September 2015: An FBI agent tells the Democratic National Committee that its computer network had been hacked by a cyberespionage group associated with the Russian government. The DNC contractor who takes the call isn't sure the caller is actually an FBI agent and doesn't take the concerns very seriously. It takes another seven months for knowledge of the hacking to reach the highest levels of the DNC.
December 10, 2015: Michael Flynn, who began advising Trump's campaign in February 2016, is paid to speak at an event hosted by Russia Today — a state-funded news outlet — also attended by Putin.
December 17, 2015: Putin praises Trump as the "absolute leader of the presidential race." In response, Trump says it is a "great honor to be so nicely complimented by a man so highly respected within his own country and beyond."
March 21, 2016: Trump tells The Washington Post that Carter Page, an American oil industry consultant living in Russia, is one of his foreign policy advisers. By September, Page had stepped down from the Trump campaign. In April 2017, the Post reports that Carter had been subject to secret surveillance by the FBI beginning in July 2016 after the government determined there was probable cause to believe Carter was acting as an agent of Russia.
March 28, 2016: Trump hires Paul Manafort, an experienced Republican operative who previously advised the Russian-aligned Ukrainian president, to help him wrangle delegates. He later becomes Trump's campaign chairman. Manafort has recently come under fire amid reports that he secretly worked to advance Russian interests for years before he joined the campaign.
July 22, 2016: Wikileaks publishes 20,000 emails stolen from the DNC, which reveal that some DNC staffers were working to promote Hillary Clinton at the expense of her opponent for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders. Two days later, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigns.
July 25-26, 2016: The FBI announces that it is investigating the DNC hacks and intelligence officials tell the White House that they believe with "high confidence" that the Russian government directed the cyberespionage.
July 27, 2016: In a speech during a campaign rally, Trump urged Russia to hack into Clinton's emails. "I will tell you this, Russia: If you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing."
August 8, 2016: Trump's former campaign adviser and longtime friend Roger Stone says that he has communicated with Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange. Just days before Wikileaks releases the first batch of a trove of emails stolen from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, Stone tweets, "Trust me, it will soon the Podesta's time in the barrel. #CrookedHillary."
August 19: Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort resigns days after reports surface showing he was allotted $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments by a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party.
October 7: Wikileaks publishes the first of several batches of emails stolen from Clinton campaign manager John Podesta's email account.
November 10: Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks tells reporters, "There was no communication between the campaign and any foreign entity during the campaign," after Russian officials claim to have had "contacts" with Trump campaign officials.
December 12, 2016: Trump nominates Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson to be secretary of state. Tillerson has had a long business relationship with Russia, and Putin personally awarded him the country's Order of Friendship in 2013.
January 6, 2017: US intelligence agencies release a report stating that Russia "ordered an influence campaign in 2016" in favor of Trump and that Russian officials were behind the hacking of the Clinton campaign and the DNC. Trump responds by arguing that the hacks had "absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election."
January 10, 2017: Buzzfeed publishes a 35-page dossier of unverified claims concerning Trump's ties to Russia compiled by former British intelligence official Christopher Steele. Trump denounces the dossier as "fake news" and a "political witchhunt."
Jan. 15, 2017: Appearing on CBS’ Face the Nation, Vice President Pence says 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.”
February 13, 2017: Trump's national security adviser, Michael Flynn, is forced to resign following reports that he misled Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the US (in which he allegedly discussed US sanctions on Russia).
February 16, 2017: Trump refutes a February 14 New York Times report claiming that several of his associates had contact with Russian officials during the presidential campaign and transition, calling the story "fake news," and adding that none of his campaign advisers had contacts with Russia during the election.
March 2, 2017: Attorney General Jeff Sessions recuses himself from overseeing investigations into the Trump campaign after reports surfaced that he met with the Russian ambassador during the 2016 campaign — meetings he did not disclose to Congress.
