From Russia With Love

In the wake of reports that President Donald J. Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., had a meeting with Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, along with his brother-in-law Jared Kushner, and former Trump campaign manager Paul J. Manafort, the conspiracy behind Russia meddling in our 2016 presidential election only intensified. During said meeting, Trump Jr. attested that he only spoke with Ms. Veselnitskaya because she claimed she had damaging information on Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee receiving funds from Russia. Whether or not Trump Jr. is telling the absolute truth, though this version of his story fits in line with the emails he tweeted out about the arrangement of this meeting, both media and legal pundits have stated this is damning information nonetheless.

This story has been one of the many tales of deceit, manipulation, and shadowy pretenses that have surround not only the Trump administration, but the 2016 election. With so many stories thrown at us by the both conservative and liberal media outlets, it has become hard for the average American viewer to figure out what the hell is happening and has already happened. This writer has himself been confused at the many different stories thrown into the Russian scandal, which seems to swallow the Trump administration whole. For those of you who feel you have some understanding of this scandal but not enough, to those of you who are just entirely confused by the whole mess, fear not. Below, I have researched and compiled a list of events that have taken place before, during, and after the 2016 presidential election. Here is how it all began:

  • June 18, 2013: Donald Trump tweets out about the Miss Universe Pageant being broadcast live from Moscow on November 9. He hopes the pageant will bring “our countries together.”
  • October 17: During an interview with David Letterman, Trump speaks about doing a lot of business with Russians.
  • November 9: The Miss Universe Pageant. Trump is at attendance.
  • November 10: Trump turns to twitter, boasting about his time in Moscow and how the U.S. “must be very smart and strategic.”
  • Spring 2015: United States Intelligence intercepts conversations of Russian government officials discussing associates of Donald Trump in high volume.
  • Summer 2015: Computer hackers linked to the Russian Federal Security Service (FSS) gain access into the Democratic National Committees (DNC) computer network.
  • September: An FBI special agent informs the DNC that at least one of their computer systems had been hacked. The agent was transferred to a tech-support contractor, who gives the system a quick once over and does not respond back to any of the agents phone calls, believing it to be a prank.
  • September 21: Trump appears on Hugh Hewitt’s radio program. While on the program, he speaks about his time in Moscow and how he met “top-level people, both oligarchs and generals, and top-of-the-government people.”
  • October 14:  Trump cast doubt on the intelligence community’s assessment Russian-backed separatists were behind the downing of  Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.
  • November 10: At a GOP debate, Trump speaks about meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin when they were both on ’60 Minutes.’ He also claims he would be “100 percent” behind Putin going against ISIS.
  • December 10: Retired Lieutenant General Michael T. Flynn attends a gala dinner organized by English-language Russian propaganda network RT News. He is not only seated two seats away from Putin, but gives a paid speech about world affairs. Flynn is paid $33,500 for his speech and nets over $65,000 from companies linked to Russia in 2015.
  • December 17: Putin praises Trump during his year-end news conference, calling Trump “very talented” and hoping for “a deeper level of relations with Russia.” Trump responds in kind, stating “I have always felt that Russia and the United States should be able to work well with each other towards defeating terrorism and restoring world peace, not to mention trade and all of the other benefits derived from mutual respect.” Trump also felt it an honor to be complimented by a “highly respected” man.
  • February 17, 2016: At a campaign event in South Carolina, Trump tells those at attendance, “Putin called me a genius.” Trump would repeat this claim another 8 times, from April to August according to PolitiFact.
  • February 29: American lawyer and lobbyist Paul Manafort gives Trump a five page, single-spaced proposal, where he outlines how he will get Trump the delegates he needs to win the nomination and how he has assisted other rich and powerful business and political leaders in the past, including oligarchs and dictators in Russia and Ukraine.
  • March 19: Clinton presidential campaign chairman John Podesta is told by a Clinton campaign staffer an email instructing him to change his password is legitimate. The email was actually a phishing attempt, which now allows Russian hackers to access his account.
