|Trump’s efforts to develop business in Russia date to 1987. In 1996, he applied for his trademark in that country. Discussing ambitions for a Trump hotel in 2007, he declared, “We will be in Moscow at some point.”|
Evidence of Trump's Connections with the Kremlin
(Citations & Links)
The Timeline 1987-2017 30 Years of Trump and Russia
Not related to Russia, but helpful in understanding how Trump became Trump:
This is a Village Voice profile on his rise.
“Trump won’t do a deal unless there’s something extra?—?a kind of moral larceny?—?in it. He’s not satisfied with a profit. He has to take something more. Otherwise, there’s no thrill.”
Trump visits Moscow and Leningrad, his first trip to what was then the USSR, to explore expanding his hotel empire to those cities. Donald Trump meets with then-U.S.S.R. communist government officials in Moscow to discuss a joint partnership deal to build a hotel in the city.
This was Trump before the bankruptcies of the early 90s wiped him out—at the time he was a flashy, successful real estate developer who had just come off an under-budget renovation of Central Park's Wollman Rink, arguably his most successful project in New York.
Putting buildings in Russia would have been a relatively logical move.
Trump advocates allying with Russia to team up against friendly countries like France to halt nuclear proliferation.
(This is the same year President Reagan says his famous Cold War line at the foot of the Berlin Wall, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.")
Trump is invited to Russia after being seated next to Ambassador Yuri Dubinin at a social event.
Dubinin was part of group of Russian officials meeting American business leaders.
This group included future UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin. A few months later Trump and Ivana were flown to Russia by the Soviet agency for international tourism, Intourist.
He talks of building a hotel next to the Kremlin.
Trump pays $94K for anti-NATO full page newspaper ads in several major American newspapers.
Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev comes to New York, and eager to get himself involved in a major news story, Trump circulates a rumor that Gorbachev is going to visit Trump Tower.
That doesn't happen. Instead, a Gorbachev impostor showed up and shook hands with Trump. Though the mogul later said he knew it wasn't the real Gorbachev, a TV producer who helped out with the gag said he was fooled.
Not related to Russia, but this Vanity Fair profile is helpful in understanding Trump. It speaks of his presidential ambitions and alleges he keeps a book of Hitler’s speeches by his bed.
“Donald is a believer in the big-lie theory,” his lawyer had told me. “If you say something again and again, people will believe you.”
“One of my lawyers said that?” Trump said when I asked him about it. “I think if one of my lawyers said that, I’d like to know who it is, because I’d fire his ass. I’d like to find out who the scumbag is!”
Trump, recovered from his bout of embarrassing failure in the casino business, visits Moscow again in hopes of working with a tobacco company to build a hotel or a condominium project. This never happens. Trump unsuccessfully applies for trademarks in Russia.
Trump seeks to erect a huge statue within viewing distance of the Statue of Liberty; it would have stood forty-five-feet taller than the beloved Mother of Exiles.
The gift would be from Russia by an artist Trump assured everyone was "major and legit" and would literally overshadow Lady Liberty,
with an enormous likeness of Christopher Columbus with "$40 million worth of bronze in it" in the Hudson River. This never happens.
Rex Tillerson meets Vladimir Putin for the first time as Exxon makes a deal with Russian state-owned oil giant Rosneft.
On the Howard Stern Show, a gossip columnist banters with Trump about Russian prostitutes.
May 22, 2001
Rex Tillerson listed as the director of an offshore company, ExxonMobil Neftegas.
The Bayrock group is based in Trump Tower. Bayrock is founded by Tevfik Arif
Donald Trump Jr. travels extensively to Russia.
Trump starts doing business with the Felix Sater/The Bayrock Group.
He is first introduced to Tevfik Arif and felon Felix Sater by a leasing agent for Trump Tower.
The Bayrock Group arranged for the Trump Organization to become involved in the Camelback, Ocean Club and Merrimac developments and to have these developments marketed under the Trump brand.
Trump began a series of Bayrock deals that culminate in the Trump Soho. The Trump Soho deal eventually becomes embroiled in a RICO lawsuit.
Trump partners with a company called the Bayrock Group to again attempt to build a hotel in Moscow. This never happens.
At this point, it's pretty unfair to characterize Trump as doing much business in Russia, especially since none of his planned ventures ever got off the ground.
But he was still reportedly doing a lot of selling to Russians. Trump's image of ostentatious, almost retro, luxury appealed to Russians who probably both liked that aesthetic and saw a chance to invest in American real estate.
Aug 30, 2005
Trump bids for Denver’s Union Station with the Bayrock Group.
Trump visits Russia again.
Trump and the Bayrock group actively bid for projects.
Trump opens Trump SoHo, a new building in Manhattan that he developed with Bayrock and another company.
The idea is that buyers will live in condo units for part of the year (because of residential zoning restrictions) and rent them as hotel rooms the rest of the time.
One of the Bayrock partners is a Russian immigrant with ties to organized crime who was also an FBI informant; the project has investments from various entities with ties to the former Soviet Union.
Trump is photographed w/ Felix Sater at a Trump SoHo launch party. Sater changes the spelling of his name to Satter.
Years later the Bayrock group is accused of being a front for an international money laundering scheme.
Oct. 15, 2007
Trump tells Larry King on CNN that Russian President Vladimir Putin is doing:
"a great job in rebuilding the image of Russia and also rebuilding Russia period."
This is the first on-the-record praise of Putin from Trump, though it's less political than it is one branding expert recognizing another.
“Look at Putin — what he’s doing with Russia — I mean, you know, what’s going on over there. I mean this guy has done — whether you like him or don’t like him — he’s doing a great job.”
Lawsuits claim the Bayrock group is supported by Russian criminal interests.
During this period the Bayrock group financed the Trump Soho and many projects around the world.
Trump sold a mansion to a Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev for 95M - a profit of roughly 50M.
This was a curious transaction in that the house was listed as unlivable and many say Dmitry Rybolovlev never set foot in the house.
Donald Trump Jr. said: “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets… we see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”
Note this is not direct investment from Russia, but rather financing that originates in Russia or from Russian people.
My assumption is that Bayrock became one of Trump’s top financiers after his credit with traditional US banks dried up.
The Russians of Little Moscow help Trump stay afloat after the 2008 housing collapse.
Unrelated to Russia, but interesting. Trump tries to woo Muammar al-Qaddafi as an investor.
Trump hosts Russia Today (RT) founder at Mar Largo
Bayrock founder Tevfik Arif was Turkey on suspicion of running prostitute ring on $60m luxury yacht.
After the arrests, Turkey deported nine Russian and Ukrainian women, including two under the legal age of consent.
A reporter who looked at investigative materials claims the Arif’s organization provided escort services with girls as young as 13.
The prostitution charges were later dropped and the records were changed to record that the women were above the age of 18.
Trump and his partners in Trump SoHo are sued by buyers who claim that Trump wildly exaggerated how many units had been sold, making the project seem more successful than it was.
(They would be refunded most of their money and the building is now a regular Trump-branded hotel.)
Also that year a former Bayrock employee sues the company (a suit Trump wasn't involved in), claiming that there was all sorts of shady business going on, including unexplained payments from Kazakhstan and Russia.