March 4, 2017: In a series of tweets, Trump accuses Obama of wiretapping his phones in the run-up to the 2016 election, calling the former president a "Bad (or sick) guy!" The White House has since failed to provide evidence that such wiretapping occurred.
March 4, 2017: Trump is reportedly furious that Jeff Sessions had recused himself from the Trump/Russia investigation. He unleashes a tweet-storm, claiming that President Obama had wiretapped his phones during the presidential campaign. Stunned by Trump’s outburst, White House staffers begin searching for evidence to support his false wiretap claim. Among those reportedly involved in the effort are White House Counsel Donald McGahn II and Ezra Cohen-Watnick, a 30-year-old Trump transition team member whom former national security adviser Mike Flynn had brought to the White House as senior director for intelligence programs.
Also on March 4, 2017: Stone tweets — then deletes — about his communications with Assange: “[N]ever denied perfectly legal back channel to Assange who indeed had the goods on #CrookedHillary.” Forty minutes later, the tweet was gone.
March 5, 2017: FBI Director Comey asked the Justice Department to rebut publicly Trump’s assertion that President Obama had ordered the wiretapping of Trump’s phones. Meanwhile, Sean Spicer announces that neither Trump nor the White House would comment further on Trump/Russia matters until Congress completes an investigation into whether President Obama’s executive branch abused its powers during 2016 election.
March 7, 2017: WikiLeaks releases a trove of alleged CIA documents relating to the agency’s hacking tools for smartphones, computers and internet-connected devices. [Added March 13, 2017]
Also on March 7, 2017: Michael Ellis, 32-year-old general counsel to Nunes’ intelligence committee, joins White House Counsel McGahn’s office as “special assistant to the president, senior associate counsel to the president and deputy National Security Council legal adviser.”
March 8, 2017: Nigel Farage meets with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at the Embassy of Ecuador in London, where Assange had found sanctuary since 2012.
March 9, 2017: In an online press conference, Assange threatens to release more documents relating to CIA’s hacking capabilities and methods.
Also on March 9, 2017: When reporters ask Sean Spicer about Nigel Farage’s meeting with Julian Assange and whether Farage was delivering a message from Trump, Sean Spicer says, “I have no idea.” [Added March 13, 2017]
March 10, 2017: Trump campaign surrogate Roger Stone admits that in August 2016 he had engaged in private direct messaging with Guccifer 2.0, whom US intelligence agencies later identified as the persona for the Russian hacking operation. Describing the messages as “completely innocuous,” Stone says, “It was so perfunctory, brief and banal I had forgotten it.”
Also on March 10, 2017: Mike Flynn’s replacement as national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, tells Ezra Cohen-Watnick that he is reassigning him. Unhappy with the decision, Cohen-Watnick appeals to Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner. They intervene and take the issue to Trump, who orders that Cohen-Watnick should remain in his position.
March 12, 2017: John McCain tells CNN’s Jake Tapper that former Trump adviser and surrogate Roger Stone “obviously” needs to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee concerning his communications with Guccifer 2.0. McCain says that Stone should also explain fully his involvement matters relating to Ukraine’s pro-Putin former president.
March 13, 2017: Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr says Roger Stone’s communications with Guccifer 2.0 are part of the Committee’s ongoing investigation and that Stone could be called to testify.
March 14, 2017: House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes and ranking member Adam Schiff invite former acting Attorney General Sally Yates to testify before their committee at an open hearing on March 28, 2017.
March 15, 2017: Roger Stone is riding in the front passenger seat of a car near Pompano Beach, Florida, when another car broadsides his, shifts gears, backs up and speeds away. In January, Stone had claimed that he was poisoned in late 2016 with polonium, a radioactive material manufactured in a nuclear reactor and used to kill former KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko in 2006. Litvinenko had defected to Britain and become an outspoken critic of Putin. As he lay in a hospital bed, he said Putin had been responsible for his impending death. On Jan. 21, 2016, retired British High Court Judge Sir Robert Owen concluded a House of Commons inquiry and issued a 328-page report finding that Litvinenko’s accusation was probably correct.