  • March 21: In an interview with The Washington Post, Trump names banker Carter Page as one of is foreign policy advisers. Page had lived in Moscow for three years, having helped open the Moscow office of investment banking firm Merrill Lynch and had advised Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom, which he is an investor in.
  • March 22: Billy Rinehart, a member of the Clinton campaign, receives an email asking him to change his password. Believing the email to be legitimate, he changes his password, unknowingly allowing Russian hackers access to his account.
  • March 28: Trump hires Paul Manafort as convention manager.
  • April: According to Reuters, the first known contacts between Russian officials and the Trump campaign took place. During the same month, hackers linked to the Main Intelligence Agency in Russia gain access to the DNC computer network.
  • April 20: Manafort becomes Trump campaign manager.
  • April 27: Trump gives his first major speech on foreign policy, calling for better relations with Russia. Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak is at attendance, sitting in the front row.
  • Late April: The DNC’s IT department notices suspicious computer activity. The DNC gets in contact with the FBI and hires CrowdStrike, a private cyber-security firm, to investigate.
  • May: CrowdStrike comes to the conclusion that highly sophisticated Russian intelligence-affiliated adversaries were responsible for the DNC hack. One of the hackers, known as Fancy Bear, indicates strong ties to the Main Intelligence Agency in Russia.
  • May 18: James Clapper, director of National Intelligence, claims at a Washington event there are indications of cyberattacks aimed at the presidential campaigns.
  • Early June: The FBI sent a warning to all states about “bad actors” probing state voter-registration databases and systems to seek vulnerabilities. Investigators believe Russia is responsible. According to The Washington Post, Carter Page praises Putin as being a stronger leader than Obama during a meeting of foreign policy experts with the Indian prime minister.
  • June 3rd: British music publicist Rob Goldstone sends Donald Trump Jr an email, on behalf of Russian singer Emin Agalarov, offering to set up a meeting on behalf of the Russian government. The meeting would service the purpose of sharing information that “would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father,” as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” Trump Jr. responded “I love it,” and arranged the meeting. Goldstone also offers to relay the information to Trump Sr. through his assistant, if he so desired.
  • June 7: Trump Jr. and Goldstone confirm a meeting will happen with a Russian lawyer about their previously discussed conversations. At the same time, Trump Sr. wins the Republican presidential nomination.
  • June 9: Trump Jr, brother-in-law Jared Kushner, and Manafort meet with Goldstone and Russian laywer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who has ties to the Kremlin, and Rinat Akhmetshin, a former Soviet counterintelligence officer.
  • June 14: The DNC announces it has been the victim of an attack by Russian hackers.
  • June 15: A hacker going by Guccifer 2.0 releases information taken from the DNC computer server, which includes the DNC’s plan of attack against Trump.
  • June 21: Guccifer releases more stolen DNC information, showcasing Clinton’s vulnerabilities and potential responses to lines of attack.
  • July 7: In a lecture he gave at the New Economic School in Moscow, Page criticized American foreign policy and other Western democracies. The trip was approved by the Trump campaign.
  • July 18-21: During the Republican Convention, Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak attends, meeting with Trump’s foreign policy advisers Page and J.D. Gordon. They all hoped for better relations with Russia.  Senator Jeff Sessions meets with Kislyak at a Heritage Foundation event.
  • July 22: WikiLeaks publishes about 20,000 emails stolen from seven key officials from the DNC. The emails appeared to show a clear preference for Hillary Clinton over Sen. Bernie Sanders.
  • July 24: DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is forced to resign over the email scandal.
  • July 25: The FBI announced it was investigating the DNC hack. The DNC and the Clinton campaign state thaty they believe Russian intelligence operatives hacked their emails and sent them to Wikileaks.
  • July 26: The White House is briefed by Intelligence officials about the DNC hack and that they have “high confidence” that Russia is behind the hack.
  • July 27: At a news conference, Trump calls on Russia to hack the private server Clinton used while she was secretary of state.
