Culture

The Twisted, Ever-Morphing Timeline Of The Ties Between Donald Trump And Russia (UPDATED)

trump russia timeline
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Last Updated: April 8th

One cannot observe U.S. news and politics in 2017 without careening headfirst into a Russia story. Naturally, this has everything to do with Donald Trump’s presidency, for the real estate mogul and reality star has been fixated on Russia for decades. And the obsession is mutual, although the American president has grown extraordinarily defensive over Russia’s interference in the U.S. election. Nearly every day sees Trump lash out at and completely trash anyone who alleges collusion between his campaign and the Russian government.

What has transpired may eventually go down as legend, something that is taught in history classes around the world for centuries to come. However, the truth is still out there, slowly being pieced together during investigations by the FBI and Congress. While the world witnesses these hearings over the coming weeks and months, this timeline of key events — involving Trump, his many associates, and Russia — reveals clear patterns of behavior and strategy on all sides. Whether or not Trump has been a knowing participant in the shadier aspects of these ties is up for debate, but the total effect of this timeline is staggering to witness.

1986

  • Unknown Date: Trump meets with Yori Dubinin, the Soviet Union’s ambassador to the U.S., at a luncheon hosted by Leonard Lauder (son to Estee Lauder). Following a discussion about Trump Tower’s glitz and gleam, Trump revealed — in 1987’s Art of the Deal — “one thing led to another, and now I’m talking about building a large luxury hotel across the street from the Kremlin.”

1987

  • Unknown Date: Soviet international tourism agency, Intourist, begins to court Trump, who soon travels to Moscow to begin scouting hotel sites. Although he meets with several advisors and economists from the Politburo (the policymaking body of the Communist party), he doesn’t get to hang with Soviet President Mikhail Gorbechev. Yet.

1988

  • December: Trump — who is eager to meet Gorbechev while he visits the U.S. — doesn’t realize that an imposter shakes his hand in New York City. The next night, Trump and then-wife Ivana attend a state dinner at the Reagan White House, where he finally encounters the real Gorbechev (awkward!), with whom he discusses hotels.

2000

2005

  • Unknown Date: Trump’s plans to build a Moscow hotel begin in earnest alongside the Bayrock Group, an international real estate development firm. He joins forces with one of the firm’s managing partners — a shady Russian-American businessman named Felix Sater — who enters and exits Trump’s life for the next several years. Ultimately, Sater’s shadowy, mafia-affiliated presence becomes a handicap for Trump, who later claims that he barely knows the guy. Still, Sater’s name somehow ends up on a “Senior Advisor To Donald Trump” business card for the Trump Organization.
  • March 22: Political strategist Paul Manafort begins working for a Russian billionaire oligarch on a $10 million annual contract. His job duties reportedly aim to “advance the interests” of Putin. This includes hatching a plan to influence U.S. news and politics coverage, along with erasing anti-Russian global sentiments.

2007

  • September: Trump and Sater stand next to each other in a photograph while launching the Trump SoHo hotel, which Sater helped to develop.
  • November: The mogul tries to make Trump Vodka — which debuts at the Moscow Millionaire’s Fair — become a thing in Russia. Despite a promising beginning, enthusiasm dampens within a few years.

2008

  • Unknown Date: Donald Trump Jr. tells a real estate conference about a lucrative source of the Trump Organization’s funding: “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”

2013

  • June: As Trump prepares to bring the Miss Universe Pageant to Moscow, he tweets his excitement at how the event “will bring our countries together!” Trump also muses about whether Russian President Vladimir Putin will attend, and “if so, will he become my new best friend?”

  • November: During an MSNBC interview, Trump is asked whether he had any “sway or influence” that would indicate a relationship with Putin. The real estate mogul answers, “I do have a relationship … He’s probably very interested in what you and I are saying today and I’m sure he’s going to be seeing it in some form.”

2015

  • March 15: Retired General Michael Flynn travels to Moscow, where he earns $65,000 to deliver speeches for Russian firms and RT, the Russian state-run news outlet. At a gala to celebrate the 10-year anniversary for RT, Flynn reportedly delivers a talk on the “decision-making process in the White House — and the role of the intelligence community in it.”
  • September: FBI Special Agent Adrian Hawkins warns the DNC help desk (repeatedly) that its servers had been hacked by hackers with connections to the Russian government.

2016

  • Feb – March: Trump gathers some key players for his presidential bid. After Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) endorses him for president, Trump chooses Sessions to lead his national security campaign advisory team. He also selects Carter Page, an energy industry consultant who specializes in Russia and Central Asia, as a foreign policy advisor. After becoming the presumptive Republican nominee, Trump picks Paul Manafort to spearhead delegate-rounding efforts.
  • May 19: Trump promotes Manafort to campaign chairman and chief strategist. After campaign manager Corey Lewandowski is ousted a few weeks later, Manafort also becomes a public face for the campaign.
  • June 8: Initial reports begin to surface about Russian hackers breaching the Democratic National Committee’s systems. The target first appears to be the DNC’s database of “opposition research.” In other words, the hackers want to know what the DNC knew about Trump. Reportedly, the DNC “rebuffs” the FBI’s request for server access, which delays the hacking investigation.
  • June 28: Secretary of State John Kerry confronts Vladimir Putin over complaints by staff at the U.S. embassy in Moscow who say Russian intruders are breaking into their homes to terrorize them by rearranging furniture, messing with electrical appliances, and — seriously — pooping on rugs and carpets.
  • July 8: Carter Page gives a speech in Moscow, where claims the West “unnecessarily perpetuated Cold War tendencies.” He advocates for “mutual benefits” between the U.S. and Russia. The trip is financed by the Trump campaign with Trump’s blessing. According to ex-British spy Christopher Steele’s Russia dossier, Page meets with Russian gas giant Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin, a Putin associate and former KGB agent. Sechin offers Page a 19% share of Rosneft if he can help get the U.S. government to lift the economic sanctions it has in place against Russia.
  • July 8: Steele alleges that Russia contacts Trump campaign associates with an offer to publish Clinton-related documents through Wikileaks, which would insulate the Trump campaign from culpability. These documents would arrive in exchange for a future Trump policy that tweaks the narrative on Russia’s Ukraine invasion. Part of this strategy would involve Trump publicly criticizing NATO regarding countries who don’t pay “their fair share.”
  • Mid-July: Russians begin to use data stolen from the DNC to aid Trump by harming Hillary Clinton. Wikileaks posts thousands of DNC emails, including messages that feature DNC chariwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz mocking Bernie Sanders and his campaign. Wasserman Schultz soon resigns.
  • July 18-22: Paul Manafort attends the GOP Convention along with Carter Page and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, who meets up with future Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The Alabama senator uses his own Senate reelection funds to pay for his convention travel and lodging expenses. Around convention time, the GOP platform — at the direction of the Trump campaign — erases its preexisting provision of “lethal defensive weapons” for Ukraine.
  • July 25: Uproxx wonders aloud in a detailed piece whether Russia was trying to influence the election.
  • July 26: The FBI announces that it’s officially investigating the DNC hack, and it suspects that Russia did the deed to aid Trump.
  • July 27: U.S. intelligence officials declare that they have “high confidence” that Russia hacked the DNC.
  • July 27: During a news conference in Doral, Florida, Trump openly encourages the Russians to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails. (Months later, Trump conveniently “forgets” that he did so.)

