December 13, 2017- Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein testifies in front of the House Judiciary Committee, where Republicans ask him about the integrity of Robert Mueller’s investigation after anti-Trump text messages between FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page are provided to Congress. Chairman of the committee, Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), says the texts show “extreme bias towards Trump.”
"We are now beginning to better understand the magnitude of this insider bias on Mr. Mueller's team," Goodlatte added. Rosenstein defends Mueller’s character, pointing to his service in Vietnam as a combat veteran.
"I believe that based upon his reputation his service, his patriotism ... I believe he was an ideal choice" as special counsel, said Rosenstein.
December 12, 2017- President Trump’s legal team call for an additional special counsel to examine decisions and personnel at the Justice Department. However, there is no provision for the appointment of a special counsel to investigate anything other than criminal behavior.
Text messages between FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page are provided to Congress, which show anti-Trump sentiments. The messages were obtained as part of an investigation by the Justice Department’s Inspector General, and when Mueller learned of them in the summer. Strzok was removed from his team, and Page was removed shortly after.
December 1, 2017- Former National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, pleads guilty in federal court to making false statements to the FBI regarding his communications with Russia.
A charging document filed on November 29, 2017 lists two false statements made by Flynn about his interactions with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak in late December 2016: one stating that Flynn falsely claimed that he did not ask Kislyak "to refrain from escalating the situation in response to sanctions that the U.S. had imposed against Russia," and another that states he did not remember Kislyak telling him Russia decided to alter their response due to his request.
November 23, 2017 –The New York Times reports that the legal team for former national security adviser Michael Flynn, recently cut ties with White House lawyers, notifying them that they could no longer discuss the special counsel’s investigation.
This could signal that Flynn is cooperating with Robert Mueller, although legal experts say defense teams will often share information and materials they have in common until they are no longer able to do so legally.
November 16, 2017 – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Ia.) and Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca.) send a letter to Jared Kushner’s lawyer, stating that the collection of documents provided to the panel’s probe into Russian election interference is “incomplete.”
The committee asked Kushner in July to provide emails sent to him regarding WikiLeaks and a “Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite.” Grassley and Feinstein say that Donald Trump’s son-in-law hasn’t been entirely forthcoming with that request.
The committee gives Kushner until November 27 to provide the additional documents, which include emails and the security clearance form that omitted contacts with Russian officials.
November 14, 2017 - Attorney General Jeff Sessions tells lawmakers that he now recalls a meeting with former Trump campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos, but asserts that he did not lie under oath when he formerly stated that he was unaware of communications between the campaign and Russian officials.
"I do now recall the March 2016 meeting at Trump Hotel that Mr. Papadopoulos attended, but I have no clear recollection of the details of what he said during that meeting," Sessions said in testimony to the House Judiciary Committee.
November 13, 2017 - The Atlantic reports that Donald Trump Jr. corresponded with WikiLeaks in a series of direct messages on Twitter.
The messages show Trump, Jr. responding to WikiLeaks three times, once agreeing to “ask around” regarding a political action committee in question. Trump, Jr. also asks WikiLeaks about a rumored upcoming leak.
The direct messages had been handed over to congressional committees investigating Russian intervention in the 2016 election.
Trump, Jr. responded, “Here is the entire chain of messages with @wikileaks (with my whopping 3 responses) which one of the congressional committees has chosen to selectively leak. 'How ironic!'"
November 12, 2017 - At a press conference in Hanoi, Vietnam, President Trump walks back his doubts surrounding Russian meddling, and says that he is “with” U.S. intelligence agencies. These agencies have concluded that Russia meddled with the 2016 election, despite the President and Kremlin’s denials of these statements.
On Meet the Press, Sen. Toomey (R-Pa.), tells moderator Chuck Todd that Vladimir Putin is a “dangerous man and a thug,” and affirms that Russia has not been appropriately punished for the attempts to meddle in the 2016 election.