  • July 31: In an interview with ABC, Trump says that the people of Crimea “would rather be with Russia than where they were.”
  • Late July: CIA Director John Brennan forms a working group of officials from the CIA, FBI, and NSA. The FBI also starts an counter-investigation into Russian interference, looking into a possible collusion between Trump associates and the Russian government.
  • August 4: Brennan calls Alexander Bortnikov, the head of the Federal Security Service, to warn him of possible Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election.
  • August 8: Trump friend and ally Roger Stone tells a group of Florida Republicans he has spoken with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, alluding to an “October surprise.”
  • August 12: Guccifer 2.0 releases the cell phone numbers and email addresses of almost all of the Democratic House of Representative members.
  • August 14: The New York times publishes an exposé on Ukrainian documents. They reveal that $12.7 million in cash was earmarked for Manafort by the Russia-aligned Party of Regions.
  • August 17: Trump gets his first classified intelligence briefing, being told of the about “direct links” between the Russian government and the email hacks. Trump also names Kellyanne Conway his campaign manager and Steve Bannon as campaign chief executive.
  • 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 is leaked to the media.
  • August 19: Manafort resigns as Trump’s campaign manager.
  • August 26: Assange claims that Clinton is blowing the idea of Russian intelligence being behind the hack out of proportion. He also states, “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.”
  • September 5: The Washington Post reports that U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies are investigating “a broad covert Russian operation in the United States to sow public distrust in the upcoming presidential election and in U.S. political institutions.”
  • September 7: Clapper restates Obama’s point that intelligence experts believe Russia had a hand in the DNC hack. Meanwhile, Trump continues to sing praises for Putin, stating, “he’s been a leader far more than our president has been a leader.”
  • September 8: Jeff Sessions meets again with Kislyak, in his senate office. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov states that Moscow is watching the presidential election closely. They also state they are willing to improve ties with whomever the winner is. Both Pence and Trump give separate interviews, stating they do not believe Russia had any doing with the DNC hack.
  • September 13: Vitaly Churkin, the United Nations ambassador for Russia, lodged a formal complaint over one U.N. official’s condemnation of Trump and some populist leaders in Europe.
  • September 26: Page steps down as foreign policy adviser. Trump continues to cast doubt that Russia was behind the DNC hack during the first presidential debate.
  • September 26: Comey testifies in front of the House Judiciary Committee, confirming that federal investigators have detected suspicious in voter registration databases.
  • October 4: Assange makes a video announcement, claiming that Wikileaks will release new information on the presidential election, “every week for the next 10 weeks.”
  • October 7: Wikileaks begins their release of thousands of emails from John Podesta. Clapper releases a statement, claiming hacked documents posted on DC Leaks, Guccifer 2.0 and WikiLeaks appear linked to Russian intelligence. He also accuses “Russia’s senior-most officials” of directing the hacks.
  • October 9: During the second presidential debate, Trump accuses the DNC of rigging the primary against Bernie Sanders. Clinton responds that the hacks are to help influence the election in Trump’s favor.
  • October 10: During a rally in Pennsylvania, Trump states “I love Wikileaks.”
  • October 11: Podesta warns of a possible tie between the Trump campaign and Wikileaks.
  • October 12: Stone tells a Florida TV station he has a “back-channel communication” with Assange. He denies ever meeting Assange in person or speaking to him himself.
  • October 19: During the final presidential debate, Clinton accuses Trump of being a puppet for Putin.
  • October 27: At the Valdai International Discussion Club, Putin denounces accusations of Russian interference, claiming, “does anyone seriously think that Russia can influence the choice of the American people?”
  • October 31: The New York Times publishes a story, with a headline reading “Investigating Donald Trump, F.B.I. Sees No Clear Link To Russia.” Through the Moscow-Washington Hotline, Obama tells Putin to cease interfering in the election or face “serious consequences.”
  • November 8: Trump is elected president of the United States.