  • July 31: George Stephanopoulos grills Trump over the GOP platform’s softening on Ukraine, to which Trump denies all knowledge. Further, Trump inadvertently reveals that he has no clue that Russia invaded Ukraine. Trump also expresses his belief that the people of Crimea would rather be with Russia, which is a stance that runs directly against that of NATO countries.
  • August 8: Roger Stone, a longtime friend and advisor of Trump famous for political dirty tricks and his fondness for conspiracy theories, reveals that he “communicated with [Wikileaks Founder Julian] Assange.” Stone announces that incriminating documents would soon arrive as part of an “October surprise.” Stone also penned a Breitbart piece that called Guccifer 2.0 “the real deal” while attempting to distance the hacker from Russian intel. He then tweeted, “Trust me, it will soon be Podesta’s time in the barrel. #Crooked Hillary.”
  • August 17: Trump hires Breitbart founder Steve Bannon to run his campaign. Paul Manafort is not fired but takes a backseat. Bannon, well-known for crafting an anti-Semitic haven at his publication, would later help Trump accelerate his nationalist agenda and launch his Muslim ban.
  • September 9: During an NBC townhall hosted by Matt Lauer, Trump disparages U.S. military generals while openly praising Vladimir Putin. Trump also downplays Russia’s role in hacking the DNC while insisting, “Nobody knows that for a fact.”
  • September 9: Trump appears on RT to speak with Larry King and later claims that he only thought he was doing a podcast. King then contradicts the Trump campaign and says Trump totally knew he was going to be on Russian state TV.
  • September 29: Trump begins to circulate a fake news story — which accuses Google suppressing of negative Hillary Clinton news — that appeared on a Russian propaganda site. This was neither the first nor the last time that Trump promoted a conspiracy theory about an opponent.
  • October 5: Roger Stone ominously tweets about Julian Assange and liberals while warning, “Payload coming.”
  • October 7: On the same day that Trump’s lewd hot mic comments (from a 2006 Access Hollywood episode) surface, Wikileaks continues its pro-Trump crusade by launching daily dumps of John Podesta’s hacked emails (via a phishing email scam). Russian hacker Guccifer 2.0 swiftly claims responsibility. However, U.S. intelligence later determines that Russian intelligence agencies hacked the emails.
  • October 10: Trump, who previously said Wikileaks deserves the death penalty, speaks at a Wilkes-Barre, PA rally and shouts, “I love Wikileaks!” He reads DNC emails aloud before declaring, “It’s amazing how nothing is secret today when you talk about the Internet.” He also led the crowd in one a “Lock her up!” chant about “Crooked Hillary.”
  • October 11: Donald Trump Jr. meets with Russian supporters in France to discuss how best to end the Syrian conflict. This visit takes place a week after the Obama administration suspended diplomatic talks with Russia over Syria after the U.S.-Russia brokered ceasefire collapses. John Kerry also formally accuses Russia of bombing humanitarian trucks en route to the besieged city of Aleppo.
  • October 17: Wikileaks founder Julian Assange temporarily loses his internet connection at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Ecuador soon confirms that it has severed Assange’s connection to prevent him from releasing more information that could influence the U.S. election. Despite Assange going radio silent for a period of time, the Podesta email dumps continue unabated.
  • October 31: FBI Director James Comey comes under fire for reportedly resisting making an accusation against Russia for meddling in the U.S. election over timing concerns, despite reopening a probe into Clinton emails two weeks prior to the election.
  • October 31: A Mother Jones report accuses Russia of cultivating Trump as a presidential candidate for years.
  • November 8: Trump wins the presidential election. Putin swiftly congratulates him while publicly hoping for “a constructive relationship.”
  • November 10: Russian officials ominously declare that “there were contacts” between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign prior to the election.
  • November 18: General Michael Flynn is officially appointed as Trump’s national security advisor.
  • December 9: A secret CIA report declares that it’s “quite clear” that Russia hacked in an effort to get Trump elected. The report also details how the Kremlin used middlemen to do its dirty work to create “plausible deniability.” Trump dismisses the report: “I don’t believe it.”
  • December 16: The FBI backs up the CIA report concluding that Russia interfered with the election.
  • Late December: Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner (who later becomes one of the president’s senior advisors) and Flynn meet with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at Trump Tower to “establish a line of communication” between Russia and the Trump administration. Kushner also meets with Putin ally Sergey N. Gorkov, the head of a state-owned Russian bank that’s currently under U.S. sanctions (for Putin’s annexation of Crimea and strong-arming in Ukraine).
  • December 19: Flynn issues condolences to Kislyak over the assassination of the Russian ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov. Flynn and Kislyak exchange multiple text messages throughout the month, including mutual holiday greetings.
  • December 29: President Obama places additional sanctions on Russia and expels dozens of Russian diplomats over the country’s interference in the U.S. election process. Michael Flynn secretly speaks with Kislyak about the sanctions.
  • December 30: Putin “reserves the right to retaliate” and says he won’t expel American diplomats and looks forward to the Trump White House. (Russia did, however, swiftly shutter a school for children of American diplomats.) Trump tweets praise for the Russian president: “Great move on delay (by V. Putin) — I always knew he was very smart!”

2017

  • January 5: U.S. intelligence reveals that it has found “conclusive evidence” that Vladimir Putin directly orchestrated the election hack. Further, U.S. government officials confirm that Russia gave the hacked materials to Wikileaks through a third party.
  • January 6: The Director of National Intelligence drops a report that issues the same conclusion as the CIA and FBI. Further, the report states that the GRU (the largest Russian intelligence agency) sent files to Wikileaks via “the Guccifer 2.0 persona and DCLeaks.com.”
  • January 6: Declassified intelligence reports reveal that Putin still nurtures a long-standing grudge against Hillary Clinton because of what he viewed as disparaging comments against him. He also believes that, as secretary of state in 2011, she incited protests against his regime.
  • January 10: The unsubstantiated Russia dossier — chock full of allegations that Russia has “compromising” information on Trump, including but not limited to the “golden shower” story — is unveiled to the public by Buzzfeed. The dossier alleges that Trump paid Russian prostitutes to urinate on each other at a Moscow hotel, which was surveilled by Russian intel. The dossier (compiled by Christopher Steele) also contains loads of allegations about Trump’s financial holdings, personal information, and many possible ties to the Kremlin.
  • January 10: Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) grills Jeff Sessions during his attorney general confirmation hearing. In doing so, Franken asks Sessions what he would do if he learned that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with Russia during the election. Sessions answered that he wasn’t aware of anyone who did so, and Sessions stated that he definitely did not speak to any Russians.
  • January 12: Trump Tower is the site of an intelligence briefing between Trump and James Comey, who also discusses the Russia dossier with the president elect.
  • January 17: Roger Stone tells Infowars that he survived an assassination attempt via poisoning through “a substance that may have been polonium or had the characteristics of polonium.” Stone and Infowars host Alex Jones then invoke the 2006 poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko through Polonium-210, an act that was “probably okayed” by Putin.
  • January 20: Donald Trump is inaugurated as the 45th U.S. president.
  • January 23: The Wall Street Journal reports that Michael Flynn is under investigation by the highest levels of intelligence for his ties to Russia. Press Secretary Sean Spicer falsely insists that Flynn did not discuss sanctions with Kislyak.
  • January 26: Trump is warned by the Justice Department (via Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates) that Flynn could be vulnerable to Russian blackmail and that he lied about the nature of his conversations with Kislyak.
  • January 30: Yates is fired by Trump for directing the Justice Department not to enforce Trump’s immigration ban against refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries.
  • Early February: Felix Sater, the Russian-American businessman who helped Trump develop his first Moscow hotel, meets with Trump’s personal attorney (Michael Cohen) to discuss lifting Russian sanctions and turning a blind eye to Russian actions in Crimea and Ukraine. Cohen delivers papers containing an outline about this so-called “peace deal” to Flynn.
  • February 8: Jeff Sessions is confirmed as attorney general by the Senate.
  • February 9: In Trump’s first presidential phone call with Putin the new U.S. president reportedly denounces the existing U.S.-Russia treaty on nukes as a “bad deal.” (While on the phone, Trump asks his aides to explain the treaty.)
  • February 10: CNN reports that investigators have corroborated at least “some” information contained within the dossier compiled by Christopher Steele.
  • February 10: The Washington Post breaks the story of Flynn definitely discussing sanctions with Kislyak despite denying doing so at least twice.
  • February 13: Flynn resigns as national security advisor amid mounting reports about his conversations — which he lied about to VP Mike Pence — with Kislyak. His resignation arrives two weeks after Trump was warned by Yates about how Flynn discussed sanctions with Kislyak.
  • February 14: The New York Times publishes a report alleging that Trump campaign associates had frequent contact with Russian intelligence. The report was based upon anonymous U.S. intelligence officials’ accounts of “phone records and intercepted calls.”
  • February 15: A frustrated Trump lashes out at the press, U.S. intelligence, and even Hillary Clinton over the Russia thing.
  • February 16: The Washington Post reports that Flynn lied to the FBI about his communications with Kislyak.
  • February 23: The FBI’s James Comey is revealed to have refused to bury unsavory stories about the Trump campaign’s connections with Russia.
  • February 24: Trump throws a tantrum about the FBI’s “refusal to bury stories” report leaking to the press. He labelled the FBI as “totally unable” to stop “leakers” and urged them to “FIND NOW” because — in Trump’s mind — the leaks are a much bigger problem than Russian ties.
  • February 28: The president blames Obama for the leaks: “I think he is behind it.”
  • March 1: A New York Times report indicates that the Obama administration scrambled to preserve U.S. intelligence that proved Russian hacking of the election.
  • March 1: Jeff Sessions is revealed by the Washington Post to have met with the Kislyak at least twice — during the height of election season and Russian hacking — while he was a senator and Trump surrogate. The White House claims to have learned of these meetings from the day’s news reports.
  • March 2: Sessions recuses himself from all investigations relating to Trump ties with Russia. He insists that he answered Franken’s questions to the best of his ability.
  • March 3: Trump outlandishly accuses Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) of having strong ties to Russia because he ate a donut with Putin at the grand opening of a New York gas station in 2003.
  • March 3-4: Trump reportedly goes ballistic on Chief Strategist Steve Bannon and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus because he’s so angry about Sessions’ recusal. He then makes baseless claims that President Obama wiretapped the phones in Trump Tower during the “sacred election.”
  • March 3-5: Carter Page gives a series of excruciating interviews on cable news where he acts evasive and won’t answer questions about whether or not he met with Kislyak.
  • March 6: Bloomberg reports that Russian hackers are still targeting political groups in the U.S.
  • March 10: CNN indicates that the FBI is still monitoring a weird link between a Trump organization’s server and a Russian bank.
  • March 10: The White House admits that it knew Flynn should have registered as a foreign agent before the Trump transition. This information arrived as it was revealed that Flynn lobbied for Turkey during the U.S. election.
  • March 15: Roger Stone claims that he’s survived a second “assassination attempt,” this time by the so-called “deep state,” which he says purposefully crashed into his car.
  • March 19: The Senate Intelligence Committee warns Stone to preserve any information to its ongoing investigation into Trump-Russia ties.
  • March 20: FBI Director James Comey publicly confirms for the first time that the agency is investigating Trump-Russia ties and Russia’s election interference, which was partially motivated by Putin’s deep distaste for Hillary Clinton. At the same hearing, Comey put Trump’s bogus wiretapping claims to rest once and for all.
  • March 20: Sean Spicer attempts to distance Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort from all things Trump. Spicer outlandishly claims that Manafort played a “very limited” role in the Trump campaign for a “very limited period of time,” despite the former campaign chair’s five months in charge of Team Trump (and residence in Trump Tower since 2006). In another bit of ridiculousness, Spicer also tries to claim that Flynn was only a campaign “volunteer.”

