Monday, November 13, 2017

On Julian Assange's Twisted Embrace Of Vladimir Putin & Betrayal Of WikiLeaks

When you cut through everything that Julian Assange has said about himself and others have said about him -- and there are gigabytes of it -- the only thing that matters is whether Assange has betrayed the admirable founding principles of WikiLeaks by climbing into bed with Vladimir Putin.  The answer is that he not only has, but his betrayal of those principles is so twisted and selfish that this deeply arrogant man, who loves being the center of attention, played a starring role in fixing the 2016 presidential election and the consequent disaster of the Donald Trump presidency. 
Assange sought asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in 2012 to avoid being extradited to Sweden on since-dropped rape and sexual molestation charges (he's a misogynist if not an outright woman hater, you know) and the larger fear that Sweden would then send him to the U.S. and charge him with espionage because of his role in publishing troves of secret American military and government documents.
In the few recent interviews Assange has given, most notably for Raffi Khatchadourian in The New Yorkerhis trademark cockiness evaporates when asked about the by-now well documented ties between WikiLeaks and hackers working for the Kremlin, which he furiously denies.  
This despite the beyond obvious coordination between the public boasts of Assange and a Trump confidante in close contact with him at pivotal moments during the presidential campaign and releases of tens of thousands of emails ostensibly damaging to Hillary Clinton by WikiLeaks from Russian hackers, notably Guccifer 2.0, an online persona used by two Russian intelligence agencies, and the DCLeaks website that the agencies ran and hackers and trolls repeatedly linked back to in unleashing fake news and anti-Clinton hashtags at the probable prompting of the Trump campaign's digital team.   
In particular, these fusillades targeted voters in three nominally blue swing states where the digital team found unexpected weakness in voter support for Clinton.  Trump eked out victories in those states in winning the Electoral College while losing the popular vote.  
(Never mind that the emails were rather tame and far from being the stuff of exposés. They did the trick.) 
"I love WikiLeaks," Trump exultantly declared as Clinton licked her wounds and argued correctly that WikiLeaks had played a key role in keeping her from the Oval Office. 
"It's a very sad story for us personally," says Andre Soldatov, who along with fellow Russian journalist Irina Borogan run, a security watchdog website.  "We believed back in 2010 in the mission of WikiLeaks, thus transparency and holding power in check are important words for us.   
"The most important thing we found out that in the spring and summer of 2016 [when Russian election meddling was ramping up and the WikiLeaks-Russia syncronicity became apparent], WikiLeaks suddenly compromised the very principles Assange proclaimed. . . . For us it's a story of betrayal, both principles and people." 
Assange is back in the news after meeting on August 16 with Representative Dana Rohrabacher of California, a Russia sycophant and all-around kook who buys into Assange's assertion that Russia did not meddle in the election, which of course puts he and Assange in some pretty fast company.  As in Trump himself.   
Rohrabacher, in a call to White House chief of staff John Kelly last week, proposed that a pardon deal be made for Assange in return for the WikiLeaks founder providing digital evidence that he says would clear Russia of the election meddling allegations.  No word on what Kelly's response was, but it's safe to say the proposal was dead on arrival.  And as big a genius Assange may believe himself to be, proving a negative in this instance would be quite a feat.  
There is a contemporaneous parallel for Assange's betrayal of the founding principles of WikiLeaks. 
Myanmar head of state Daw Aung San Suu Kyi won the Nobel Peace Prize for her decades-long campaign against that country's military junta, but has become the embodiment of evil herself as she persecutes the Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic minority, who are fleeing the country by the tens of thousands in the face of missile attacks on their burning villages that she undoubtedly ordered or, at the very least, could stop but will not. 
While goings-on in the country formerly known as Burma is an abstraction for most Americans, the fact that the Oval Office is occupied by a profoundly unqualified narcissist who has turned the national mood from cautious optimism to dread in a few months most definitely is not. 
I am among the millions of people who once hailed Assange.  He founded WikiLeaks in 2006 and began taking on the world's most powerful institutions, a crusade that fueled democratic uprisings, brought forth human-rights cases and laid bare the hypocrisies of America as superpower as revealed in the trove of classified military records from Iraq and Afghanistan and State Department diplomatic cables provided Assange by a young Army private by the name of Chelsea Manning. 
But somewhere along the way Assange wandered into a moral wilderness.   The WikiLeaks grail was to hold institutions accountable, but it is now WikiLeaks itself that is unaccountable. 
In the five years he has been holed up at the Ecuadorian embassy his methodology and his motivations have changed.  Some of the more recent WikiLeaks disclosures have caused genuine harm with no discernible benefit other than feeding Assange's immense ego.  These have included revealing the identities of teenage rape victims in Saudi Arabia, dissidents in China and anti-government activists in Syria.  
Assange has not been coy about his hatred for Clinton and affection for Putin, and that begins to explain how WikiLeaks feasted on Democratic emails hacked by Russians in Putin's pay in what became a coordinated propaganda effort.    
When Assange was briefly jailed in England in 2010 because of British government concern that he would flee the country to avoid extradition to Sweden, Putin cast him as a symbol of Western hypocrisy.  "Why have they hidden Mr. Assange in prison?  That's what -- democracy," the Russian leader asked.   
Two years later, Assange agreed to do a talk show on RT, a Kremlin-sponsored news and propaganda outlet.  While the show folded after 12 episodes, he continued to appear on RT to promote his interests, including America bashing.  RT's U.S. affiliate, RT America, actively promoted some of the fake news stories that helped undermine Clinton's campaign.    
Assange's hate Clinton-love Putin thing also informs his passionate denials about collaborating with Putin's hackers.  By design, the WikiLeaks site nominally prevents him from knowing where submissions come from so the identities of sources can be kept secret.  So how then can Assange know that Russians were not the source of the the emails?  Then there is the question of how he got them in the first place. 
Whatever one thinks of Assange's election disclosures," writes The New Yorker's 
Khatchadourian, "Accepting his contention that they shared no ties with the two Russian fronts [Guccifer 2.0] requires willful blindness." 
Assange, once asked what he would do if he learned that intelligence agencies were using WikiLeaks as a "laundry" for information warfare, replied: "If it's true information, we don't care where it comes from.  Let people fight with the truth, and when the bodies are cleared there will be bullets of truth everywhere." 

Click HERE for a comprehensive timeline of the Russia scandal. 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Maximum Bob Prepares To Lower A Very Big Boom On Those Unbelievable Flynns

A suspension of belief, as well as a vivid imagination, is sometimes required when grappling with the Russia scandal and its cast of characters.  This is not because press accounts are not to be believed.  They have been quite accurate.  It is because some of the things that these characters have said and done are so unbelievable, and no more so than with Michael Flynn and his son. 
Michael Flynn Jr. is a chip off the old block.  Like his father, he is a hair-on-fire Islamaphobe, a promoter of the most outlandish conspiracy theories, and of the belief that the laws and norms that you and I are obligated to follow do not apply to them.  This makes father and son perfect stooges for Donald Trump, as well as why Special Prosecutor Robert "Maximum Bob" Mueller is in the process of lowering a very big boom on them. 
Father and son have qualified for a smorgasbord of potential charges from Mueller's grand jury, ranging from money laundering to illegal lobbying work, while the number of perjury counts against pere Flynn could number in the double digits.  And this doesn't not even include his role as a go between for the Trump campaign and Russians in the service of Vladimir Putin and the greater glory of Mother Russia.   
But the caper that is getting so much attention these days falls unequivocally into the realm of the unbelievable:  
Shortly after Trump had named Flynn his national security adviser (against the advice of intelligence officials who correctly believed that he had been compromised by Moscow and was subject to blackmail), he and his son cut a deal with the government of Turkish strongman Recep Tayyip Erdoğan some three months in the making.  They would kidnap Erdoğan's arch enemy, Fethullah Gülen, a dissident Turkish cleric living legally in the Pennsylvania Poconos, and spirit him off in a private jet to a Turkish prison island for upwards of a cool $15 million.  The plot would have been carried out after Flynn Sr. was installed in the White House. 
It doesn't matter that the deal fell through for reasons that aren't clear.   
The point, should anyone need reminding, is that a retired three-star general -- a man who would shortly assume one of the most sensitive posts in government -- had no problem selling his influence, as well as his soul, in the service of doing dirty work for a foreign government.  Like I said, just another Trump stooge.   
And there was a sidelight: 
In addition to the kidnap plot, Flynn and Turkish reps discussed how to free Reza Zarrab, a Turkish-Iranian gold trader who is moldering in a federal lockup after being busted by the Obama (remember him?) administration for masterminding a huge operation to help the Iranian government evade economic sanctions put in place to discourage it from building nuclear weapons.  Flynn joins esteemed company in trying to spring Zarrab: Rudy Giuliani and Michael Mukasey.  (Remember them?)
The Turkish government already had paid Flynn $530,000 while he was working for the Trump campaign to do opposition research on Gülen, while Flynn not coincidentally told outgoing national security adviser Susan Rice during the presidential transition to not move forward with an Obama administration plan to arm Syrian Kurds in the fight against ISIS.  This is because Turkey, which has fought Kurdish separatists for years, opposed the plan, and that and the promise of a big payday is all a reprobate like Flynn needed to know. 
The Flynns are a classic case of hardheads meeting hardball, and the winners of this mismatch are not in doubt. 
An indictment of Flynn --  that is, if he doesn't crack first and agree to cooperate to save fils Flynn's ass -- would lead to the Oval Office because of Trump's repeated efforts ostensibly to protect pere Flynn from then-FBI Director James Comey's nascent Russia scandal investigation.  And the reality that the president was not trying to shield his short-lived national security adviser, but himself.   
Comey, of course, got sacked when he didn't get the message, which led to Mueller's appointment in one of the more delicious twists in presidential history. 
Flynn has an enormous incentive to protect his son, so the chances of him cooperating -- and the footsteps Trump has been hearing growing louder still -- seem pretty darned good. 
Speaking of unbelievable, Trump's incuriousness, gullibility and flirtation with treason continues to boggle the mind. 
After an informal meeting with Putin at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference in Vietnam over the weekend, Trump rekindled his bromance with the Russian leader, afterwards declaring himself convinced that Putin's denials of election interference are believable.  Not leaving it at that, he said the entire scandal is "an artificial Democratic hit job" and called Comey a "liar" and "leaker." 
For good measure, he yet again dissed the U.S. intelligence officials who concluded the interference was all too real, calling them "political hacks" before a torrent of stateside criticism rained down on his peculiar hair and the inevitable walk back commenced.   

Click HERE for a comprehensive timeline on the Russia scandal. 

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Veterans Day 2017

I think now, looking back, we did not fight the enemy; we fought ourselves. The enemy was in us. The war is over for me now, but it will always be there, the rest of my days. As I'm sure Elias will be, fighting with Barnes for what Rhah called "possession of my soul." There are times since, I've felt like a child, born of those two fathers. But be that as it may, those of us who did make it have an obligation to build again. To teach others what we know, and to try with what's left of our lives to find a goodness and a meaning to this life.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Why One Little Meeting Has Taken On Such Big Importance In The Russia Scandal

It was an odd group that assembled on that unseasonably cool late spring afternoon around a table in a conference room on an upper floor of a glass and marble skyscraper on New York's Fifth Avenue.  On one side of the table were three Russians. On the other side were Donald Trump's eldest son, son-in-law and the man who was about to become manager and chief strategist of the billionaire's improbable campaign to become president.   
With one of the three members of the Trump campaign brain trust who attended the June 9, 2016 sitdown at Trump Tower already under indictment and the other two likely to be, the meeting has taken on an outsized importance to Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller's investigation.   
This is because the events surrounding the meeting -- both before and after -- suggest that Trump not only encouraged members of his campaign team to collude with Russians working for Vladimir Putin to interfere in the forthcoming election, but expected the meeting to pay dividends for his long-shot bid for the presidency because it would provide new ammunition with which to assail the chief target of his incendiary stump speeches -- Hillary Clinton. 
Prior to the meeting, there already had been several attempts by Russians to find entry points into the Trump campaign, an effort that accelerated after he clinched the Republican nomination on May 26, 2016 amidst a flurry of media reports that his campaign had no agenda, was disorganized and several key positions had been left unfilled.   
Then Gonzalo Curiel, the federal judge overseeing the Trump University case, unsealed court documents detailing explosive fraud allegations, triggering an outburst from Trump that Curiel was biased by his "Mexican heritage" despite being born in Indiana. 
After railing against Curiel for several days, Trump returned to a familiar theme on June 2 in a speech in San Diego five days before the California primary, hammering Clinton over emails deleted from her personal server while she was secretary of state. 
"By the way, Hillary Clinton is missing 30,000 emails," he said.  "They've been deleted.  30,000.  30,000."  
When eldest son Donald Trump Jr. scrolled through his email in-box the next day, there was a message from Rob Goldstone, a publicist whose musician clients included Emin Agaralov, the son of a Russian oligarch and former Trump Sr. business partner who was close to Putin.  Goldstone did not equivocate in the June 3 message: 
The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras this morning, and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.  This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump -- helped along by Aras and Emin. 
Donald Jr. responded not by refusing the offer or alerting the FBI, but by replying with the now infamous words, "If it's what you say I love it." 
It is likely that Trump Sr. was informed of the enticing news and approved of the meeting.   But had his son not already briefed him, Trump almost certainly would have known after he reportedly spoke by phone with Emin Agalarov on June 6.  In any event, on June 7 he tweeted the promise of "big news" on Clinton's "crimes" in a forthcoming "major speech." 
Trump amplified on the promise that night after winning the California and New Jersey primaries. 
"I'm going to give a major speech on probably Monday of next week," he declared in a victory speech in Briarcliff Manor, New York.  "And we're going to be discussing all of the things that have taken place with the Clintons.  I think you're going to find it very informative and very, very interesting.  I wonder if the press will want to attend.  Who knows?"
Meanwhile, Donald Jr. had invited two other important campaign players to the meeting -- Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort. 
Kushner, the husband of his kid sister Ivanka, was in some ways a mirror image of Trump Sr.  He had a reputation for shady and occasionally disastrous business practices as a real estate developer and was a manipulator, blame shifter and liar for whom everything was about money. 
Several days after the meeting, Kushner was named head of the campaign's digital team and in all likelihood was responsible for helping Russian hackers identify voters to target with cyber onslaughts of fake anti-Clinton news in the Kremlin's successful effort to sabotage her campaign.  He also was to pop up with uncanny regularity at many of the meetings with the very Russians being investigated by Mueller. 
Manafort was a longtime associate of Trump who was sometimes referred to as his consigliere.   He had made his nut through financial wheeling and dealing with shadowy Russian figures abroad and corporate shell games and money laundering at home, and 11 days after the meeting was promoted to run the campaign, a job that gave him control over day-to-day operations.   
It seemed to be an unusual choice since Manafort had no experience running a national political campaign, but what he did have was connections.   He had lobbied on behalf of a rogue's gallery of corrupt foreign leaders and had developed an image-enhancement campaign for Putin puppet Viktor Yanukovych, who served as Ukrainian president from 2010-2014 before fleeing to Moscow after being deposed in a popular uprising.
The meeting commenced at 4 p.m. and lasted 20 to 30 minutes.  Trump himself had attended a Trump Victory Fund fundraising lunch at the Four Seasons before returning to his Trump Tower penthouse, where he remained for the rest of the afternoon.
The three Russians on the other side of the table were lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin, Ike Kaveladze, an official in Agalarov's real estate company, and lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who has continually lied about who she is, who she was representing, and the real reason for her being at the meeting.   
When news of the meeting was first reported by The New York Times on July 8, 2017, Veselnitskaya described herself as a private attorney who wanted Trump to roll back the Magnitsky Act if he became president.   
The act, passed by Congress in 2012, was named for Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer and auditor who uncovered a $230 million web of corruption and fraud involving law enforcement, tax officials and the Russian mafia.  He died in a Moscow prison in 2009 where he had been held without trial after allegedly being beaten and tortured by government officials. 
The Magnitsky Act, which was aggressively supported by Clinton, prohibited the Russian officials believed to be responsible for Magnitsky's death from entering the U.S. or using its banking system, and preceded by 15 months the first of three rounds of increasingly broad Obama administration sanctions on Russia in response to its takeover of Crimea.   The Magnitsky Act so outraged Putin that he retaliated by banning the adoption of Russian children by Americans. 
Contacted by The Times, Donald Jr. also stated that the meeting was about adoptions, but that explanation lasted barely 24 hours. 
On July 9, The Times reported that Donald Jr. had agreed to the meeting on the premise that damaging information on Clinton would be provided.  Donald Jr. confirmed that, but asserted the information was not useful and was merely a pretext to discuss adoption. 
On July 10, The Times published the pre-meeting email exchange between Goldstone and Donald Jr.   
On July 11, Donald Jr. posted on Twitter screenshots of all the emails between he and Goldstone with an accompanying statement saying he believed the meeting would be about "Political Opposition Research."  "To put this in context," he stated, "this occurred before the current Russian fever was in vogue." 
On July 12, President Trump, returning from a G20 meeting in Germany aboard Air Force One, told reporters, "Don is -- as many of you know Don -- he's a good boy.  He's a good kid.  And he had a meeting, nothing happened at the meeting. . . . [which] I only heard about two or three days ago" but nothing came of it. 
On July 31, The Washington Post reported Trump had overruled his aides to personally direct that misleading statements be issued regarding the meeting.  
Trump never gave his "major speech" on Clinton, and it is easy to understand why.  The "dirt" Veselnitskaya brought to the meeting was small beer, a convoluted tale in which Clinton played a peripheral role, at best. 
Meanwhile, it turned out Veselnitskaya was not exactly a babe in the woods.  She had an intelligence background, was hard-wired to Putin and had discussed the "dirt" with one of Russia's most powerful officials, prosecutor general Yuri Y. Chaika. 
A memo Veselnitskaya brought to the meeting was nearly identical to one Chaika's office had given a U.S. congressman in April 2016, The Times reported late last month.  It alleged that Ziff Brothers Investments, an American firm, had illegally purchased shares in a Russian company and evaded tens of millions of dollars of Russian taxes, two of the brothers were major donors to Democratic candidates, including Clinton, and by implication the donations were tainted by "stolen" money. 
Veselnitskaya embellished on the story in an interview with a Russian media outlet in Moscow last weekend, saying Trump Jr. had asked for financial documents showing that money that was from the alleged evasion of taxes had gone to Clinton's campaign but she did not have any. 
The Trump campaign officials at the meeting felt let down and even baffled by Veselnitskaya's presentation about the Democratic donors. 
"Some DNC [Democratic National Committee] donors may have done something in Russia and they didn't pay taxes," Donald Jr. was to say later.  "I was like, 'What does this have to do with anything?' " 
That, of course, misses the point. 
The Trumps, anxious if not desperate to climb into bed with the Russians, were duped. Donald Jr, took their bait and shared it with his father, who with his trademark impetuosity and the knowledge that his attacks on Clinton were working at a time when little else in his campaign was, went public and promised major revelations. 
Donald Jr., Kushner and Manafort have all testified behind closed doors to congressional investigators about the meeting.  Manafort has been indicted by Mueller's grand jury for conspiring against the U.S. by money laundering and tax and foreign lobbying violations.  Donald Jr. and Kushner also are in the special prosecutor's crosshairs. 
So was the Trump Tower sitdown an attempt by Russian intelligence to gauge how willing the campaign was to accept assistance from Moscow?  You bet it was.   
But the larger questions are whether a future Trump administration would ease off on U.S. sanctions in return for real evidence on Clinton and the reason, when confronted with questions about the meeting, both father and son lied despite describing it as innocuous and uneventful.
Which is why it has taken on such importance to Robert Mueller. 