  • November 9: The Russian parliament burst into applause over Trump’s victory.
  • November 10: Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Rybakov, a senior Russian diplomat, tells Interfax news agency there “were contacts” between the Russian government and the Trump campaign during the election campaign. Peskov reiterates Rybakov claims, stating the contacts were “quite natural, quite normal.” The Trump campaign denies any communications. Kislyak states Russia was not involved with election hacking in the U.S. presidential election. Trump and Obama meet at the White House, where Obama warns Trump against hiring Flynn.
  • November 18: Trump announces he will make Session his Attorney General and Flynn his National Security Adviser. A ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, Elijah Cummings, writes to Pence, warning of Flynn’s connections to Russia and Turkey, saying they might create conflicts of interest. He also asks the Trump administration’s transition team for documents related to Flynn.
  • November 28: In an interview he did with Time Magazine, Trump continues to express doubt Russia interfered in the election.
  • Early December: Sergei Mikhailov, cyber chief of the Federal Security Service, Ruslan Stoyanov, semior researcher of Kaspersky Lab, and Dmitry Dokuchayev, a hacker known as “Forb,” are arrested in Russia for treason. Kushner and Flynn meet with Kislyak at Trump Tower, to see if they can set up a connection with the Kremlin over a Russian-encrypted channel. Kushner also meets with Russian Banker Sergei Gorkov.
  • December 4: Putin praises Trump again in a TV interview.
  • December 8: Page appears in Moscow telling a Russian state-run news agency that he is there to meet with “business leaders and thought leaders.”
  • December 9: Senator John McCain delivers the Steele Dossier to Comey.
  • December 13: Rex Tillerson is Trump’s choice for Secretary of State. Russia approves of this decision.
  • December 15: Putin sends a letter to Trump, stressing how important it is that Russia and the United States play a role “in ensuring stability and security of the modern world.” Clinton say 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” to a group of donors in Manhattan.
  • December 23: Trump releases the letter Putin wrote to him, claiming it is “very nice.”
  • December 26: Oleg Erovinkin is found dead in the backseat of his car in Moscow. A former KGB officer, he is suspected of helping former MI-6 officer Christopher Steele in writing a dossier alleging Trump ties to Russia.
  • December 29: Obama orders that 35 suspected Russian intelligence officers be ejected from the United States and imposes new sanctions on two Russian intelligence services. Flynn has a phone conversation with Kislyak about the new sanctions, hoping to sway a “forceful response from Russia.”
  • December 30: Putin does not retaliate against the expulsions or the sanctions, even though his foreign minister recommended a response. Trump tweets his approval of Putin’s move.
  • December 31: Trump tells reporters at Mar-a-Lago that hacking is hard to prove.
  • January 3, 2017: Trump tweets, “The ‘Intelligence’ briefing on so-called ‘Russian hacking’ was delayed until Friday, perhaps more time needed to build a case. Very strange!”
  • January 4: Trump tweets, “Julian Assange said ‘a 14 year old could have hacked Podesta’ – why was DNC so careless? Also said Russians did not give him the info!”
  • January 5: Obama is briefed on the findings from the intelligence community.
  • January 6: Lawmakers begin to be briefed about Russian interference in the 2016 campaign. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence releases an unclassified report, claiming “Vladimir Putin order an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election.” The report concludes that all of the obtained hacked documents DC Leaks, Guccifer 2.0, and Wikileaks received were through Russian government-backed hackers. Trump claims all the findings and hacks are a “political witch hunt.”
  • January 7: Trump tweets, ” Having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. Only ‘stupid’ people, or fools, would think that it is bad! We….. have enough problems around the world without yet another one. When I am President, Russia will respect us far more than they do now and…. both countries will, perhaps, work together to solve some of the many great and pressing problems and issues of the WORLD!”
  • January 10: During his confirmation hiring in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sessions claims “I did not have communications with the Russians.” Buzzfeed publishes an unverified version of the Steele Dossier.