  • March 20: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (who directed a U.S.-Russia oil firm in the Bahamas) announces that he will skip his first NATO meeting but will travel to Russia later in the month.
  • March 21: ABC News reports that “for two years ending in 2013, the FBI had a court-approved warrant to eavesdrop on a sophisticated Russian organized crime money-laundering network that operated out of unit 63A in Trump Tower in New York.”
  • March 22: The Associated Press publishes a report on Manafort’s Putin-promoting work a decade ago. Manafort also faces fresh money laundering accusations in Ukraine and a U.S. treasury probe of his offshore banking transactions.
  • March 22: House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes, who’s leading an investigation into Trump-Russian ties, bizarrely claims that he saw reports about (legal) surveillance of Trump and members of his transition team.
  • March 24: Manafort agrees to testify about Russia in front of the House Intel Committee, according to Nunes.
  • March 26: Trump makes good on the alleged July 2016 deal to criticize NATO countries who don’t pay “their fair share.” In doing so, he sends a reported multibillion dollar “invoice” to German Chancellor Angela Merkel for what Trump feels the country “owes” NATO for defense.
  • March 28: Nunes — who is fielding calls for his recusal by angry Democratic colleagues — cancels all committee meetings for the next week.
  • March 27: Jared Kushner agrees to testify in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee about Russia.
  • March 29: Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) announces that 20 witnesses have been asked for interviews as part of the Trump-Russia ties investigation. Manafort and Kushner have already agreed to testify, along with a handful of others. Burr also stated, “This one is one of the biggest investigations the Hill has seen in my time here.” (For sure)
  • March 30: A Newsweek report suggests that James Comey tried to reveal election meddling last summer, but the Obama administration blocked his efforts.
  • March 30: During the Senate Intelligence Committee hearings, an expert witness tells Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) that Russia harmed his election prospects during the primaries.
  • March 30: Two White House officials are revealed as Devin Nunes’ sources for his Trump surveillance claims.
  • March 30: Michael Flynn offers to testify on Russia-Trump ties in front of the FBI, House, and Senate in exchange for immunity.
  • March 31: The Senate Intelligence Committee turns down Flynn’s bid for immunity.
  • April 1: The Trump administration releases two versions of Flynn’s personal disclosure form, the first of which fails to list his income from Russia-related entities.
  • April 3: Notorious Blackwater founder Erik Prince attempted to set up a secret backchannel communication channel between Trump and Russian officials, according to a Washington Post report.
  • April 3: Former Trump advisor Carter Page was revealed to have met with a Russian spy in 2013, according to Buzzfeed News and the Associated Press.
  • April 5: Page insists to CNN that the Trump campaign was not aware of his contact with the aforementioned Russian spy.
  • April 6: Devin Nunes steps down as leader of the House Intelligence Committee’s Russia probe. Three GOP senators have taken over the investigation, and the House Ethics Committee announced an inquiry into Nunes’ behavior and possible collusion with the White House
  • April 6: The New York Times reported that the CIA revealed to U.S. officials last summer that Russia was attempting to influence the election. However, the agency’s findings weren’t made public until after Trump won the election.
  • April 6: The NY Times reveals that Jared Kushner did not disclose his meetings with multiple prominent Russians (including the ambassador and a Putin ally/head of a state-owned bank under sanctions) while seeking top-level security clearance.
  • April 6: President Trump launches 59 tomahawk missiles into a Syrian airbase in retaliation for President Bashar al-Assad’s chemical attack on his own people. The U.S. warns the Russians ahead of the strike, which is seen as largely symbolic.
  • April 7: Russia condemns Trump’s missile strike as “an act of aggression.” The Kremlin also warns that Trump’s act has jeopardized future military cooperation between the U.S. and Russia.
  • April 7: U.S. investigators reveal that they’re digging into whether Russia (because of a suspiciously lingering drone) had anything to with Assad’s most recent chemical attack.
  • April 8: A Russian warship returns to the Mediterranean Sea, presumably to track U.S. ships following the missile strike.
  • April 9: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson slams Russia as “incompetent” for failing (as guarantor) to hold Syria to its 2013 agreement to destroy all chemical weapons by mid-2014.
  • April 10: Russia and Iran accuse Trump of crossing red lines with his missile strike. They threaten a “show of force” if the U.S. takes further military action in northern Syria. This will undoubtedly impact some “boots on the ground” troops already engaged in counterterror ops that are targeting the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa.
  • April 10: Putin, who is angered by Trump’s strike, refuses to meet with Rex Tillerson for his planned upcoming trip to Moscow. Tillerson (unlike his predecessor, John Kerry) will now only meet with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, despite being bestowed with Putin’s Order of Friendship award in 2013 while running ExxonMobil.
  • April 10: U.S. authorities claim that Russia had advance notice of Assad’s chemical attack.
  • April 11: The White House accuses Russia of using fake news in an attempt to cover up Assad’s chemical attack.
  • April 12: The Washington Post reveals that the FBI secured a FISA warrant to surveil Carter Page during the summer of 2016.
  • April 12: CNN exclusively reveals that Devin Nunes’ surveillance claims about the Trump team don’t match up to classified documents and contain “no smoking gun.”
  • April 12: The Associated Press reports that Paul Manafort definitely received over $1 million from the “secret ledger” of Ukraine funds.
  • April 12: Vladimir Putin agreed to meet with Rex Tillerson in Moscow after all. The Kremlin confirmed that the two men spoke directly following what was said to be a “tense” discussion between Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
  • April 13: Paul Manafort’s spokesperson confirms that he’s registering as a foreign agent due to his work in Ukraine. The New York Times also reports that Manafort’s shell company received millions of dollars in loans from Trump-tied businesses immediately following his campaign demotion.
  • April 13: A report in The Guardian states that not only were British spies the first to bring attention to the Trump campaign’s Russian ties, but U.S. intel has also allegedly uncovered “conclusive evidence” of the campaign’s collusion with Russia.
  • April 14: Trump-appointed CIA Director Mike Pompeo flat-out call Wikileaks a “hostile intelligence service abetted” by Russia.