Click HERE for a comprehensive timeline of the Russia scandal.  

Sunday, November 05, 2017

In Maximum Bob's World, Never Is Heard A Truthful Word, But The Fishing Is Great

Maximum Bob Mueller has a secret, and it must bring a smile to his poker face in private moments: Being special prosecutor is pretty much like shooting fish in a barrel. 
This is because the bottom-feeding friends, campaign associates and family members who swim in Donald Trump's swamp are easy pickings.  They are reprobates for whom laws are to be broken, no lie is too outrageous and the bottom feeders who emerged from the wreckage of the Soviet Union are matches made in shyster heaven for them.   
Trump has accomplished damned little, but he has breathed new life into the concept of irony.   
Trump may have finally realized that he is unable to manipulate what the Justice Department and FBI do, although not without having tried, as did Richard Nixon en route to impeachment.  In fact, Nixon's efforts to do what Trump has attempted were the fifth specification in the Articles of Impeachment that led to his resignation. 
Building on that irony, Trump tweeted at length prior to embarking on his saber-rattling tour of the Far East about the criminal justice system being "a joke" and "a laughingstock" in berating officials for not obeying him and investigating his political opponents. 
Well, Mr. Trump, the system does work, just like it eventually did with Tricky Dick, and Maximum Bob is here to show you just how effective it can be.   
Trump might recall in his more lucid moments that Maximum Bob is on the scene because he tried to twist that system to his own ends by leaning on FBI Director James Comey to knock off his investigation into Russian election interference and his campaign's collusion with Moscow and, when he didn't get the message, he sacked him. 
Many criminal cases hang by a thread, but the perps swimming in Trump's swamp have, for the most part, proven track records as thoroughly bad actors.  Or are rubes who were in way over their heads.  You can put George Popadopoulos and Donald Trump Jr. in the latter category. 
Maximum Bob's opening fusillade of indictments -- and the appearance of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates at the federal courthouse in Washington and Papadopoulos's surprise guilty plea -- took his investigation from the theoretical to the concrete.  It undermined in one fell swoop Trump's contention that the entire scandal is a "hoax" and showed that the special prosecutor is keenly interested in the inner workings of the Trump campaign, as well as business contacts between Russians and Trump, his associates and family members. 
"The release of both sets of charges on the same day was a shrewd strategic move by Mueller," says Randall Eliason, a law prof and expert in white-collar crime.  "Manafort, who apparently has refused to cooperate, ends up indicted and potentially facing a decade or more in prison.  Papadopoulos, who chose to cooperate and plead guilty, faces a single, relatively minor felony charge and may avoid jail altogether.  The message to future witnesses is clear: be like George, not like Paul."
Intriguingly, Papadolpoulos is referred to as a "proactive cooperator" in his plea agreement, which may mean he wore a wire and recorded phone calls for Mueller.
Maximum Bob is carrying out his investigation in stages.   Not as if he was taking on an organized crime organization, as some pundits have noted, but because he is doing just that as he drills into the extraordinary number of Russian political and business connections to Trump's campaign.   
And recall that we still don't know Trump's own direct financial ties because he won't disclose his tax returns, although I suspect that Maximum Bob does because he has been working with the IRS's Criminal Investigation division.   
Expect a slew of additional indictments before the dust settles.   
They almost certainly will include the president's eldest son and son-in-law in addition to Carter Page, Roger Stone and Felix Sater, among other perps thrashing around in Maximum Bob's barrel. Then there is short-lived national security adviser Michael Flynn, who may already be cooperating with the special counsel, possibly to try to spare prosecution of his son, Michael Jr.  There also is an outside chance that two Trump Cabinet officials could come under the hammer -- Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.
Trump built his fortune on lies, and those lies could undo him.  But there's a problem, and it's a yuge one. 
All those indictments present and future are part of a criminal process, specifically for the violations of federal law that Maximum Bob and his legal sharpshooters have identified, including the money laundering, failure to report foreign bank accounts and acting as unregistered foreign agents that tripped up Manafort and Gates, and lying to the FBI, which brought down Papadopoulos.
Impeachment is a political process, and while Maximum Bob can and almost certainly will inform Congress that Trump has committed impeachable offenses, including obstruction of justice and trying to use the Justice Department and FBI to go after his enemies, Congress as it is currently constituted is unlikely to do anything. 
Nevertheless, have the fruits of Maximum Bob's labors increased the chances of the Trump presidency collapsing into the swamp?
"It's like hitting a boulder with a hammer 1,000 times and it doesn't break," said John Sipher, highly regarded national security analyst and former CIA spy.  "Then you hit it the 1,001st time and it smashes to pieces.  It's hard to predict." 

Click HERE for a comprehensive timeline of the Russia scandal. 

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Keep Your Eye On The Ball: The Russia Scandal Was An Assault On Democracy

As the White House Spin Machine works overtime in concert with the Right Wing Noise Machine to try to divert attention from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's shock-and-awe indictments, it is time to remember yet again that the Russia scandal is not about partisan politics.  It is about an assault on American democracy. 
Even the most benign spin -- that the indictments are not proof of collusion, merely bad judgement -- ignores the obvious.  That is, for decades Donald Trump and his associates eagerly cut deals with bottom feeders who emerged from the wreckage of the Soviet Union.  They could have turned down overtures to conspire with Vladimir Putin in his repeated cyberattacks on the Hillary Clinton campaign.  They could have done the patriotic thing and gone to the FBI, but of course did not, because they always had taken the low road and the potential reward in this instance was not millions or billions of dollars, but the biggest payoff of all -- a Trump presidency. 
I continue to believe that Trump still doesn't really understand what has hit him.  For him, the collusion at the heart of Mueller's investigation was just another crooked business deal that happened to be exposed.  And while Trump can't blithely declare bankruptcy and walk away from his creditors, as he so often has done, he can play to the MAGA crowd by portraying himself as a victim, Mueller as a partisan stooge and Clinton as the real villain.  
This exculpatory hogwash would be amusing were the underlying actions not so insidious and, yes, treasonous.   
My ever-growing timeline of the scandal reveals no fewer than 15 meetings and other contacts from late 2015 through Election Day, the presidential transition and beyond involving Trump, family members and campaign associates with Russians hot wired into Putin's plot that add up to a willingness to collude -- and sometimes an eagerness to do so, witness Donald Trump Jr.'s infamous "If it's what you say I love it" response to one of the offers of Kremlin dirt on Clinton. 
Nothingburger, indeed.  
Conspicuous in his absence from the barrage of filings from Mueller that included Paul Manafort and Rick Gates and revealed that George Papadopoulos had copped a plea was Michael Flynn. 
Trump went out of his way to protect and defend his short-lived national security director and architect of his America First policy.  Trump repeatedly asked then-FBI Director James Comey to go easy on Flynn after Flynn's multiple transgressions -- repeatedly failing to disclose payments for back-channel work for Russian-linked entities and other foreign interests and repeatedly failing to register as a representative of some of those groups -- were disclosed.   
Flynn, in his capacity as a campaign adviser,  also traveled to Moscow, met with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. and was identified by Russians as a way to influence Trump in U.S. intelligence intercepts.  Then this week it was revealed that Flynn followed Russian troll factory Twitter accounts and pushed their messages in the month before the election. 
Trump's uncharacteristic compassion for Flynn unquestionably stems from his concern that he knows an awful lot about campaign collusion and would be a threat if he talked to Mueller and his team. 
Or perhaps he already has.  
Sam Clovis and Robert Mercer are the latest people to learn the hard way that if you fall into Trump's orbit, you will be burned by the experience. 
Clovis, a professor of business management, Iowa conservative talk-radio host and Tea Partier whom Trump had nominated to be the Department of Agriculture's chief scientist despite being utterly unqualified for the post, withdrew his name from consideration 48 hours after Mueller's indictment barrage after campaign foreign policy adviser Papadopoulos revealed that as Trump's national co-chairman, Clovis encouraged him to pursue relationships with Russians who had dirt on Clinton. 
Clovis already has had one chat with Mueller's grand jury and an encore performance seems likely.  Woe be it to him if he lied the first time around, because a federal pen would be a whole lot less fun than even Sioux City.
Mercer is a less sympathetic figure than Clovis, if that's possible. 
The billionaire backer of conservative causes and patron of Stephen Bannon is being forced to step down as co-chief executive of Renaissance Technologies, a giant hedge fund, because of a growing backlash among the fund's customers over Mercer's embrace of polarizing political figures, including nationalists and white separatists. 
Among the clients throwing in the towel is the retirement fund for Baltimore's police and firefighters, which has asked that all of the $33 million it invested in Renaissance be refunded.
Then there's this: Mercer is a major financial backer of Cambridge Analytica, a voter data mining firm that has worked closely with the Trump campaign.  Perhaps too closely, as in coordinating its work with Russian election interference efforts, something that Mueller is no doubt looking into and may have hastened Mercer's decision to spend more time with his family. 
Impeachment has been the Holy Grail of liberals since the full extent of the Trump campaign's collusion with Russia became evident. 
Mueller's initial salvo of indictments with the probability of many more to come has yet again quickened the pulses of writers for liberal rags like Vanity Fair, where reporter Gabriel Sherman quotes former Trump campaign aide Sam Numberg as saying "Trump is at 33 percent in Gallup.  You can't go any lower.  He's fucked." 
In The Independent UK, reporter Lucy Pasha-Robinson says Trump is turning on son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kusher for giving him lousy advice on hiring Flynn and firing Comey "as the prospect of impeachment becomes a real possibility."  
And so on and so forth. 
Democratic Party leaders and especially Democratic candidates running in competitive districts in the 2018 election are trying to tamp down impeachment talk as premature even though an online petition to impeach Trump has more than a million signatures.
They know that wishful thinking isn't going to move the Republican-controlled House, where an impeachment vote would be taken, or the Senate, where a trial would be held, no matter how tight the noose around Trump's neck becomes, and can only hope the Democratic Party can retake the House (a log shot) and Senate (an even longer shot).

Click HERE for a comprehensive timeline of the Russia scandal. 