  • January 11: Trump, in a long Twitter rant, tweets, “Russia has never tried to use leverage over me. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA – NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!” Both Pence and Sean Spicer come to Trump’s defense, claiming Buzzfeed as “fake news.” Erik Prince meets with an unknown Russian said to be close with Putin in the Republic of Seychelles. The meeting, organized by United Arab Emirates, includes talks of a “back-channel” with Moscow to try and influence Russian policies in the Middle East.
  • January 13: Trump nominates U.S. Attorney Rod. J Rosenstein as Deputy Attorney General. Trump tells The Wall Street Journal he is open to lifting sanctions if Russia proves helpful on other fronts.
  • January 15: Pence tells CBS News that Flynn and Kislyak “did not discuss anything having to do with the United States’ decision to expel diplomats or impose censure against Russia.”
  • January 17: Putin dismisses the Steel Dossier as “false.” Sessions puts in a written statement that he has not been “in contact with anyone connected to any part of the Russian government about the 2016 election.”
  • January 18-19: Publishing company The McClatchy Company and The New York Times report Trump associates Manafort, Page and Stone have been under investigation by the FBI, NSA, CIA, and FinCEN.
  • January 20: Trump takes office.
  • January 21: Trump appoints Flynn as National Security Adviser.
  • January 22: The Wall Street Journal headlines: “U.S. counterintelligence agents have investigated communications that President Donald Trump’s national security adviser had with Russian officials, according to people familiar with the matter.”
  • January 23: Spicer claims, again, that Flynn’s call with Kislyak did not touch on sanctions.
  • January 24: Flynn is interviewed by the FBI regarding his conversations with Kislyak.
  • January 26: Acting attorney general Sally Yates meets with White House counsel Don McGahn. Yates warns McGahn that Flynn is making false statements regarding his calls with Kislyak.
  • January 27: Yates and McGahn meet again, per McGahn’s request. Comey dines at the White House per Trump’s request. Comey would later testify that Trump requested his “loyalty.”
  • January 30: Trump fires Yates, claiming it is due to her not enforcing the travel ban.
  • Early February: Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, delivers a pro-Russian Ukrainian peace plan to Flynn while visiting the White House.
  • February 2: United States U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, condemns Russia’s occupation in Crimea. She also states the U.S. wants better relations with Russia.
  • February 4: While defending Putin during a Fox News interview, Trump is asked about his thoughts on atrocities Putin is believed to have committed. Trump responds, “What, you think our country’s so innocent?”
  • February 8: Sessions is confirmed by the Senate as attorney general in a vote of 52-47.
  • February 9: The Washington Post reports Flynn did discuss with Kislyak about the U.S. sanctions against Russia. New York Representative Jerrold Nadler introduces a resolution inquiry in relation to possible crimes of collusion with Russia by President Trump.
  • February 13: Flynn resigns after less than a month as national security adviser.
  • February 14: The New York Times reports “members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.” Trump reportedly ask Comey to drop any type of investigation into Flynn. The White House denies these allegations.
  • February 16: Trump calls Russia controversies again “fake news.”
  • February 20: Trump nominates H.R. McMaster as Flynn’s replacement as National Security Adviser.
  • February 28: The Washington Post reports the FBI was prepared to pay the former British intelligence operative, Christopher Steele, to continue his work, indicating the Bureau found him credible.
  • March 1: Reports come out that Sessions did speak with the Russian ambassador during Trump’s campaign, contradicting his previous statements.
  • March 2: Sessions announces he will recuse himself from any and all investigations into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.
  • March 3: CNN reports additional meetings did take place between Trump associates and Kislyak. Kislayk cancels plans to attend the March 4 Gridiron Dinner. In his testimony to Congress, Comey states, “It makes me mildly nauseous to think that we might have had some impact on the election.”
  • March 4: Trump accuses Obama of wire-tapping his phones at Trump Tower during the campaign. Obama denies these claims. In a tweet he has since deleted, Roger Stone writes that he “never denied perfectly legal backchannel to Assange who indeed had the goods on #CrookedHillary.”