November 11, 2017 - Trump tells reporters on Air Force One that during a conversation the two had at APEC, Putin denied meddling in the election. Trump also adds, "[Putin] said he absolutely did not meddle in our election. He did not do what they are saying he did."
November 1, 2017 – The House Intelligence Committee releases dozens of Russian-linked social-media advertisements that were created during the 2016 election, focusing their attention on ads created by a Russian troll farm that touch on divisive social issues.
October 31, 2017- Executives from Facebook, Google and Twitter appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee to speak publicly about the sale of advertisements on their platforms by Russian firms during the 2016 presidential election. Lawmakers from both parties lament the fact that it took the companies nearly a year to be transparent with their knowledge of Russia’s effort in using their sites to spread propaganda. Senators discuss implementing regulations on advertisements that are similar to the rules used for political and television ads. “It’s Russia today; it could be Iran and North Korea tomorrow,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-Sc.) said. “What we need to do is sit down and find ways to bring some of the controls we have on over-the-air broadcast to social media to protect the consumer.”
October 27, 2017 - Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office indicts former Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates, on charges of conspiracy against the United States, being an unregistered foreign agent, money laundering, and seven counts of failing to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts.
Later in the morning, court documents are unsealed in the Papadopoulos case, uncovering a series of revelations into the nature of his involvement in the campaign and his contact with individuals with connections to the Russian government. The documents reveal that in accordance with the plea agreement entered on October 5th, Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to making false statements in a January 2017 interview with FBI agents.
"Through his false statements and omissions, defendant ... impeded the FBI's ongoing investigation into the existence of any links or coordination between individuals associated with the Campaign and the Russian government's efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election," Mueller's team wrote.
The documents also disclose that unnamed campaign officials were cognizant of the former foreign policy adviser’s attempts to set up a meeting between the Trump campaign and the Russians. An email sent to Papadopoulos by the unnamed official reads, "We need someone to communicate that DT is not doing these trips. It should be someone low level in the campaign so as not to send any signal.” Court documents also reveal that an anonymous campaign supervisor encouraged Papadopoulos to make a trip to Russia for an off-the-record meeting.
October 27, 2017 - Carter Page, a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, is interviewed by the Senate Intel Committee.
October 25, 2017 - Michael Cohen appears before the Senate Intelligence committee.
October 24, 2017 - According to reporting by the Washington Post, it is discovered that the Presidential Campaign of Hillary Clinton, as well as the Democratic National Committee, paid for research that funded the controversial dossier which was released in the media in January and contains alleged links between Donald Trump, Jr. and associates in Russia. Also on this day, Michael Cohen, the president's personal lawyer, appears in front of the House Intel Committee, a conversation that continues into the next day with the Senate. Brad Parscale, head of the Trump digital campaign team, is also interviewed by the House Intel Committee.
October 18, 2017 - Attorney General Jeff Sessions undergoes a hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee, the committee’s first opportunity to question Sessions after his confirmation in January. Lawmakers challenge Sessions on an array of topics, but much of the hearing is spent on the Russia investigation. Sessions offers a potential piece of new information regarding his meetings with Russian officials during the Republican National Convention, stating that it is possible that he discussed Trump campaign positions in his conversations with Sergey Kislyak, former Ambassador of Russia to the United States. Sessions says that it was “possible” that “some comment was made about what Trump’s positions were,” however, “I don’t think there was any discussion about the details of the campaign.”
Sessions cites confidentiality in relation to his conversations with President Trump. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), asks Sessions, "Did the president ever mention to you his concern about lifting the cloud on the Russia investigation?" "Senator Feinstein, that calls for communication that I’ve had with the president, and I believe it remains confidential." Sessions continues, saying, "I do not confirm or deny the existence of any communication with the president," Session adds.
Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski is also interviewed by the Senate Intelligence Committee.
