, 19: McClatchy and The New York Times report that Trump associates Manafort, Page and Stone have been under investigation by the FBI, NSA, CIA, and FinCEN, based on intercepted Russian communications and financial transactions. Sources say “the investigators have accelerated their efforts in recent weeks but have found no conclusive evidence of wrongdoing.”
Jan 20: President Obama leaves office. Trump and Pence take office.
Jan 21: Trump appoints Flynn as National Security Advisor.
Jan 24: Flynn is interviewed by the FBI about his conversations with Kislyak.
Jan 26: Acting Attorney General Sally Yates warns the Trump administration that Flynn has not been truthful about his contacts with Russia and that he may be vulnerable to blackmail by Russian intelligence.
- Papadoupoulos first questioned by FBI. He acknowledged meeting with the Russian professor and hearing about Russian “dirt” on Clinton, but he insisted his communications all took place before he joined the Trump campaign. “I wasn’t even on the Trump team, that wasn’t even on the radar. … This was a year ago, this was before I even got with Trump,” he told them, falsely. After his FBI interview, Papadopoulos took further steps to conceal his campaign communications by deactivating a Facebook account that contained information about those communications.
- White House Counsel Donald McGahn has further discussions with Yates on the Flynn matter.
- During a private dinner at the White House, Comey gets the impression that Trump wants to “create some sort of patronage relationship.” Comey would later testify that Trump requested “loyalty” from him, and that he offered “honesty” instead.
Early Feb 2017: Donald Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen delivers a pro-Russian Ukrainian peace plan to Mike Flynn while visiting the White House. The plan was developed by Sater and Andrii Artemenko, a Ukrainian politician who said he was encouraged by “top aides” to Putin.
Feb 8: Sessions is confirmed as Attorney General by a vote of 52 to 47; he is sworn in the next day.
Feb 9: Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) introduces a resolution of inquiry in relation to possible crimes relating to the financial dealings or collusion with Russia by President Trump. This is Congress’ first early stage signal toward impeachment.
Feb 13: National Security Advisor Michael Flynn is dismissed after less than a month in office.
Feb 14: Trump reportedly asks Comey to drop any investigation of Flynn. The White House denies the charge.
Feb 16: At a press conference, Trump said, “And I can tell you, speaking for myself, I own nothing in Russia. I have no loans in Russia. I don’t have any deals in Russia.”
Feb 20: Trump nominates H. R. McMaster to replace Flynn as National Security Advisor.
- Paul Manafort’s text messages are leaked after his daughter’s phone is hacked. His daughter describes their family’s wealth as “blood money”
- Felix Sater donates $750.00 to Donald Trump’s re-election campaign. He donates seven more times over the next four months for a total of $1,932.50. The FEC flags these donations as impermissible.
Mar 1: Sessions comes under scrutiny after reports that he had contact with Russian government officials during the election campaign, even though he denied it during his confirmation hearings. Democratic representatives ask Sessions to resign his post as United States Attorney General. Sessions said he did “not recall” conversations with Kislyak or other Russian officials “regarding the political campaign”. However, in July, the Washington Post will report US intelligence intercepts of Kislyak’s accounts of the conversation to his superiors in Moscow that indicated that they had discussed campaign and policy issues and that Sessions met Kislyak at least twice.
Mar 2: Sessions announces that he will recuse himself from any investigations into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Mar 3: In testimony to Congress, Comey says: “It makes me mildly nauseous to think that we might have had some impact on the election.”
May 9: House Intel Committee sends letter to Carter Page requesting documents related to Russia investigation and to meet with the committee to answer questions.
April 11: Rinat Akhmetshin, a Soviet Union–born Russian-American lobbyist and former Soviet counterintelligence officer who was at the Don Trump Jr. meeting at Trump Tower, meets with US Congressman Dana Rohrabacher in the lobby of The Westin Grand Berlin in Berlin, Germany. There was a discussion about a high profile money laundering case, along with related sanctions against Russia. The two had meet previously in May 2016 in a meeting in Rohrabacher’s office.