Also on March 15, 2017: The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes, says the committee has no evidence to support Trump’s March 4 wiretapping claim. “I don’t think there was an actual tap of Trump Tower,” Nunes says. “Are you going to take the tweets literally? If you are, clearly the president is wrong.”
Also on March 15, 2017: On the subject of his wiretapping claims, Trump tells Fox News, “I think you’re going to find some very interesting items coming to the forefront over the next two weeks.”
March 16, 2017: Senate Intelligence Committee leaders issue a joint statement rebutting Trump’s unfounded assertion that President Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower: “Based on the information available to us, we see no indications that Trump Tower was the subject of surveillance by any element of the United States government either before or after Election Day 2016.”
March 17, 2017: Roger Stone says he had only just received the letter from the Senate Intelligence Committee, dated Feb. 17, asking him to preserve his records relating to Russian election interference. Quoted in The New York Times, Stone says, “I had never heard allegations that Guccifer 2.0 was a Russian asset until now, and am not certain it’s correct.” He says that his 16 interactions with Guccifer 2.0, which included public Twitter posts and private messages, were all part of “exchanges,” not “separate contacts.”
March 20, 2017: On the morning of FBI Director Comey’s testimony before Congress on his agency’s investigation into Russian election interference, Trump tweets: “The Democrats made up and pushed the Russian story as an excuse for running a terrible campaign. Big advantage in Electoral College & lost!” Hours later, Comey testifies that the FBI was investigating Russian interference with election, including “the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts.” With respect to Trump’s wiretapping claims, Comey says, “I have no information that supports those tweets.”
March 20, 2017: In a House Intelligence Committee public hearing, Paul Manafort’s name comes up more than two dozen times.
March 21, 2017: In his daily press briefing, Sean Spicer says that, with respect to the Trump campaign, Paul Manafort had “played a very limited role for a very limited period of time.”
March 22, 2017: Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), chair of the House Intelligence Committee, bypasses his fellow committee members and goes directly to the White House with alleged evidence that Trump associates may have been “incidentally” swept up in foreign surveillance by American spy agencies. Nunes refuses to release the information or name his sources, even to fellow committee members. And he confirms that he still had seen no evidence to support Trump’s claim that President Obama had ordered his wires tapped. [Added March 27, 2017]
Also on March 22, 2017: In a joint letter to White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, the chairman and ranking member of the House Oversight Committee request information and documents relating to payments that former national security adviser Mike Flynn received from entities affiliated with foreign governments, including Russia and Turkey. [Added May 2, 2017]
March 23, 2017: In a letter to acting Assistant Attorney General Samuel R. Ramer, Sally Yates’ lawyer disagrees with the Justice Department’s objections to Yates’ anticipated congressional testimony. Associate Deputy Attorney General Scott Schools responds that Yates’ testimony is “likely covered by the presidential communications privilege and possibly the deliberative process privilege.” But Schools adds that Yates needs only the consent of the White House, not the Justice Department, to testify. [Added April 3, 2017]
March 24, 2017: Paul Manafort, Carter Page and Roger Stone volunteer to be interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee.
Also on March 24, 2017: Yates’ lawyer writes to White House Counsel McGahn about Yates’ upcoming testimony before the House Intelligence Committee. He notes that unless McGahn objects before 10 a.m. on March 27, Yates will appear and answer the committee’s questions.
Also on March 24, 2017: Rep. Nunes cancels public hearings scheduled for March 28. Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former CIA Director John Brennan and former acting Attorney General Sally Yates had been slated to testify before his committee. Nunes postpones their appearances indefinitely.
March 26, 2017: In an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Roger Stone says, “I reiterate again, I have had no contacts or collusions with the Russians. And my exchange with Guccifer 2.0, based on the content and the timing, most certainly does not constitute collusion.”