October 16, 2017 - President Donald Trump’s former press secretary, Sean Spicer, is interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller. Spicer is reportedly asked about the firing of former FBI Director James Comey, and his statements regarding that decision. Spicer is asked about the president's meetings with Russian officials, including one with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the Oval Office.
October 13, 2017 - Former Chief of Staff for the Trump administration, Reince Priebus, is interviewed by the Mueller team.
October 5, 2017 - Former Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos secretly pleads guilty to a single count of making false statements to the FBI as part of a cooperation agreement with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The plea details the timing and significance of conversations between Papadopoulos with contacts who are “understood to have substantial ties to Russian government officials,” a description used in the criminal information that has been filed.
October 4, 2017 - Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the panel’s top Democrat, deliver an update into the inquiry surrounding potential Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Burr announces that “the issue of collusion is still open, that we continue to investigate both intelligence and witnesses, and that we’re not in a position where we will come to any type of temporary finding on that until we’ve completed the process.”
Additionally, Burr and Warner address a series of additional subjects, including the expansion of the investigation to understand the role of social media in Russia’s influence campaign and confirm that 21 states’ election systems were targeted by Russian hackers.
They also announce that the committee has "hit a wall" in their attempts to interview Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence officer who authored the contentious dossier on President Trump. Burr tells the press that Senate investigators have interviewed 100 people, with another 25 interviews scheduled, and have reviewed over 100,000 pages of documents.
September 28, 2017- Twitter tells congressional investigators that they had been targeted by Russian operatives during the 2016 presidential election. The company says that it shut down 201 accounts that are tied to the International Research Agency, a Kremlin-affiliated “troll-farm,” in addition to finding three accounts from the news site RT, which bought ads in 2016. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) says to reporters after the closed-door meeting with Twitter that the presentation to lawmakers by representatives of the social media giant “was deeply disappointing,” and that their response was “inadequate on almost every level.”
September 21, 2017- Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, releases a video where he announces that he is actively working with the U.S. government on their ongoing investigations into Russian interference. Zuckerberg says that he provided information regarding Russian ads on Facebook to the special counsel, briefed Congress, and provided the ads that were uncovered to Congress as well.
September 6, 2017-Facebook reveals to congressional investigators that the company sold ads to a Russian company which targeted voters during the election. The company reports that it traced the ad sales, which amount to roughly $100,000, to the “International Research Agency.”
August 2, 2017- Trump signs the Russia Sanctions Bill, which is overwhelmingly supported by both the House and the Senate. In addition to putting new sanctions on Russia, Iran, and North Korea, the legislation also ties the President’s hands, by putting into language a restriction that prevents Trump from lifting these sanctions without congressional approval.
July 28, 2017- Reince Priebus, who served as Chief-of-Staff to President Donald Trump, is fired. Trump announces the dismissal via Twitter, saying, “I am pleased to inform you that I have just named General/Secretary John F. Kelly as White House Chief of Staff. He is a Great American…”
July 27, 2017- George Papadopoulos is arrested in the Dulles airport, outside of Washington, D.C.
July 26, 2017 - FBI agents search one of the residences of Paul Manafort in order to find records tying the former campaign-chairman to his activities in Cyprus, Ukraine and other parts of the world. The raid occurred one day after Manafort met privately with Senate Intelligence Committee staff members.
July 25, 2017 - At a press conference with the Lebanese Prime Minister, President Trump lashes out at Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “I told you before, I’m very disappointed with the Attorney General. But we will see what happens. Time will tell. Time will tell.”
July 24, 2017 - Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law, and senior adviser, releases a statement detailing his encounters with Russian officials and his role in the campaign. “I am voluntarily providing this statement, submitting documents, and sitting for interviews in order to shed light on issues that have been raised about my role in the Trump for President Campaign and during the transition period,” Kushner said. This statement was released following a closed-door meeting with Senate Intelligence Committee.
July 21, 2017 - White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, unexpectedly resigns from his position. The decision comes after a meeting in which Anthony Scaramucci accepted the position of communications director. Spicer expressed great reservations over the hiring of Scaramucci.