April 28: Facebook released a white paper that includes investigations of fake news during the election. The report said they could not determine who the malicious actors were, but they did not contradict the earlier report from the Director of National Intelligence on Russia’s involvement. “When asked we said there was no evidence of Russian ads. That was true at the time,” a Facebook spokesperson told Mashable Thursday.
May 9: White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said, “He [Trump] has no business in Russia. He has no connections to Russia.”
May 9: Trump’s tax law firm sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which said a review of Trump’s tax returns for the past 10 years did not find income from Russian sources during that period, save for “a few exceptions.” The exceptions were the 2008 sale of a Trump-owned 6.26-acre estate in Palm Beach, Florida, for $95 million to Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, who tore down the 62,000-square-foot mansion shortly after and sold the site for $34 million, as well as $12.2 million in payments in connection with holding the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow in 2013, plus a number of “immaterial” deals. No independently verifiable evidence was provided, such as tax returns, and it has been noted that even disclosure of tax returns would not necessarily disclose Russian-source income. The letter also said Trump had received undisclosed payments over 10 years from Russians for hotel rooms, rounds of golf, or Trump-licensed products such as wine, ties, or mattresses, which would not have been identified as coming from Russian sources in the tax returns. The letter was a response to earlier requests from Senator Lindsey Graham asking whether there were any such ties.
May 22: Carter Page responds via letter agreeing to meet with the House Intel Committee. His letter is included in his testimony here.
July 20: A CNN report revealed that Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, who serves in the Senate intelligence committee, met with Facebook officials in June “as part of his committee’s investigation into potential collusion or election interference” with Russia. Trump digital staffer Gary Coby told CNN that the campaign had not coordinated with Russian operatives but that Facebook did work directly with the Trump campaign.
July 27: FBI arrests Papadopoulos at Dulles airport. Reince Priebus resigns as WH chief of staff.
August 13: The BBC released an interview with Theresa Hong, one of the members of Trump’s digital operations. She repeatedly said how important Facebook was to the campaign. “Without Facebook we wouldn’t have won. Facebook really and truly put us over the edge,” Hong said.
August through October: Papadopoulos likely wearing a wire and/or actively acquiring evidence for Mueller.
Sept 6: Facebook revealed in a blog post that as much as $100,000 in political ads was spent by potential Russian propaganda sides. These ad buys were from June 2015 to May 2017 and associated with roughly 3,000 ads connected to 470 inauthentic Facebook accounts and Pages, according to Facebook.
Sept 7: Sen. Mark Warner of the Senate Intelligence Committee said during a panel hosted by the Intelligence and National Security Alliance that Facebook’s report on $100,000 spend by Russian sites was “the tip of the iceberg,” CNN reported. A New York Times investigation revealed more mechanisms on Facebook and Twitter with Russian fingerprints.
Sept 11: The Daily Beast reported some of the $100,000 spend from Facebook accounts linked to Russia wasn’t just directed to promoting fake news articles. The 3,000 ads included promotions for political protests around pro-Trump policies like anti-immigration. A Facebook spokesperson confirmed the development, which was not included in the public blog post but was seemingly part of intelligence briefings. Facebook’s internal investigation is still ongoing.
Sept 15: Special counsel and former FBI Director Robert Mueller obtained a search warrant that forced Facebook to hand over the 3,000 ads and share more information about them, according to CNN.
Sept 20: House and Senate Democrats sent a letter to the Federal Election Commission requesting regulations for online advertising that could help prevent foreign states from advertising, CNN reported. “This could be its finest hour to respond this threat to American democracy,” Rep. John Sarbanes told CNN. Twitter scheduled a meeting with the Senate Intelligence Committee to answer questions on Russian interference in the 2016 election. Company representatives will meet with lawmakers on September 27.
Sept 21: Facebook agreed to hand over the content of 3,000 ads to Congress. Zuckerberg hosted a Facebook Live, where he shared why they made this choice and also “our next steps protecting election integrity.” Those next steps included better regulating itself for political advertising. The company will now keep track of who buys ads and who they target to and also make this information publicly available.
Sept 22: Russia’s government denied using Facebook ads to influence the 2016 election, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on a conference call with reporters, according to Reuters. “We do not know … how to place an advert on Facebook. We have never done this, and the Russian side has never been involved in it,” Peskov said.