Trump would later say that he barely knew the Eastern Europeans he partnered with, though one of them—the one with mob ties—worked for Trump as an adviser and dealmaker even after the SoHo mess.
In Time to Get Tough, Trump says that he "respects Putin and Russians" and blames Barack Obama for being soft on them.
Aug 30, 2011
Rex Tillerson negotiates a multi-billion-dollar deal between ExxonMobil and the Rosneft, the Russian state-owned oil company.
Bayrock announces units in the Trump Soho will be auctioned amid rumors of financial distress.
Julian Assange begins broadcasting on Russia Today (RT), the state-run broadcasting network.
Flynn is named director of the Defense Intelligence Agency as a three-star general.
Donald Trump brags about an after-party that was held when he brought the Miss Universe contest to Moscow, saying:
“The Russian market is attracted to me. Almost all of the oligarchs were in the room.”
Aras Agalarov, a Russian oligarch, talks to Trump and gets him to bring the Miss Universe pageant, which he's owned since 1996, to one of Agalarov's venues in Moscow.
Trump brushes off criticisms about Russia's recently passed landmark anti-gay law, and reportedly talks about building properties in Moscow, though no deal ever gets made.
Trump does tweet about wanting to be friends with Putin and appears in a music video with Agalarov's son, a wannabe pop star.
The Russian government seizes key buildings in Crimea.
This was part of a political crisis that several months earlier and would continue through 2014 when Russian troops entered Ukraine.
April 16, 2013
Federal agents burst into an apartment at Trump Tower as part of a larger raid that rounded up 29 suspected members of two global gambling rings with operations allegedly overseen by a supposed Russian mob boss named Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov. Later in Nov, Tokhtakhounov attends the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and is photographed w/ Trump.
The FBI raids were part of money laundering investigation run by Russian organized crime: Helly Nahmad, an art dealer who lives in Trump Tower was also arrested.
Jun 1, 2013
Michael T. Flynn gives an address to the Main Intelligence Agency of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (the GRU).
He later hosts GRU officers at the American embassy.
June 18, 2013
Trump tweeted: “Do you think Putin will be going to The Miss Universe Pageant in November in Moscow — if so, will he become my new best friend?”
While at the pageant, Trump said,
“I have plans for the establishment of business in Russia. Now, I am in talks with several Russian companies to establish this skyscraper.”
June 19, 2013
Donald Trump, then a private businessman, tweeted that the Miss Universe Pageant, which he owned, would be held that November in Moscow.
While at the pageant, Trump said, “I have plans for the establishment of business in Russia. Now, I am in talks with several Russian companies to establish this skyscraper.”
He asked whether Putin would attend and whether he would become Trump's new best friend.
Donald J. Trump ? @realDonaldTrump
Do you think Putin will be going to The Miss Universe Pageant in November in Moscow - if so, will he become my new best friend?
11:17 PM - 18 Jun 2013
61,509 61,509 Retweets 46,826 46,826 likes
Jun 21, 2013
Rex Tillerson is awarded the Russian Order of Friendship by Vladimir Putin. Tillerson’s Russia ties are deep.
The Trump Toronto opens with funding from Russian partners in the midst lawsuits from 38 investors.
Sept 11, 2013
Putin trashes the idea of American Exceptionalism in a NYTimes oped.
Trump calls the letter a masterpiece for Russia. He praises the letter again on CNBC.
October 17, 2013
On The Late Show, David Letterman asked Trump, “Have you had any dealings with the Russians?” Trump answered, “Well I’ve done a lot of business with the Russians…” Letterman continued, “Vladmir Putin, have you ever met the guy?” Trump said, “He’s a tough guy. I met him once.”
Trump tells Larry King that Putin is "outsmarting" the US. It's worth noting that Trump isn't the only right-winger praising the Russian leader.
Pat Buchanan, among others, admired Putin's defense of "traditional values," though other conservatives denounced these views.
Nov. 9, 2013
Trump tells Tass news service that he plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow and was in negotiations with billionaire Aras Agarlov’s Crocus Group. During his Moscow visit, Trump also meets with Herman Gref, CEO of state-controlled Sberbank PJSC, Russia’s biggest bank, which is under US sanctions. Sberbank and Crocus sponsor the beauty contest.
Nov. 11, 2013
Trump tweeted: “TRUMP TOWER-MOSCOW is next.”
Nov 12, 2013
Trump tells Real Estate Weekly that the pageant was a good networking opportunity.
“The Russian market is attracted to me. I have a great relationship with many Russians, and almost all of the oligarchs were in the room.”
Trump said: ““I do have a relationship [with Putin] and I can tell you that he’s very interested in what we’re doing here today [at the Miss Universe Pageant in Moscow]… I do have a relationship with him… He’s done a very brilliant job in terms of what he represents and who he’s represented.”
Mar. 6, 2014
Trump said: “You know, I was in Moscow a couple of months ago. I own the Miss Universe Pageant and they treated me so great. Putin even sent me a present, a beautiful present.” On the same day, President Obama signed an executive order imposing sanctions on Russia for its unlawful annexation of Crimea.
The Obama administration imposes sanctions on Russia for it’s annexation of Crimea and entry into Ukraine. Russia responds to the sanctions.
The White House moves to fire Flynn over his brusque management style.
Apr 19, 2014
ExxonMobil says it will partner with Rosneft when sanctions are lifted.
Trump told a National Press Club luncheon that he “spoke, indirectly and directly, with President Putin, who could not have been nicer”.
A year earlier, he told MSNBC:
“I do have a relationship and I can tell you that he’s very interested in what we’re doing here today.”
Wilbur Ross partners with Viktor Vekselberg, a Russian billionaire oligarch and Putin friend in a takeover of the Bank of Cyprus.
The Russians launch a major spearfishing campaign. 1000’s of targets.
June 16, 2015
Trump announces that he is running for president.
Hackers breach the DNC and stay in the network for at least 11 months.
The FBI informs the Democratic National Committee that a Russian-linked cyber-spy group had likely compromised its computer network.
Ukrainian steel magnate Victor Pinchuk’s foundation becomes the single largest outside donor to Donald Trump’s private charity in 2015.
Sept. 29, 2015
Trump told Bill O’Reilly: “I will tell you in terms of leadership he [Putin] is getting an ‘A,’ and our president is not doing so well.”
A GRU-associated hacking group targets the Clinton campaign.
Nov. 10, 2015
Trump said: “I got to know [Putin] very well because we were both on 60 Minutes. We were stablemates, and we did very well that night.” Trump would later explain that he never met Putin...
Vladimir Putin compliments "talented" Trump and says he is "absolutely the leader in the presidential race."
Trump responds, "It is always a great honor to be so nicely complimented by a man so highly respected within his own country and beyond."
When pressed about Putin's abysmal human rights record and killing of journalists, he replies:
"I think our country does plenty of killing also."
This sort of thing happens several times during the Republican primary, with Trump being given opportunities to strongly denounce Putin and refusing to take them, instead insisting he'd rather get along with Russia.