July 16, 2017 - On Meet the Press, moderator Chuck Todd speaks with Jay Sekulow, a member of President Trump's personal legal team. After being asked about Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with the Russian lawyer, Sekulow insists that James Comey’s leaks detailing conversations with President Trump are more important.
July 14, 2017 - Trump adds a new lawyer to his growing legal team for the Russian investigation, Ty Cobb, who is set to handle media inquiries related to the ongoing probe. Ty Cobb’s role as White House special counsel differs from lawyers who defend the Trump administration or the President personally. His client is the presidency itself, making sure that the office is not harmed and is protected from long-lasting consequences.
July 12, 2017- Regarding the June 9 2016 meeting in Trump Tower, Trump says, “I only heard about it two or three days ago,” and “it was attended by a couple of other people,” Jared and “the other one, [who] was playing with his iPhone.”
July 11, 2017- Ambassador Sergei Kislyak leaves his post at the embassy and is replaced by interim Minister-Counselor and Deputy Chief of Mission, Denis V. Gonchar, until a full-time replacement arrives from Moscow.
The New York times reports that Donald Trump Jr. received an email from one of his father’s Russian business partners on June 3, 2016, which promised dirt on Hillary Clinton, and Trump Jr. replied with, “I love it,” to the offer.
WikiLeaks messages Donald Trump Jr. on Twitter. “Hi Don, Sorry to hear about your problems. We have an idea that may help a little. We are VERY interested in confidentially obtaining and publishing a copy of the email(s) cited in the NYTimes today.” The message continues for multiple paragraphs, attempting to convince Donald Trump Jr. that it would be in his best interest. Donald Trump Jr. does not respond.
July 7, 2017 - Trump meets with Putin at the G20 Summit, and Putin denies meddling in the 2016 presidential election. It is still unclear whether or not Trump accepted the Kremlin's version of events.
June 18, 2017 - Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) stresses to Chuck Todd on Meet the Press that he is confident in the ongoing investigations into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. “I think everybody just needs to keep watching this, but take a deep breath too, because the FBI's going to do its job. The FBI. doesn't sit around all day and read tweets. The FBI's going to do their job, Mueller's going to do his job … And the best thing that can happen for everybody, the president, the country, our institutions of government, is for a full and thorough and credible investigation that reveals everything. That's the best thing that can happen. I really believe that, including for the president. And that's what's going to happen, I believe.”
June 15, 2017 - After a report confirms that Robert Mueller is examining whether the president attempted to obstruct justice, Trump dismisses the Russian investigation via Twitter, calling it a “phony story,” and “the single greatest WITCH HUNT in American political history, led by some very bad and conflicted people!” Mueller requests interviews with senior White House officials about their conversations with Trump, including Dan Coats, director of national intelligence; Mike Rogers, chief of the National Security Agency; and Richard Ledgett, who left his post as deputy to Rogers around this time.
June 8, 2017 - Former FBI Director, James Comey, testifies at the Senate Intelligence Committee regarding the circumstances surrounding his dismissal. Comey says that the Trump administration “Chose to defame me and, more importantly, the FBI by saying that the organization was in disarray, that it was poorly led, that the workforce had lost confidence in its leader."
June 7, 2017 - James Comey releases a memo detailing his one-on-one interactions with the president, spelling out his recollection of the president’s requests with respect to Flynn and also his requests for Comey’s loyalty.
May 29, 2017 - Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper tells Chuck Todd during an episode of Meet the Press that he is "very concerned about the nature" of approaches between the Trump campaign and Russian agents during the 2016 elections.
May 17, 2017 - After serving as the Deputy Attorney General for 22 days, Rod Rosenstein announces the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel in the Russian investigation. “In my capacity as acting Attorney General, I determined that it is in the public interest for me to exercise my authority and appoint a Special Counsel to assume responsibility for this matter,” said Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein. “My decision is not a finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted. I have made no such determination. What I have determined is that based upon the unique circumstances, the public interest requires me to place this investigation under the authority of a person who exercises a degree of independence from the normal chain of command.”