Sept 26: Russia’s communications watchdog Roskomnadzor threatens to block access to Facebook in Russia next year if the company doesn’t comply with a law that requires them to store personal data of Russian citizens on Russian servers, according to Reuters.
Sept 27: Senate Intelligence Committee invited Facebook to testify in an opening hearing on Nov. 1 about how foreign actors may have used the social network to influence the 2016 election.
The committee also invited Google and Twitter. Meanwhile, The Daily Beast revealed some of the strategies Russian actors used to persuade Facebook users during the 2016 election. For example, a fake “United Muslims of America” Facebook Page shared memes that alleged Hillary Clinton said the U.S. “created, funded and armed al-Qaeda.” Fake memes tied to Russian accounts were also shared on Instagram and Twitter. Zuckerberg responded to President Trump calling his platform “anti-Trump” in a tweet in a rather defensive Facebook post. “Trump says Facebook is against him. Liberals say we helped Trump. Both sides are upset about ideas and content they don’t like. That’s what running a platform for all ideas looks like,” he wrote.
Sept 28: Russia’s interference wasn’t just via Facebook. Twitter said it had discovered about 200 accounts linked to Russia and that 22 of them appeared to be from the same entities that shared fake news and memes on Facebook. Twitter reported news site Russia Today spent $274,100 in U.S. ads in 2016 that promoted 1,823 tweets.
Sept 30: On Yom Kippur, Zuckerberg reflected on the role his platform played in the election in a Facebook post. “For those I hurt this year, I ask forgiveness and I will try to be better,” he wrote. “For the ways my work was used to divide people rather than bring us together, I ask forgiveness and I will work to do better.”
Oct 2: Facebook handed the 3,000 ads and other information to Congress. A New York Times reportrevealed some of the content and strategies behind the ads. For example, one Facebook Page that shared political ads was called “Defend the 2nd” on gun rights and one was called “LGBT United.” There was another that typically shared dog-related posts. Facebook announced it’s hiring more than 1,000 people to review ads on the social network and other initiatives to improve authenticity and transparency of its advertising. Late Monday night, Facebook reported 10 million users saw the Russian-linked political ads.
Oct 3: Some of the Russian-linked Facebook ads targeted users in Michigan and Wisconsin, two of the states crucial to President Trump’s victory, CNN reported. The posts specifically targeted key demographic groups in those states.
Facebook had previously said the ads were targeted but did not reveal specifics on where. This is the biggest piece of evidence yet that Russia directly attempted to swing the election in favor of Trump.
Oct 4: Facebook and Twitter agreed to testify at a Nov. 1 hearing by the Senate Intelligence Committee.
The news arrived just as Sen. Richard Burr and Sen. Mark Warner held a press conference to provide updates on what their team has done since launching the investigation on Russia’s interference in January.
The companies did not say which executives will participate. Google has not said if it will attend despite the Senate’s invite.
Oct 5: Facebook removed references to Russia from a public report about the 2016 election, the Wall Street Journal reported. Facebook’s lawyers apparently recommended the removal believing “the company’s understanding of Russian activity was too speculative,” according to the Journal.
- Papadopoulos signs a plea agreement with the Department of Justice.
- At Papadopoulos’s Oct 5th plea hearing, Mueller team described probe as “large scale … investigation of which this case is a small part.” Prosecutors told the judge that Papadopoulos’s deal requires him to “meet with and provide information to the Government on request.”
Oct 6: Popular ‘Blacktivist’ social media accounts were run by a Russia-linked group, according to CNN. During the 2016 election, they spread pro-racial diversity messaging and promoted anti-police brutality events.
Facebook suspended the accounts and delivered information on them to the U.S. government’s investigative team on the Russian hack and to Congress. Recode reported 150 of the 3,000 political ads Facebook sold to Russia during the 2016 election were shared on Instagram.