  • April 17: Russia and China dispatch ships to the Korean Peninsula to trail the USS Carl Vincent, which Sean Spicer and Trump confirm is leading a carrier strike group to monitor North Korea amid rising nuclear tensions.
  • April 18: Blackwater founder Erik Prince is revealed to have deep ties to the Trump campaign despite the White House’s insistence otherwise.
  • April 18: The New York Times reveals that the USS Carl Vincent was not headed to the Korean Peninsula when the the White House claimed it was. Instead, the carrier was headed toward the Indian Ocean.
  • April 18: The New Yorker reports that the entire Devin Nunes adventure was a White House plot to make Trump’s wiretapping accusations against Obama look less crazy.
  • April 19: CNN reports that the FBI used the “Golden Showers” Russia dossier to secure a warrant to monitor Carter Page.
  • April 19: Reuters reports that a think tank linked to Putin hatched a plan to influence the U.S. election through rumors of voter fraud.
  • April 20: According the New York Times, Carter Page’s July 2016 trip to Moscow sparked the entire investigation into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign.
  • April 21: Russia bombers and spy planes are stalking a U.S. coast (near Alaska) for the first time in years.
  • April 21: The House Intelligence Committee invites former deputy Attorney General Sally Yates to testify on what she knows about Russian interference in the election.
  • April 21: The Trump administration shuts down a request from Exxon Mobil to waive sanctions, which crushes the possibility of the Texas-based company to drill billions of gallons of oil from Russia’s Black Sea in partnership with Rosneft.
  • April 21: CNN reports that Russian operatives tried to “infiltrate” the Trump campaign through Carter Page and other Trump advisors (by using “backdoor channels”).
  • April 25: Politico reports that Michael Flynn’s Turkish lobbying money has deep ties to Russia (of course).
  • April 25: The White House rejects the House Intel Committee‘s request for documents related to Michael Flynn. Rep. Jason Chaffetz then tells reporters, “I see no information or no data to support the notion that General Flynn complied with the law.”
  • April 27: CNN reveals that the Pentagon warned Michael Flynn against accepting foreign payments after his 2014 military retirement.
  • April 27: Sean Spicer attempts to blame Obama for the Trump White House’s failure to vet Flynn.
  • May 2: CNN reports that former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates will testify for the Senate Judiciary Committee on her “forceful warning” to the White House regarding Flynn’s vulnerability to Russian blackmail.
  • May 5: The Senate asks multiple Trump associates (Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, Carter Page, and Roger Stone) to fork over all of their communication records and emails with Russian government officials and businessfolk.
  • May 7: A golf writer reveals that Eric Trump bragged (in 2014), “We have all the funding we need out of Russia.”
  • May 8: Carter Page pens a 9-page screed to complain about the “bitter” investigation into Russia-Trump ties while claiming that his civil rights are being violated by the Senate Intelligence Commitee’s request for his Russian comms.
  • May 8: CNN and NBC both report that Obama warned Trump not to hire Michael Flynn during an Oval Office meeting shortly after Inauguration Day.
  • May 8: Sally Yates tells the Senate Judiciary Committee that she spoke with White House Counsel three times to express her concern about Flynn’s vulnerability to Russian blackmail (and his lies about his discussions with the Russian ambassador).
  • May 9: NSA director confirms that Russia was behind the hack that targeted President-Elect Emmanuel Marcon during the last leg of the French election.
  • May 9: The Senate Intelligence Committee requests Trump associates’ financial information from the Treasury Department. CNN also reports that Michael Flynn’s associates have received grand jury subpoenas.
  • May 9: Trump fires FBI Director James Comey. Officially, the White House states that Trump did so upon Department of Justice recommendation (from AG Jeff Sessions and Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein) due to Comey’s handling of the Clinton email probe. However, both Trump’s tantrums and Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders strongly indicate (though Sanders denies as much) that Comey was fired because Trump kept raging over the FBI.’s Russia investigation.
  • May 10: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov visits the White House and tells a sarcastic joke about Comey’s firing. In addition, Trump meets with Lavrov in the Oval Office and bars U.S. press from attending but allows Russian reporters to enter and take photos.
  • May 10: Dozens of members of Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, call for a special prosecutor on Russia following Comey’s firing.
  • May 10: CNN and CNBC both report that Comey requested additional funding for the FBI’s Russia investigation a few days before he was fired, and he communicated this request to some members of Congress.
  • May 10: Vladimir Putin takes a break from playing hockey (for real) to weigh in on Trump’s firing of Comey — “President Trump is acting in accordance with his competence, in accordance with his law and Constitution.”
  • May 10: The Senate Intelligence Committee invites Comey to testify about the FBI’s Russia investigation as well as his unexpected termination. He declines because he reportedly would prefer public testimony, and this appearance would have been behind closed doors.
  • May 10: The Daily Beast publishes a report about White House lawyers having to repeatedly warn Trump not to contact Michael Flynn.
  • May 11: The Washington Post reports that President Trump was reportedly tricked by the Russians into allowing their photographer to capture his meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. This leads to criticism over a possible surveillance device being smuggled into the Oval Office.
  • May 12: The Associated Press tweets word from a Trump attorney, who claims that Trump’s tax returns aren’t showing any income from Russia “with few exceptions.”
  • May 15: Vladimir Putin blames the Wannacry randomware attack, which crippled computer systems and networks worldwide, on the U.S. Subsequent reports indicate that North Korea may actually be the responsible party.
  • May 15: The Washington Post issues a bombshell report about Trump allegedly spilling “highly classified” information (about an ISIS plot) to Russians during their Oval Office visit. Mortified White House staffers were reportedly “hiding in offices” after the terrible news dropped. Trump later defended his “right” to share the information, and National Security Advisor General McMaster insisted that Trump wasn’t aware of the source of the intel.