A Comprehensive Timeline Of The Russia Scandal, 1980~2017

The Russian plot to elect Donald Trump by interfering in the 2016 presidential election through sabotaging Hillary Clinton's campaign was an unprecedented assault from America's greatest foe on the bedrock of its democracy.  It is the most explosive scandal since Soviet spies stole atomic bomb secrets over 70 years ago, and may well be considered the crime of the century. 
Although the scandal did not come into public view until the latter stages of the 2016 campaign, its roots date back to 1980 when the first two members of Trump's inner circle who are linked to the scandal got together and the late 1990s and 2000s when Russian leader Vladimir Putin consolidated his power, saw the Internet as a way to further his ambition to return Russia to the Cold War glory of the Soviet Union when it was a global power and first lashed out against Clinton. 
As early as 2007, Trump was making clear his affection for Putin.  By 2015, U.S. intelligence agencies had become aware of some of the tentacles of Putin's plot to interfere in the election, as well as an increasing number of contacts by Trump's inner circle with Russians who had ties to Putin and the Kremlin's intelligence services. 
This timeline is a work in progress.  I have avoided conspiracy theories, of which there are many, and have only used sources considered to be reputable.  They are listed below.   
1980: Roger Stone, future Trump confidante and dirty trickster, founds a lobbying practice with future Trump presidential campaign manager Paul Manafort.  Trump is one of the firm's first clients.
1982: Soviet KGB chairman Yuri Andropov instructs his intelligence officers to use so-called active measures to discredit adversaries and influence public opinion in a covert effort to prevent the reelection of Ronald Reagan.  Two years later, Reagan wins in a landslide. 
1984: Russian émigré David Bogatin, a former Soviet Army pilot, pays $6 million for five luxury condos in Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in New York City.  Bogatin is not wealthy and is a front for Russian mobsters investing in high-end U.S. real estate to launder money from their criminal enterprises. Trump personally attends Bogatin's closing. 
May 14, 1984: Trump opens the first of three casino-hotels in Atlantic City.
March 11, 1987: Bogatin pleads guilty in federal court to taking part in a massive gasoline bootlegging scheme with Russian mobsters.  The government seizes his five Trump Tower condos. 
May 4, 1987: An Australian police board issues a confidential report stating that an application by Trump to build a casino in Sydney should be denied because of his American Mafia connections.  A financial review also finds that Trump is undercapitalized and his proposal is not financially viable.  
July 1987: Trump and his wife Ivana visit Moscow and St. Petersburg as all-expense paid guests of Intourist.  They sightsee and inspect potential sites for a Trump Tower in Moscow.   
December 9, 1987: Trump meets and talks with Mikhail Gorbachev at a White House state dinner hosted by President and Mrs. Reagan.  Trump and the Soviet leader are said to have discussed hotel projects. 
1988: Stone urges Trump to run for president.  He declines.
1988: Trump invites reputed Russian mobster Robert LiButti to join him for a WrestleMania match in Atlantic City, New Jersey.  He later denies having ever met LiButti. 
1991: LiButti is banned from New Jersey casinos because of ties to Mafia boss John Gotti, then chief of the Gambino crime syndicate.  Trump is fined $650,000 for his dealings with LiButti, who gambled huge sums at the Trump Plaza hotel casino.
November 6, 1991: Soviet President Boris Yeltsin disbands the KGB, the main state security agency.  He creates the FSK and several other agencies to replace it, ostensibly to diminish the powers of the security police and protect new democratic freedoms.   
December 25, 1991: The Soviet Union falls.  Yeltsin orders  a dramatic shift from a centralized state-owned economy to a market economy, enabling cash-rich mobsters and corrupt government officials to privatize and loot state-held assets.
Early 1992: Russian mob boss and enforcer Vyachelsav Kirillovich Ivankov is sprung from a Siberian gulag after a judge is bribed.  He travels to New York where he partners with Felix Komarov, an art dealer and resident of Trump Plaza on Third Avenue, to build the New York branch of the Russian mafia from an extortion racket into a multibillion-dollar criminal enterprise. 
April 12, 1995: Yeltsin creates the FSB, which succeeds the FSK as the main Russian security agency relating to internal affairs.  Its powers are later expanded to include intelligence operations abroad.  
June 12, 1995: A New Jersey Division of Gambling Enforcement analysis of casino owner Trump's financial stability concludes that all of his significant sources of cash flow "appear to be one-time occurrences" and that his financial problems are likely to grow because of his debts and his major potential income streams were heavily leveraged. 
1996: Manafort advises the Bob Dole presidential campaign.     
January 29, 1997: Ivankov is sentenced to nine years in prison for extortion in federal court in Brooklyn. 
March 26, 1997: Yeltsin names Putin, who had been a KGB officer from 1975 to 1991, to be deputy chief of his presidential staff.  
July 25, 1998: Yeltsin appoints Putin to head the FSB. 
August 17, 1998: Russia defaults on $40 billion in debt, which accelerates the exodus of money, including many tens of millions of dollars that flow into Trump's luxury developments and Atlantic City casinos, which are used as pass-throughs for laundering illicit riches.  
October 15, 1998: Ground is broken for 72-story Trump World Tower, then the tallest residential building in the city, on First Avenue in Manhattan.  A third of the units on the tower's priciest floors are bought by either individual buyers from the former Soviet Union or limited liability companies connected to Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.  Kellyanne Conway, a future Trump campaign manager, also purchases a unit. 
November 20, 1998: Russian Duma (parliament) deputy and pro-democracy advocate Galina Starovoitova is shot to death in the hallway of here St. Petersburg apartment building in the first of several political assassinations tied to Putin and his associates following Putin's FSB appointment. 
August 9, 1999: Yeltsin, his presidency under seige because of impending impeachment proceedings led by the Communists, appoints Putin prime minister. 
Late summer~early fall of 1999: A wave of apartment bombing across Russia kill hundreds and injure thousands, providing an opportunity for Putin to position himself as a strong and aggressive leader capable of dealing with terrorist threats.  The attacks were blamed on Chechen separatists, but there is considerable evidence that the FSB was behind them.
December 31, 1999: Yeltsin resigns. Putin becomes acting president.
2000: Stone serves as chairman of Trump's presidential exploratory advisory committee.  Trump decides not to run. 
March 26, 2000: Putin is elected president, receiving 53.4 percent of the vote in a three-way race. 
July 16, 2000: Reporter Igor Dominkov, who had written of malfeasance and bribery in the Putin regime, dies of injuries suffered in a May 12, 2000 beating in the entryway of his Moscow apartment building.  
2002: Russian émigré Felix H. Stater, a felon and future fixer for Trump, and his Bayrock Group begin working with Trump on a series of U.S. real estate development deals, one of which becomes the Trump SoHo luxury hotel-apartments, and on projects in Russia, Ukraine and Poland.
2002: Sotheby's International Realty teams with a Russia realty firm to pitch condos in several Trump buildings in New York to Russians at several presentations in Moscow. 
May 24, 2002: President George W. Bush, heralding an historic thaw in U.S.-Russian relations in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and Russia's offensive against Chechen separatists, declares a partnership in the war on terror when he meets with Putin in Moscow.   
August 1, 2002: Pro-democracy Duma deputy Vladimir Golovlev is shot dead on a street near his Moscow home while walking his dog. 
July 3, 2003: Russian investigative reporter Yuri Shchekochikhin, a critic of Putin's reprisals in Chechnya, dies from an apparent poisoning. 
October 23, 2003: Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the CEO of oil giant Yukos, is arrested and charged with fraud and tax evasion.  It is widely believed Putin ordered the arrest because he saw Khodorkovsky as a threat to his rule. 
2004: Ivankov is extradited to Russia to face murder charges. 
January 8, 2004: The first episode of The Apprentice airs.  The television show stars and is co-produced by Trump. 
May 20, 2004: Eduard Nektalov, a diamond dealer from Uzbekistan who owned a condo on a top floor of Trump World Tower and was being investigated for money laundering, is shot dead on Sixth Avenue after rumors circulate that he is cooperating with federal authorities.
July 9, 2004: Paul Klebnikov, an American journalist and chief editor of the Russian edition of Forbes magazine, is assassinated in Moscow in a blow to investigative journalism in Russia.  Three Chechens accused of taking part in the murder are acquitted. 
Early September 2004: Russian journalist and human rights activist Anna Politkovskaya, a leading critic of Putin for atrocities in Chechnya, is poisoned on a flight from Chechnya to Moscow.  She survives. 
June 2005: Manafort proposes to aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, a friend of Putin's, that he undertake a consulting assignment to influence politics, business deals and news coverage in the U.S. and Europe to benefit Putin's government. 
2006: Trump learns that lawyer Michael Cohen and his extended family are buying up numerous units in his properties.  He recruits Cohen for the Trump Organization because of his expertise as a conduit for money from countries of the former Soviet Union, and Cohen later becomes his personal lawyer.  
February 2006: Two of Trump's children, Donald Jr. and Ivanka, travel to Moscow where they are shown around by Felix Sater, a Russian-born Trump business associate with a criminal background. 
July 2006: Putin signs a law expanding the FSB's mission to include killing suspected terrorists on foreign soil.  The definition of terrorism is so vaguely worded that anyone who opposes the Putin regime can be considered a terrorist. 
September 14, 2006: Andrei Koslov, who as a leading executive of the Russian Central Bank had revoked the licenses of several banks complicitous in money laundering for oligarchs and mobsters, dies from gunshot wounds suffered the night before. 
October 7, 2006: Politkovskaya is murdered in an elevator in her central Moscow apartment block. 
October 16, 2006: An attempt in London to poison Alexander Litvinenko on orders of a Putin lieutenant fails.  The former FSB officer specialized in tracking Russian organized crime and had become a  Putin foe.
November 23, 2006: Litvinenko dies in London as a result of a second poisoning attempt.  MI6 officer Christopher Steele heads the spy agency's investigation. 
November 24, 2006: Egor Gaidar, a pro-democracy advocate and former associate of Starovoitova, is poisoned while attending a conference in Ireland.  He falls into a coma, but later recovers.     
January 2007: Future Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner buys 666 Fifth Avenue in New York City at the height of a real estate boom for $1.8 billion, at the time the most expensive building ever sold in the U.S.  It becomes the flagship property of his family's real estate business, but soon plummets in value. 
March 2, 2007: Ivan Safronov, a journalist who had written of critically of the Russian military, dies in a fall from the fifth floor of his Moscow apartment in what is suspected to be a murder made to look like a suicide.  
October 15, 2007: Trump, speaking publicly of Putin for the first of many times, tells Larry King on CNN that Putin "is doing a great job . . . he's doing a great job in rebuilding the image of Russia and also rebuilding Russia period." 
November 2007: Manafort's consulting firm receives a $455,000 wire transfer from billionaire industrialist and Ukraine Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych's political party for a public-relations campaign to improve Putin-backed Yanukovych's image in the West.
December 19, 2007: Two days after a New York Times story on Sater's criminal background, Trump claims in a legal deposition that he interacted very little with Sater. 
2008: An estimated one third of the six Trump-branded condo skyscrapers in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida, which is nicknamed "Little Moscow," are owned by Russian speakers.  
2008: Donald Jr. tells a real estate conference in New York, "Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets. . . . We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia." 
2008: Manafort partners on an $850 million deal with Deripaska and Ukrainian billionaire mobster Dmitry Firtash, both Putin allies, to buy the Drake Hotel in Manhattan and convert it to luxury condos, possibly as a way to launder illegal funds.  The deal later falls through. 
May 7, 2008: Dmitry Medvedev becomes Russian president because Putin is constitutionally barred from serving more than two consecutive terms.   
July 2008: Trump sells a Florida residence to Russian potash magnate Dmitry Rybolov for $95 million, believed to be the biggest single-family home sale in U.S. history.  The oligarch never lives in the house, which is later demolished.
November 8, 2008: Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer and auditor who uncovered a $230 million web of corruption and fraud involving law enforcement, tax officials and the Russian mafia is arrested by the same police whom he alleged were involved in the scheme.
2009: Rinat Akhmetshin, a Russian immigrant who is to attend the June 9, 2016 meeting with Donald Jr., becomes an American citizen. Intelligence officials begin monitoring his activities because of his associations with Russian spies.
2009: Obscured by offshore shell companies, Putin's government begins investing hundreds of millions of dollars in Facebook and Twitter.
January 23, 2009: Human rights lawyer and Putin critic Stanislav Markelov, is gunned down on a street near the Kremlin. 
July 6, 2009: President Obama visits Russia and promises a "reset" in relations.   
July 15, 2009: Human rights activist and Putin critic Natalya Estemirova is abducted from her apartment in Grozny, capital of Chechnya.  Shot in the head and chest, her body is discovered 50 miles away in neighboring Ingushetia.   
July 28, 2009: Ivankov is shot by a sniper in Moscow.  He dies of his wounds 73 days later.  Hundreds of gangsters representing criminal syndicates attend his funeral. 
October 14, 2009: Manafort's firm receives a $750,000 wire transfer from Yanukovych's political party for the image-enhancement campaign. 
November 16, 2009: Magnitsky dies in a Moscow prison, where he had been held without trial for 11 months, after allegedly being beaten and tortured by Ministry of the Interior officers. 
2010: A Putin-controlled bank finances the financially troubled Trump International Hotel and Tower in Toronto.    
January 2010: Sater becomes Trump's "senior adviser." 
February 2010: Yanukovych is elected Ukraine president. 
April 9, 2010: Trump SoHo opens. 
June 25, 2010: Secretary of State Clinton urges Russia to bring to justice the officials responsible for Magnitsky's death. 
August 3, 2010: Trump and the promoters of Trump SoHo are sued by buyers who accuse them of fraudulently touting outsized sales figures to encourage them to buy units. 
December 30, 2010: Khodorkovsky is sentenced to 14 years in prison.
March 2011: Trump reportedly pays $1 million to build a Trump Tower in Batumi on the Black Sea in the Republic of Georgia.  The deal involves unorthodox financing through the Silk Road Group, a trading and transport company that has deals with companies in Russia and Iran and involves Kazakh oligarch Timur Kulibayev and his family, who have a direct link to Putin and are accused of stealing billions of dollars of Kazakh money and laundering it through Trump SoHo and other Trump-branded condos.  The Batumi tower is never built. 
December 4, 2011: Putin's United Russia party wins a majority in parliamentary elections amidst nationwide protests that he blames on Hillary Clinton. 
2012: Trump again considers running for president with Stone as an advisor.
March 4, 2012: Putin is reelected president, winning 63 percent of the vote over three other candidates, amidst further protests.   
May 7, 2012: Putin is sworn in as president.
May 16, 2012: Donald Jr. and Ivanka Trump are on the verge of being indicted by the Manhattan DA's Office for misleading prospective Trump SoHo condo buyers when longtime Trump lawyer Marc Kasowitz, an attorney hired by Trump and major contributor to DA Cyrus Vance Jr.'s reelection campaign, visits Vance.  Vance later overrules his prosecutors and the case is dropped.   
June 19, 2012: Obama meets Putin for the first time at a gathering of Group of 20 leaders in Mexico.  Trump tweets, "Putin has no respect for our president -- really bad body language."
November 10, 2012: Alexander Perepilichny, a Russian businessman and whistleblower who had left Russia in 2009, is found dead under mysterious circumstances near London.  He is alleged to have been killed as part of a conspiracy to cover up the theft of $230 million from the Russian Treasury by senior Putin officials. 
December 14, 2012: Obama signs the Magnitsky Act, a law punishing Russian officials believed to be responsible for the death of Sergei Magnitsky by prohibiting them from entering the U.S. or using its banking system.
December 19, 2012: In retaliation for the Magnitsky Act, Russia bans the adoption of Russian children by Americans.
March 23, 2013: Boris Berezovsky, a Russian oligarch and Putin critic who was given political asylum in Britain in 2003, is found dead by a bodyguard in his Berkshire home, an apparent murder victim.  Putin had repeatedly tried to have him extradited.
April 2013: Viktor Krapunov, a former Kazakh energy minister and mayor of Almaty who has had business dealings with Bayrock, creates three limited liability companies which buy three condos in Trump SoHo. Prosecutors allege the companies are used by Krapunov for his money-laundering network. 
April 8, 2013: Three Russians whom the FBI later accuses of spying on the U.S. discuss recruiting businessman and future Trump campaign aide Carter Page, who has many Russian contacts, to spy for Moscow, according to intelligence intercepts.