May 14, 2017 - During a week when the news cycle is dominated by President Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C). tells Meet the Press that “The president needs to back off here and let the investigation go forward.”
May 10, 2017 - Amid mounting controversy surrounding Russian ties to the 2016 election, President Donald Trump meets with Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, and Ambassador to Russia, Sergey Kislyak. Lavrov referenced Trump’s comments on Twitter by calling the Russia story “fake news,” and told reporters, “There is not a single fact, there is no compelling evidence given to anyone regarding Russia’s intervention and that is it." Trump told Russian officials at the meeting that “firing ‘nut job’ Comey eased pressure from the Russian investigation.” Also on this day, NBC’s own Lester Holt Nightly News is told by President Trump that he is thinking of firing Comey.
May 9, 2017 - President Donald Trump fires FBI Director James Comey after senior Justice Department officials concluded that he'd mishandled the investigation of Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.
April 26, 2017- WikiLeaks messages Donald Trump Jr. with a video attached titled, “Fake News.”
March 2, 2017 - Attorney General Jeff Sessions recuses himself from the probe of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. He insists that he had no improper contacts with the Russians, however, he will withdraw due to his involvement in the Trump campaign.
February 13, 2017 - National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, resigns after it was revealed that he misled Vice President Mike Pence and other senior White House officials about his contact with Sergey Kislyak, Russia's ambassador to the United States.
January 27, 2017 - Papadopoulos is interviewed by the FBI for the first time, where he falsely claims that his contacts with a London-based professor with Russian connections and other Russian individuals were made he was made a member of Trump's foreign policy team. According to information that is later released as part of his criminal plea agreement, Papadopoulos tells the federal investigators that day that he communicated with a foreign professor who is “understood to have substantial ties to Russian government officials,” and “acknowledged that the professor had told him about the Russians possessing "dirt" on then-candidate Hillary Clinton in the form of "thousands of emails.” Despite this, Papadopoulos downplays the credibility of the individuals and the nature of his conversations, saying that a professor living in London was a “nobody,” and that emails with a Russian woman were nothing more than a "Hi, how are you?"
January 20, 2017 - Donald Trump is inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States.
January 11, 2017 - At a press conference that addressed both the intelligence report released on January 6 and the “Steele Dossier” released the day before, Trump says at his first news conference since July of 2016, “If Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset, not a liability.”
January 10, 2017 - A 35-page memorandum is published by BuzzFeed, which later came to be known as the “Steele Dossier,” details claims that the Russian government had been cultivating, supporting and assisting Trump for five years, as well as obtaining information in an effort to blackmail him.
January 6, 2017 - The Office of the Director of National Intelligence releases a report detailing a “Russian campaign to influence the election.”
WikiLeaks messages Donald Trump Jr. on Twitter. The account forwards a tweet written by John. J Hardwood of CNBC that says, “Who do you believe America?” with a corresponding poll attached. The poll asks if the American public believes the information coming from WikiLeaks or US Intel officials. Of those who responded, 83% say WikiLeaks and 17% say US Intel officials.
December 29, 2016 - Calls between Michael Flynn and Sergey Kislyak take place, allegedly to discuss the new sanctions that the Obama administration had issued that day against Russia in response to their interference in the election. Regarding the new sanctions, Trump replies, "I think we ought to get on with our lives."
December 9, 2016 - President Obama orders a full review of Russian hacking and influence efforts during the 2016 election.
WikiLeaks messages Donald Trump Jr. on Twitter in regards to President Obama’s decision. “Wow," the first message reads. In a second message, WikiLeaks continues, “Obama people will surely try to delete records on the way out. Just a heads up.” Donald Trump Jr. does not respond.