  • May 16: Israel was revealed as the source of the intelligence that Trump revealed to the Russians, according to the New York Times. This followed a pre-inauguration report from Haaertz, which indicated that Israel was warned by U.S. intelligence not to share intel with Trump out of fear that he’d blab it to Russia, which would then tell Iran.
  • May 16: The New York Times relays a spoken reciting of a Comey memo from his associates. Within the memo, Trump allegedly pressured the then-FBI director to kill the investigation into Flynn’s Russian ties because he’s a “good guy.” This reportedly prompts White House staffers to wonder if Trump is “completely f*cked” as calls for impeachment begin to emerge. Meanwhile, Fox News does everything possible to avoid talking about Trump’s imploding presidency.
  • May 17: Vladimir Putin offers to provide a transcript of the Russians’ meeting with Trump in the Oval Office to “prove” that Trump didn’t spill secrets.
  • May 17: Democratic senators (including Elizabeth Warren) ask the DOJ’s watchdog to investigate Jeff Sessions for his role in Comey’s firing.
  • May 17: The Wall Street Journal reports that a state-owned Russian bank funded a Trump-branded hotel in Toronto.
  • May 17: House Democrats introduce a bill for a 9/11-style independent commission, which will be properly staffed and possess resources and necessary expertise, into Russia.
  • May 17: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appoints former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to lead the DOJ’s Russia investigation. The White House was informed rather than asked about the matter with very little notice.
  • May 17: The Washington Post reports that one of Trump’s top Congressional supporters voiced suspicion in summer 2016 that Trump was taking bribes from Russia. The conversation was later explained away as a “joke,” which is (of course) sketchy.
  • May 17: The New York Times reveals that sources close to Michael Flynn say he told the Trump transition team that he was being investigated for Russian ties, but Trump still named him as national security advisor. Yahoo News also reported that Flynn told friends that Trump had contacted him (with a “stay strong” message) on or around April 25 despite warnings from White House attorneys.
  • May 18: Trump whined on Twitter about the special counsel appointment (calling it the “single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!”) while wondering why he’s treated differently than Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.
  • May 18: The Associated Press reports that associates within the Trump campaign had 18 contacts with Russia during the general election.
  • May 18: Yahoo News relays word about a conversation that Michael Flynn had with friends, whom he told that Trump contacted him (with a “stay strong” message) as late as April 25.
  • May 18: GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham makes waves by telling the press that “it seems to me” that the DOJ’s investigation of Trump-Russia ties has shifted from a counterintelligence to a criminal investigation.
  • May 19: The New York Times reports that the FBI once warned one of Trump’s top congressional supporters that Russian spies were trying to recruit him.
  • May 19: TIME publishes an investigative piece that claims Russia has been pushing their propaganda through Facebook ads.
  • May 19: The Washington Post reports that a senior White House advisor has become a “person of interest” in the Department of Justice’s Russia probe. Potential financial crimes are also alluded to in WaPo‘s piece, and the Internet widely speculates that this person is Jared Kushner.
  • May 19: The New York Times alleges that Trump told Russians (in the Oval Office) that James Comey was a “nut job” and that his firing had relieved him of “great pressure.”
  • May 19: McClatchy DC reports that the federal investigation of Russia now includes a probe into whether there was “an attempt to cover up” Trump campaign collusion with the Russians.
  • May 19: CNN reports that White House attorneys are now starting to research impeachment procedures while also considering such proceedings to be a “distant possibility.”
  • May 19: James Comey agrees to publicly testify on Russia in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
  • May 22: The Associated Press reports that Michael Flynn will invoke his Fifth Amendment right to self-incrimination on any Russia probes.
  • May 22: Trump appears to confirm (without being asked) that Israel was the source of the intel that he spilled to Russians.
  • May 22: NBC News reveals that Paul Manafort and Roger Stone have turned over relevant documents to the Senate.
  • May 22: The New York Times reports that Michael Flynn lied to Pentagon investigators about his Russian income and trip while applying for top-security clearance.
  • May 22: The Washington Post alleges that Trump pressured U.S. intelligence chiefs to resist Comey’s FBI probe.
  • May 23: Ex-CIA Chief John Brennan tells the House Intelligence Committee that Russia “brazenly interfered” with the U.S. election.
  • May 24: Senate Democrats accuse the White House of telling federal agencies to withhold information (involving several issues including Russia) from Congress.
  • May 24: Israel’s defense minister reveals that the country has tweaked its intelligence-sharing protocols with the U.S. after Trump blabbed ISIS-related intel to the Russians.
  • May 24: The Washington Post reports that James Comey may have been swayed by fake news (in the form of “bad” Russian intelligence) while probing Hillary Clinton’s emails.
  • May 24: CNN reveals that Jeff Sessions did not disclose his meetings with the Russian ambassador while applying for security clearance.
  • May 25: NBC News reports that Jared Kushner has officially come “under scrutiny” by the FBI for his campaign strategy work and communications with Russians.
  • May 26: The Hollywood Reporter digs into Trump’s apparent “Russia mania” in the 1980s, according to a Bernard Lown, who worked with Soviet doctors to advocate for nuclear disarmament. Lown revealed that Trump pursued a Reagan-era U.S. ambassadorship in Moscow.
  • May 26: Reuters reveals that Trump is planning to establish a White House “war room” to fend off the Russia probes. Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner will be heavily involved, along with former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.
  • May 26: The Washington Post reports that Jared Kushner pursued a secret communications channel between the Trump transition team and the Kremlin.
  • May 30: The New York Times reveals that U.S. investigators want to know why Kushner met with a Russian banker who’s a Putin ally and a spy school grad.
  • May 30: CNN publishes a story about how Russian officials reportedly discussed how to influence the Trump campaign with “derogatory” information.
  • May 30: New French President Emmanuel Macron tells Vladimir Putin to his face that Russian state media is full of fake news and propaganda.
  • May 30: ABC News reports that Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, has become a focus of the Russia investigation.
  • May 31: Sean Spicer says the White House will now refer questions about Russia to Trump’s outside attorney, Mark Kasowitz.
  • May 31: The House Intelligence Committee subpoenas Michael Flynn and Michael Cohen for their testimony and relevant documents.
  • June 1: Despite Devin Nunes’ recusal from the Russia probe, he still signs seven subpoenas from the House Intel Committee, including those for Flynn and Cohen. He also “unilaterally” issues three subpoenas for “unmasking” for matters related to Russia, but he maintains that he is “acting separately” from the Russia probe.
  • June 1: Trump apparently decides to undo Obama’s punishment of Russia by returning their luxury compounds.
  • June 1: Brexit instigator Nigel Farage reportedly becomes a “person of interest” in the Russia probe, according to The Guardian.
  • June 1: Politico reports that U.S. officials believe that Russia is trying to map America’s telecommunications infrastructure for potential future shenanigans.
  • June 1: Vladimir Putin insists that Russia didn’t hack the U.S. election but says that “patriotically minded” Russian hackers might have done so.
  • June 1: Democratic senators reveal that they asked James Comey to investigate Jeff Sessions for perjury (and then, of course, Sessions had a hand in firing Comey).
  • June 2: Yahoo News reports that State Department officials were “alarmed” when Trump immediately moved to do away with Obama’s sanctions on Russia.
  • June 2: Reuters reveals that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is probing Flynn’s ties to Turkey.
  • June 4: The NBC interview between defiant Vladimir Putin and Megyn Kelly airs. He tells her that the U.S. completely concocted the idea of Trump collusion with Russia: “Good job. Your lives must be boring.”
  • June 5: The White House reveals that Trump decided not to invoke executive privilege to keep James Comey from testifying in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
  • June 5: The Intercept publishes a top secret NSA report that details Russian hacking efforts mere days before the election. In response, the Trump administration makes its first “leaking” arrest of an NSA contractor named Reality Winner.
  • June 6: The New York Times reports that Trump has grown increasingly dissatisfied with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and privately blames him for the appointment of Mueller as special counsel.
  • June 6: NBC News reveals that Trump has canned the idea of a “war room” to combat the Russia investigations.
  • June 6: A top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mark Warner, says the Russian election hack was “much broader” that the Intercept report revealed.
  • June 6: ABC News and the New York Times both report that Jeff Sessions has considered resigning, and James Comey told him that it was best to not be alone with Trump, ever.
  • June 6: The Washington Post reveals that Trump asked U.S. intelligence officials to put the brakes on the FBI’s investigation into Russia.
  • June 7: Ahead of James Comey’s Senate testimony, his Written Statement confirms that Trump coerced him with a demand for “loyalty.”
  • June 8: Comey’s live-action, bombshell testimony reveals a meticulously constructed case yielding many revelations: (1) His accusation that Trump lied and defamed him and the FBI; (2) He hopes that Trump did tape their talks because he knows they won’t be good news for Trump; (3) He documented his talks with Trump because he felt the president would lie due to “the nature of the person”; (3) He hinted at the “problematic” reasons for Jeff Sessions’ recusal; and (4) Most importantly, Comey admitted to leaking his memos to a friend in the hopes that they “might prompt the appointment of a special counsel.”
  • June 8: Donald Trump Jr. and Sean Hannity celebrate their agreement — while conveniently forgetting about all Russian ties — that Comey’s testimony “exonerated” the president.
  • June 9: Trump tweet-declares “total and complete vindication” by Comey’s testimony.
  • June 9: Trump attorney Marc Kasowitz accuses Comey of making “unauthorized disclosures” during his testimony. He also expresses intent to file a complaint with the DOJ over Comey’s leaked memos.
  • June 9: The House Intelligence Committee requests all Comey tapes (if they exist), although Trump claims that everyone will be “disappointed” by them.
  • June 12: One of President Trump’s close confidants reveals that he’s considering firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The New York Times subsequently reports that Trump’s aides talked him off the ledge, and Muller is going nowhere. (And Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein declares that he sees zero reason to fire Mueller.)
  • June 13: The Senate, in a major power move, strikes a deal for new Russian sanctions and severely limits Trump’s ability to lift them (both new and existing sanctions).
  • June 13: Bloomberg reports that Russian hackers breached electoral systems in 39 states, which is far more than previously reported.
  • June 13: Jeff Sessions appears for testimony in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee. He tries to blame Sen. Al Franken for his possible perjury during his Senate Confirmation Hearing. He gets testy when asked about James Comey’s assertion that his recusal was “problematic,” and he whines about being nervous while Sen. Kamala Harris interrogates him.