April 15, 2013: Two homemade bombs explode near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring several hundred.  Kyrgyz-American brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev are identified as the perpetrators.  The FBI asserts that the brothers were motivated by radical Islamic beliefs, but there is evidence that they may have been carrying out instructions from the FSB in an effort to take the heat off of Putin, who was being criticized about terror attacks in the Northern Caucasus. 
April 16, 2013: Federal agents raid several Trump Tower condos as part of a dragnet of 29 members of a global sports betting ring overseen by Russian mob boss Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, who had been indicted for conspiring to fix the ice-skating competition at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. The entire 51st floor of Trump Tower was used by the ring. 
July 8, 2013: Trump terminates a BBC interview when asked about Sater's mob ties.
September 6, 2013: Trump tweets that "I am not angry at Russia (or China) because their leaders are far smarter than ours.  We need real leadership, and fast, before it is too late."
September 10, 2013: New York U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara files a civil forfeiture action against Prevzon Holdings and other Russian companies with government ties allegedly involved in the corruption-fraud scheme uncovered by Magnitsky. 
October 13, 2013: On The Late Show, David Letterman asks Trump if he had any dealings with Russians.  Trump answers, "Well, I've done a lot of business with Russians." 
Early November 2013: Trump hosts the Miss Universe pageant, then part of the Trump Organization, in Moscow in return for a $20 million licensing fee from the Crocus Group.  It's president is Aras Agalarov, an Azerbaijani-Russian billionaire and close ally of Putin.  The Crocus vice president is Agaralov's pop singer son, Emin.  Among Trump's celebrity guests is Tokhtakhounov, who is a U.S. fugitive because of gambling ring charges. 
November 5, 2013: Trump denies knowing Sater in a lawsuit-related deposition. 
November 11, 2013: Trump tweets Aras Agalarov that "I had a great weekend with you and your family.  You have done a fantastic job. Trump Tower-Moscow is next.  Emin was wow!" 
November 20, 2013: Emin Agaralov releases a music video starring Trump reprising his Apprentice television role. 
Late November 2013: Trump, in an interview with a real estate trade paper about his trip to Russia, brags that "Almost all of the oligarchs were in the room" at a Miss Universe pageant after-party in a Moscow nightclub. 
December 2013: Putin sends Agaralov's daughter, Sheyla, to deliver a personal note and gift that Trump later describes as "a present, a beautiful present" to him at Trump Tower as a token of apology for their having been unable to meet when Trump was in Moscow for the beauty pageant.
2014: Plans by Trump and the Agalarovs to build a Trump Tower in Moscow collapse because of new Obama administration-imposed sanctions on Russia. 
Early February 2014: Kushner and wife Ivanka Trump visit Russia where they attend a party with the wife of Roman Abramovich, a Russian oligarch and steel company owner with close ties to Putin.    
February 22, 2014: Yanukovych flees Ukraine amidst a popular uprising.  A handwritten ledger left behind purports to show $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments to Manafort's firm from the deposed president's political party.
March 17, 2014: The U.S., EU and Canada impose the first round of sanctions on Russia a few hours before Putin signs a decree recognizing Crimea as an independent state, laying the groundwork for its annexation to Russia.  The sanctions contribute to the collapse of the Russian ruble. 
April 2014: Putin declares at a media forum that the CIA created the Internet to undermine the Russian government.  
April 28, 2014: The U.S. imposes a second round of Russia sanctions.  They include a ban on business transactions by seven Russian officials close to Yeltsin and 17 Russian companies.
July 17, 2014: The U.S. imposes a third round of Russia sanctions as a result of mounting pro-Russian unrest in Ukraine.  The business ban is extended to include two major Russian energy firms and two banks. 
March 21, 2014: Trump tweets that "Putin has become a big hero in Russia with an all time high popularity.  Obama, on the other hand, has fallen to his lowest ever numbers.  Sad."  
April 17, 2014: Trump tweets that Obama is a weakling compared to Putin. "America is at a great disadvantage.  Putin is ex-KGB.  Obama is a community organizer.  Unfair." 
November 23, 2014~March 3, 2015: Trump sends nine tweets to two now deleted Russian Twitter accounts about planning to run for president.
2015: The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court approves a warrant for the FBI to wiretap Manafort.
2015: Israeli government hackers see hacking tools in the computers of Kaspersky Lab, a global anti-virus firm, that could only have come from the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA).  A subsequent NSA investigation finds the tools were in the possession of the Russian government. 
February 16, 2015: The last episode of The Apprentice starring Trump airs.
February 27, 2015: Boris Nemtsov, the leading anti-Putin democracy advocate, is fatally shot four times in the back as he walks on a bridge near the Kremlin.    
March 2015: Clinton's use of a private email server while secretary of state is made public.  She states she has turned over work-related emails to the government but that 30,000 or so personal emails on the server were deleted.
March 6, 2015: The Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City is fined $10 million -- the highest fine ever levied by the federal government against a casino -- after admitting to having willfully violated anti-money laundering regulations for years.  Ivankov is identified as one of the Russian mobsters who routinely laundered large sums of money there prior to his 2009 assassination. 
March 18, 2015: Trump launches an exploratory committee for a presidential run.
May 2015: Ukrainians complain to Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg that Russian trolls are blocking anti-Russian Ukrainian accounts.  Facebook takes no action.    
Summer of 2015: Future Trump campaign adviser Michael Flynn makes several trips to the Middle East as an adviser on a project to pursue a joint U.S.-Russia-Saudi business venture to develop nuclear facilities in Saudi Arabia.
Summer of 2015: Facebook begins inadvertently selling about $100,000 in election-related ads to a shadowy Russian "troll farm" with a history of pushing pro-Kremlin propaganda, while hackers create false Facebook and Twitter accounts in their effort to discredit Clinton.  
June 16, 2015: Trump announces that he is running for the Republican presidential nomination. 
June 18, 2015: Trump boasts in an interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News of his many Russian relationships, including Putin. 
June 29, 2015: Trump boasts of his closeness with Russians in a speech to the Club of Chicago.
July 2015: The GRU, Russia's largest foreign intelligence agency, gains access to Democratic National Committee (DNC) computer servers.  Some 130 party workers, Clinton campaign staffers and party supporters eventually are targeted.  
Late summer of 2015: Flynn agrees to advise the Trump campaign.
September 2015: FBI Special Agent Adrian Hawkins calls the DNC to warn that its computer network had been hacked by "the Dukes," a cyber espionage team linked to the GRU.  A DNC tech-support contractor does not take the call seriously. 
September 2015: The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative website funded by anti-Trump donor Paul Singer, hires Fusion GPS, a Washington, D.C. strategic intelligence firm, to compile an opposition research dossier on Trump as the Republican presidential primary campaign heats up. 
September 21, 2015: Trump boasts on the Hugh Hewitt radio show that he was "with [Russian] oligarchs and generals."  
October 11, 2015: Speaking on Face the Nation, Trump brags about sharing air time with Putin on 60 Minutes although they were on separate continents. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Trump says there isn't enough proof to blame Russian separatists for shooting down a Malaysian Airlines flight over Ukraine the previous year. 
October 28, 2015: Trump and Sater pursue a new plan to build a massive Trump Tower hotel-spa in Moscow.  Trump is to be paid a $4 million fee and no upfront costs, a percentage of sales and an opportunity to name the project for daughter Ivanka.  Sater boasts that as part of the deal, he can get Trump elected with Russian help.  Cohen negotiates the deal at the same time he is a campaign spokesman and Trump is repeatedly stating he has nothing to do with Russia.
Late 2015: Cohen receives a second proposal for a Trump-branded Moscow project, this one from Sergei Gordeev, a billionaire real estate mogul and former Russian legislator.  Cohen declines the proposal because of the Sater hotel-spa project.   
November 5, 2015: Mikhail Lesin, a former top Putin media adviser, is found dead in his Washington hotel room.  A federal prosecutor concludes he died because of a series of drunken falls, while federal law enforcement sources tell BuzzFeed News he was murdered on the eve of a meeting with Justice Department officials. 
November 10, 2015: Trump states during a Republican presidential debate that "I got to know [Putin] very well."   
Late 2015: Britain's GCHQ, which is equivalent to the U.S.'s NSA, first becomes aware of suspicious interactions between individuals connected to Trump and Russian agents.  This intelligence is passed on to the U.S. as part of a routine exchange of information. 
December 10-12, 2015: Flynn is paid $45,000 by RT, Putin's state propaganda network, for a three-day Moscow trip in which he gives a speech criticizing Obama's Russia policy and sits at Putin's table at a banquet.  Jill Stein, the 2016 Green Party presidential candidate, also is seated at the table. 
December 17, 2015: Putin praises Trump and Trump quickly returns the favor, saying "It's always a great honor to be so nicely complimented by a man so highly respected in his own country and beyond." 
December 18, 2015: Trump tells MSNBC News that he has never seen proof of Putin killing journalists.  "He's running a country, and at least he's a leader, unlike what we have in this country.  I think our country does plenty of killing also." 
December 20, 2015: Trump tweets that "If Putin respects me and Putin wants to call me brilliant and other things that he said that were frankly very nice, I'll accept that, and I'll accept it on behalf of the country." 
December 22, 2015: The U.S. further toughens Russia sanctions to include 34 more individuals and legal entities because of Russian military aggression in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine.  
Mid-January 2016: With the Trump Tower Moscow deal foundering, Cohen emails Dmitry Peskov, Putin's top press aide, for his help.  The deal soon collapses.  
Early 2016: Kushner and his felon father, Charles, give up on a two-year effort to obtain a half-billion dollar business bailout from Qatar to refinance a troubled property on New York's Fifth Avenue.  
February 11, 2016: Flynn meets with investigators in a routine meeting to discuss his application to renew his security clearance. When asked about his Moscow trip, he reportedly says, "I didn't take any money from Russia, if that's what you're asking me." 
February 29, 2016: In a five-page proposal to Trump about his expertise in obtaining nominating convention delegates, Manafort boasts of how he has assisted political leaders, including Russian oligarchs and dictators.  
March 2016: The Institute for Strategic Studies, a Moscow-based government think tank controlled by Putin, develops a plan to swing the election to Trump and undermine voters' faith in the American electoral system. 
March 2016: The first wave of fake news stories targeting Clinton voters in swing states is detected.  The source is believed to be Eastern European hackers supervised by the Russian government. 
Early March 2016: George Papadopoulos, who is living in London, learns that he has been recruited for Trump's campaign foreign policy team. 
March 19, 2016: John Podesta, chairman of Clinton's presidential campaign, is emailed a link asking that he change his password, which is believed to be the way that Russia-associated hackers later gained access to his email account. 
March 21, 2016: Trump introduces his campaign foreign policy team to the press.  It includes Page and Papadopoulos. 
March 24, 2016: Papadopoulos meets in London with Joseph Mifsud, a professor with Kremlin ties.  The professor introduces him to the Russian ambassador and a woman he describes as Putin's niece, later identified to be Olga Vinogradova.  Papadopoulos subsequently emails then-campaign chairman Corey Lewandowski and Sam Clovis, Trump's national campaign co-chairman, among other campaign officials, about how Putin wants to meet with the Trump team.  Clovis praises him for "great work" but tells him not to commit to a meeting.
March 29, 2016: On the recommendation of Stone, Manafort is hired by the Trump campaign to line up convention delegates.
March 31, 2016: Trump is present at a meeting with campaign foreign policy advisers where Papadopoulos says he has connections with Russian to arrange a meeting between Trump and Putin.  Trump expresses interest in the idea.
Spring of 2016: Page is hired by the Trump campaign as a quick fix for its lack of foreign policy expertise. 
Spring of 2016: The Trump Tower Moscow deal falls through. 
April 2016: U.S. intelligence intercepts the first communications among Russians who discuss aggressively trying to influence the presidential election by sabotaging Clinton.
April 2016: Manafort joins the Trump campaign as an adviser. 
April 2016: Manafort meets in New York with Konstantine Kilimnik, a Ukrainian businessman who has strong ties to Russian intelligence and Deripaska. 
April 2016: The Clinton campaign and DNC hire Fusion GPS to do Trump opposition research. 
April 2016: Russia gives 10-year extensions to the first of six unused Trump trademarks.  The other five are later also given extensions. 
April 3, 2016: The so-called Panama Papers are leaked.  They reveal a money trail allegedly showing a network of secret offshore deals and vast loans worth $2 billion leading to Putin and his associates.
April 18, 2016: Mifsud introduces Papadolpoulos by email to an unidentified individual with connections to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  They have multiple conversations of Skype about a possible meeting between campaign officials and Russians.
April 26, 2016: Papadopoulos has breakfast in London with the professor, who says he has just returned from meetings in Moscow with Russian officials who claim to have "dirt" on Clinton and "thousands" of her emails.
April 27, 2016: Kushner, accompanied by Flynn, meets with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C.  Trump and sessions also are present.  
Late April 2016: The DNC's IT department notices suspicious computer activity and hires private security firm CrowdStrike to investigate. 
May 2016: CrowdStrike determines that highly sophisticated Russian intelligence-affiliated adversaries named Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear are responsible for the DNC hack.     
May 2016: The Washington Free Beacon ends its contract Fusion GPS as it becomes likely that Trump will be the Republican nominee.  Fusion subsequently hires Orbis Business Intelligence, a British intelligence firm co-founded by now-former MI6 officer Steele, to assist it in investigating Russia-Trump connections on behalf of the Clinton campaign and DNC.
May 21, 2016: Papadopoulos tells a high-ranking campaign official, possibly Lewandowski, that "Russia has been eager to meet Mr. Trump for quite some time and have been reaching out to me to discuss."  
June 2016: The primaries over, Russian-Macedonian hackers posing as Americans begin a fake news campaign to energize disappointed Bernie Sanders supporters by targeting them with fake news stories stating that, among other things, Hillary Clinton murdered former Bill Clinton aide Vince Foster. 
June 2016: Kushner takes over all Trump campaign digital efforts, hires Cambridge Analytica and builds a secret 100-person operation in San Antonio.  The data mining firm collects and uses social media information to influence voters, and possibly did so in coordination with Russian interference efforts.  The firm is bankrolled by major Trump donor Robert Mercer, a hedge fund billionaire who is a leading investor in Breitbart News. 
June 2016: Rick Dearborn, chief of staff for Trump campaign adviser Jeff 
Sessions, sends an email to top campaign officials advising them that an unidentified individual wants to connect them with Putin. 
June 2016: The GRU ends its 11-month-long access of DNC computer servers.  
Early June 2016: The CIA concludes in an internal report that Russia is actively engaged in interfering in the presidential election, including the goal of getting Trump elected by sabotaging the Clinton campaign. 
Early June 2016: Cambridge Analytica contacts WikiLeaks in the hopes of obtaining Clinton-related emails about the time it begins working with the Trump campaign.
June 2, 2016: Clinton gives her first major speech on national security in San Diego and repeatedly calls into question Trump's affection for Putin and his "bizarre fascination with dictators and strongmen who have no love for America." 
June 3, 2016: Publicist Rob Goldstone, representing Emin Agaralov, emails Donald Jr. that he had met with "his father Aras this morning and . . . [he] offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary . . . and would be very useful to your father."   Donald Jr. replies "if it's what you say I love it."
June 6, 2016: Trump reportedly speaks by phone with Emin Agalarov. 
June 7, 2016: Trump promises "big news" on Clinton's "crimes" in a forthcoming "major speech."  