Fake news ‘troll farms’ begin ‘shitposting’ in support of Trump.
British spies see information from Democratic party emails circulating within Russia and warn their US counterparts. The hacking scandal slowly starts to unwind.
Dec. 10, 2015
Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, who would become Trump’s national security adviser, sat at Putin’s table for the 10th anniversary gala of Russia’s state-owned television propaganda network, RT. Flynn had made a paid appearance on the network.
Sheriff David Clarke is there too.
Dec 17, 2015
Putin begins praising Trump in public.
Dec 31, 2015
Russia’s national security plan defines NATO as a threat.
Trump video about veterans actually shows Russian veterans.
Feb. 17, 2016
As questions about Russia swirled around Trump, he changed his story:
“I have no relationship with [Putin], other than he called me a genius.”
February 26, 2016
Flynn tweets that fear of Muslims is "rational."
General Flynn ? @GenFlynn
Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL: please forward this to others: the truth fears no questions... http://youtu.be/tJnW8HRHLLw
8:14 PM - 26 Feb 2016
1,826 1,826 Retweets 1,781 1,781 likes
Trump says that a man named Carter Page is one of his foreign policy advisors.
Julia Ioffe later reports in Politico that though Page is supposed to be an expert on Russia, few prominent people have any idea who he is—though his new proximity to Trump was helping him get meetings with VIPs.
RT and other state outlets begin openly supporting Trump.
March 19, 2016
APT28 gets access to John Podesta’s gmail account.
March 27, 2016
Trump calls NATO obsolete.
March 28, 2016
Then-candidate Donald Trump hires Manafort to head his delegate efforts for his Republican primary campaign.
Manafort has an apartment in Trump tower and has deep ties with Russian interests especially within the Ukraine.
March 30, 2016
Carter Page joins the campaign and starts promoting lifting sanctions.
A Baltic state intelligence agency gives the CIA Director John Brennan with a tape of a conversation about money from the Kremlin going into the US presidential campaign.
A joint counter-intelligence taskforce was created comprised of the FBI, CIA, NSA, Treasury Department and DNI.
Trump/Bayrock settle a fraud case against them by Trump Soho buyers.
April 20, 2016
Paul Manafort became Trump’s campaign manager.
Reports surfaced about his 2007 to 2012 ties to Ukraine’s pro-Putin former president, whom Manafort had helped to elect.
April 27, 2016
Richard Burt writes a major foreign policy speech for Trump. Burt is on the board of Alfa-Bank, the largest commercial bank in Russia, and an investment fund with a large position in Gazprom.
When he wrote the speech Burt was a paid lobbyist for Russia. This was Trump’s first major foreign policy speech.
Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak—in a break of protocol—attends the speech and is seated in the front row as then-GOP candidate Donald Trump delivers his first major foreign policy speech
May 6, 2016
Andrew Napolitano, a Fox news contributor, alludes to Russia releasing 20K DNC emails implying knowledge of the hack.
Trump says in a television interview that he knows Russia well.
"I had a major event in Russia two or three years ago, Miss Universe contest, which was a big, big, incredible event. An incredible success," Trump said.
May 18, 2016
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper reports that the U.S. intelligence community has evidence of foreign spy services attempting to hack digital networks used by U.S. presidential campaigns.
Included are the Democratic National Committee, or DNC, and the Democratical Congressional Campaign Committee, or DCCC.
May 19, 2016
Trump, now the presumptive GOP nominee, gives Manafort a promotion: campaign chairman and chief strategist.
The FBI seeks warrant from a FISA court to monitor Russian banks. The application which named Trump, is rejected.
The FBI petitions again in July and is again rejected.
Fusion GPS, a Washington research firm run by former journalists, hires Christopher Steele, a respected former MI6 officer who once served in Moscow, to gather opposition material on Donald Trump’s ties to Russia.
Steele reportedly paid 200,000 pounds for his work.
June 8, 2016
Romanian-registered DCLeaks.com begins posting stolen DNC emails. The emails came from GRU according to US intelligence.
June 14, 2016
Russian government hackers penetrated DNC servers, according to The Washington Post.
The Russian government denied the charges, and Trump bizarrely claims that the DNC invented the story in order to distract from other issues.
June 15, 2016:
A day after The Washington Post breaks the news that the DNC has been hacked, allegedly by Russian spies, Trump’s team issues a statement:
“We believe it was the DNC that did the ‘hacking’ as a way to distract from the many issues facing their deeply flawed candidate and failed party leader.”
A hacker calling himself Guccifer 2.0 says he gave the hacked emails to WikiLeaks and published some himself.
June 17, 2016
Rex Tillerson attends the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
Also in attendance is Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin and Vladimir Putin.
Note: Rex Tillerson and Igor Sechin have a very long lucrative relationship.
June 19, 2016
Putin considers selling off a 19% stake of Rosneft
June 20, 2016
After Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski is abruptly fired, Manafort emerges as Trump's top campaign official.
The Steele dossier begins to circulate in Washington making multiple allegations.
It continues to be updated through Dec. The FBI gets a portion of the document in July.
Steele reports that Russian intelligence has videotapes of “perverted conduct” of Trump and prostitutes recorded in a Moscow hotel suite in 2013 during Miss Universe pageant. Trump’s behavior in Russia has “compromised him sufficiently to blackmail him.” Steele reports that Russian authorities have been “cultivating, supporting and assisting” Trump for years and he has accepted a regular flow of intelligence on his Democratic rivals.
Early July 2016
As reported later by Yahoo News, Page goes on a visit to Russia where he meets with government officials, which worries some people in US intelligence.
(When asked by Yahoo about this in September, the Trump camp said Page had "no role" in the campaign.)
Alleged meeting between Carter Page and Igor Sechin to discuss the sale of 19% of Russian oil giant Rosneft in return for a lifting of sanctions.
[This is an unconfirmed Steele dossier allegation. 19.5% of Rosneft is sold to an unknown buyer in Dec.]
Felix Sater visits Trump Tower and donates $5400 to the Trump campaign.
Trump denies he would recognize Sater if they were in the same room.
July 7, 2016
Trump campaign adviser Carter Page travels to Moscow to give speech critical of U.S. policy.
According to Reuters, Page declines to say whether he was planning to meet anyone from the Kremlin, the Russian government or Foreign Ministry during his visit.
July 11, 2016
Trump staffers exclude anti-Russia pro-Ukraine language from the GOP platform.
Frank Mermoud, helped shepherd this. He’s connected to Russia via Cub Energy, a Black Sea oil and gas company.
He’s on the board of the US Ukraine Business Council.
July 18, 2016
The Washington Post reported that the Trump campaign worked behind the scenes ahead of the Republican Convention on a plank of the 2016 Party Platform that gutted the GOP’s longstanding support for Ukrainians’ popular resistance to Russia’s 2014 intervention.
This was notable, NPR reported, because Trump's people didn't ask for much else on the platform.
(Obama was also against providing weapons to Ukraine on the grounds that it would escalate the conflict, but many Republicans were in favor of it.)
Amid rising suspicion, Trump tweets, "For the record, I have ZERO investments in Russia."