  • June 15: Vice President Mike Pence hires outside counsel to represent him on any Russia-related inquiries.
  • June 16: Trump seemingly confirms that he’s under investigation by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein: “I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt.”
  • June 16: Rosenstein begins to weigh the need for recusal from the DOJ’s Russia probe (he oversees Special Counsel Robert Mueller) because of his role in authoring the Comey firing memo. Reportedly, he’s begun to brief Associate AG Rachel Brand to take over his Russia-related duties.
  • June 18: Trump personal attorney Jay Sekulow tells NBC’s Chuck Todd that Trump is not under investigation. Later, Chris Wallace pounces on Sekulow for contradicting himself and saying (twice) that Trump is under investigation. (Sekulow insists that he was only speaking hypothetically to Wallace.)
  • June 21: A Russian official refuses to meet with the U.S. State Department due to unhappiness over sanctions.
  • June 22: CNN reports that Trump suggested to top U.S. intelligence chiefs (Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers) that they publicly deny accusations that his campaign colluded with Russia.
  • June 23: The Washington Post details how Obama ordered the NSA to prepare a retaliatory strike — which could happen (or not) at an undetermined date — against Russia before leaving office.
  • June 26: The Associated Press reports how Trump’s advisors are trying to talk him out of a high-profile meeting with Putin at the Group of 20 Summit (where they are both scheduled to appear) in Germany in July.
  • July 28: Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders delivers a bonkers press briefing, in which she berates “fake news” reporters and calls Russia “a hoax” with no evidence to back up the investigations.
  • June 29: ABC News reveals that longtime Trump bodyguard Keith Schiller has now been added to the witness in (at minimum) the Senate’s Russia probe.
  • June 30: The Wall Street Journal reports that Russian hackers discussed how to obtain Hillary Clinton’s emails and transfer them to Michael Flynn.
  • July 5: The New York Times reports that Trump’s aides are very worried that his impending meeting with Putin (at the G20 summit) will backfire tremendously.
  • July 6: During a speech in Poland, Trump insists that “nobody really knows” if Russia hacked the U.S. election, and he ridiculed Obama for not being able to stop it from happening.
  • July 7: The New York Times reveals that hackers (who are possibly Russian) have been aggressively targeting U.S. nuclear facilities.
  • July 7: CNN reports that Russia has increased their spying in the U.S. following their election “success.”
  • July 7: At the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, President Trump and Vladimir Putin meet face-to-face for the first time. They share an awkward handshake, after which Trump declares that everything is going “very well.” The two leaders then retired for a semi-private discussion (attended only by Rex Tillerson, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and interpreters) that lasts over two hours.
  • July 7: Predictably, the U.S. and Russia release contrasting summaries of Trump and Putin’s one-on-one talk. According to Tillerson, Trump “repeatedly pressed” Putin on election interference, whereas Lavrov says that Trump immediately accepted Putin’s denial of Russian meddling.
  • July 8: The New York Times reports that Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort met with a Kremlin-connected lawyer in July 2016. Trump Jr. issues a statement to claim that the group only discussed adoption laws.
  • July 9: President Trump announces plans to form a “cyber security unit” with Putin and gets roundly mocked by Senator Marco Rubio.
  • July 9: The New York Times updates their Don Jr. story to add that the Russian lawyer dangled “damaging information” about Hillary Clinton prior to the Trump Tower meeting. Don Jr. issues a statement that both denies and admits the report while also seemingly expressing disappointment in how the lawyer never delivered said information about Hillary.
  • July 11: In relation to the above-referenced meeting, Don Jr. inexplicably decides to release his own emails that essentially prove his intent to collude with Russia. The messages showed that he believed he would receive dirt on Clinton from a Kremlin-linked lawyer, and when his intermediary acquaintance promised as much, he wrote back: “If it’s what you say I love it.”
  • July 12: Trump’s pick for the FBI Director, Christopher Wray, tells the Senate (during his confirmation hearing) that he doesn’t believe that Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation is “a witch hunt.”
  • July 13: The Department of Justice misses a deadline to turn over documents detailing Sessions’ contacts with Russians.
  • July 13: President Trump defends Don Jr. by claiming that most people would have attended the meeting with a Russian lawyer. In addition, he says “zero happened” during the incident, and he falsely blames Loretta Lynch for the lawyer’s visa.
  • July 13: Attorney Marc Kasowitz (who’s representing Trump in the Russia investigations) grows defensive over reports that he cannot obtain sufficient security clearance (due to alleged alcohol abuse) to properly represent Trump in an investigation full of classified information. He then lashes out with a profanity-laden email attack on a citizen who advised him to resign from the probe.
  • July 18: NBC News reports that Russia claims “the right” to retaliate against the U.S. for seizure of diplomatic compounds.
  • July 18: CNN and the New York Times reveal that Trump and Putin held a clandestine meeting (with only an interpreter present) after their “official” talks at G20.
  • July 24: Jared Kushner testifies in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee about four of his meetings with Russian officials. He also insists, “I did not collude.”
  • July 24: Trump calls Jeff Sessions “beleaguered” mere days after trashing him for recusing himself from all Russia-related investigations.
  • July 27: An angry Senator Lindsey Graham warns that there will be “holy hell to pay” if Trump fires Special Counsel Robert Mueller, as he is reported to be considering.
  • July 30: Vladimir Putin, impatient at the lack of progress with U.S.-Russia relations, cuts 755 U.S. embassy staffers in response to Congress passing severe new sanctions.
  • July 31: The Washington Post reports that President Trump told Don Jr. to say that his meeting with the Russian lawyer was about “adoption issues.” Newly minted White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders later tells the press that Trump simply “weighed in” with Don Jr. “like any father would do.”
  • August 2: Left with no other choice, Trump has to approve a bill to increase Russia sanctions. Congress’ new legislation also severely limits Trump’s ability to remove the sanctions in the future.
  • August 3: Special Counsel Robert Mueller impanels a grand jury in the Russia investigation. In addition, Vox reports that the FBI’s top officials may soon have to testify against Trump in the DOJ’s probe.
  • August 8: A former CIA spy tells NPR that he believes Putin may have “deliberately left a trail of breadcrumbs” between the Kremlin and Trump Tower.
  • August 9: The Washington Post reports that the FBI raided Paul Manafort’s home in late July 2017.
  • August 10: Bloomberg reveals that Manafort tipped off authorities to Donald Trump Jr.’s infamous meeting with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower.
  • August 11: ABC News reports that Trump-Russia investigators want to question the president’s long-time personal secretary, Rhona Graff.
  • August 28: The New York Times reveals that a Trump associate, moneyman Felix Sater, once promised to “get Trump elected” with the help of Vladimir Putin’s “team.”
  • August 31: The State Department retaliates against Russia’s ousting of diplomats by closing its San Francisco consulate and offices in D.C. and New York City.
  • September 1: The New York Times obtained a copy of a letter draft that Trump wrote to outline the reasons for firing James Comey.
  • September 8: Facebook admits selling political ads, which ran during election season, to Russian-linked fake news accounts. These ads reached up to 70 million Americans.
  • September 11: Yahoo News reveals that the FBI begins investigating Russian state-news agency Sputnik as a propaganda arm.
  • September 12: The Wall Street Journal reports that President Trump’s attorneys urged him to fire Jared Kushner over his failed security-form disclosures regarding Russian contacts.
  • September 12: The Daily Beast reveals how Russia used Facebook to create anti-immigrant rallies and events ahead of the election. One of the group pages in question, the Heart of Texas, gained 225,000 followers, although it’s not certain how many people actually attended such rallies.
  • September 12: Axios reports that Trump is still “musing” about firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller, but his aides have warned of a “horrendous” fallout.
  • September 13: House Democrats allege that Michael Flynn failed to disclose an effort to broker a Russia-Saudi business deal.
  • September 13: Trump’s ethics watchdog quietly decides to allow anonymous donations for Trump staffers’ legal defense funds regarding the Russia probes.
  • September 13: The New York Times reports details of an Oval Office meeting, in which Trump tried to pressure an “ashen and emotional” Jeff Sessions to resign over Robert Mueller’s appointment
  • September 21: Mark Zuckerberg announces that Facebook will turn over thousands of Russia-linked election ads to Congress.
  • September 22: Foreign Policy reveals that Russian propaganda arm RT attempted to purchase politically charged Twitter handles to influence the U.S. election.
  • September 22: Homeland Security officially informs 21 states that they were targeted by Russian hackers during the election.
  • September 27: More sordid details arrive on how Russia used Facebook — with the implication that someone in the Trump campaign may have assisted or (at least) provided guidance — in an attempt to swing the election for Trump.
  • October 1: On Yom Kippur, Mark Zuckerberg formally apologizes “for the ways my work was used to divide people.”
  • October 4: U.S. officials accuse Russia of hacking the smartphones of NATO soldiers.
  • October 5: The Wall Street Journal reports that Russian hackers stole NSA secrets that detail how the U.S. spies on other countries.
  • October 9: The Washington Post details how Google has reportedly discovered that Russian agents purchased YouTube and Gmail ads during the election.
  • October 11: The Wall Street Journal reveals that the Kapersky anti-virus program may have served as a trojan horse for Russian spies.
  • October 13: CNN reports that Pokemon Go may have been used by Russian agents to inflame racial hatred in the United States.
  • October 13: Former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus meets with Robert Mueller as part of the Justice Department’s Russia probe.
  • October 17: At least one online troll from Russia claims that he was paid close to nothing, according to Quartz.
  • October 19: Buzzfeed News reports that Twitter took months to shut down a Russian troll account that was masquerading as a GOP official.
  • October 19: President Trump goes on a bizarre Oval Office rant about what he calls the “real Russia story” — a 2010 Russian uranium deal involving both Hillary Clinton and former president Obama.
  • October 23: The State Department revokes the visa of Bill Browder, an anti-Putin human rights activist who’s been accused by Russia of murder.
  • October 24: Devin Nunes holds another impromptu, madcap press conference to announce a House probe targeting the Clinton-Uranium One deal with Russia.
  • October 25: Hillary Clinton’s former spokesperson defends the alleged DNC funding of the Russia dossier as “opposition research.”
  • October 26: Twitter bans two Russian state news outlets, Russia Today and Sputnk, from advertising on its service.
  • October 27: The New York Times reveals that the talking points for Don Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer were first shown to the Kremlin.