June 9, 2016: As a result of the email exchange with Goldstone, Donald Jr. arranges a meeting of the Trump campaign brain trust at Trump Tower with Goldstone, Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskata and Russian-American lobbyist Akhmetshin, who both have Russian intelligence agency ties.  It is later revealed that Veselnitskaya was not acting as a private lawyer, as she claimed, and her actions were coordinated at the highest levels of the Kremlin.  Also attending are Kushner, Manafort and Ike Kaveladze, an official in the Agalarov's real estate company.  The dirt on Clinton is believed to be the fact that two of the three billionaire Ziff brothers contributed to her campaign and their investment company is accused of evading tens of millions of dollars of Russian taxes.  The source of the dirt is believed to be Yuri Y. Chaika, Russia's prosecutor general, with whom Veselnitskaya had a close working relationship.  The Russians later claim that the subject of the meeting was lifting a Russian ban on Americans adopting Russian children in retaliation for the Magnitsky Act.
June 12, 2016: WikiLeakers founder Julian Assange states in an interview that his site has a "very big year ahead" and promises the imminent release of emails "related to Hillary Clinton."
June 13, 2016: Trump does not give the promised "major speech" because of a mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub.
June 14, 2016: The Washington Post reports that hackers had gained access to DNC servers in the first public disclosure of the security breach.     
June 15, 2016: A hacker with the online persona Guccifer 2.0 claims credit for the DNC hack and begins posting DNC documents on the Guccifer 2.0 website. 
June 15, 2016: House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy tells fellow Republican leaders that "There's two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump." Dana Rohrabacher is a California Republican.  House Speaker Paul Ryan immediately interjects and swears those present to secrecy. 
June 16, 2016: The FISA Court reportedly turns down an FBI warrant application to wiretap Trump, Manafort, Page and Boris Epshteyn, a Russian-born Republican political strategist who was a senior campaign adviser. 
June 20, 2016: Manafort replaces Lewandowksi as Trump's campaign manager.
June 20, 2016: Steele delivers the first of a series of reports to Fusion GPS based on several confidential sources.  He identifies "Source A" as "a senior Russian Foreign Ministry figure," "Source B" as "a former top level intelligence officer still active in the Kremlin," and "Source E" as "an ethnic Russian" and "close associate of Republican US presidential candidate Donald Trump." 
June 22, 2016: Trump, speaking in New York, excoriates Clinton for her handling of the Benghazi attacks and warns that emails she deleted from her private server could make her vulnerable to "blackmail" from unspecified countries hostile to the U.S. 
June 24, 2016: Trump reportedly meets with representatives of Cambridge Analytica at his golf course in Aberdeen, Scotland.  
June 27, 2016: Trump, replying to a news conference question about his dealing with Russia, says "What do I have to do with Russia?  You know the closest I came to Russia, I bought a house a number of years ago in Palm Beach, Florida . . . for $40 million and I sold it to a Russian for $100 million including brokerage commissions."   
Summer of 2016: U.S. intelligence agencies collect information revealing that senior Russian intelligence and political operatives are discussing how to influence Trump through Flynn and Manafort.
July 2016: Russia escalates a campaign of harassment of American diplomats and intelligence operatives in Russia. 
Early July 2016: Cohen and Sater exchange emails about Cohen attending an economic forum in Russia to be attended by Putin and top government leaders.  Sater suggests he can introduce him to top leaders, possibly including Putin.  Cohen declines because of the forthcoming Republican National Convention.  
July 5, 2016: FBI Director James Comey rebukes Clinton for being "extremely careless," but recommends no criminal charges in connection with her handling of classified information as secretary of state, including emails on a private server, ostensibly lifting a cloud from her presidential campaign. 
July 6, 2016: Another batch of hacked DNC documents appears on the Guccifer 2.0 website. 
July 6~8, 2016: Page visits Moscow, where he gives a speech at a university graduation.  He insists he was traveling as a private person, and denies meeting with Russian government officials.  
July 7, 2016: In an email, Manafort offers to provide briefings on the presidential race to Deripaska, creating a potential opening for Russian interests in the Trump campaign.
July 10, 2016: DNC staffer Seth Rich is shot to death in what Washington, D.C. police describe as an attempted armed robbery.   
July 14, 2016: Another batch of hacked DNC documents appear on the Guccifer 2.0 website. 
July 15, 2016: Trump chooses Pence as his running mate. 
Mid-July 2016: Working behind the scenes, the Trump campaign rewrites the Republican National Convention platform on Ukraine, removing a pledge to provide lethal weapons in its fight with Russia over Crimea and a call for maintaining or increasing sanctions against Russia. 
Mid-July 2016: Kilimnik brags to friends in Kiev that he was involved in the successful effort by the Trump campaign to soften the RNC platform on Russia.   
July 19, 2016: Trump is nominated for president at the convention after he, Flynn and other surrogates declare, in what becomes an oft-repeated campaign theme, that Clinton should be jailed for her use of the private email server. 
July 19, 2016: The debt load on Trump's businesses has almost doubled from $350 million to $630 million over the past year, reports Bloomberg News.
July 22, 2016: WikiLeaks, which is friendly with Putin, begins releasing 44,000 hacked DNC emails.
July 24, 2016: Donald Jr. tells CNN's Jake Tapper that the Clinton campaign's suggestion that Russia was trying to interfere in the election on behalf of his father is "disgusting" and "phony."  
July 25, 2016: Trump suggests that Russians were behind the DNC hack because Putin "likes" him. 
July 27, 2016: Trump calls on Russia to hack 30,000 so-called "missing" Clinton emails. 
July 27, 2016: Manafort denies any relationship with the Russians and says it's "absurd" to suggest Russia was working on behalf of the Trump campaign.  
Late July 2016: The FBI opens an investigation to examine possible links between the Trump campaign and Russia, but its existence is kept secret even from high ranking members of Congress colloquially known as the Gang of Eight, who by law are to be briefed on important intelligence matters. 
Late July 2016: The FBI obtains and then renews a FISA Court warrant allowing it to monitor Page, whom it believes knowingly engaged in clandestine activities on behalf of Russia.   
August 2016: CIA Director John Brennan convenes a secret task force with analysts and officers from the CIA, FBI and NSA to keep the White House and senior government officials informed. 
August 2016: Manafort meets again with Kilimnik. 
August 2016: Trump donor Rebekah Mercer asks Cambridge Analytics if it can better organize hacked Clinton-related emails being released by WikiLeaks.
August 2016: Clovis tells Papadopoulos that he "would encourage" him to meet with Russian officials in Moscow.  The trip does not take place.
Early August 2016: The CIA concludes that unnamed Trump campaign advisers might be working with Russia to interfere in the election by sabotaging the Clinton campaign through a multi-pronged attack personally approved by Putin that includes email hacking, disinformation and false news stories. 
Early August 2016: The CIA informs the White House of Putin's campaign to interfere in the election.  For the next five months, the administration secretly debates dozens of options on how to retaliate, including whether to use CIA-gathered material that would be embarrassing to Putin. 
Early August 2016: Steele begins sharing his memos to Fusion GPS with an FBI agent assigned to the bureau's Eurasian Joint Organized Crime Squad in Rome.  
August 4, 2016: Brennan calls Alexander Bortnikov, director of the FSB, the post-Soviet successor to the KGB, to warn him that election interference will not be tolerated. 
August 6, 2015: The Trump campaign says it has fired Stone.  Stone says he resigned, but he remains a prominent surrogate for Trump.  
August 12, 2016: A batch of hacked Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) documents appear on the Guccifer 2.0 website. 
August 14, 2016: Stone engages in direct messaging with Guccifer 2.0. 
August 15, 2016: Guccifer 2.0 releases hacked DCCC documents on Florida primary elections. 
August 15, 2016: Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson arranges a conference call with dozens of state election officials to enlist their support to shore up voting systems in light of the Russian effort.  He gets no support. 
August 19, 2016: Manafort is forced out as Trump's campaign manager, ostensibly over concerns about his ties with Russian officials. 
August 20, 2016: Suspected Russian propagandists using Facebook organize 17 pro-Trump rallies collectively called "Florida Goes Trump!"  
August 21, 2016: Guccifer 2.0 releases hacked DCCC documents on Pennsylvania congressional primaries.
Late August 2016: Brennan is so concerned about Trump-Russia links that he initiates one-on-one briefings with the Gang of Eight. 
Late August 2016: Stone boasts that he has communicated with Assange, who he says has materials including "deleted" Clinton emails that would be embarrassing to her.      
August 25, 2016: Brennan tells Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, then the highest ranking Democrat, that the FBI and not the CIA would have to take the lead in what is a domestic intelligence matter. 
Late August 2016: Reid writes to Comey without mentioning the Brennan briefing. He expresses great concern over what he calls mounting evidence "of a direct connection between the Russian government and Donald Trump's presidential campaign." 
August 31, 2016: Guccifer 2.0 releases documents hacked from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's personal computer.     
September 2016: Intelligence shows that although Republican sites are also being hacked by Russians, only DNC emails are being publicized by WikiLeaks. 
September 2016: Aaron Nevins, a Republican political operative with ties to Stone, receives Democratic turnout analyses hacked by Guccifer 2.0 and publishes them online under a pseudonym. 
September 1, 2016: Trump, in an interview, denies having a relationship with Putin.
September 5, 2016: Obama, meeting with Putin at a conference of world leaders in Hangzhou, China, tells him that the U.S. knows about Russian election interference and says "[he] better stop or else."  Putin responds by demanding proof and accuses the U.S. of interfering in Russia's internal affairs. 
September 8, 2016: Sessions meets with Kislyak in his Senate office.  They reportedly discuss the campaign. 
September 9, 2016: Trump gives an interview on Russian government funded RT America in which he states that the Russian government is "probably" not interfering in the election. 
September 11, 2016: Kushner and wife Ivanka sit with the wife of Abramovich at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in Flushing, Queens. 
September 15, 2016: Guccifer 2.0 releases hacked DCCC documents from New Hampshire, Illinois, North Carolina and Ohio. 
September 16, 2016: Stone declares on Boston Herald Radio that "I expect Julian Assange and the WikiLeaks people to drop a payload of new documents on Hillary on a weekly basis fairly soon."  He says he is in touch with Assange "through an intermediary." 
September 20, 2016: WikiLeaks initiates a secret on again-off again correspondence with Donald Jr. regarding Clinton e-mails and  campaign-related topics that continues until at least July 2017.  In the initial email, WikiLeaks informs him that "a PAC run anti-Trump site is about to launch [that it has hacked into] . . . Any comments?" 
September 22, 2016: Two other Gang of Eight members -- Dianne Feinstein and Representative Adam B. Schiff, the ranking Senate and House Intelligence Committee Democrats -- release a statement stating that Russian intelligence agencies are "making a serious and concerted effort" to influence the election. 
September 23, 2016: Guccifer 2.0 releases hacked documents from DCCC chairman Ben Ray Lujan.  
September 25, 2016: McConnell writes to state election officials.  He does not mention the Russian connection, but warns of unnamed "malefactors" who might seek to disrupt elections through online intrusions.
September 26, 2017: Page takes a leave of absence from the Trump campaign amid accusation he has ties to Russia. 
Late September 2016: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, at the behind-the-scenes urging of the Obama administration, is asked to warn state election officials of possible attempts to penetrate their computer systems by Russian hackers.  McConnell resists, questioning the veracity of the intelligence. 
Fall of 2016: Trump parrots fake news stories hackers are peddling to voters in key swing state districts.
Fall of 2016: Putin is said to begin a purge of top-level gatekeepers between state cyber agencies and the West in an effort to cover up election interference.  They are jailed or quietly dismissed to keep them from talking. 
October 2016: The FBI enters into a series of conversations with Steele to discuss hiring him to continue his research. 
October 4, 2016: Guccifer 2.0 releases documents hacked from the Clinton Foundation. 
October 7, 2016: The Obama administration publicly accuses the Russia government of hacking into emails from the DNC and other institutions and individuals. 
October 7, 2016: National security adviser Susan Rice summons Kislyak to the White House and gives him a message to relay to Putin about U.S. plans to retaliate for the election interference. 
October 7, 2016: The lewd "Access Hollywood" tape is released. A short time later, WikiLeaks begins to publish Podesta's hacked emails. 
October 11, 2017: Donald Jr. delivers a paid speech in Paris to the Center of Political and Foreign Affairs, a pro-Russian French think tank.
October 15, 2016: The FISA Court reportedly approves an FBI application for warrants allowing it examine emails and related documents in conjunction with Russian banks SVB and Alfa because a private computer server in Trump Tower allegedly communicated with the banks' servers in Moscow and may have been used in conjunction with Russian election hacking. 
Mid-October 2016: Flynn, Donald Jr., Conway and Parscale begin following Russian troll factory Twitter accounts and push their messages through to Election Day.  
October 20, 2016: Trump claims in an interview that he has met Putin.  "Yes, a long time ago.  [We] got along great, by the way."  But then that evening he denies having ever met him during the final presidential debate.  "I don't know Putin.  He has said some nice things about me."
October 22, 2016: Trump tweets about hacked Podesta emails 15 minutes after WikiLeaks asks Donald Jr. to inform his father about the new email release.  WikiLeaks subsequently releases the emails.     
Late October 2016: The Russians launch a cyberattack on at least one U.S. voting software supplier and send spear-phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials.     
October 28, 2016: Comey tells Congress that the FBI is reopening its Clinton investigation because of emails found on a computer belonging to former Congressman Anthony Weiner, whose estranged wife is a top Clinton aide. The Clinton campaign is thrown into crisis only 11 days before the election.
October 30, 2016: Reid writes a letter to Comey angrily accusing him of a "double standard" in renewing the Clinton investigation so close to the election while sitting on "explosive information" on ties between Trump and Russia.  
October 31, 2016: The Obama administration, using a secure channel to Moscow originally created to avert a nuclear war, warns that the election interference is unacceptable.  Russia does not reply until after the election when it denies the accusation. 
October 31, 2016: Mother Jones magazine reports without identifying Steele by name that he had produced a dossier that concluded Moscow had been "cultivating, supporting and assisting" Trump for years and had compromising information on him that could be used as blackmail.  The story is little noticed in the flurry of election news, while its publication prompts the FBI to end its discussions with Steele about continuing his research.
November 6, 2016: Comey announces that after a intensive review of the "new" emails, they were found to be either personal or duplicates of those previously examined, and that the FBI had not changed the conclusions it reached in July in exonerating Clinton. 
November 8, 2016: Sergei Krivov suffers fatal blunt force injuries after calling from the roof of the Russian consulate in New York.  Krivov was widely believed to be a counter spy who coordinated efforts to prevent U.S. eavesdropping.  Russian officials claim he died of a heart attack.
November 8, 2016: Trump defeats Clinton decisively in the Election College but loses the popular vote. 
November 9, 2016: Russia's Parliament erupts in applause when Putin announces Trump's election victory.
November 10, 2016: Obama, meeting with Trump at the White House, expresses profound concerns about Flynn becoming a top national security aide because of problems when he managed the Defense Intelligence Agency, his 2015 trip to Moscow and other Russia ties. 
November 10, 2016: Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov acknowledges the Trump campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election.
November 10 2016:  Spokeswoman Hope Hicks says the Trump campaign had "no contact with Russian officials." 
November 19, 2016: Zuckerberg dismisses as "crazy" the idea that fake news on Facebook played a key role in the election.     
Mid-November 2016: Marshall Billingslea, a former Bush administration national security official, is named to head Trump's national security transition team.  He is deeply concerned about Russian intentions and Trump-Russian contacts.
November 19, 2016: Obama pulls aside Zuckerberg at a conference of world leaders in Lima, Peru and warns him that he needs to take the threat of fake ads seriously.   
Late November 2016: Obama administration officials provide Billingslea with a CIA file on Kislyak because of Billingslea's belief that Flynn is not taking seriously the implications of his contacts with Kislyak. 
Late November 2016: Senator John McCain, attending the annual Halifax International Security Forum in Nova Scotia, is made aware of the Steele dossier by Sir Andrew Wood, a former British ambassador to Russia and former Steele protégé. 