Oct 8: Trump campaign digital director Brad Parscale spoke with Facebook on 60 Minutes and said several Facebook employees as well as people from Twitter and Google were embedded in with the campaign. “I think Donald Trump won, but I think Facebook was the method – it was the highway in which his car drove on,” he said. “Facebook was the 500-pound gorilla, 80 percent of the budget kind of thing.” Parscale denied the campaign colluded with Russia. “It’s just a joke,” he said. Facebook denied Parscale’s claim that his team hand picked Facebook employees to work for them. The denial appeared in a quiet update to Facebook’s Hard Questions blog after Parscale’s appearance on 60 Minutes. On the same day, news broke that Russians sponsored YouTube accounts like “Williams and Kalvin” to promote pro-Bernie Sanders, pro-Donald Trump, and anti-Hillary Clinton messages, The Daily Beast reported. Facebook and Twitter had removed those affiliated accounts in August. YouTube did not.
Oct 9: Google discovered that Russian agents spent tens of thousands of dollars on ads across Google’s products: YouTube, Google search, Gmail, and DoubleClick, The Washington Post reported. Google made this discovery via available Twitter data, not in cooperation with Google’s separate investigation.
Oct 12: Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, said during an interview with Axios that she wants lawmakers to let the public see the ads linked to Russian accounts that were distributed on Facebook. It was the first public interview of a Facebook executive since the company revealed it had sold the ads. Sandberg did not elaborate on whether the Russian ads and the Trump campaign were linked despite being asked on three separate occasions.
- Sessions departed from his previous blanket denials about contacts with Russian officials, saying he did “not recall” elements of the conversations in three meetings in 2016 with the ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, and conceded for the first time that substantive issues may have been discussed.
- In a series of testy exchanges with Democratic senators, the attorney general also amended his previous insistence that he had no Russian contacts. This time, he said: “I did not have a continuing exchange of information” with Russians. Sessions said he was not aware of any collusion between members of the Trump campaign and the Kremlin in efforts to influence the election, the subject of a special counsel investigation and several congressional inquiries.
- However, he said he had not been informed about a meeting on 9 June 2016, between the president’s son, son-in-law and campaign manager with a Russian lawyer offering damaging material about Hillary Clinton. The attorney general said he had only read about it “in the papers” and not paid much attention.
Oct 19: New legislation was proposed for regulating advertising on Facebook, Google, and Twitter. Democratic Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Mark Warner, with support from Republican Sen. John McCain, co-sponsored a bill called the “Honest Ads Act” that would require internet companies to keep a public database of who is paying for political ads on their networks.
Oct 24: Twitter said it will start to clearly label political ads on its social platform and is committing to stricter guidelines for ad targeting. Political ads on Twitter will most likely include a purple dot next to the user handle as well as a purple box below the tweet that names the sponsor.
Oct 25: Papadopoulos posts a years old photo on Twitter to give the impression he is on “business” in London on this date.
Oct 27: Facebook revealed its plans to make its advertising more transparent. Users will be able to see each of the ads that any given page is running. The company is also introducing stricter verification rules on any advertisers running election-related ads.
Oct 30: Facebook said Russia-linked Facebook accounts reached as many as 126 million users in a pre-release of its prepared testimony from General Counsel Colin Stretch. That’s far greater than the 10 million users Facebook estimated saw Russian-linked ads. What Zuckerberg once thought was a “crazy idea” is now reality—misleading information and propaganda spread on Facebook during the 2016 election. “We knew [fake news] was happening, but I didn’t stop and appreciate the scale of it,” said Kevin Bingle, digital director for John Kasich’s presidential campaign. Bingle said he once saw an example of fake news about his candidate right around the Republican National Convention. An article apparently from the fake news site The Washington Daily (“or something”) had the headline, “Breaking News: John Kasich has left the GOP.” He saw that it had 37,000 shares. “Okay so 37,000 people could have seen it? No, no, no it’s much much larger than that, all the friends that engage in your content. That’s magnitudes of tens of hundreds of thousands, Bingle said.
The severity of the problem is emphasized by the many efforts that Facebook has employed to curb the manipulation of its platform. These actions are necessary for the good of future elections and for news consumption in general.
But Zuckerberg could yet face a day in court to testify on behalf of his social network. Sharing fake news on Facebook is not illegal, unless it’s the case of a foreign entity interfering in the election, and Facebook’s latest report shows that Russia could have been directly involved. The U.S. government and Facebook are still investigating the matter for more proof. As Sen. Warner said, $100,000 may just be the beginning.