  • October 28: Longtime political operative/Trump advisor Roger Stone melts down on Twitter over news that Robert Mueller has filed his first charges (which are still shrouded in mystery) in the DOJ’s Russia probe.
  • October 28: Twitter bans Stone for his blistering tweet-rant and stream of insults directed at CNN, Don Lemon, Jake Tapper, and Ana Navarro.
  • October 29: Stone vows legal action against Twitter, although the grounds for any lawsuit seem unclear.
  • October 30: Mueller indicts former campaign chair Paul Manafort and his business associate, Paul Gates. The special counsel’s grand jury found grounds for 12 charges, including conspiracy against the United States. Trump then falsely tweet-claims that Manafort’s alleged crimes occurred years ago while adding, “NO COLLUSION!”
  • October 30: The New York Times reports that former foreign advisor George Papadopoulos secretly pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in January 2017. Following the report, Sarah Huckabeen Sanders tries to distance the Trump campaign from Papadopoulos by labeling him as only a “volunteer” for the campaign.
  • October 30: Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta leaves the Podesta Group after coming under scrutiny by Robert Mueller for his group’s dealings with the Ukrainian government.
  • October 30: James Comey’s rumored Twitter account shades the Trump administration in light of the Manafort/Gates indictment news.
  • November 1: CNN reports that Paul Manafort has three passports and uses different names while traveling abroad.
  • November 2: Trump’s pick for the top USDA post, Sam Clovis, withdraws his name from consideration after being linked to the Russia probe as the Trump campaign member who advised George Papadopoulos to arrange a meeting with Russians.
  • November 2: Jared Kushner turns over documents to Robert Mueller as part of an inquiry into James Comey’s firing.
  • November 3: Carter Page admits to MSNBC’s Chris Hayes that he told some members of Team Trump (including Sessions) about his Russia trip.
  • November 5: NBC News reports that Muellers has enough evidence on Michael Flynn and his son to charge them in the DOJ’s Russia probe.
  • November 6: Bloomberg reveals that Donald Trump Jr. allegedly offered a quid pro quo to Russia in exchange for dirt on Hillary Clinton.
  • November 6: The leaked “Paradise Papers” show that Trump Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’ many financial ties to Russian cronies. Forbes later reports that Ross has been lying about being a billionaire since 2004.
  • November 6: The 243-page transcript of Carter Page’s congressional testimony corroborates portions of the Steele dossier, although he’s understood to be a somewhat unreliable witness.
  • November 9: NBC News reports that longtime Trump bodyguard Keith Schiller testified that Russia offered to “send five women” to Trump’s Moscow hotel room in 2013, but he turned the offer down.
  • November 11: Despite overwhelming evidence from U.S. intelligence agencies, Trump says he believes Vladimir Putin’s claims that he didn’t meddle in the U.S. election. Trump then refers to ex-CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and ex-FBI Director James Comey as “political hacks”.
  • November 11: Reuters reports that Robert Mueller’s investigation has turned to determining what Trump knew about Russia, and when.
  • November 12: Trump clarifies his Putin remarks (but doesn’t improve them) while expressing agreement with U.S. intelligence agencies’ conclusions on Russian meddling (but especially where their current leadership is concerned).
  • November 13: The Atlantic reports that Donald Trump Jr. corresponded with Wikileaks during the election, and the eldest Trump son confirms the revelation.
  • November 16: Business Insider reveals that Jared Kushner failed to disclose a “Russian backdoor overture” from his forwarded emails.
  • November 24: Michael Flynn’s legal team cuts ties with Trump lawyers, signaling possible cooperation with Robert Mueller.
  • November 27: ABC News reports that Flynn’s lead attorney met with Mueller, which fuels further speculation of a plea deal.
  • November 30: The New York Times reports that President Trump urged senior Republicans to end the Russia investigation.
  • December 1: Michael Flynn pleads guilty to one charge of lying to the FBI about his talks with then-Russian ambassador Sergey Kisylak (despite all of Flynn’s other alleged and very severe offenses). This apparent sweetheart deal leads to speculation that Flynn has flipped on Trump.
  • December 1: ABC News’ Brian Ross reports that Flynn, who confirms his cooperation with the Justice Department, is prepared to testify that Trump “directed him to make contact with the Russians.” ABC News later issues a “clarification,” which is amended to a “correction” that Trump didn’t make this direction as a candidate but as president-elect and in reference to repairing relations and working together with Russia to fight ISIS.
  • December 1: Multiple outlets report that Jared Kushner is the “senior transition official” (referred to in Flynn plea documents) who pushed Flynn to communicate with Russia on Israel. A White House administration official reveals that Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus were also part of the group effort to do so.
  • December 1: Blackwater founder Erik Prince denies colluding with Russia despite admitting to meeting with a Russian banker.
  • December 2: Trump tweet-claims that he fired Michael Flynn because he lied to the FBI, which suggests that he was indeed obstructing justice while pressuring James Comey to drop the investigation into Flynn.
  • December 2: ABC News suspends reporter Brian Ross for the “serious error” within his bombshell report in his Flynn coverage that resulted in the previous day’s correction.
  • December 3: Trump attorney John Dowd bizarrely takes the fall for Trump’s tweet about firing Flynn because he lied to the FBI.
  • December 4: CNN reports that a White House lawyer told Trump in January that Michael Flynn lied to the FBI and Mike Pence
  • December 5: The New York Times reports that Michael Flynn told a former business associate that Obama’s Russia sanctions would be “ripped up.”
  • December 8: The New York Times also reveals that the FBI cautioned Hope Hicks about Russian operatives that emailed her during the transition.
  • December 12: Rex Tillerson tells U.S. diplomats that Russia “interfered” in the election
  • December 13: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein tells the Senate Judiciary Committee that he sees no reason to replace Robert Mueller on the Russia probe.
  • December 14: The Washington Post reports that U.S. intelligence officials avoid discussing Russia with Trump so he doesn’t go “off the rails.” The Post adds that the CIA disclosed Vladimir Putin’s “specific instructions” for hacking the election to Trump.
  • December 15: Rex Tillerson walks back a recent offer to hold discussions with North Korea while calling upon China and Russia to put more pressure on North Korea.
  • December 18: NBC News reports that Trump was warned by the FBI in 2016 that Russia was trying to infiltrate his campaign.
  • December 27: Russia bizarrely accuses the U.S. of “direct interference” in their upcoming presidential election after the State Department issues a statement on fair electoral processes (due to Russia’s Election Commission shutting down the campaign of popular opposition candidate Alexei Navalny.
  • December 27: The Washington Post reports that the White House plans to call Michael Flynn a “liar” if he accuses anyone of wrongdoing.
  • December 28: A jailed Russian hacker claims that the Kremlin directed him to hack the DNC, and he left a software “fingerprint” to prove it.
  • December 28: Axios reveals that Robert Mueller is questioning RNC staffers about the party’s digital campaign efforts in 2016.
  • December 30: The New York Times reports that Trump campaign “coffee boy” George Papadoupolos was the “impetus” for the Justice Department opening a probe into the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with Russia.

