The Trump / Russia timeline, 2013 to present
Trump Admires Putin
Donald Trump tweets: “Do you think Putin will be going to The Miss Universe Pageant in November in Moscow – if so, will he become my new best friend?”
Russia Researches U.S.
Russian intelligence begins researching U.S. electoral processes and related technology and equipment.
Trump on Putin & Obama
Russia annexes Crimea. Trump tweets: “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” and “I believe Putin will continue to re-build the Russian Empire. He has zero respect for Obama or the U.S.!”
Hacking the U.S.
Cyber-espionage group connected with the Russian government launches a spearphishing campaign, sending directed emails containing a malicious link
to over 1,000 recipients, including multiple U.S. Government victims. The campaign leads to the penetration of servers at the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Make America Great Again
Donald Trump announces he is running for president of the United States.
The NSA and Russian Hacking
NSA becomes aware of Russian hacking. White House alerted to possibility that DNC has been hacked by the Russians. President Obama orders intelligence community to find out everything they can about it.
Email from Felix Sater
Felix Sater emails Trump attorney Michael Cohen: “Michael I arranged for Ivanka to sit in Putins private chair at his desk and office in the Kremlin. I will get Putin on this program and we wil get Donald elected. We both know no one else knows how to pull this off without stupidity or greed getting in the way. I know how to play it and we will get this done. Buddy our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it. I will get all of Putins team to buy in on this one, I will.”
Russian Troll Farms Support Trump
Accounts associated with Russian propaganda “troll farm” known as the Internet Research Agency begins supporting Donald Trump.
Fancy Bear & APT28
A hacking group known as “Fancy Bear” or “APT28” launches a spearfishing campaign targeting email addresses at hillaryclinton.com and dnc.org that gains them access to DNC network. The hacking group is run by the Russian foreign military intelligence service (GRU) and appears focused on a single target: the DNC’s opposition research files on Donald Trump.
Paul Manafort & Russia
Joint US counterintelligence investigation opens into Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s links to Russia. Some of Manafort’s contacts in Russia and Ukraine are under surveillance by the National Security Agency for suspected links to Russia’s Federal Security Service. Trump campaign advisers Carter Page and Roger Stone’s links to Russia also come under investigation.
Russia Launches Propaganda Campaign
A Russian government think tank, the Institute for Strategic Studies, recommends that the Kremlin launch a propaganda campaign on social media to elect Trump. Soon thereafter, Facebook finds evidence that members of APT28 were setting up a series of shadowy accounts — including a persona known as Guccifer 2.0 and a Facebook page called DCLeaks — to promote stolen emails and other documents during the presidential race.
Russian hackers target voter registration systems in Arizona.
Trump Jr. & Russia
Rob Goldstone, a music publicist whose clients include Emin Algarov emails Donald Trump Jr.: “Emin just called and asked me to contact you with something very interesting. 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.” Trump Jr. responds: “if it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”
DCLeaks.com launches its website and begins posting stolen documents from the Hillary Clinton campaign’s media office. DCLeaks also releases emails stolen form accounts of Republican congressional officials. Content was provided by Russia’s GRU, according to US intelligence.
Donald Trump, Republican Nominee
Donald Trump accepts the Republican nomination for president in Cleveland.
The Times of London reports that Paul Manafort had been paid by pro-Russian parties in the Ukraine to organize anti-NATO protests in Crimea in 2006, leading to the withdrawal of forces for a planned NATO exercise.
Manafort Steps Down
Paul Manafort resigns as Trump campaign chairman.
Russian Hacking Helps Trump
CIA Director John Brennan briefs Senate minority leader Harry Reid and indicates that Russia’s hacking appeared aimed at helping Trump win the November election. Brennan also indicated that unnamed advisers to Trump might be working with the Russians to interfere in the election.
Wikileaks Targets Clinton
Wikileaks begins publishing emails from Clinton campaign manager John Podesta.
Trump Wins the Election
Donald Trump elected president.
Russia Helped Trump Win
The Washington Post reports that the CIA has concluded in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency.
Trump Team Under Investigation
The New York Times reports that four Trump campaign aides were being investigated by US counterintelligence and law enforcement officials for links to Russia: Paul Manafort, Roger Stone, Michael Flynn, and Carter Page.
Trump Becomes President
Trump inagurated as 45th US president.
Investigation into Russian Interference
House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence opens investigation into Russia interference with U.S. election.
Trump and Comey
FBI Director James Comey dines alone with President Trump, who tells him “I need loyalty. I expect loyalty.” Comey tells him “You will always get honesty from me.” Comey perceives the dinner as an effort to have him ask for my job and create some sort of patronage relationship.
Flynn’s Investigation Begins
White House gets access to the classified underlying evidence regarding Flynn.
Michael Flynn resigns as national security adviser.
Trump Attempts to Persuade Comey
Trump speaks alone with James Comey in the White House following a meeting. Trump tells Comey: “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.” Comey documents the conversation in a memo.
Trump’s Lawyer Under Scrutiny
The New York Times reports that Michael D. Cohen, the president’s personal lawyer is one of several Trump associates under scrutiny in an F.B.I. counterintelligence examination of links with Russia.
Donald Trump tweets, “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism! … Just out: The same Russian Ambassador that met Jeff Sessions visited the Obama White House 22 times, and 4 times last year alone. … Is it legal for a sitting President to be “wire tapping” a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW! … I’d bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election! … How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!”
Comey Reports Wiretapping Claims are False
The New York Times reports that James Comey asked the Justice Department this weekend to publicly reject Trump’s claim that President Barack Obama ordered the tapping of Mr. Trump’s phones. Justice Department declines to do so.
Investigation into Russian Meddling
James Comey confirms that he has been authorized by the Justice Department to state that there is an open and ongoing investigation of Russian meddling in election, including “the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts. As with any counterintelligence investigation, this will also include an assessment of whether any crimes were committed.”
Trump Fires Comey
Trump fires James Comey and thanks him for “informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation.”
Senate intelligence committee issues subpoena for Michael Flynn, ordering him to hand over records of any emails, phone calls, meetings and financial dealings with Russians.
Mueller Appointed to Investigate Russian Collusion
Justice Department appoints Robert Mueller as a special counsel investigating Trump’s campaign ties to Russia.
Manafort Pleads Not Guilty
Paul Manafort pleads not guilty to charges that he laundered millions of dollars through overseas shell companies — using the money to buy luxury cars, real estate, antique rugs and expensive clothes.
Flynn Pleads Guilty
Mike Flynn pleads guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations with the Russian ambassador in December 2016 and agrees to cooperate with the inquiry by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.