December 8, 2016- WikiLeaks contacts Donald Trump Jr. on Twitter: “Hi Don; if your father ‘loses’ we think it is much more interesting if he DOES NOT conceed [sic] and spends time CHALLENGING the media and other types of rigging that occurred-- as he has implied that he might do. He is also much more likely to keep his base alive and energised [sic] this way and if he is going to start a new network, showing how corrupt the old ones are is helpful. The discussion about the rigging can be transformative [sic] as it exposes media corruption, primary corruption, PAC corruption etc. We don’t like corruption ither [sic] and other publications are effective at proving that this and other forms of corruption exists. Donald Trump Jr. does not respond.
October 21, 2016- WikiLeaks contacts Donald Trump Jr. on Twitter, encouraging him to release “one or more” of his father’s tax returns. The account says “If we publish them it will dramatically improve the perception of our impartiality. This is the real kicker. This means that the vast amount of stuff that we are publishing about Clinton will have much higher impact, because it won’t be perceived as coming from a “pro-Trump,” “pro-Russian” source, which the Clinton campaign is constantly slandering us with.” The messages also suggests sending them any other negative information on his father, such as documents or recordings. Donald Trump Jr. does not respond.
October 12, 2016 - WikiLeaks messages Donald Trump Jr. on Twitter. “Hey Donald, great to see you and your dad talking about our publications. Strongly suggest your dad tweets this link if he mentions us,” WikiLeaks continued, directing Donald Trump Jr. to a link, ‘wlsearch.tk’ for his father to use in order to encourage his followers to start ‘digging through the content’. “There’s many great stories there the press are missing, and we’re sure some of your followers will find it. Btw we just released the Podesta emails Part 4.” Donald Trump Jr. did not respond.
October 10, 2016 - At a campaign rally in Barre Pa., GOP candidate Donald Trump praises WikiLeaks for publishing Hillary Clinton’s hacked emails. “I love WikiLeaks,” Trump says, prompting a long chant of “lock her up,” from his audience. “It’s amazing how nothing is secret today when you talk about the Internet.” Trump then begins to read some of the leaked information from the podium.
October 7, 2016 - The U.S. intelligence community says the Russian government conspired to interfere with the election, and it is the first time the Obama administration overtly blames Vladimir Putin and his regime for the leaks. Additionally, The Access Hollywood tape is released, in which Trump brags to host Billy Bush, “When you’re a star … you can do anything to women.” Within hours of the tape’s release, Wikileaks began publicly releasing the emails of John Podesta, Chairman of the Hillary Clinton 2016 presidential campaign.
October 3, 2016 WikiLeaks messages Donald Trump Jr. on Twitter, attaching a quote from candidate Hillary Clinton calling to “just drone” WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange. “Hiya, it’d be great if you guys could comment on/push this story,” says the WikiLeaks account at 1:25 p.m.
At 3:01 p.m., Donald Trump Jr. messages back, “Already did that earlier today. It’s amazing what she can get away with.” At 3:03 p.m., Trump Jr. writes, “What’s behind this Wednesday leak I keep reading about?” WikiLeaks does not respond.
September 21, 2016 - Donald Trump Jr. responds to WikiLeak’s direct message on Twitter that was sent the day before. “Off the record I don’t know who that is but I’ll ask around. Thanks.”
September 20, 2016 - Donald Trump Jr. is contacted by WikiLeaks via direct message on Twitter. The message reads, "A PAC run anti-Trump site ‘putintrump.org’ is about to launch. The PAC is a recycled pro-Iraq war PAC. We have guessed the password. It is ‘putintrump’. See ‘About’ for who is behind it. Any comments?
August 21, 2016 - Informal Trump Adviser Roger Stone Tweets: “Trust me, it will soon the Podesta's time in the barrel. #CrookedHillary.”