December 1, 2016: Kushner and Flynn meet with Kislyak at Trump Towers. They discuss easing  sanctions while Kushner proposes that a secret communications channel be set up between the Trump transition team and Kremlin using Russian diplomatic facilities in the U.S. to shield their discussions from monitoring. 
Early December 2016: David J. Kramer, a former State Department official with Russia expertise and staffer at the McCain Institute for International Leadership in Washington, D.C., meets Steele in London at McCain's behest and obtains a copy of the dossier, which includes information that there had been discussions between the Trump campaign and Russians about how to pay hackers who penetrated the DNC computer servers and how to cover up the operation.  Manafort, Page and Stone are mentioned by name.
Early December 2016: Sergei Mikhailov and Dmitry Dokuchaev, who are believed to have been involved in election hacking for the FSB, are arrested and subsequently disappear after being charged with passing on information to the CIA about the hacking.  
December 8, 2016: Page visits Moscow to meet with what he calls "business leaders and thought leaders." 
December 9, 2016: Obama orders a comprehensive review of Russian interference in U.S. elections going back to 2008 with the intention of making some of the findings public.  They are not. 
December 9: McCain meets privately with Comey in his FBI office and gives him a copy of the Steele dossier. 
December 12, 2016: Trump tweets "Can you imagine if the election results were the opposite and we tried to play the Russia/CIA card?  It would be called conspiracy theory!" 
December 13, 2016: Kushner, at the request of Kislyak, meets with Sergey Gorkov, a close associate of Putin and chief executive of Vnesheconombank, a development bank with close ties to Russian intelligence services that had been sanctioned by the Obama administration and one of its executives convicted of espionage.  
December 13, 2016: A Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman terms emerging stories about election-related hacking a power struggle between American intelligence agencies.     
December 16, 2016: Obama, in one of his last news briefings, expresses anger that the election "came to be dominated by a bunch of these leaks." 
December 18, 2016: Conway tells CBS News that there was no contact between the Trump campaign and the Russians: "Absolutely not. And I discussed that with the president-elect just last night.  Those conversations never happened."
December 21, 2016: Yves Chandelon, the chief NATO auditor responsible for investigating Russian money laundering, is found in his car in a small Belgian town with a wound to the head in what may have been a murder made to resemble a suicide. 
December 25, 2016: Flynn texts Kislyak. 
December 26, 2016: Oleg Erovinkin, believed to be instrumental in helping Steele to compile his dossier, is found dead in the back seat of his car in Moscow. 
December 29, 2016: After five months of internal debate, Obama announces modest new sanctions against Russia because of its election interference, including expelling 35 diplomats and closing Russian compounds in Maryland and on Long Island.
December 29, 2016: Flynn talks with Kislyak about easing sanctions. 
Early January 2017: The CIA and FBI are said to have "high confidence" that Russia was trying to help Trump through a hacking campaign, while the NSA has only "moderate confidence."  The agencies also believe that Russia gained computer access to election boards in several states.
Early 2017: The FISA Court order allowing investigators to wiretap Manafort is renewed and includes a period when he was known to talk to by then-President Trump.  The order also allowed investigators to search a storage facility belonging to Manafort. 
January 3~5, 2017: In a series of tweets, Trump attacks the integrity of the U.S. intelligence community's findings that Russia interfered in the election. 
January 4, 2017: Flynn tells Trump's transition team that he is under federal investigation for secretly working as a paid lobbyist for Turkey during the campaign. 
January 5, 2017: Obama's national security director releases a report stating that the CIA, FBI and NSA believe that Russia hacked Democratic email accounts and then passed the emails on to WikiLeaks to try to tip the election to Trump because he would be friendlier to their interests. 
January 6, 2017: Comey briefs the president-elect on the contents of the Steele dossier in a meeting at Trump Tower and begins keeping notes on his meetings with Trump. 
January 10, 2017: BuzzFeed News publishes a story stating that the Steele dossier has been circulating among elected officials, intelligence agents and journalists.  Shortly thereafter, Steele goes to ground for two months.
January 10, 2017: Attorney General nominee Sessions states at a Senate confirmation hearing that he never had communications with Russians.
January 10, 2017: Susan Rice, Obama's national security adviser, informs Trump of a military plan to retake the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, Syria with the help of Syrian-Turkish forces.  National security adviser designate Flynn, who has been secretly lobbying for the anti-Kurd Turkish government, tells Rice to hold off approving the mission. 
January 11, 2017: Former Blackwater boss Erik Prince, working as an emissary for Trump, meets secretly with an unidentified man close to Putin in the Seychelles islands in an apparent effort to establish a back-channel line of communication between Moscow and the president-elect. 
January 11, 2017: Trump, in an interview, claims he has a relationship with Putin, saying "He's done a very brilliant job in terms of what he represents and who he is representing." 
January 11, 2017: Trump tweets that "Russia has never tried to use leverage over me.  I have nothing to do with Russia -- no deals, no loans, no nothing."
January 15, 2017: Vice President Pence states on Face the Nation that Flynn, whom Trump has named national security adviser, did not discuss sanctions with Kislyak nor did any Trump associates have contacts with Russians. 
Mid-January 2017: Manfort advises Trump chief of staff Reince Priebus in a phone call on how the handle the burgeoning Russia investigation.  He says that Steele dossier is "garbage" and suggests it was motivated by Democratic activists and donors working with Ukrainian government officials who supported Clinton. 
January 18, 2017: Kushner omits Kislyak meetings on security clearance application. 
January 20, 2017: Trump becomes president.  He insists that the Russia scandal is "fake news" while naming Flynn and other people to key positions in his administration who had contacts with Russians involved in the interfering effort. 
January 22, 2017: Flynn is sworn in as national security adviser.
January 22, 2017: Trump singles out Comey at a White House event, hugs him and declares, "Oh, and there's Jim.  He's become more famous than me." 
January 24, 2017: Flynn is interviewed by the FBI at the White House, possibly about his contacts with Kislyak.  
January 26, 2017: Acting Attorney General Sally Yates tells White House counsel Donald F. McGahn II that misstatements made by Flynn to the Trump administration regarding his meetings with Russians make him vulnerable to blackmail by Moscow. 
January 27, 2017: Yates, responding to a query from McGahn, says that Flynn could be criminally prosecuted. 
January 27, 2017: Trump tells Comey "I need loyalty, I expect loyalty" during a private dinner in the Green Room at the White House.  Comey, according to a memo he made of the meeting, replies that he can pledge "honesty" but not pledge "loyalty." 
January 27, 2017: FBI agents interview Papadopoulos.  He falsely tells them that contracts with Mifsud and other Russians occurred before he joined the campaign. 
January 28, 2017: Trump receives a congratulatory phone call from Putin. 
Late January: Cohen, Sater and Andrii Artemenko, a wealthy oligarch and Ukrainian lawmaker, meet at the Loews Regency Hotel in Manhattan where a "peace plan" for control of Russian-held Crimea is hatched.   
Late January: Cohen delivers the "peace plan" to Flynn at the White House, reports The New York Times.
January 30, 2017: Yates agrees to a request from McGahn to see intelligence data about Flynn.  
January 30, 2017: Trump fires Yates, allegedly over her conclusion that Trump's Muslim ban is unconstitutional. 
February 2017: Federal officials seek the extradition to the U.S. of Firtash, a former Manafort business partner, on racketeering charges. 
February 2, 2017: Trump abruptly cancels a meeting with Alexander Torshin, deputy governor of the Bank of Russia and close Putin ally, after Spanish police identify him as a "godfather" of an organized crime money-laundering scheme. 
February 7, 2017: Trump tweets that "I don't know Putin, have no deals in Russia, and the haters are going crazy -- yet Obama can make a deal with Iran, #1 in terror, no problem!"
February 7, 2017: Alarmed at reports that Trump plans to ease Russia sanctions, two senators introduce bipartisan legislation to bar the administration from granting sanctions relief without congressional review. 
February 13, 2017: Flynn is forced to resign as national security director when it is revealed he misled Pence about his communications with Kislyak. 
February 14, 2017: Trump tells Comey in a private Oval Office meeting that he wants him to drop the FBI's investigation of Flynn. 
February 14, 2017: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says Trump is encouraging him to foster closer ties with Russia to try to resolve a long-standing territorial dispute between the two countries over Russian-held islands off the Hokkaido coast. 
February 15, 2017: Priebus asks Comey and his top deputy, Andrew McCabe, to refute news reports about Trump campaign ties with Russian government officials.  They demur. 
February 15, 2017: Comey confronts AG Sessions and tells him he doesn't want to be left alone again with the president. 
February 16, 2017: Trump, discussing Flynn's ouster at a press conference, denies having any links to Russia.
February 20, 2017: Russian U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, widely believed to be a spy, dies in a New York hospital after suddenly becoming ill.  The U.S. State Department, at the request of Russia, suppresses public disclosure of the cause of death, citing Churkin's posthumous diplomatic immunity. 
February 23, 2017: Trump dodges answer a question about WikiLeaks during an interview, again blames the DNC for getting hacked and erroneously claims CrowdStrike is Ukraine-based.
February 24, 2017: Comey rejects requests from the Trump administration to publicly rebut reports about Trump associates' contacts with Russians.  Trump counters by tweeting that FBI sources are leaking information to the press and demands that stop. 
February 26, 2017: Trump tweets that "Russia talk is fake news put out by the Dems, and played up by the media, in order to mask the big election defeat and the illegal leaks." 
February 26, 2017: Chuck Todd of NBC News notes a pattern in which Trump attacks the press immediately after a new Trump-Russia story breaks. 
February 27, 2017: Trump tells a reporter that "I haven't called Russia in 10 years." 
March 2017: Over the course of five sessions, the FBI questions Page about allegations that he served as a middleman between the Trump campaign and Moscow during the election.
March 2017: Kushner's real estate company ends talks with Anbang, a Chinese insurance company with close ties to the Beijing government, to unload 666 Fifth Avenue.  The deal reportedly collapses because of Kushner's notoriety and the likelihood it would be subject to review by a government committee on foreign investment in the U.S. because some of the financing would be under a government program intended for distressed areas and not tony projects.
March 2, 2017: Alex Oronov, a naturalized U.S. citizen, dies under unexplained circumstances in his native Ukraine.  He reportedly helped set up the late January meeting between Cohen, Sater and Artemenko. 
March 2, 2017: Sessions recuses himself from the Justice Department's investigation into Russia-Trump connections after acknowledging that he failed to disclose his meetings with Kislyak while he was advising the Trump campaign. 
March 4, 2017: Trump, reportedly furious that Session recused himself, tweets that Obama ordered the phones at Trump Tower to be wiretapped.   
March 5, 2017: Comey asks the Justice Department to deny Trump's wiretapping claim.  Justice refuses and Comey's request is leaked to the news media. 
March 5, 2017: Trump reverses his pledge to mandate American steel for the Keystone Pipeline.  A direct beneficiary is Abramovich. 
March 11, 2017: Trump fires Bharara, who was conducting, among others, a Russia-related investigation. 
March 17, 2017: At least 63 wealthy Russians have invested nearly $100 million in Trump luxury high rises in southern Florida, according to Reuters. 
March 20, 2017: Comey in effect calls Trump a liar in publicly acknowledging for the first time in testimony before Congress that the FBI's investigation into Russian election interfering includes Trump associates' contacts with Russians who were working to sabotage Clinton. 
March 20, 2017: In a series of four tweets during and after Comey's testimony, Trump says there is no evidence he "colluded" with Russia, says "The Democrats made up and pushed the Russia story as an excuse for running a terrible campaign," and claims the "real story . . . is the leaking of classified information." 
March 21, 2017: Nikolai Gorokhov, a lawyer for the Magnitsky family and key witness for the U.S. government in a money laundering suit against a Russian holding company, falls or is thrown from the 4th floor of his Moscow apartment.  He is seriously injured but survives.
March 23, 2017: Denis Voronokov is shot to death on a street in Kiev, Ukraine, after being hunted by the FSB.  The former Russian military colonel and Putin insider was preparing to testify about the inner workings of the Putin regime.   
Late March 2017: In the wake of Comey's testimony, Trump makes separate appeals to Daniel Coats, the director of national intelligence, and Admiral Michael S. Rogers, director of the NSA to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of Trump-Russia collusion.  They refuse.  
Late March 2017: Flynn offers to be interviewed by investigators for Senate and House committees examining Trump campaign ties to Russia in exchange for immunity from prosecution.  The offer is later withdrawn. 
March 29, 2017: Trump remains silent about massive anti-Putin demonstrations across Russia.
March 30, 2017: Trump asks Comey in a phone call what could be done to "lift the cloud" over him because the FBI investigation was hurting his ability to govern.  Comey replies that the FBI and Justice were reluctant to make statements about the president's status "because it would create a duty to correct, should that change." 
March 30, 2017: Flynn indicates a willingness to by interviewed by Senate and House investigators, while his lawyer indicates Flynn would do so only if assured of not bring unfairly prosecuted.  
March 31, 2017: Trump applauds Flynn's apparent request for immunity, tweeting "Mike Flynn should ask for immunity in that this is a witch hunt (excuse the big election loss), by media & Dems, of historic proportion!"
April 2017: The Senate and House intelligence committees secure access to top-level intelligence from the FBI, CIA, NSA and other agencies on Trump-Russia ties that in theory will enable them to dig deeper. 
April 2017: Putin, using a back channel with the State Department, proposes full normalization of relations with the U.S., including restoration of diplomatic, intelligence and military channels.  The reset plan becomes bogged down in the subsequent fallout from the toughening of sanctions. 
April 3, 2017: Trump tweets "Was the brother of John Podesta paid big money to get the sanctions on Russia lifted?  Did Hillary know?
April 7, 2017: Spanish authorities arrest Pyotr Levashov at the request of U.S. authorities, who believe he is one of the election interference hackers.  They say he distributed fake news to try to influence voters through sendings billions of spambot messages by infecting tens of thousands of computers. 
April 8, 2017: House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes recuses himself from the panel's investigation after it is revealed that White House security staffers fed him information in an effort to bolster Trump's false claim that Obama had personally ordered that his Trump Tower phones be tapped. 
April 11, 2017: Trump asks Comey in a phone call when he plans to issue a statement that he is not under investigation.  Comey responds that he has passed the request on to his bosses at Justice but had not heard back.   
April 25, 2017: House Oversight Committee members assert that Flynn may have violated federal law by not fully disclosing his business dealings with Russians. 
April 28, 2017: The Senate Intelligence Committee asks four Trump campaign associates -- Flynn, Page, Manafort and Stone -- to hand over emails and other records of their dealings with Russians and says it is prepared to subpoena those who refuse to cooperate.  
Early May 2017: Comey meets with Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein to request a substantial increase in funding and personnel to expand the FBI's investigation in light of information showing possible evidence of Trump-Russia collusion. 
Early May 2017: Stone, who is being investigated for his Russia ties, reportedly lobbies the president to fire Comey. 
Early May 2017: White House lawyers warn Trump that it would be inappropriate for him to reach out to Flynn because he is under investigation. 
May 2, 2017: Trump agrees in a phone conversation with Putin to meet with foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, who will be meeting with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in coming days.  Putin neglects to tell Trump that the Lavrov-Tillerson meeting with be 4,100 miles away in Alaska, while the White House keeps secret the forthcoming visit. 
May 2, 2017: Clinton says Comey's decision to tell Congress of the "new" Clinton emails and WikiLeaks email disclosures helped alter the outcome of the election because people inclined to vote for her "got scared off." 
May 2, 2017: Trump tweets that the scandal is "phony." 
May 2, 2017: Trump criticizes Comey in a tweet, saying "[He] was the best thing to ever happen to Hillary Clinton in that he gave her a free pass for many bad deeds." 
May 3, 2017: Comey tells Congress, "It makes me mildly nauseous to think that we might have had some impact on the election" because of his Clinton case disclosure.  He says the Russia investigation is continuing. 