March 27, 2017: Trump tweets that the House Intelligence Committee should be looking into Bill and Hillary Clinton’s ties to Russia: “Trump Russia story is a hoax.”
March 30, 2017: The Senate Intelligence Committee opens its hearings into the Trump/Russia investigation. Clinton Watts, senior fellow at George Washington University’s Center for Cyber and Homeland Security and former FBI agent, testifies that the committee should follow the money funding misinformation websites. Watts then adds a more ominous suggestion: “Follow the trail of dead Russians,” he says. “There’s been more dead Russians in the past three months that are tied to this investigation who have assets in banks all over the world. They are dropping dead, even in Western countries.” Eight Russian politicians, activists, ambassadors and a former intelligence official have died since Trump’s election. Some were apparent assassinations.
Also March 30, 2017: The New York Times reports that Nunes’ sources for the information that he’d reviewed nine days earlier on White House grounds — and then reported to Trump directly without informing anyone on his committee — are two members of the Trump administration: Ezra Cohen-Watnick (the NSC staffer whose job Trump had saved personally around March 13) and Michael Ellis (who had served as general counsel of Nunes’ committee before becoming Trump’s “special assistant, senior associate counsel and deputy National Security Council legal adviser” on March 7).
Also on March 30, 2017: The Wall Street Journal reports that Mike Flynn is seeking immunity from prosecution in return for testifying before congressional intelligence committees. The next day, his lawyer confirms, “Gen. Flynn certainly has a story to tell, and he very much wants to tell it, should circumstances permit.”
March 31, 2017: Trump tweets, “Mike Flynn should ask for immunity in that this is a witch hunt (excuse for big election loss), by media & Dems, of historic proportion!”
Also on March 31, 2017: During an appearance with Bill Maher, Roger Stone denies that Guccifer 2.0 was an arm of Russia. “I’ve had no contacts with Russians,” he insists. [Added April 3, 2017]
April 5, 2017: In an interview with The New York Times, Trump says, “The Russia story is a total hoax.” [Added April 10, 2017]
April 6, 2017: House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) recuses himself from the Trump/Russia investigation. Texas Rep. Mike Conaway assumes control. [Added April 10, 2017]
April 12, 2017: The Associated Press confirms that newly obtained financial records show Paul Manafort’s firm had received two wire transfers — one in 2007 and another in 2009 — corresponding to two of the 22 entries next to Manafort’s name in Ukraine’s Party of Regions Black Ledger. Manafort’s spokesman says Manafort intended to register retroactively with the US Justice Department as a foreign agent for the work he had done on behalf of political interests in Ukraine through 2014. [Added April 17, 2017]
April 13, 2017: Former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page tells ABC’s George Stephanopoulos he won’t reveal who brought him into the Trump campaign. Page also says he didn’t recall discussing the subject of easing Russian sanctions in conversations with Russian officials during his July 2016 trip to Moscow. “We’ll see what comes out in this FISA transcript,” Page says, referring to surveillance collected after the FBI obtained a secret court order to monitor him under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. “Something may have come up in a conversation… I have no recollection.” Later he continues, “Someone may have brought it up. I have no recollection. And if it was, it was not something I was offering or that someone was asking for.” Page says that from the time of his departure as an adviser to the Trump campaign through Inauguration Day, he maintained “light contact” with some campaign members. [Added April 17, 2017]
April 19, 2017: The White House refuses the March 22 bipartisan request from the House Oversight Committee for more information and documents relating to payments that former national security adviser Mike Flynn received from entities affiliated with the Russian and Turkish governments. [Added May 2, 2017]
April 25, 2017: The Senate Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism reveals that it has scheduled former acting Attorney General Sally Yates and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to testify on May 8, 2017. [Added May 2, 2017]