  • March 5: In an interview with Meet the Press, James Clapper denies any wiretap mounted against Trump’s campaign or at Trump Tower.
  • March 6: Spicer declines to state the source for Trump’s wire-tapping claims and presents no evidence to back it up.
  • March 9: Spicer demurs and suggests reporters speak with the Department of Justice, when asked if Trump agrees with Sen. Ben Sasse’s declaration that Assange belongs in jail. The FBI’s counter-intelligence team continues to investigate “computer server connection between the Trump Organization and a Russian bank,” according to CNN.
  • March 10: Senior administration officials discussing German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s upcoming visit decline to comment on allegations that the Russians are interfering in European elections.
  • March 15: House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes and Ranking Member Adam Schiff announce they could find no evidence to back up Trump’s wire-tapping allegations.
  • March 20: During the first public hearing of the House Intelligence Committee, Comey and NSA Director Mike Rogers testify that there is no evidence of wiretapping from the Obama administration. Comey also admits that there is indeed an FBI investigation on links between Trump and Russia.
  • March 22: The Associated Press reports Manafort had secretly worked on behalf of a Russian billionaire to enhance the image of Putin and the Russian government in the West. CNN reports: “The FBI has information that indicates associates of President Donald Trump communicated with suspected Russian operatives to possibly coordinate the release of information damaging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, US officials told CNN. This is partly what FBI Director James Comey was referring to when he made a bombshell announcement Monday before Congress that the FBI is investigating the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, according to one source.”
  • March 23: Spicer mocks the CNN report, saying the use of the term “associates” is too broad. Gates is forced to leave the pro-Trump nonprofit ‘America First Policies’ after reports that Manafort sought to further Russian interests.
  • March 25: U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara is fired, after being told by Trump he would be able to keep his position.
  • March 27: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi calls for Nunes’ recusal from the investigation after new details emerge about his White House visits.
  • March 30: Flynn tells the FBI and Congress he will be willing to testify in exchange for immunity.
  • March 31: Trump tweets: “Mike Flynn should ask for immunity in that this is a witch hunt (excuse for big election loss), by media & Dems, of historic proportion!”
  • Late March: Trump ask Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and NSA Director Mike Rogers to publicly deny any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Both refuse and deem the request inappropriate.
  • April 3: Bloomberg View reports former National Security Adviser Susan Rice had requested to unmask the identities of members of the Trump campaign and presidential transition in surveillance records.
  • April 6: Nunes resigns from the House investigation. The House Ethics Committee opens an investigation of Nunes’ conduct in the month of March.
  • April 13: Trump address during a press conference at the White House that, “we’re not getting along with Russia at all … we may be at an all-time low.” He later tweets: “Things will work out fine between the U.S.A. and Russia. At the right time everyone will come to their senses & there will be lasting peace!”
  • April 18: Allan Lichtman, who has correctly predicted every presidential election since 1984, authors The Case of Impeachment. The book highlights multiple arguments for the impeachment of Trump.
  • April 25: The Senate confirms Rosenstein as deputy attorney general in a vote of 94-6.
  • May 2: Trump tweets: “FBI Director Comey was the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton in that he gave her a free pass for many bad deeds! The phony……Trump/Russia story was an excuse used by the Democrats as justification for losing the election. Perhaps Trump just ran a great campaign?”
  • May 3: Senior Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee Diane Feinstein states there is “not yet” any evidence of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.
  • May 4th: Susan Rice refuses to testify before Congress. Peter Smith, a independent opposition researcher does an interview with The Wall Street Journal. According to the interview, Smith assembled a group of experts to acquire the 33,000 deleted Clinton emails. The project began back in 2016. 5 groups of hackers who claimed to possess the emails were found by Smith’s team, two of which were likely Russian operatives and may have had connections to the Russian government. According to the report, Flynn’s son Michael G. Flynn was also involved in the effort. Investigators also examined intelligence reports that happened during the same period, describing Russian hackers who discussed obtaining the emails and transmitting them to Flynn via an intermediary. Smith dies just 10 days after the interview.