May 5, 2017: Kushner reportedly urges Trump to take a hard line when he announces support for an Arab boycott of Qatar, which had turned down Kushner and his father for a half-billion dollar bailout. 
May 7, 2017: Trump and aide Stephen Miller finishing drafting a letter firing Comey aboard Air Force One after it returns to Washington.  McGahn convinces the president not to release the because of its angry, meandering tone. 
May 8, 2017: Rosenstein drafts a letter at Trump's request laying out a rationale for firing Comey based on his handling of the Clinton email server investigation. 
May 8, 2017: Yates testifies before a Senate subcommittee about the repeated warnings given Trump and his White House legal counsel about Flynn being a security risk and possibly liable for criminal prosecution because of his Russia ties. 
May 8, 2017: Trump tweets that "The Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax, when will this taxpayer funded charade end?" 
May 9, 2017: Trump hires a Washington law firm to send a letter to Senator Lindsey Graham, who says he intends to look into Trump's extensive business dealings with Russians.  Trump claims again that he has no connections to Russia. 
May 9, 2017: The Senate Intelligence Committee issues a subpoena to Flynn demanding that he turn over records of his interactions with Russians after he refuses to do so.  A federal grand in Alexandria, Virginia issues subpoenas to a number of Flynn's business associates.  
May 9, 2017: Trump summarily fires Comey, asserting that he mishandled the Clinton email investigations.  He uses the Rosenstein letter as a justification. 
May 9, 2017: Rosenstein threatens to resign after the White House portrays him as the mastermind behind the Comey firing. 
May 10, 2017: Trump, meeting with Lavrov and Kislyak at the White House, boasts about highly classified information from an ally about ISIS.  He tells them "I just fired the head of the FBI.  He was crazy, a real nut job. . . . I faced great pressure because of Russia.  That's taken off."  
May 11, 2017: Testifying before Congress, Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe rejects White House assertions that Comey had lost the backing of rank-and-file agents, and says the bureau's Russia investigation will continue.  
May 11, 2017: Trump, in an interview with NBC News's Lester Holt, suggests the real reason he fired Comey was the Russia investigation.
May 12, 2017: Trump issues a veiled threat to Comey to not leak any information that he may have and indicates he may have tapes of their conversations. 
May 12, 2017: The Justice Department abruptly settles a case against Prevezon Holdings, which was accused of laundering dirty money through Manhattan real estate, for a mere $6 million.  One of Prevezon's lawyers is Natalia Veselnitskaya, who met with Donald Jr. and the Trump campaign brain trust in Trump Tower in June 2016.
May 14, 2017: Right-wing Republican opposition researcher Peter W. Smith is found dead in a Rochester, Minnesota hotel room.  Smith had implied in an interview with a Wall Street Journal reporter about 10 days before his apparent suicide that he worked for Flynn, who he says was colluding with Russian hackers trying to obtain the "missing" Clinton emails.  
May 15, 2017: The Washington Post publishes a story on Trump's boast to Lavrov and Kislyak and remarks about Comey.  The White House denies that the president revealed sensitive intelligence. 
May 16, 2017: Trump, in early morning tweets, contradicts his aides and appears to acknowledge that The Post story is accurate, while the White House refuses to release a transcript of the Lavrov and Kislyak meeting. 
May 16, 2017: Fox News publishes, with the help of a wealthy Trump backer, a story stating that Rich stole DNC emails prior to his murder.  The story is an attempt to discredit the U.S. intelligence community's conclusion that Russia hacked the emails, which WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange cryptically suggested may have been linked to the email thefts.  Fox says that Democrats might have been connected to the murder and that a cover-up had thwarted the official investigation. 
May 17, 2017: In a remarkable offer, Putin says he is willing to provide Congress with a transcript of the meeting.  Democrats and Republicans reject the offer. 
May 17, 2017: Rosenstein names Robert Mueller, who preceded Comey as FBI director, as special counsel to oversee its Russia investigation. Trump calls the appointment the "greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history." 
May 18, 2017: FBI and congressional investigators say Flynn and other Trump campaign advisers were in contact with Russians in at least 18 calls and emails during the last seven months of the presidential race, according to Reuters. 
May 18, 2017: Trump yet again calls the Russia investigation a "witch hunt," but for the first time equivocates, saying that "I cannot speak for others." 
May 19, 2017: Rosenstein tells members of Congress that Mueller has been given the authority to investigate the possibility of a cover-up. 
May 19, 2017: Russian officials bragged in conversations during the presidential campaign that they could use Flynn to influence Trump and his team, according to CNN.
May 20, 2017: The House Intelligence Committee asks Michael Caputo to submit to a voluntary interview, reports The New York Times.  Caputo, who worked for the Trump campaign for six months, had extensive dealings with Kremlin officials in the 1990s. 
Late May 2017: Trump berates Sessions in an Oval Office meeting for recusing himself, but subsequently rejects a resignation letter submitted by him.
May 22, 2017: Flynn's lawyers tell the Senate Intelligence Committee that he is invoking the Fifth Amendment rather than comply with a subpoena to produce documents regarding his contacts with Russians.  
May 23, 2017: Brennan tells the House Intelligence Committee that the Trump campaign may have been successfully recruited by Russia and said there is evidence of "troubling" contacts between the campaign and Russian officials.
May 23, 2017: Trump retains Kasowitz in connection with the scandal.  He previously represented Trump in fraud, divorce and numerous other cases, and has clients with extensive Kremlin ties. 
May 23, 2017: Fox News retracts the Rich story.
May 30, 2017: Cohen says he will refuse to cooperate with the Senate and House intelligence committee investigations. 
May 31, 2017: White House press secretary says the administration will stop answering news media queries about Trump's alleged ties to Russia. 
May 31, 2017: Clinton, in an interview at Recode's Code Conference, says she is "leaning" toward believing that Trump's campaign colluded with Russia.
June 1, 2017: Shifting from previous blanket denials of Russian involvement, Putin says "patriotically minded" private Russian hackers could have been involved in cyberattacks to help the Trump campaign. 
Early June 2017: Mueller is said to be expanding his investigation beyond Trump-Russia ties to include the roles of AG Sessions and Deputy AG Rosenstein in firing Comey. 
June 5, 2017: Trump, in a series of tweets, chastises the Justice Department for his problems and again criticizes Sessions for recusing himself.
June 6, 2017: Kushner reportedly urges Trump to take a hard line as he announces support for an Arab boycott of Qatar, which had turned down Kushner and his father for a half-billion dollar bailout loan in early 2016. 
June 7, 2017: Coats and Rogers, testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee, refuse to discuss Trump's efforts to get them to deny the existence of evidence of Trump-Russia collusion. 
June 8, 2017: Comey, in testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee carried lived on national television, calls Trump a liar and untrustworthy, implies the president has obstructed justice and says he leaked notes of his February 14 meeting with Trump to The New York Times with the intention of getting a special counsel named. 
June 9, 2017: Trump says Comey's testimony vindicates him, accuses the former FBI director of lying and offers to give sworn testimony. 
June 11, 2017: Trump calls Comey "cowardly" and vows to find out if he leaked any more sensitive information. 
June 12, 2017: A longtime Trump friend says the president is considering whether to fire Mueller as some of Trump's conservative allies attack the special counsel's credibility. 
June 13, 2017: Kasowitz bragged to friends that he got New York U.S. Attorney Bharara fired after telling Trump "this guy is going to get you," according to Talking Points Memo.
June 13, 2017: Rosenstein says Mueller will have "full independence" and only he can fire him for cause, while Adam Schiff, the ranking House Intelligence Committee Democrat, says Congress would immediately reappoint Mueller. 
June 13, 2017: Sessions testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee, indignantly denies any collusion with Russia but declines to answer key questions about his conduct and interactions with Trump. 
June 14, 2017: Mueller is investigating whether Trump obstructed justice, reports The Washington Post. 
June 15, 2017: VP Pence hires a criminal defense lawyer to assist him in the various investigations.
June 15, 2017: Trump's transition team general counsel orders team members to preserve documents and other materials related to the Russia investigations because of the possibility some of them are under investigation. 
June 15, 2017: Trump, in two tweets, says that Mueller is "a very bad and conflicted" person and that "They made up a phony collusion with the Russians story, found zero proof, so now they go for obstruction of justice on the phony story.  Nice." 
June 16, 2017: Trump attacks Rosenstein in a tweet for leading a "witch hunt" in acknowledging publicly for the first time that he is under investigation. 
Mid-June 2017: Coats and Rogers tell Mueller's team and Senate investigators that Trump suggested they say publicly there was no collusion between his campaign and the Russians. 
Summer of 2017: Mueller's team interviews Steele. 
June 20, 2017: Sessions hires a criminal defense lawyer to help him in the various investigations.
June 21, 2017: Samuel Liles, acting director of the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) intelligence and cyber division, tells the Senate Intelligence Committee that people connected to the Russian government tried to hack election-relted computer systems in 21 states.
June 21, 2017: Johnson tells the House Intelligence Committee that the Obama administration feared acknowledging Russian election interference would reveal too much about intelligence gathering and be interpreted as "taking sides" in the race. 
June 22, 2017: Trump, in two tweets, says that he did not tape his meetings with Comey and states "By the way, if Russia was working so hard on the 2016 Election, it all took place during the Obama Admin.  Why didn't they stop them?"
June 23, 2017: Trump says in a "Fox & Friends" interview that his tweet hinting at taped meetings with Comey was intended to influence his testimony before Congress.
June 25, 2017: Presidential counselor Conway, appearing on ABC's "This Week," blames the Obama administration for failing to deal with Russian interference in the election. 
June 26, 2017: Trump tweets  " . . . under a magnifying glass, they have zero 'tapes' of T people colluding.  There is no collusion & no obstruction.  I should be given an apology!"
July 27, 2017: Papadopoulos is arrested by FBI agents at Dulles Airport outside Washington.  
June 27, 2017: Manafort registers retroactively as a foreign agent.  He reveals that he failed to disclose, as required by law, that his consulting firm received more than $17 million over two years from Yanukovych's political party before Yanukovych fled Ukraine to Russia in 2014. 
June 29~30, 2017: The Wall Street Journal publishes two stories based on an interview with Smith about Flynn's possible collusion with Russian hackers. 
July 2017: Mueller impanels a grand jury in Washington to issue subpoenas for documents related to the business dealings of Flynn, among others.
July 6, 2017: Trump, at a news conference in Warsaw, Poland, again questions U.S. intelligence agency claims Russia interfered in the election and said Obama deliberately didn't address Russian hacking for political reasons.  
July 7, 2017: Trump and Putin meet for the first time at a G20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany.  Trump raises the issue of election interference, which Putin denies.  Putin claims Trump had "agreed" with his statements of denial. It is later revealed that Trump met with Putin in an undisclosed hour-long second meeting without the benefit of his own interpreter or national security advisers. 
July 9, 2017: Trump, returning from Europe, declares it is "time to move forward" in a constructive relationship with Russia and says he is prepared to team with Moscow on forming an "impenetrable Cyber Security" unit to prevent future hacking breaches.
July 9~11, 2017: The New York Times publishes stories on consecutive days on Donald Jr.'s meeting with Veselnitsakya and other Russians in June 2016. 
July 10, 2017: Donald Jr. hires a criminal defense lawyer to assist him in the various investigations. 
July 12, 2017: Trump tweets that Donald Jr. "was open, transparent and innocent.  This is the greatest Witch Hunt in political history.  Sad!"
July 12, 2017: Two Democratic Party donors and a former party staff member file an invasion-of-privacy lawsuit against the Trump campaign and Stone, accusing them of conspiring with Russian hackers in the release of hacked Democratic emails and files that exposed their personal information to the public.  
July 12, 2017: Mueller's investigators are skeptical that Russian hackers could have independently known which high-impact states and districts in those states to specifically target to try to undermine the Clinton campaign without the help of knowledgeable American political operatives, according to a McClatchy News Service report.    
July 14, 2017: Trump hires criminal defense lawyer Ty Cobb, a former prosecutor, while Kushner hires a new criminal lawyer.  Kushner, meanwhile, had been urged to step down by some members of Trump's legal team who viewed him as an increasing legal liability for the president because of his role in the scandal.  The move ultimately was rejected. 
July 14, 2017: Kushner has updated his security clearance application at least three times because of omissions and added more than 100 names of foreign contracts after initially providing none, as well as dozens of financial holdings, CBS News and The Washington Post report. 
July 15, 2017: Trump tweets that the scandal is a "hoax," yet again attacks Clinton and defends Donald Jr.'s June 2016 meeting with Russians. 
July 17, 2017: Approaching six months in office, 58 percent of voters disapprove of Trump in the Washington Post-ABC Poll, a level never reached by presidents Clinton and Obama and reached only in the second term by President George W. Bush. 
July 19, 2017: Trump, in an interview with The New York Times, says he would not have appointed Sessions if he knew he was going to recuse himself, and warns Mueller not to delve into his family's finances.
July 20, 2017: The Treasury Department fines ExxonMobil $2 million for signing business agreements with the head of Russian-government owned energy giant Rosneft in 2014 in violation of sanctions.  Tillerson was chief executive of the U.S. energy giant at the time. 
July 20, 2017: Thomas Bossert, Trump's chief counterterroris adviser, says it's "pretty clear" that Russia interfered in the election. 
July 20, 2017: Trump's advisers are exploring his options to pardon scandal suspects and how to undermine Mueller's investigation, according to multiple media reports. 
July 20, 2017: Mark Corallo, chief spokesman for Trump's personal legal team, resigns because of growing frustration with the team and whether he wad being told the truth. 
July 21, 2017: Kislyak told his superiors in Moscow that he had substantive discussions about campaign-related matters and policy issues important to Moscow when he met with Sessions, contradicting public assertions by the embattled attorney general, reports The Washington Post.
July 21, 2017: Kushner and Manafort, threatened with subpoenas, agree to turn over documents to Senate and House intelligence committees.
July 21, 2017: Brennan and former national intelligence director James Clapper express anger at Trump's statements disparaging the community and express incredulity at his embrace of Russia. 
July 21, 2017: Press secretary Sean Spicer resigns after Trump names Anthony Scaramucci communications director. 
July 22, 2017: Trump tweets that he has "complete power to pardon" relatives, aides and possibly himself and defends Sessions after stating he regretted appointing him.
July 22, 2017: Defying Trump, congressional leaders reach an agreement on sweeping new sanctions to punish Russia for its election interference. 
July 23, 2017: Scaramucci says on CNN's "State of the Union" that Trump remains unconvinced of Russian election interference because he cannot separate intelligence findings from his view that the issue is being used to cast doubt on his presidency. 
July 24, 2017: Kushner secured a $295 million real estate deal in 2015 with Lev Leviev, a Soviet-born oligarch who was a business partner in Prevezon Holdings, The Guardian reports. 
July 24~25, 2017: Kushner testifies behind closed doors before the Senate and House intelligence committees.  In a prepared statement, he denies any collusion in his four meetings with Russian officials and says his real estate company and other business interests have not relied on Russian funds.  He contradicts Trump and administration members who deny any Russian contacts during the campaign by confirming that he had several. 
July 25, 2017: Trump, in an interview, says Mueller's job is not safe. 
July 25, 2017: Trump tweets that "Jared Kushner did very well yesterday in proving he did not collude with the Russians.  Witch Hunt.  Next up, 11 year old Barron Trump!" 
July 25, 2017: The Senate Judiciary Committee subpoenas Manafort to publicly testify.
July 25, 2017: The House approves in a 419-3 vote a sweeping package of economic sanctions against Russia. 
July 26, 2017: Trump, for the third consecutive day, publicly criticizes Sessions for recusing himself and not pursuing an investigation against Clinton as the president's aides consider whether to replace him. 
July 26, 2017: Armed with a search warrant, FBI agents working for Mueller enter Manafort's Alexandria, Virginia home by picking the front door lock.  They seize document binders and copy his computer files, looking for evidence he set up secret offshore bank accounts. 