2018

  • January 3: In excerpts from Michael Wolff’s upcoming White House tell-all book, Steve Bannon blasts the Trump Tower-Russia meeting as “treasonous” and declares, “They’re going to crack Don Jr. like an egg. Trump’s attorney’s send Bannon a cease and desist letter over his “disparaging” remarks.
  • January 5: The New York Times reveals Trump unsuccessfully lobbied Jeff Sessions not to recuse on Russia, and Robert Mueller knows it.
  • January 5: Republican senators ask the Justice Department to investigate the Trump-Russia dossier author, ex-British spy Christopher Steele.
  • January 6: During a press conference, President Trump insists that “everything I’ve done is 100 percent proper” in regard to his dealings with Russia.
  • January 7: Steve Bannon issues an elaborate apology to Don Jr. over the treason accusation while insisting that he was referring to the already-indicted Paul Manafort.
  • January 8: NBC News reports that Trump attorneys are attempting to spare their client being interviewed by Robert Mueller.
  • January 9: The Washington Post reports that Russia dossier author Christopher Steele was reportedly told that the FBI had a source within the Trump campaign.
  • January 12: The Associated Press reveals that Russian hackers appear to be preparing for an attack on the U.S. Senate.
  • January 16: Steve Bannon receives a subpoena to testify in front of Robert Mueller’s grand jury. He then gets a second subpoena from the House Intelligence Committee after refusing to answer questions for 10 hours. Bannon then cuts a deal to speak with Mueller’s prosecuting team in a private interview rather than testify in front of the grand jury. The House also grants him a 2-week reprieve.
  • January 17: Buzzfeed reports that officials are digging into newly revealed, suspicious payments between Russia and U.S. entities.
  • January 18: McClatchy D.C. reports that the FBI is investigating whether Russia “illegally funneled” money through the NRA to help Trump.
  • January 22: Axios reports that FBI Director Christopher Wray reportedly threatened to quit over Trump and Sessions pressuring him to fire people.
  • January 25: The New York Times reports that President Trump ordered Robert Mueller to be fired in June 2017, but White House counsel Don McGahn shut it down to avert certain disaster. A few hours later, Fox News’ Sean Hannity insisted that the report couldn’t be true, but his network’s sources confirmed the news while he was still on air, forcing him to scramble (and fail) to save face.
  • January 26: The Daily Beast reveals that Dutch spies may have witnessed Russian hackers spying on U.S. politicians.
  • January 26: President Trump reportedly tried to discredit potential FBI witnesses in Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation, according to Foreign Policy.
  • January 26: CNN reports that Trump considers Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein partially responsible for the Justice Department’s Russia probe and wants to “fire” or “get rid of” him.
  • January 30: President Trump decides not to impose sanctions on Russia that were passed by Congress in 2017.
  • January 30: Trump-appointed CIA Director Mike Pompeo warns that Russia will interfere in the 2018 mid-term elections.
  • January 31: CNN reports that Trump asked Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein if he was “on my team.”
  • February 2: After a week of forceful protests from the FBI and Justice Department, House Republicans release their controversial memo alleging surveillance abuses while securing a FISA warrant to monitor Trump campaign advisor Carter Page, who has extensive ties to Russia and may have been targeted for recruitment as a Russian spy. Trump reportedly okayed the release in the hopes that it would “discredit” Robert Mueller and the FBI. The document is subsequently trashed by John McCain, who accuses Trump and House Republicans of “doing Putin’s job, and Fox News’ Shepard Smith mocks the memo for lacking a smoking gun.
  • February 3 Time publishes portions of a 2013 letter by Carter Page that shows him bragging about being an advisor to the Kremlin.
  • February 7: A top Homeland Security official confirms that Russia “successfully penetrated” the 2016 election.
  • February 14: CNN reports that Trump still doesn’t believe that Russia interfered in the U.S. presidential election.
  • February 15: NBC News reveals that Steve Bannon has racked up “hours” of interviews with Robert Mueller despite refusing to answer Congress’ questions weeks ago.
  • February 16: The Department of Justice announces the indictment of 13 Russians from the Internet Research Agency, a hacking unit. (A California resident named Richard Pinedo also got swept up in the matter and pleaded guilty in the Russia probe after acting as one of the go-betweens the Internet Research Agency used to commit various financial crimes and fund election interference efforts.) Trump later erroneously claims that the development proves “no collusion” with his campaign, although collusion is never mentioned in the DOJ’s indictment.
  • February 20: Robert Mueller indicts an international law attorney named Alex Van Der Zwaan for lying to Mueller’s team about communications with Rick Gates and an unnamed individual.
  • February 22: Robert Mueller adds 32 counts to Paul Manafort (and Rick Gates’) growing indictment collection.
  • February 23: ABC News reports that Rick Gates has decided to plead guilty and cooperate with Mueller’s investigation.
  • February 28: Paul Manafort pleads not guilty to his newest charges while getting reprimanded for violating a gag order.
  • February 28: A Russian escort offers to spill information on Trump if the U.S. will set her free from a Thai jail.
  • February 1: Vladimir Putin nukes Florida in a demonstration video to boast about Russia’s new “invincible” weapons.
  • March 4: Robert Mueller subpoenas communications between Trump and several of his closest advisors.
  • March 5: The New Yorker reports that Russia “blocked” Mitt Romney’s secretary of state nomination, according to Christopher Steele.
  • March 5: Former Trump aide Sam Numberg goes on a rip-roaring cable news rant tour about Robert Mueller. While doing so, Numberg suggests that Trump “may have done something.” On CNN, anchor Erin Burnett asks Nunberg if he’s drunk: “I have smelled alcohol on your breath.”
  • March 6: The Daily Beast reports that House Intelligence Committee members allegedly leaked Russia probe information to Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.
  • March 8: The Washington Post repeats its earlier reports about Erik Prince attempting to create a secret Trump-Russia backchannel while adding that Robert Mueller now has evidence to confirm as much.
  • March 8: The New York Times reports that John Kelly regularly “admonishes” President Trump for speaking with Mueller’s witnesses.
  • March 12: House Intelligence Committee Republicans unsurprisingly declare that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
  • March 13: As it turns out, Roger Stone spoke with Wikileaks’ Julian Assange about the DNC email hack before it went public, according to the New York Times
  • March 13: A federal judge on Paul Manafort’s case says that he could face “the rest of life” in prison over his dozens of charges.
  • March 15: President Trump, British Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and French President Emmanuel Macron jointly condemn Russia’s alleged poisoning of an ex-spy on British soil. This follows May’s accusation that Russia committed the attempted murder, and she then expelled Russian diplomats, which resulted in Russia labeling the accusations as “completely insane” while vowing retaliation.
  • March 15: The Trump administration finally sanctions Russia (including many of the same individuals and entities targeted by Robert Mueller) over election meddling and cyberattacks.
  • March 15: DHS and the FBI declare that Russian hackers are targeting the U.S. energy grid and infrastructure.
  • March 15: Robert Mueller subpoenas the Trump Organization for documents related to Russia.
  • March 18: After Jeff Sessions fires FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe (mere days before his planned retirement), President Trump accuses McCabe of fabricating the “fake memos” he gave to Robert Mueller about their interactions.
  • March 18: James Comey’s upcoming memoir rockets to #1 best-seller status amid Trump’s continued attacks on the FBI.
  • March 19: President Trump announces the appointment of a lawyer who floated the theory on Fox News that the president was being framed by the FBI.
  • March 20: Trump admits to congratulating Vladimir Putin on his reelection win while other Western leaders remain silent.
  • March 22: President Trump’s lead personal lawyer on the Russia probe, John Dowd, resigns (reportedly) because Trump ignores his advice.
  • March 25: The New York Times reports that a “disappointed” Trump decides not to hire two Russia probe lawyers, either because of a “lack of chemistry” or due to conflicts of interest.
  • March 26: Trump expels 60 Russian diplomats over the poisoning of an ex-spy.
  • March 27: NATO joins the U.S. in expelling more Russian diplomats in response to the poisoning of the ex-Russian spy.
  • March 28: CNN reports that Rick Gates knowingly communicated with an ex-Russian intel officer while working on Trump’s campaign.
  • March 28: The New York Times reveals that a Trump lawyer floated the possibility of pardoning Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort with their lawyers in 2017 while Robert Mueller’s Russia probe circled.
  • March 29: Russia expels 150 foreign diplomats as a new Cold War takes shape.
  • March 29: NBC News reports that Trump confronted Putin on nukes during their recent congratulatory phone call: “If you want to have an arms race we can do that, but I’ll win.”
  • March 30: Vladimir Putin shows off test-launch footage of his “Satan 2” intercontinental ballistic missile after bragging about Russia’s nuclear prowess.
  • April 1: The Financial Times reports that the Russian who met with Erik Prince (in what the Trump campaign “special envoy” described as a “chance encounter”) has been traced to Putin’s family.
  • April 2: The Kremlin claims that Trump invited Putin to meet at the White House, which doesn’t provide comment on the topic.
  • April 2: ThinkProgress reports that George Papadopolous reportedly made some wild claims about Jeff Sessions and Russia during a boozy nightclub outing.
  • April 3: Dutch attorney Alex van der Zwaan, who lied to the FBI, becomes the first person to be sentenced in Mueller’s Russia probe.
  • April 4: The Washington Post reports that Robert Mueller told Trump’s team that he’s not currently a criminal target in the Russia probe.
  • April 4: CNN reveals that Roger Stone claimed to have met with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on the same day that Stone predicted “devastating” Hillary Clinton leaks.
  • April 5: The Kremlin declares that Facebook’s removal of a noted Russian troll farm is “censorship.”
  • April 5: The Guardian reports that Paul Manafort greenlit a “black-ops” anti-Clinton campaign on behalf of Ukraine’s president.
  • April 6: Robert Mueller knows that Erik Prince lied to Congress about his secret Russian meeting, according to ABC News.
  • April 6: The U.S. imposes new sanctions against several Russian oligarchs (including Putin’s ex-son-in-law) and government officials.
  • April 6: As a followup to fake Russian ads that reached millions of users, Facebook declares that it will now require political advertisers to prove their identity and location.
  • April 9: The FBI raids Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s office (partially due to a referral from Robert Mueller) and seizes records related to Stormy Daniels and Trump’s infamous Access Hollywood tape.
  • April 20: The Democratic party files suit against the Russian government, the Trump campaign, and WikiLeaks over alleged election interference.
  • April 24: The host of the 2013 Miss Universe pageant stokes “pee tape” curiosity by confirming that Trump stayed in Russia for at least one night.
  • April 26: Trump goes on an unhinged rant over Comey and the Moscow hotel room (in reference to the “pee tape”), prompting Fox and Friends hosts to freeze.
  • April 26: The Senate Judiciary Committee approves a bill to protect Robert Mueller from being fired, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vows not to bring the legislation for a full Senate vote.

We’ll of course keep following developments in the Trump/Russia story in the weeks and months to come. Sadly for all of us, this isn’t going away anytime soon.

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