  • May 5: Hackers release a trove of emails purportedly from French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron’s campaign. Intelligence experts link the hack to Russia.
  • May 7: Trump tweets: “When will the Fake Media ask about the Dems dealings with Russia & why the DNC wouldn’t allow the FBI to check their server or investigate?”
  • May 8: Yates and Clapper testify before a Senate subcommittee about the Russian interference in the election.Trump tweets: “Director Clapper reiterated what everybody, including the fake media already knows- there is ‘no evidence’ of collusion w/ Russia and Trump.” He later tweets: “The Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax, when will this taxpayer funded charade end?” Trump request that Sessions and Rosenstein to make a case against Comey in writing.
  • May 9: Rosenstein hands over a memo to Sessions, with a reason to dismiss Comey. Trump fires Comey later that day. His firing causes Democrats and Republicans to call for an independent investigation into potential collusion between Trump’s campaign and the Russian government.
  • May 10: Trump meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Kislyak at the White House. Lavrov and Kislyak are informed Comey has been fired, as well as sharing highly classified information about ISIS.
  • May 11: Trump tells Lester Holt in regards to his decision to fire Comey: ““When I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story, it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.” Trump later tweets: “Russia must be laughing up their sleeves watching as the U.S. tears itself apart over a Democrat EXCUSE for losing the election.”
  • May 12: Trump threatens Comey with alleged secret tapes.
  • May 16: Trump tweets: “As President I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining…….to terrorism and airline flight safety. Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism.”
  • May 17: Rosenstein appoints fromer FBI Director Robert Mueller as Special Council to oversee the Russian investigation and related matters. In regards to the investigation, Trump states this “will confirm what we already know – there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity.” Representative Al Green calls for the impeachment of President Trump on the House floor.
  •  May 18: Trump tweets: “This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!” The Russian State Duma (the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia) approves of the nomination of former Deputy Defense Minster Anatoly Antonov as the replacement of Kislyak as U.S. Ambassador.
  • May 19: Senator Feinstein repeats that there is no evidence of collusion, and adds that “there are rumors.”
  • May 22: Flynn takes the Fifth Amendment when refusing to hand over subpoenaed documents to the Senate Intelligence Committee.
  • May 23: U.S. Department of Justice ethics experts declare Mueller is ethically able to take over the role of special counsel. The House Intelligence Committee hears testimony from Brennan, who declares that Russia “brazenly interfered in the 2016 election process” despite U.S. efforts to ward it off.”
  • May 24: Trump hires Marc Kasowitz, his longtime legal counsel, to represent him in nay inquiry.
  • May 25: The Senate Intelligence Committee votes unanimously to give Republican chairman Richard Burr and Democratic vice chairman Mark R. Walker “blanket authority” to issue subpoenas during their investigation.
  • May 26: The Senate Intelligence Committee requests the Trump campaign turn over “all of its emails, documents and phone records” related to Russia. The Washington Post reports that Kislyak told Moscow Kushner wanted a secret communication channel with the Kremlin, to be held under Russian supervision.
  • May 30: Flynn agrees to turn over some of his documents to the Senate Intelligence Committee. CNN reports leaked intercepts of conversations between Kremlin officials discussing their potential influence over some members over Trump’s campaign.
  • May 31: The White House announces it will no longer take questions relating to Russia-Trump allegations. The Trump administration offers to re-open the two Russian diplomatic compounds that had been previously closed down by the Obama administration. The House Intelligence Committee serves seven subpoenas for testimony, personal documents, and business records. FBI and congressional committees enquire about a possible third encounter between Sessions and Kislyak on April 27, 2016.
  • June 3: Mueller takes over an earlier probe into Manafort’s activities in Ukraine.