July 27, 2017: The Senate approves in a 98-2 vote and sends to Trump the sweeping package of economic sanctions against Russia, setting up a congressional confrontation with the president, who has sought to ease sanctions. 
July 28, 2017: Russia, retaliating for congressional approval of expanded sanctions, seizes two U.S. diplomatic compounds and orders the U.S. embassy in Moscow to reduce its staff. 
July 28, 2017: Trump fires Priebus.  
July 30, 2017: Putin dramatically escalates his pushback against sanctions by ordering the U.S. to reduce its diplomatic staff by 755 people, the largest forced reduction since the Communist revolution in 1917. 
July 31, 2017: Scaramucci is fired.
July 31, 2017: Trump overruled his aides to personally direct that misleading statements be issued regarding Donald Jr.'s June 2016 meeting with Russians and was the sole author of those statements, making himself further vulnerable to coverup allegations, reports The Washington Post. 
August 1, 2017: Christopher Wray is confirmed as FBI director.
August 1, 2017: A lawsuit is filed against Fox News and a wealthy Trump backer for its story about the Rich murder being linked to DNC email thefts. The suit states that the White House was aware of the story and Trump himself might have worked on it. 
August 2, 2017: Trump signs the sanctions bill. 
August 2, 2017: Four senators -- two Democrats and two Republicans -- announce legislation to prevent Trump from firing Mueller without cause.
August 3, 2017: Trump, speaking at a rally in West Virginia, forcefully dismisses allegations of collusion with Russia as "a total fabrication" and blames the scandal on Democrats who "still can't get over" 2016 election results. 
August 4, 2017: Trump, inviting speculation that he or a family member could be indicted by the grand jury empaneled by Mueller, retweets a video clip from "Fox & Friends" in which guest and longtime Trump friend Jeanine Pirro calls Mueller's investigation politically motivated. 
August 6, 2017: Trump and Conway call Mueller's investigation a  "fabrication" in separate interviews. 
August 10, 2017: Trump's aversion to criticizing Putin remains intact as he says he is "very thankful" that U.S. diplomats were expelled because it means a smaller State Department payroll.   He also contradicts private statements about his desire to dismiss Mueller, saying he has not considered firing him. 
August 11, 2017: Akhmetshin testifies before the Mueller grand jury.
August 16, 2017: Rohrabacher meets with Assange, who he says assured him Russia did not leak emails damaging to Clinton to WikiLeaks.   
Late August 2017: Subpoenas are issued by Mueller's grand jury to six prominent Washington lobbying firms in connection with the finances of Flynn and Manafort. 
August 28, 2017: Cohen tells the House Intelligence Committee in a letter that claims of his ties to Russian officials are false.
August 30, 2017: Trump calls Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, a day after reports Donald Jr. will meet with the committee behind closed doors to talk about Russia.  Trump promises him support for the biofuel ethanol, a key issue for the Iowa lawmaker.
August 31, 2017: The Trump administration orders Russia to close its San Francisco consulate and annexes in Washington and New York in response to Russia's July 28 order to reduce the number of U.S. diplomatic personnel in that country.
August 31, 2017: Two senior Republican senators -- Graham and Grassley -- allege Comey began writing a statement clearing Clinton before the FBI had interviewed key witnesses in the spring of 2016. 
Early September 2017: Mueller alerts the White House that he probably will seek interviews with six top current and former Trump advisers: Hicks, McGahn and his assistant James Burnham, Priebus, Kushner assistant Josh Raffel, and Spicer.
Early September 2017: Mueller begins looking into the lobbying activities of Michael Flynn Jr., son of Trump's former national security adviser.
September 1, 2017: Trump lashes out at Comey in a tweet, charging that he had "exonerated" Clinton before fully completing the FBI investigation into her private email server. 
September 1, 2017: In media reports, The existence and contents of the original Comey firing letter are revealed in several media reports.  One report states that Pence was aware of the original letter, may have helped cover it up and then lied about the basis for the firing. 
September 1, 2017: The Justice Department states in a brief there is no evidence to support Trump's claim that Obama had personally ordered that his Trump Tower phones be tapped.
September 5, 2017: Putin, visiting China, responds to a question about the possibility of Trump being impeached by saying he is "not my bride, and I am not his groom."
September 5, 2017: Nikita Isaev, leader of a far-right Russian political party, says Trump should be hit with compromising material he claims is being held by Russia in retaliation for closing Russian diplomatic missions.
September 5, 2017: Trump's attorneys ask a federal judge to dismiss an invasion-of-privavy lawsuit filed by two Democratic Party donors and a former party staff member accusing the Trump campaign and Stone of conspiring with Russian hackers in the release of hacked Democratic emails and files that exposed their personal information to the public. 
September 7, 2017: Donald Jr. explains in a statement before meeting behind closed doors with the Senate Intelligence Committee that he set up the June 2016 meeting with Russians  because it was important for him to learn about Clinton's "fitness" to be president.
September 7, 2017: Wray says he has seen no interference from the White House on the Russia investigation.
September 10, 2017: Dismissed White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon  says Trump's dismissal of Comey was the biggest mistake in "modern political history" in a 60 Minutes interview.
September 12, 2017: White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says that the Justice Department should "certainly look at" charging Comey for leaking classified information.
September 12, 2017: The Campaign Legal Center, a campaign finance reform group, accuses Facebook of being used as an "accomplice" in  Russian interference and urges  Zuckerberg to reverse his position and publicly release secretly-sponsored Russian political ads.
September 13, 2017: The U.S. government bans use of Kaspersky Lab software on their networks because of concerns that the company has ties to the Russian government and its cyberespionage activities. 
September 13, 2017: Two Democratic lawmakers assert that Flynn failed to disclose a 2015 Middle East trip to pursue a joint U.S.-Russia-Saudi business venture to develop nuclear facilities in Saudi Arabia during his security clearance process.
September 13, 2017: Rohrabacher proposes in a call to Trump chief-of-staff John Kelly that a pardon deal be made for Assange in return for the WikiLeaks founder providing digital evidence that he says would clear Russia of election meddling allegations. 
Mid-September 2017: Friction escalates between McGahn and Cobb regarding how or whether to cooperate with Mueller.  A New York Times reporter overhears Cobb stating that McGahn had "a couple of documents locked in a safe" to which he wanted access.
Mid-September 2017: Mueller obtains Russian-linked Facebook ads after getting a search warrant for them. 
Mid-September 2017: The Secret Service stops protecting Donald Jr., who says he is seeking more privacy. 
September 15, 2017: Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni appears before Mueller's grand jury. 
September 15, 2017: Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Grassley, citing what he calls Justice Department stonewalling, considers issuing subpoenas to compel several witnesses to testify about what they know concerning Trump's Russia connections and Comey's firing. 
September 19, 2017: The Senate Intelligence Committee abruptly cancels an interview with Cohen, accusing him of releasing a public statement despite requests he refrain from public comment.. 
September 19, 2017: The Republican National Committee acknowledges it is helping pay Trump's lawyer fees related to the scandal and has directed more than $427,000 to his attorneys.
September 20, 2017: Manafort is doing unregistered work for Kurdish Iraqis who are seeking an independence referendum while under investigation for similar work, reports The New York Times.
September 21, 2017: Under growing public pressure to reveal more about covert Russian propaganda on its site, Facebook turns over more than 3,000 Russian-linked ads to congressional committees investigating the scandal.  The ads sought to exploit racial and social divides in American society.
September 22, 2017: DHS contacts election officials in 21 states to notify them that they had been targeted by Russian hackers during the campaign. 
September 24~26, 2017: Kushner and wife Ivanka reportedly move their private email accounts to a Trump Organization server after their use of private accounts for White House business comes under scrutiny.
September 25, 2017: Trey Gowdy, Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee and persistent Clinton email server critic, joins Democrats in asking that the administration disclose the use of a private server personal email address by Kushner and any other White House aide for government business.  The New York Times reports that at least five other aides, including Kushner's wife Ivanka also did. 
September 28, 2017: Evidence emerges that Twitter may have been used more extensively than Facebook in Russia's covert propaganda campaign. The company tells congressional investigators it has shut down 201 accounts tied to Russian operatives, including three linked to RT that spent $274,100 in election ads.
September 29, 2017: Two months after signing a law imposing new sanctions on Russia, Trump has not begun enforcing it. 
Early October 2017: Hoping that Mueller will clear Trump, his legal team pursue a new course of cooperating with the special counsel and then asking him to affirm that Trump is not under investigation, something he was unsuccessful in getting Comey to do before eventually firing him.
Early October 2017: Trump loyalists reportedly are losing patience with Republican congressional leaders over Russia investigations reaching into the president's inner circle and hobbling the White House. 
October 2, 2017: RT and Sputnik,  Russian government-controlled news outlets, join alt-right sites in publishing fake news accounts on Facebook and elsewhere of the Las Vegas hotel massacre, including false information about the shooter's political affiliation.
October 4, 2017: Senate Intelligence Committee leaders say political candidates should expect further efforts to Russian meddle and sow chaos in elections in November and 2018.  Committee chairman Richard Burr complains that the committee has "hit a wall" in an attempt to verify the Steele dossier because Steele will not talk to them.
October 5, 2017: Papadopoulos pleads guilty to making false statements to the FBI abut his contacts with Mifsud.  He agrees to cooperate with Mueller's investigation. 
October 6, 2017: Steele says he is willing to meet with the Senate Intelligence Committee.
October 9, 2017: Google reveals that Russian operatives exploited YouTube, the DoubleClick ad network and Google searches as part of its election interference.
October 10, 2017: Page tells the Senate Intelligence Committee he will not cooperate and will plead the Fifth Amendment if called to testify. 
October 13, 2017: Priebus is interviewed by Mueller's team. 
October 13, 2017: Manafort's business dealings with Deripaska total about $60 million over the past decade, more than previously disclosed, reports NBC News.
October 15, 2017: The Trump campaign spent more than $1.1 million on legal fees in the third quarter of the year, a sharp increase coinciding with the escalation of Russian scandal investigations.
October 16, 2017: Lawyers for Fusion GPS, which contracted with Steele to assemble his dossier, send a scathing letter to Nunes, who has issued subpoenas to the firm despite having recused himself from the House Intelligence Committee investigation.  They accuse him of a "pattern of unprofessional conduct" and say they will advise Fusion GPS to not cooperate.
October 19, 2017: CIA Director Mike Pompeo falsely asserts that U.S. intelligence agencies determined that Russian election interference did not alter the outcome.
October 19, 2017: Trump suggests that Russia, the FBI and Democrats could have underwritten the Steele dossier.  He offers no evidence.
October 19, 2017: Putin defends Trump in a speech, calling on Americans to stop showing him "disrespect."
October 20, 2017: Trump pledges at least $430,000 of his own money to help cover aides' Russia investigation legal costs, raising ethical and obstruction-of-justice concerns. 
October 25, 2017: House Republicans announce investigations into unproven allegations that the Clinton Foundation received donations in exchange for Clinton's support as secretary of state for a business deal giving Russia control over a larger share of the U.S. uranium production and another into how the FBI investigated Clinton's use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.
October 27, 2017: A federal grand jury in Washington approves the first charges brought by Mueller.
October 29, 2017: Trump, in a series of angry tweets, demands that Clinton be pursued more forcefully by congressional investigators, writing "DO SOMETHING!" 
October 30, 2017: Mueller announces that Papadopoulos has pleaded guilty 
to lying to the FBI about contacts with Mifsud, while Manafort and business associate Rick Gates have been indicted for conspiring against the U.S. for money laundering and tax and foreign lobbying violations.  They enter not guilty pleas.  The White House says the announcements have  nothing to do with the president's campaign or campaign activity and there is no evidence of collusion.
October 30, 2017: Russian agents intending to sow discord among Americans during the election campaign disseminated inflammatory posts that reached 126 million Facebook users, published more than 131,000 Twitter messages and uploaded over 1,000 YouTube videos, according to information provided Congress by Facebook, Twitter and Google. 
November 2, 2017: Page, in testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, finally admits to meeting with Russian government officials during a July 2016 trip to Moscow. 
November 2, 2017: At least six members of the Russian government involved in the DNC hacking have been identified and evidence is being assembled to charge them, reports The Wall Street Journal.
November 3, 2017: Trump presses the Justice Department to investigate his political opponents, claiming that Democrats were the ones who acted corruptly during the election, as three House Republicans file a resolution calling on Mueller to recuse himself because of conflicts of interest.
November 5, 2017: Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross hid business tries to close allies of Putin and continues to have a significant interest in a Russian shipping firm, reports The New York Times.
November 5, 2017: Veselnitskaya claims in a Moscow interview that Donald Jr. had told her at the June 9, 2016 meeting that key sanctions against Russia might be lifted in what seems to be a tacit exchange for Russian help in his father's campaign.
November 8, 2017: Longtime Trump associate and confidante Keith Schiller tells the House Intelligence Committee that salacious claims in the Steele dossier are false.
November 10, 2017: Mueller is investigating the role played by Flynn and son Michael Jr. in an alleged plot to kidnap Fetullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric living legally in the U.S., and send him to Turkey in exchange up to $15 million, reports The Wall Street Journal.
November 11~12, 2012: Trump, after an informal meeting with Putin at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference in Vietnam, says that the Russian leader believes he is sincere in his denials of election interference.  He later angrily asserts that questions about the interference are a politically motivated "artificial Democratic hit job" hindering cooperation with Russia, calls Comey a proven "liar" and "leaker," and says that former top U.S. intelligence officials who concluded that interference took place are "political hacks" before later walking back the jab.
November 12, 2017: Brennan and Clapper say Trump is being played by Putin and accuse him of being susceptible to foreign leaders who stroke his ego. 
November 12, 2017: Responding to Trump's latest attack on him, Comey quotes a English Baptist sermon, tweeting "If you want truth to go around the world you must hire an express train to pull it; but if you want a lie to go around the world, it will fly; it is light as a feather and a breath will carry it."
November 13, 2017: RT officially registers as a foreign agent, complying under protest with a Justice Department deadline.
November 14, 2017: Sessions, testifying before the House Judiciary Committee, states he has "always told the truth regarding Trump campaign contacts with Russians but now recalls a discussion with Papadopoulos about such contacts.
November 16, 2017: Senate Judiciary Committee leaders charge that Kushner failed to disclose to the committee the fact he received and forwarded WikiLeaks emails and a "Russian backdoor overture."   
SOURCES: ABC News,, The Atlantic, The Associated Press, Bloomberg News, Business Insider, BuzzFeed News, CBS News, CNN, Capital Alpha Security, Daily Caller, Engadget The Financial Times, Foreign Policy, The Guardian, The Hill, HuffPost, The Independent UK, The Intercept, The Japan Times, Just Security, Amy Knight, Krebson Security, Los Angeles Times, McClatchy News Service, Mashable, The Moscow Project, Mother Jones, Moyers & Company, Narativ, NBC News, National Public Radio, Newsweek, New York magazine, The New Yorker, New York Review of Books, NewsMax Media, The New Republic, The New York Times, The Palmer Report, Paste magazine, Politico, PolitiFact, PostimusMaximus, ProPublica, RagePath, Real Estate Weekly, Reuters, Roll Call, Russia Today Network, Salon, Scribd, Slate, Small Wars Journal, Christopher Steele-Orbis Business Intelligence, Talking Points Memo, ThinkProgress, Time, The Village Voice, Vox, WNYC New York, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Washington Times, The Watchdog Report, Wikipedia, Wired magazine, Yahoo! Finance, Yahoo! News, YouTube.