July 19, 2016
In his intelligence report, Christopher Steele tells of a meeting between Donald Trump foreign affairs adviser Carter Page and Igor Sechin, the head of Russian state oil company Rosneft and a “Putin close associate and US-sanctioned individual”
—that is, someone personally blacklisted by the U.S. government.
Sechin “raised with Page the issues of future bilateral energy cooperation and prospects for an associated move to lift Ukraine-related Western sanctions against Russia.”
Page reacted positively to the discussions, Steele reports. According to Steele, Page also met Igor Divyekin, an internal affairs official with a background in intelligence, who warns Page that Moscow had kompromat on Trump
(Steele dossier, p. 9).
July 20, 2016
Flynn leads chants of “Lock Her Up!” at the Republican National Convention aimed at Hillary Clinton.
“You know why we’re saying that? We’re saying that because if I, a guy who knows this business, if I did a tenth of what (Clinton) did I would be in jail today.”
July 21, 2016
Trump accepts the Republican nomination.
July 22, 2016
WikiLeaks releases 20,000 private emails from DNC officials in the days leading up to the Democratic National Convention.
Some of the emails showed DNC staffers favoring Clinton over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
July 25, 2016
06:31:22 AM Trump tweets
“The new joke in town is that Russia leaked the disastrous DNC e-mails, which should never have been written (stupid), because Putin likes me”
The FBI announces an investigation into the DNC hack.
July 26, 2016
Trump tweets: "For the record, I have ZERO investments in Russia."
American intelligence officials tell the White House they have “high confidence” that Russia is behind the DNC breach.
July 27, 2016
Republican nominee Donald Trump says he doubts Russian involvement in the DNC hack.
But he invites them to hack into emails Clinton had deemed personal and deleted for her official account when she was secretary of State.
“I will tell you this, Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”
Donald Trump holds a press conference - he insisted: “I never met Putin. I’ve never spoken to him.”
In an interview with CBS News, he reiterated: “But I have nothing to do with Russia, nothing to do, I never met Putin, I have nothing to do with Russia whatsoever.”
July 31, 2016
Manafort denied knowing anything about the change in the Republican platform.
That afternoon, Boris Epshteyn, Trump’s Russian-born adviser, spouted the Kremlin’s party line telling CNN:
“Russia did not seize Crimea. We can talk about the conflict that happened between Ukraine and the Crimea… But there was no seizure by Russia. That’s an incorrect statement, characterization, of what happened.”
A second spy tells the BBC that compromising videotapes of Trump exist.
Congressional leaders are briefed on a computer backchannel between the Trump camp and Russia’s Alfa bank.
More than 2700 lookup messages were passed. The FBI couldn’t find an explanation.
FBI asks Christopher Steele, the former MI6 officer, for all information in his possession and asked him to explain how the material had been gathered and to identify his sources.
A retired spy tells the BBC’s Paul Wood that he had been informed of videotapes of compromising material on Trump by the head of an East European intelligence agency.
Aug. 5, 2016
Steele’s memo identifies Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin spokesman, as the “chief protagonist” in Russia’s campaign to aid Trump and harm Clinton. Chief of staff Sergei Ivanov, longtime friend and top Putin lieutenant, said to be angry that Peskov’s team had gone too far.
Aug. 6, 2016
NPR confirmed the Trump campaign’s involvement in the Republican platform change on Ukraine.
Aug 12, 2016
Putin Chief of Staff, Sergei Ivanov, is sacked for being critical of the election hacking campaign.
August 14, 2016
The New York Times reports on $12.7 million in secret cash payments earmarked for Manafort from a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine.
August 15, 2016
Donald Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort’s name shows up in ledgers that show $12.7 M in cash payments by pro-Russia elements in Ukraine.
Manafort denies having received payments from Ukraine and Russia, writing, "The suggestion that I accepted cash payments is unfounded, silly and nonsensical."
In an interview, Michael Flynn says the state-run Russia Today is no different than CNN. He also discusses being seated next to Putin at a Russia Today dinner.
Time Magazine article detailing Trump’s deep business ties w/ Russia and Russians despite his denials. To be clear Trump doesn’t seem to own property in Russia despite attempt to build there, the connections are financial
August 17, 2016
Trump receives the first of several classified briefings by intelligence agencies that included information about the hacking incidents, including “direct links” between Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government and the hacks and email leaks.
Clinton and Trump are entitled to these briefings as the major party presidential nominees.
August 18, 2016
Manafort tells NBC News he's "never had a business relationship" with a Ukrainian oligarch.
August 19, 2016
CNN reports that FBI and Justice Department prosecutors are conducting an investigation into possible US ties to alleged corruption of the former pro-Russian President of Ukraine, including the work of Manafort's firm.
That same day, Manafort resigns his position on Trump's campaign.
August 21, 2016
Trump ally Roger Stone, who has close ties to WikiLeaks and Russia, predicts:
“Trust me, it will soon [be] Podesta’s time in the barrel”.
Fake news supporting Trump and demeaning Clinton much of it produced by Russian-backed actors are microtargeted on Facebook using data from Cambridge Analytica.
The Trump campaign spent 5M/week on this targeting during the last weeks of the campaign hitting many millions of users.
September 1, 2016
Rosneft and Exxon Neftegas signed a deal to develop Zvezda shipyard.
September 8, 2016
In an interview with the Russian government-backed RT cable channel, Trump said it was “probably unlikely” Putin was behind the hacks.
Instead, he claimed:
“I think maybe the Democrats are putting that out. Who knows, but I think it’s pretty unlikely.”
At the Commander-in-Chief Forum, Trump declares that Vladimir Putin has been “a leader far more” than President Barack Obama.
Sept 13, 2016
Russian UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin defends Trump and other far right candidates supported by Moscow.
Sept 23, 2016
US intelligence starts to probe Carter Page as a possible backchannel to Russian intelligence.
Sept. 25, 2016
Carter Page sends letter to FBI Director James Comey saying that he is subject of a “witch hunt” and has not met with any “sanctioned official” in Russia in the past year.
Sept. 26, 2016
Trump, in his first debate with Clinton, continues to express skepticism about Russian involvement:
"She's saying Russia, Russia, Russia. Maybe it was. It could also be China, it could be someone sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds. You don't know who broke into DNC, but what did we learn? We learn that Bernie Sanders was taken advantage of by your people."
Oct. 1, 2016
Six days before WikiLeaks released emails that Russians hackers had acquired from Clinton campaign manager John Podesta’s email account,
Trump’s informal adviser and surrogate, Roger Stone tweeted: “Wednesday@HillaryClinton is done. #Wikileaks.”
Later, it is reported that Stone had prior knowledge that the WikiLeaks bomb was going to drop and that the Russian government masterminded cyber robberies of the Clinton campaign and its allies.
Oct 2, 2016 Trump advisor Roger Stone predicts a release of Russian hacked emails on Wikileaks before they are released.
He later says he has a Wikileaks backchannel.
October 3, 2016
Roger Stone pronounces on Twitter: “I have total confidence that @wikileaks and my hero Julian Assange will educate the American people soon.”
Oct 4, 2016
A Reddit user finds an unusual pattern of activity between Trump’s email servers and Alfa Bank in Russia.