Oct 31: Politico reports Sam Clovis, who encouraged George Papadopoulos to meet with Russian officials, is cooperating with the Mueller investigation.
- Manafort and Gates are set to appear in court. They’re under house arrest until that time.
- Sam Clovis, who encouraged top advisor George Papadopolous to meet with Russian officials according to the FBI, withdraws himself for consideration for USDA post.
- Major Trump donor and Cambridge Analytica investor Robert Mercer hands his financial interest in Breitbart over to his daughter Rebekeh and steps down as co-CEO of his hedge fund.
Nov 3: Federal judge orders that the trial of ex-Trump aides Paul Manafort and Rick Gates “will commence on May 7, 2018 at 9:30am”
Nov 6: In the Paradise Papers leak, it is revealed that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross had a financial stake in a shipping firm that does business with a Russian company with ties to son-in-law of Putin and an oligarch under U.S. sanctions. Ross said in a government ethics disclosure filed after his nomination that he held an investment worth as much as $10 million in shipping company Navigator Holdings. But news organizations including the New York Times alleged over the weekend he did not disclose that the company’s clients include a Russian energy company called Sibur whose owners include Putin’s son-in-law and the oligarch, who is close to the Kremlin and has been sanctioned by the U.S. government.
Nov 16: Senate Judiciary Committee sends letter to Jared Kushner requesting emails concerning a “Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite” to Trump campaign officials and failed to produce those emails to the Senate Judiciary Committee, according to a letter the senators sent Kushner’s lawyer on Thursday. Kushner also failed to produce emails on which he was copied involving communication with WikiLeaks, and with the Belarusan-American businessman Sergei Millian (aka Source D), the senators said. Millian most recently headed a group called the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce.
“There are several documents that are known to exist but were not included in your production,” Senators Chuck Grassley and Dianne Feinstein wrote to Kushner.
Who’s Who In The Papadopoulos Indictment: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/whos-who-in-the-george-papadopoulos-court-documents/2017/10/30/e131158c-bdb3-11e7-97d9-bdab5a0ab381_story.html?utm_term=.720e7a039d39
Timeline leading up to Donald Jr. Trump Tower meeting with Russian associates: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2017/07/11/what-happened-and-when-the-timeline-leading-up-to-donald-trump-jr-s-fateful-meeting/
A timeline of everything we know about how Russia used Facebook, Google, and Twitter to help Trump win: http://mashable.com/2017/09/08/facebook-elect-trump-russia-election/
Summary: Papadopoulos Pleads Guilty to Making False Statements to the FBI: https://www.lawfareblog.com/summary-papadopoulos-pleads-guilty-making-false-statements-fbi
A comprehensive guide to reported encounters between the president’s aides and Putin’s government: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/03/trump-kislyak-timeline/519027/
Who is ‘Source D’? The man said to be behind the Trump-Russia dossier’s most salacious claim: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/who-is-source-d-the-man-said-to-be-behind-the-trump-russia-dossiers-most-salacious-claim/2017/03/29/379846a8-0f53-11e7-9d5a-a83e627dc120_story.html?utm_term=.2154f9f76b93
U.S. v. Paul J. Manafort, Jr., and Richard W. Gates III (1:17-cr-201, District of Columbia)
Paul J. Manafort, Jr., of Alexandria, Va., and Richard W. Gates III, of Richmond, Va., have been indicted by a federal grand jury on Oct. 27, 2017, in the District of Columbia. The indictment contains 12 counts: conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, unregistered agent of a foreign principal, false and misleading FARA statements, false statements, and seven counts of failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts. The case was unsealed on Oct. 30, 2017, after the defendants were permitted to surrender themselves to the custody of the FBI.
U.S. v. George Papadopoulos (1:17-cr-182, District of Columbia)
George Papadopoulos, of Chicago, Illinois, pleaded guilty on Oct. 5, 2017, to making false statements to FBI agents, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1001. The case was unsealed on Oct. 30, 2017.