  • June 5: The Intercept publishes a top secret NSA document which discusses the targeting by the Main Intelligence Agency of Russia of computer systems maintaining voter rolls in several states. Reality Winner, an NSA contractor, is arrested for leaking the document.
  • June 7: Coats and Rogers testify to the Senate Intelligence Committee they never felt pressured by Trump to do anything inappropriate. However, they declined to answer questions on private conversations with him. In a prepared written testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee, Comey confirms telling President Trump that he was not personally under any investigation, and refusing to say this publicly without prior approval from the Attorney General’s office. He also states that Trump felt the Russia story was a “cloud” that prevented him from performing his job as president.
  • June 8: Comey testifies.
  • June 12: The Senate Intelligence Committee conducts closed meetings with Rogers and former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. Media reports circulate that Trump has considered the possibility of dismissing Mueller. Representative Brad Sherman begins circulating articles of impeachment to members of Congress.
  • June 13: The U.S. Senate agrees upon new sanctions against Russia in retaliation to the election interference. The bill is drafted to prevent Trump from lifting sanctions unilaterally. Sessions testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Rosenstein testifies to the Senate that he is the only person empowered to dismiss Robert Mueller, and that he sees no reason to do so.
  • June 14: The Washington Post confirms that Mueller is investigating Trump for obstruction of justice, in relation to the firing of Comey.
  • June 16: Trump tweets: “I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt.”
  • June 18: Jay Sekulow, Trump’s lawyer, states he has not been notified of any investigation into Trump himself.
  • June 19: ABC News contradicts Washington Posts report of June 14, saying no decision has yet been made on whether to investigate Trump for potential obstruction of justice. 
  • June 21: Kushner’s lawyers provided an amended SF-86 to the FBI, their third such change, to list the meeting with the Russian lawyer. 
  • June 23: Kushner met with the FBI to be interviewed for his security clearance.
  • June 27: Manafort registers retroactively as a Foreign Agent with the United States Department of Justice, showing that his firm received $17.1 million over two years from Yanukovych’s Party of Regions. 
  • June 30: On the Lawfare blog, British security consultant Matt Tait claims  he had a series of conversations with Smith in 2016, concerning Hillary Clinton’s emails, an unnamed dark webcontact, and a new Delaware company called KLS Research. 
  • July 9: The New York Times first reports that Trump Jr., Kushner and Manafort with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya on June 9, 2016.
  • July 10–18: Further details about the Veselnitskaya meeting emerge in the press.
  • July 11: Trump Jr. tweets his emails about the Veselnitskaya meeting before the Times publishes them minutes later. 
  • July 12: Two Democratic Party donors and a former party staff member file an invasion of privacy lawsuit against Trump’s campaign and Stone. Articles of Impeachment against President Trump are formally filed in the House of Representatives.
  • July 14: NBC News reports that Rinat Akhmetshin, a former Soviet counterintelligence officer, was at the Veselnitskaya meeting.
  • July 18: Ike Kaveladze, a Georgian-American business executive, is identified as the eighth person in the Veselnitskaya meeting. Donald Trump had an hour-long second undisclosed meeting with Vladimir Putin at the G-20 Summit.
  • July 19: The New York Times reports Manafort’s accounts from his work in Ukraine and investing with a Russian oligarch indicate that he had been in debt to pro-Russia interests by as much as $17 million before he joined Trump’s presidential campaign in March 2016. Donald Trump, in an interview with The New York Times, threatened the job of Robert Mueller if the investigation comes near his personal finances. The New York Times reports on sources claiming that Deutsche Bank is cooperating with federal investigators about their Trump accounts.
  • July 20: Bloomberg News reports Robert Mueller is investigating Donald Trump’s business transactions. The Washington Post reports Trump is asking his attorneys about his ability to pardon himself and other key aides and family members.
  • July 21: The Washington Post reports Jeff Sessions discussed Trump campaign-related matters with Kislyak.
  • July 22: Trump asserts ‘complete power’ to pardon relatives, aides, and possibly himself in relation to the Russia investigation.