Trump tweeted: “CLINTON’S CLOSE TIES TO PUTIN DESERVE SCRUTINY.”
Oct. 7, 2016
Government intelligence officials call out the Russians for the first time on the hacks.
The director of national intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security say they have confidence that:
“the Russian government directed the recent compromises of emails from U.S. persons and institutions, including U.S. political organizations.”
Hours later WikiLeaks also releases the first batch of emails from the personal account of John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman.
Trump’s infamous Access Hollywood outtake from 2005 "grab her by the pussy" tapes became public.
Later reporting and investigations indicate that the same group that hacked the DNC also targeted Podesta—Russian-backed hackers, in other words.
October 10, 2016
During the second presidential debate, Trump questions whether any hacking had occurred, saying “maybe there is no hacking”.
“They always blame Russia, and the reason they blame Russia is because they think they are trying to tarnish me with Russia.”
Oct. 12, 2016
Roger Stone told NBC News, “I have back-channel communications with WikiLeaks.”
Oct 15 2016
A FISA court issues a warrant to investigate two Russian banks— Alfa and SBC.
Three members of the Trump team are included in the warrant.
October 18, 2016
In his intelligence report, Steele reveals more information about the summer rendezvous between Page and Sechin.
“[T]he Rosneft company president was so keen to lift personal and corporate [W]estern sanctions imposed on the company that he offered PAGE/TRUMP’s associates the brokerage of up to a 19 percent (privatized) stake in Rosneft in return. PAGE had expressed interest and confirmed that were TRUMP elected US president, then sanctions on Russia would be lifted.”
(Steele dossier, p. 30)
Oct. 19, 2016
During the third presidential debate, Trump dismissed the Oct. 7 US intelligence findings and again questions whether hacking had occurred, :
“[Clinton] has no idea whether it is Russia, China or anybody else… Our country has no idea.”
And he said this: “I don’t know Putin. I have no idea… I never met Putin. This is not my best friend.”
October 29, 2016
FBI Director COMEY releases letter on Clinton
October 30, 2016
As the campaign heads into the home stretch and the media focuses on a statement from FBI head James Comey about the continued investigation into Hillary Clinton's improper email procedures, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid writes an angry letter to Comey:
"It has become clear that you possess explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisors and the Russian government — a foreign interest openly hostile to the United States, which Trump praises at every opportunity... The public has a right to know this information."
What Reid is talking about isn't immediately apparent, but Mother Jones reports the next day that it probably has something to do with a dossier of explosive allegations against Trump that's been circulating in DC political circles for some time.
Oct. 31, 2016
Mother Jones interviews Christopher Steele, and publishes article, without naming him, that reveals existence of Steele’s memos, reporting in vague terms that Russian intelligence had “compromised” Trump during his visits to Moscow and could “blackmail him.”
November 1, 2016
The FBI reveals that it looked into ties between Trump and the Kremlin and found nothing concrete.
Long dormant FBI twitter account suddenly tweets 129 pages regarding Bill Clinton's pardon of Marc Rich, Founder of Glencore.
Nov 4, 2016
Newsweek reports the Russians have damaging audio and video of Trump.
November 7, 2016
19.5% of oil gas giant Rosneft is transferred . The stake is estimated as worth roughly 11 billion of dollars. Ownership is hard to trace.
WikiLeaks releases more DNC emails.
Nov 8, 2016
On the morning of the American election an official at the Russian consulate in New York is found dead. Sergei Krivov was found with blunt force trauma to the head.
Nov. 9, 2016
After Putin announced Trump’s election victory, Russia’s Parliament erupted in applause.
Nov. 10, 2016
Russia’s deputy foreign minister admitted that during the campaign, the Kremlin had continuing communications with Trump’s “immediate entourage.”
November 11, 2016
Russian officials say they had contact with Trump's team in order to push for a favorable foreign policy from the candidate. Trump's camp denies this.
Nov. 18, 2016
Trump names Flynn as his national security adviser. “I am pleased that Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn will be by my side as we work to defeat radical Islamic terrorism, navigate geopolitical challenges and keep Americans safe at home and abroad,” Trump said.
Sir Andrew Wood, a British ambassador to Russia, speaks with Sen. John McCain at a conference in Halifax, Canada.
Wood tells McCain “how Mr Trump may find himself in a position where there could be an attempt to blackmail him with Kompromat and claims that there were audio and video tapes in existence.”
December 1, 2016
CNN reports that Manafort has reemerged in Trump's orbit as a player shaping the new administration during the presidential transition period.
December 6, 2016
Trump interviews ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson for secretary of state.
December 7, 2016
In an interview with Time magazine after the election, President-elect Trump reiterates, “It could be Russia. And it could be China. And it could be some guy in his home in New Jersey.”
Putin and Igor Sechin, head of Russian oil giant Rosneft, announce a plan to sell 19.5% of the company ($11B) stake to Glencore Plc and Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund. The price is 10.2 billion euros. The brokerage commission of the sale is, conservatively, worth hundreds of millions of euros.
—>As @adm points out, the 19.5% bears striking similarity to the 19% stake mentioned by Steele in the dossier.
December 8, 2016
Carter Page meets with Rosneft senior executives in Moscow.
Dec. 9, 2016
The Washington Post reports that the CIA believes the Russian government hacked the DNC with the explicit intention of helping Trump win the election.
President Obama orders the intelligence community to conduct a thorough review of foreign attempts to tamper with U.S. elections.
Trump dismisses the CIA’s finding that the Russians sought to sway the election in his favor:
“These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It’s now time to move on and ‘Make America Great Again.’?”
Sen. John McCain, who had also acquired Steele’s memos, turns them over to FBI Director James Comey.
Dec. 11, 2016
Trump praised Rex Tillerson, chairman of Exxon Mobil and recipient of Russia’s “Order of Friendship” Medal from Vladimir Putin in 2013, as:
“much more than a business executive” and a “world-class player.” Trump said Tillerson “knows many of the players” and did “massive deals in Russia” for Exxon. Two days later, Trump nominated him to be secretary of state.
Asked about the earlier US intelligence report on hacking, Trump said:
“They have no idea if it’s Russia or China or somebody. It could be somebody sitting in a bed some place. I mean, they have no idea... Nobody really knows, and hacking is very interesting. Once they hack, if you don’t catch them in the act you’re not going to catch them.”
Breach remediation firm Crowdstrike points out that it did in fact catch the hackers “in the act,” monitoring their activities inside the DNC network for weeks.
A few days later, an FBI official tells the Associated Press the bureau now backs the CIA’s assessment that Russia hacked the DNC to help elect Trump.
Dec. 12, 2016
Republican leaders announce that congressional committees will investigate the CIA findings.
12 December 2017
Rex Tillerson is nominated to be Secretary of State. While CEO of Exxon, Tillerson signed a deal with Russia to drill in the Arctic; for this, he received the Order of Friendship by Vladimir Putin. The Arctic project was scuttled on October 10, 2014, after the sanctions imposed on Russia by the U.S. government.
At the time, Exxon had discovered a new field there with an estimated 750 million barrels of oil.