April 28, 2017: The chair and vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee send letters to several former Trump campaign advisers, including Carter Page, Mike Flynn, Paul Manafort and Roger Stone. Among other requests, the letters ask for a “list of all meetings between you and any Russian official or representative of Russian business interests which took place between June 16, 2015 and Jan. 20, 2017.” The letters also request information about any such meetings of which they are aware, as well as all documents relating to Trump campaign communications with Russian officials or business representatives. The committee also seeks information about any financial and real estate transactions related to Russia from June 15, 2015 through Trump’s inauguration. [Added May 8, 2017]
April 29, 2017: In an interview airing on Trump’s 100th day in office, he tells CBS’ John Dickerson, “The concept of Russia with respect to us [the Trump campaign] is a total phony story.” Dickerson then asks, “You don’t think it’s phony that they, the Russians, tried to meddle in the election?” Trump answers, “That I don’t know.” Later, Trump says, “I’d love to find out what happened.” [Added May 2, 2017]
May 2, 2017: On the eve of FBI Director James Comey’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Trump tweets: “FBI Director Comey was the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton in that he gave her a free pass for many bad deeds! The phony… Trump/Russia story was an excuse used by the Democrats as justification for losing the election. Perhaps Trump just ran a great campaign?” [Added May 8, 2017]
May 3, 2017: In response to Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who asks FBI Director Comey about Trump’s April 29, 2017 interview in which he said that the hacking of the DNC “could’ve been China, could’ve been a lot of different groups,” Comey answers, “The intelligence community with high confidence concluded it was Russia.” [Added May 8, 2017]
May 5, 2017: The chair and vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee issue a joint statement, saying: “Three days ago, Carter Page told Fox News he was cooperating with the Committee’s investigation into Russian activities surrounding the 2016 Election. Today we have learned that may not be the case.” The statement expresses the hope that Page “will live up to his publicly-expressed cooperation with our effort.” [Added May 8, 2017]
F.B.I. Director James Comey Is Fired by Trump
Trump threatens Comey in Twitter outburst
Treasury's financial intel unit to turn over financial records to Senate for Trump-Russia probe
Former Trump Adviser Paul Manafort’s Bank Records Sought in Probe
Russian elite invested nearly $100 million in Trump buildings
Trump letter accounts for more than $100 million in Russian income since 2008
Reports that Trump gave out secrets to the Russians during WH meeting
Reported that Trump asked Comey to end Flynn investigation
FBI issues subpoena for Paul Manafort
NBC news reports that multiple grand jury subpoenas and records requests have been issued in connection with Flynn and Manafort
Director Robert Mueller is named as special counsel for Russia investigation
Comey to testify
Russian probe extends to White House staffer
Trump had bragged to the Russians about firing Comey, and called him a "nut job."
Jared Kushner now part of the FBI's investigation.
WaPo: Jared Kushner And Russian Amb. Discussed Setting Up Secret Backchannel
NYT: Oleg V. Deripaska, a Russian oligarch once close to President Trump’s former campaign manager, has offered to cooperate with congressional committees investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election
NYT: Kushner Omitted Meeting With Russians on Security Clearance Forms
Trump's lawyer Cohen is also being subpoenaed now, but he is refusing to cooperate.
Congress are also looking into Sessions/Kislyak meetings.
Comey to testify as early as next week.
Jeff Sessions testimony
WaPo: Trump is under investigation for obstruction of justice
Donald Trump Jr. admits to meeting with Russian lawyer with ties to Kremlin, in hopes of getting dirt on Hillary. Kushner and Manafort were present at meeting.
Robert Mueller has issued grand jury subpoenas related to Donald Trump Jr.'s 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer
Reports that Manafort's home was raided by the FBI in July.
Also that Manafort alerted the FBI to Don Junior's meeting with the Russians
“He’s the opposite of Teddy Roosevelt. He speaks loudly and carries a small stick.”
"It was like I was in high school again, but fatter."