July 27, 2016- At a press conference at Mar-a-Lago, Trump urges Russia to find Hillary Clinton’s missing emails. “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.” At that same press conference, Trump says that he has never met Putin, and doesn’t know who he is. “I never met Putin,” Trump said. “I don’t know who Putin is. He said one nice thing about me. He said I'm a genius. I said thank you very much to the newspaper and that was the end of it. I never met Putin.”
Trump also denounces the claim that Russia was behind the DNC hack, calling it “a total deflection,” despite expert reports that claim otherwise.
July 18, 2016 - At the Republican National Convention, the party platform is changed to weaken the language in reference to Russia’s intervention in Ukraine. Specific calls to provide arms to Ukrainian forces are eliminated, “after Trump surrogates intervened,” according to the L.A. Times. Campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, later denied on Meet the Press that the campaign had any role in the platform change. Asked if he knew what changes were made, Trump also replied, “They softened it, I heard. But I was not involved.”’
During this time frame, there are also meetings between Trump campaign officials and Russians. In July, amidst of the Republican National Convention, Session attends a Heritage Foundation event that is attended by roughly 50 ambassadors, one being Ambassador of Russia to the United States, Sergey Kislyak. According to a Justice Department official, Sessions was approached by Kisliak. At least two more members of Trump’s campaign national security officials, J.D. Gordon and Carter Page, also spoke with Kislyak, although it is unknown what was discussed. Attendees of the events in Cleveland later said it is not unusual for campaign teams to speak with diplomats.
July 7, 2016 - Then campaign-advisor, Paul Manafort, offers private briefings on the status of the 2016 presidential election to Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, an oligarch who is in Putin’s inner circle. In an email sent that day, Manafort wrote to one of his employees "If he [Deripaska] needs private briefings we can accommodate." Manafort business ties to Deripaska dates back to 2007.
June 9, 2016 - Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort meet with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and Russian lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin at Trump Tower. The gathering is orchestrated by music publicist Rob Goldston and Russian pop star Emin Agalarov, after telling Donald Trump Jr. that Veselnitskaya had "information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father." It later emerges that Akhmetshin is a former Russian Counterintelligence Officer. Despite Trump Jr.’s initial claims that the meeting did not discuss matters related to the election and instead a terminated Russian adoption program, it was later reported that the young Trump responded to Rob Goldstone’s inquiries about incriminating Clinton information with, "If it's what you say I love it especially later in the summer."
April 27, 2016 - Donald Trump delivers a campaign address at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. that focuses on foreign policy. The speech is attended by campaign adviser Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) who later becomes Trump’s Attorney General. At the event, Sessions meets with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, a meeting that he neglects to mention during his confirmation process.
March 31, 2016 - Papadopoulos attends a “foreign policy meeting,” with candidate Trump and members of the campaign, where he tells those in attendance that he has connections that could lead to a meeting with Vladimir Putin, according to the criminal information that has been filed.
March 14, 2016 - In a trip to Italy, Papadopoulos meets with an anonymous professor based in London, who claims to have significant connections to Russian officials.
February 15, 2016 - Trump says that he’d be a better negotiator with Putin than his primary rivals at a news conference. “You want to make a good deal for the country, you want to deal with Russia – and there’s nothing wrong with not fighting everybody, having Russia where we have a good relationship as opposed to all the stupidity that’s taken place.”
June 16, 2015 - Donald Trump announces his candidacy for the President of the United States.
April 12, 2015 - Hillary Clinton announces her candidacy for the President of the United States.
December 2015 - Michael Flynn travels to Moscow to attend a gala for Russia’s state-backed TV network, RT.
November 13, 2015 - Trump walks back his stablemate comments about Putin, clarifying on Twitter that they did not interact in the green room, and had separate interviews.
October 11, 2015- Donald Trump says he and Putin bonded on the same episode of "60 Minutes."
"I think the biggest thing we have is that we were on '60 Minutes' together and we had fantastic ratings. One of your best-rated shows in a long time," Trump said. "So that was good, right? So we were stablemates." Trump says he and Putin "are very different," but that they would "get along very well."