Dec. 13, 2016
NBC News’ Richard Engel reports from Moscow on Trump’s secretary of state pick, Rex Tillerson. Former Russian Energy Minister Vladimir Milov told Engel that Tillerson was a “gift for Putin.”
Qatar announces a $10 billion investment in US infrastructure.
Dec 14, 2016
Former Trump surrogate Jack Kingston shows up in Moscow telling a Russian audience they can expect sanctions to be lifted.
Dec 15, 2016
09:24:29 AM Trump tweets, “If Russia, or some other entity, was hacking, why did the White House wait so long to act? Why did they only complain after Hillary lost?”
Dec. 16, 2016
Obama says the Russian government, at the “highest levels,” initiated the hacks of emails, not voting machines. He vows to retaliate.
The FBI and CIA agree that Russian efforts to influence the election were specifically targeted in order to help Trump win, and were not just an attempt to delegitimize America's democratic system.
Trump refuses to believe this, igniting a public spat between the president-elect and the intelligence community.
Meanwhile, some members of Congress from both parties are calling for an investigation into the matter.
December 19, 2016
Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak and Flynn have a conversation in the wake of the shooting of the Russian ambassador to Turkey, in which Flynn expressed his condolences, according to a transition official. The call took place on December 19, according to The Washington Post.
December 25, 2016
Kislyak and Flynn exchange holiday pleasantries via text message on Christmas, according to multiple transition officials.
December 26, 2016
Oleg Erovinkin, a top adviser to Igor Sechin, the CEO of the Russian oil giant Rosneft is found dead in his Lexus.
Sechin is a central figure in the Steele dossier and a close friend of Rex Tillerson.
The dossier states that Sechin met with Carter Page in July 2016.
He was potentially Christopher Steele's source on the alleged Carter Page/Igor Sechin conversation.
December 28, 2016
Trump, responding to reports of impending sanctions against Russia, says, “I think we ought to get on with our lives.”
As word of potential Obama administration sanctions on Russia spreads, CNN and The Washington Post reports that Kislyak sent a message to retired Lt. Gen Michael Flynn—Trump’s pick for national security adviser—requesting a call. Flynn takes the call, and according to U.S. intelligence officials, discusses the possibility of easing sanctions on Russia during the Trump administration.
Dec. 29, 2016
The FBI and DHS release a report, “GRIZZLY STEPPE — Russian Malicious Cyber Activity,” that provides technical details regarding the tools and infrastructure used by the Russian civilian and military intelligence services—
known as the RIS—to compromise and exploit networks and endpoints associated with the U.S. election, as well as a range of U.S. government, political, and private-sector entities.
Obama announces the Russian sanctions, which include expelling 35 Russian diplomats and the closing of Russian compounds in Maryland and New York that had been suspected of spying.
Trump insists the issue should be put to bed but agrees to meet with intelligence officials for a briefing. “It’s time for our country to move on to bigger and better things,” Trump says.
Flynn has 5 conversations about this time with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the United States, and urged Russia not to retaliate. The call was captured on a wiretap of diplomats’ calls.
December 30, 2016
Russian President Vladimir Putin says Moscow would not expel American diplomats in response to US sanctions against Russia and would instead attempt to rebuild relations with Washington after Trump's inauguration.
Trump tweets praise of Putin's move:
“Great move on delay (by V. Putin) — I always knew he was very smart.”
According to The New York Times, Putin’s muted response—which took Obama administration White House officials by surprise—raised some suspicion that Moscow may have been promised a reprieve and triggered a search by U.S. spy agencies for clues.
December 31, 2016
Trump again doubts the intelligence agencies in a news conference in Florida:
“I know a lot about hacking. And hacking is a very hard thing to prove. So it could be somebody else. And I also know things that other people don’t know, and so they cannot be sure of the situation.”
Trump also says he will reveal something about the hacking incidents on Tuesday or Wednesday of that week. This doesn't happen.
January 3, 2017
“The ‘Intelligence’ briefing on so-called ‘Russian hacking’ was delayed until Friday, perhaps more time needed to build a case. Very strange!”
NBC News reports the briefing had always been scheduled for Friday.
January 4, 2017
Trump sides with Julian Assange and Russia over U.S. intelligence, tweeting:
“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!”
The statement conflates the hack of Clinton staffer John Podesta with the hack of the DNC. The DNC hack was believed to have used more sophisticated malware rather than the phishing attack that stole Podesta’s email password. Trump adds that the DNC should have had “hacking defense” like the Republican National Committee, ignoring a report from the New York Times that the Republican National Committee was also breached by hackers.
January 5, 2017
"So how and why are they so sure about hacking if they never even requested an examination of the computer servers? What is going on?"
At this point, NBC News had reported that the FBI said they had already captured the necessary forensic data via “upstream” intelligence, a term that refers to capturing data in transit.
January 6, 2017
A US intelligence report says Putin ordered a cyber campaign to help Trump beat Clinton in the US presidential election.
The CIA, FBI and NSA released their unclassified report, concluding unanimously:
“Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election.”
The three intelligence agencies agreed that “the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible.”
The report also stated that WikiLeaks had been Russia’s conduit for the effort.
In a phone interview with The New York Times three hours before the briefing, Trump calls the response to Russian hacking nothing more than a “political witch hunt” carried out by his adversaries.
After the briefing, Trump releases a statement:
“While Russia, China, other countries, other groups and people are constantly trying to break through the cyber infrastructure of our government institutions, businesses and organizations including the Democratic National Committee, there was no effect on the outcome of the election including the fact that there was no tampering whatsoever with voting machines.”
At 11:00 that night, Trump took to Twitter, blaming Democrats for the cyberattacks:
“Gross negligence by the Democratic National Committee allowed hacking to take place. The Republican National Committee had strong defense!”
January 10, 2017:
CNN reports that the intelligence community recently briefed President Obama and President-elect Trump on allegations that Russian operatives had compromising personal and financial information on Trump.
The allegations were based in part on unverified memos compiled by former MI6 officer Christopher Steele, which were later published by BuzzFeed.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also told reporters that the allegations that Russia tried to influence the elections were “reminiscent of a witch-hunt.”
Jan. 11, 2017
07:31:31 AM Trump tweets, “Russia has never tried to use leverage over me. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA?—?NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!”
07:13:40 AM Trump tweets, “Russia just said the unverified report paid for by political opponents is “A COMPLETE AND TOTAL FABRICATION, UTTER NONSENSE.” Very unfair!”
At his first news conference, Trump said:
“As far as hacking, I think it was Russia. But I think we also get hacked by other countries and other people.”
"Hacking's bad, and it shouldn't be done. But look at the things that were hacked, look at what was learned from that hacking."
The final question of Trump’s first news conference came from Ann Compton of ABC News:
“Mr. President-elect, can you stand here today, once and for all, and say that no one connected to you or your campaign had any contact with Russia leading up to or during the presidential campaign?”
Trump never answered her. Away from cameras and heading toward the elevators, he reportedly said, “No,” his team didn’t have contact with Russia
DNI James Clapper says the U.S. Intelligence Community “has not made any judgement that the information in the document is reliable, and we did not rely on it in any way for our conclusions. However, part of our obligation is to ensure that policymakers are provided with the fullest possible picture of any matters that might affect national security.”
Former MI6 agent Christopher Steele, author of the Trump kompromat memos, goes into hiding.
Jan. 12, 2017
Washington Post columnist David Ignatius first reports that Flynn had conversations with Kislyak, potentially a violation of an obscure law against private citizens conducting diplomacy.
The Trump administration denied that Flynn talked sanctions, starting a wave of denials
Yedioth Ahranoth reports that at post-election meeting US intelligence officials warned Israeli counterparts that Russia had “levers of pressure” on Donald Trump and that information passed to the White House could be relayed to Russia and Iran.
Jan. 13, 2017
06:11:13 AM Trump tweets, “Totally made up facts by sleazebag political operatives, both Democrats and Republicans?—?FAKE NEWS! Russia says nothing exists.“
Incoming Trump press secretary Sean Spicer says that Flynn and Kislyak spoke on the phone on December 28, before the sanctions were imposed, and falsey claims they discussed an upcoming conversation between Trump and President Putin.
"The call centered around the logistics of setting up a call with the President of Russia and the President-elect after he was sworn in, and they exchanged the logistical information," Spicer says. "That was it. Plain and simple."
Current and former U.S. officials say that assertion was not true. Instead, the officials allege the calls related to potential sanctions relief under a Trump administration
Trump tells The Wall Street Journal that he is considering lifting sanctions on Russia if Russia proved an ally..
Kellyanne Conway, now a senior White House aide, reaffirms this stance two weeks later, in advance of Trump’s first official phone call with Putin.
January 15, 2017
Spicer confirms Flynn and Kislyak have been in communication, but US Vice President Mike Pence tells CBS that the two men did not talk about sanctions.
"They did not discuss anything having to do with the United States' decision to expel diplomats or impose censure against Russia," Pence says.
“We should trust Putin,” Trump told The Times of London. Expressing once again his skepticism about NATO, Trump lambasted Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Appearing on CBS’s Face the Nation, Vice President Pence said Flynn’s call to the Russian ambassador on the same day President Obama announced new sanctions was “strictly coincidental,” explaining:
“They did not discuss anything having to do with the United States’ decision to expel diplomats or impose censure on Russia…. What I can confirm, having to spoken with [Flynn] about it,"
"is that those conversations that happened to occur around the time that the United States took action to expel diplomats had nothing whatsoever to do with those sanctions.”
The Guardian reports that UK intelligence officials have sought assurances from the CIA that the identity of British agents in Russia will be protected because of the Trump team’s closeness to Russia.
Jan 17, 2017
Anthony Scaramucci, aide to President-elect Donald Trump and founder of SkyBridge Capital, discussed possible joint investments with the head of a Russian sovereign wealth fund. In an interview with TASS Scaramucci criticised sanctions against Russia. Trump has suggested he could ease the sanctions on Russia if the Kremlin cooperates on his policy priorities.
At news conference, Vladimir Putin says kompromat file was a fake used to smear Trump.
“Why would he run to a hotel to meet up with our girls of limited social responsibility? Although they are, of course, the best in the world. But I doubt that Trump fell for it.”
January 19, 2017
The New York Times reports that Paul Manafort, Roger Stone, Michael Flynn, and Carter Page are being investigated for links with Russia..
January 20, 2017
Inauguration Day - HUGE crowds
Jan. 22, 2017
Flynn is sworn in as national security adviser, a position that does not require Senate confirmation.
January 23, 2017
Spicer, now the White House press secretary, reiterates that Flynn told him sanctions were not discussed in the calls.
That got the attention of FBI Director James Comey. According to the Wall Street Journal,
Comey convinced Acting Attorney General Sally Yates to delay informing the White House immediately about the discrepancy between Spicer’s characterization of Flynn’s calls and US intelligence intercepts showing that the two had, in fact, discussed sanctions.
Comey reportedly asked Yates to wait a bit longer so that the FBI could develop more information and speak with Flynn himself.
The FBI interviewed Flynn shortly thereafter.
Steve Hall, retired CIA chief of Russia operations, tells NPR that there is a “live question” now at the CIA about what to do if President Trump asks for the source of information on something that puts Vladimir Putin in a bad light.
Jan. 24, 2017
According to a subsequent article in The Washington Post, Flynn reportedly denied to FBI agents that he had discussed US sanctions against Russia in his December 2016 calls with the Russian ambassador.
The Wall Street Journal identifies Sergei Millian, a Trump associate and supporter, as an indirect source for Christopher Steele’s dossier, including existence of compromising videotapes
25 January, 2017
Reuters reports that a month after the Rosneft deal, it is still not clear who exactly purchased the aforementioned 19.5% stake in the Russian state oil company.
Meanwhile, Russia arrested a top cybercrime expert who worked for the secruity company Kapersky, as well as Sergei Mikhailov, deputy head of the information security department of the FSB, Russia’s national security service, the latter on the charge of treason. Both men were rumored to be involved in the hacking of the DNC.
—>The arrests create the impression that Putin is cracking down on Russians who tampered with the election, probably as a PR move, or to influence Trump, or both.
Jan. 26, 2017
Acting Attorney General Sally Yates informs the White House counsel that Flynn lied about the nature of his calls with Kislyak and is vulnerable to blackmail.
Sean Spicer later said Trump and a small group of White House advisers were “immediately informed of the situation.”
Trump doesn't do anything with this information, later saying that his legal team didn't believe that Flynn violated the law during that call.
Jan 27, 2017
Russian papers talk of a major FSB purge in relation to the election hacks and the Steele dossier.
In advance of the planned called between President Trump and President Putin, which the latter announced on Russian TV, Kellyanne Conway confirms that the lifting of the Russian sanctions is a possibility.
“All of that is under consideration,” she says.
Meanwhile, Business Insider reports that “the privatization deal was funded by Gazprombank, whose parent company is the state-owned Russian energy giant Gazprom.”
—>While we don’t know for sure, because Trump has not released his taxes, it is plausible that Gazprombank is one of his many creditors.
28 January, 2017
President Trump and President Putin speak on the phone for the first time.
—>If sanctions are lifted, either today or in the future, both Putin and Trump, as well as Tillerson and Page, stand to benefit materially, in a big way
January 30, 2017
Attorney General Sally Yates is fired.
According to his statement, the reason was that she had “betrayed the Department of Justice” by refusing to defend Trump’s travel ban in court.
Feb 2, 2017
The Treasury department eases Obama’s Russian sanctions making it easier for American companies to get techology products into Russia.
Feb 3, 2017
Report that the Kremlin is in the midst of a major FSB purge of officials who might have leaked information related to hacking the American elections. This includes Sergei Mikhailov, deputy chief of the FSB’s Center for Information Security and his counterpart Dmitry Dokuchayev as well as Ruslan Stoyanov, head of Kaspersky Lab. This purge seems to be widespread with several high level officers arrested.
Feb 5, 2017
Trump creates a moral equivalence between the US and Russia during a pre-superbowl interview with Bill O’Reilly. Here’s a Chicago Tribune story on this. For reference, this is how Putin deals with opponents: Russia killing political opponents. Journalists killed by the Russian state. An activist falls mysteriously ill.
Former CIA director Michael Morrell says a “special bond” between Trump and Putin is clouding his judgment.
Feb 7. 2017
According to the New York Times, a back-channel plan for lifting US sanctions on Russia was delivered to Michael Flynn by Michael D. Cohen, the president’s personal lawyer, Felix H. Sater, a shadowy Bayrock-connectd businessman, and Andrii V. Artemenko, a Ukrainian polititian tied to Paul Manafort. The plan hopes to oust the Ukrainian president Petro O. Poroshenko with intelligence from top Putin aides. [ed. note: Lifting Russian sanctions has been the apparent motive of many people who surround Trump.]
Feb. 8, 2017
Flynn denies discussing sanctions with Russian officials in an interview with The Washington Post.
A spokesman for Flynn later tries to amend Flynn’s comments, saying Flynn had “no recollection” of discussing sanctions.
Jeff Sessions, the first senator to endorse Trump’s candidacy and the former chair of the Trump campaign’s national security advisory committee, became attorney general.
Every Republican senator and Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia voted to confirm him.
During the confirmation process, Sessions had said he was “not aware of a basis to recuse myself” from the Justice Department’s Russia-related investigations of Trump.
February 9, 2017
The Washington Post catches Flynn in his lie, reporting that Flynn did in fact discuss sanctions with Ambassdaor Kislayk before Trump took office. According to nine current and formal officials:
“Flynn’s reference to the election-related sanctions were explicit.” Two officials added that Flynn had encouraged Moscow
“not to overreact to the penalties being imposed by President Barack Obama, making clear that the two sides would be in position to review the matter after Trump was sworn in as president.”
Pence finds out he had been misled by Flynn, according to two administration officials.
Through a spokesman, Flynn changed his position:
“While [Flynn] had no recollection of discussing sanctions, he couldn’t be certain that the topic never came up.”
Feb. 10, 2017
Trump says he’s not aware of the Post report that Flynn may have discussed sanctions but will look into it.
An aide close to Flynn says he cannot rule out that the adviser spoke about sanctions on the call with Kislyak.
A US official then confirms that Flynn and Kislyak did speak about sanctions, among other matters.
CNN reports that, for the first time, US investigators say they have corroborated some of the communications detailed in Steele’s kompromat dossier. Confirmations were made with SIGINT (foreign intercepts) and relate to conversations with foreign nationals, not the the salacious “golden showers” allegations in the dossier. Confirmations give intelligence officials “greater confidence” in Steele dossier.
Feb 11, 2017
Business Insider publishes a list of Russia-related campaign events alleged in the Steele dossier to events that have now been verified.
Feb. 13, 2017
The Washington Post broke another story: Then-acting Attorney General Sally Yates had warned the White House in late January that Flynn had mischaracterized his December conversation with the Russian ambassador, and that it made him vulnerable to Russian blackmail.
Russia again denies the allegations that the men discussed sanctions, telling CNN: "We have already said there haven't been any." On the same day, reports surface of the Justice Department's warning to the administration regarding Flynn.
White House adviser Kellyanne Conway tells MSNBC that Trump has “full confidence” in Flynn.
Hours later, Flynn resigns, saying he had “inadvertently briefed the Vice President-Elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian ambassador.”
Feb. 14, 2017
Spicer says Trump asked Flynn to resign because of an “erosion of trust.”
CNN reports that high-level advisers close to then-nominee Trump were in constant communication during the campaign with Russians known to US intelligence, according to multiple current and former intelligence, law enforcement and administration officials.
Among those senior advisers regularly communicating with Russian nationals were Manafort and Flynn.
The New York Times corroborated the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister’s admission on Nov. 10.
Based on information from four current and former American officials, The Times reported:
“Members of the Trump campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior intelligence officials in the year before the election.”
Meanwhile, advisers to Attorney General Jeff Sessions reiterated his earlier position: Sessions saw no need to recuse himself from the ongoing Justice Department investigations into the Trump/Russia connections.
Members of Congress call—again—for an investigation into ties between Trump and Russia.
Trump continues to deny.
Feb. 15, 2017
07:08:12 AM Trump tweets, “This Russian connection non-sense is merely an attempt to cover-up the many mistakes made in Hillary Clinton’s losing campaign.”
The New York Times reports that telephone records and intercepted calls show that
"members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election."
Trump tweeted a series of outbursts attacking the Trump/Russia connection as “non-sense,” diverting attention to “un-American” leaks in which “information is illegally given out by ‘intelligence’ like candy.”
Shortly thereafter, Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz and other congressional Republicans formally asked the Justice Department’s Inspector General to investigate the leaks, but they and their GOP colleagues resisted the creation of an independent bipartisan commission with the power to convene public hearings and discover the truth about the Trump/Russia connections.
During an afternoon appearance with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump refused to answer questions about connections between his presidential campaign and Russia.
That evening, The New York Times reported that Trump was planning to appoint Stephen Feinberg, a billionaire hedge fund manager and Trump ally, to lead “a broad review of American intelligence agencies.” Feinberg has no prior experience in intelligence or government, but he has close ties to Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner.
New York Times and CNN report several major players on the Trump team had repeated and constant contact with senior Russian intelligence officials during the campaign.
Feb. 16, 2017
Trump continued his diversionary twitter assault on the intelligence leaks that were fueling intensified scrutiny of his Russia connections.
Trump holds a press conference clarifying that Flynn was let go not because of anything he did during the call to the Russia ambassador, but because he misled Pence about that call.
Flynn was "doing his job" during the call, Trump said, but the president "was not happy" about the conversation he had with Pence.
He also repeatedly denounced the leaks that have plagued his administration, called the resulting stories "fake news," and mused that:
"it would be great if we could get along with Russia."...“I own nothing in Russia. I have no loans in Russia. I don’t have any deals in Russia… Russia is fake news. Russia — this is fake news put out by the media.”
Reporters asked repeatedly about anyone else involved with Trump or his campaign:
“No,” Trump said. “Nobody that I know of.”
Feb 18, 2017
The New Yorker published a in-depth profile on former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. It concludes: “This story is bigger than Mike Flynn,” the senior military intelligence official said. “Who told Mike to go do this? I think somebody said, ‘Mike, you’ve got some contacts. Let them know it’s gonna be all right.’ Mike’s a soldier. He did not go rogue.”
Feb 20, 2017
Russian UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin, one of the men who first introduced Trump to Russia, dies unexpectedly of a heart attack at age 64. One day before his 65th birthday.
Feb 21, 2017
Andrii V. Artemenko, a Ukranian lawmaker who worked with Trump associates on pro-Russia plan to lift sanctions, is investigated for treason.
Great audio interview with Louise Mensch @LouiseMensch, Author of "Dear Mr. Putin, Let's Play Chess," an overarching narrative of the Trump Putin story that reads like a 30's Noir Detective Comic. Good Stuff. Take it with a grain of salt, but it's an excellent thesis based on available evidence and intuition.