Confused by Trump’s Russia Ties? This timeline breaks it down for you
Donald Trump’s ties to Russia go back to the mid-1980s. We’ve put together a timeline of what’s happened since, and we’ll keep updating it with new information.
Updated: April 6, 2017 at 2:44 p.m. Pacific.
1986 — Soviet Ambassador invites Trump on all-expenses-paid trip to Soviet Union — Trump had lunch with Soviet Ambassador Yuri Dubinin. At the lunch, Dubinin told Trump that the ambassador’s daughter “adored” Trump Tower. Dubinin proposed that Trump build a similar tower in the Soviet Union. Soviet officials then visited Trump in New York, inviting Trump on an all-expenses-paid trip. Vitaly Churkin, who served as the UN ambassador for Russia and who died in February 2017, accompanied Dubinin on that trip and recalled meeting Trump.
February 1986 — Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev announces perestroika, economic restructuring
April 1986 — Chernobyl explosion, the world’s worst nuclear disaster
June 1986 — Current Trump ally Roger Stone works with former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort at lobbying firm in D.C. — https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/1986/06/16/the-rise-and-gall-of-roger-stone/d8ce308b-7055-4666-860e-378833f46e17/?utm_term=.54fe8eebe90b; http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/06/2016-donald-trump-paul-manafort-ferinand-marcos-philippines-1980s-213952.
July 3, 1987 — Trump’s first trip to Soviet Union — Trump traveled to the Soviet Union with his then-wife Ivana Zelnickova Winklmayr, a Czech model, to explore a hotel deal. He told reporters that he’d read Mikhail Gorbachev’s Perestroika to prepare for the trip. Trump told reporters that he was invited to go to Moscow for a possible plan to build a hotel across from the Kremlin. The deal, if it happened, would have involved Intourist, the Soviet government’s tourist agency. Before he left, he told reporters that he planned to meet with Soviet leader, Mikhail S. Gorbachev, but later said the meeting didn’t take place.
July 14, 1987 — Trump says Soviets “wanted the feeling of Trump Tower” in Moscow — In a phone interview from Moscow, Trump told The Journal of Commerce that the Soviets wanted a Trump Tower of their own. “They really wanted the feeling of Trump Tower in New York,” Trump said. He said that it would be a joint venture with the Soviets.
July 1987 — Trump talks with Newsweek from his hotel suite facing the Kremlin — Newsweek interviewed Trump in Moscow. The reporter talked with Trump in his hotel room, a corner suite at Moscow’s National Hotel. Trump showed her his sweeping view of the Kremlin. The Soviets were trying to get Trump to build two hotels — one in Moscow and one in Leningrad. He visited at least six potential sites in Moscow. On the way back from Moscow, he told the Los Angeles Times that the only reason to build a hotel in Moscow would be the prestige.
Sept. 2, 1987 — Trump drops first hints that he’s considering a run for U.S. presidency — Trump dropped first hints that he was considering a run for the presidency. He traveled to New Hampshire at the invitation of Mike Dunbar, a Republican operative. That day, he spent $94,801 to buy full-page ads in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Boston Globe. The ads read, “There’s nothing wrong with America’s Foreign Defense Policy that a little backbone can’t cure.” And that America “should stop paying to defend countries that can afford to defend themselves.” The advertisement also criticized American foreign policy “as we protect ships we don’t own, carrying oil we don’t need, destined for allies who won’t help.”
Dec. 9, 1987 — Trump talks with Gorbachev at State Department lunch — Donald Trump attended a State Department lunch with Gorbachev. In the receiving line, Gorbachev asked Trump to build a hotel in Moscow, Trump told reporters.
Dec. 19, 1987 — “The Art of the Deal” climbs New York Times bestseller list http://www.nytimes.com/1987/12/19/books/publishing-gorbachev-and-trump-best-sellers.html
1988 — Anthony “Fat Tony” Salerno convicted on federal charges of racketeering on an indictment that listed Trump Plaza’s concrete contract as part of one of the criminal acts — Trump not accused of wrongdoing — https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/trump-swam-in-mob-infested-waters-in-early-years-as-an-nyc-developer/2015/10/16/3c75b918-60a3-11e5-b38e-06883aacba64_story.html?utm_term=.d9ba04a925c3
June 1988 — Soviet Union announces policy of glasnost, opening up USSR
September/October 1988 — Trump buys the Plaza Hotel
Dec. 7, 1988 — Gorbachev skips planned stop at Trump Tower on his first visit to U.S. — Trump told reporters that Mikhail Gorbachev and his wife, Raisa, would visit Trump Tower during Gorbachev’s three-day stay in New York. The trip was Gorbachev’s first time in the United States, and he planned to appear before the United Nations and have lunch with President Reagan and President-elect Bush. Trump announced that he would show the Gorbachevs a swimming pool in the tower and take them to the Fifth Avenue shops. Trump told reporters that the Russians had called him and said that Gorbachev wanted to tour Trump Tower. However, Gorbachev never showed. Instead, Trump was tricked into meeting a Gorbachev impersonator who showed up at Trump Tower at the behest of A Current Affair.
1989 — Trump: The Game board game is released with disappointing sales
January 1989 — Trump enters deal with Soviet cycling team — Trump entered a deal with a Soviet cycling team to participate in a cycling race from Albany to Atlantic City. The 10-stage Tour de Trump ended at the front doors of Trump’s Atlantic City casino. After two years, Trump withdrew his sponsorship.
January 1989 — Trump first appears on cover of Time magazine
March 1989 — Boris Yeltsin elected by Soviet People’s Congress
March 29, 1989 — Trump announces deal to stage Soviet boxing match — Trump announced that he would make an offer for exclusive rights to stage a boxing match between the Soviet Union’s best fighters — the first time such an event happened in the United States. Two Toronto-based businessmen — Boris Gitman and Roman Reydman — traveled to Moscow to make the deal.
April 16, 1989 — Trump buys the troubled Atlantis Casino Hotel for $63 million in cash
May 5, 1989 — First “Tour de Trump” cycling race begins http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/04/donald-trump-2016-tour-de-trump-bike-race-213801.
Nov. 9, 1989 — Berlin Wall comes down
December 1989 — Cold War officially ends
1990 — Trump opens Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City
Feb. 11, 1990 — Trump end 12-year marriage to Ivana Trump — “it just wasn’t working out”
June 1990 — NBC Nightly News airs two-part story on Trump’s financial problems — The Wall Street Journal also did substantial reporting about Trump’s growing financial troubles.
1991 — Trump Taj Mahal goes bankrupt (first bankruptcy)
Dec. 25, 1991 — Gorbachev resigns as president of USSR, which is dissolved, and Yeltsin takes power in Russia
1992 — Trump Castle goes bankrupt (second bankruptcy)
1992 — Trump Plaza and Casino goes bankrupt (third bankruptcy)
1992 — Plaza Hotel goes bankrupt (fourth bankruptcy)
March 22, 1992 — Trump and Ivana Trump divorce
Oct. 13, 1993 — Tiffany Trump is born
December 20, 1993 — Trump marries his second wife, Marla Maples
1995 — Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts goes public — Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts goes public. The company loses money each year that Trump runs it, posting total losses of $647 million http://www.marketwatch.com/story/donald-trump-was-a-stock-market-disaster-2015-07-22.
1996 — Trump buys the Miss Universe pageant organization
1996 — Trump begins to seek trademarks in Russia for company names — From 1996 to 2008, Trump filed for at least eight trademark applications in Russia.
November 1996 — Trump travels to Moscow to visit potential Trump Tower sites — Trump travels to Moscow with businessman and investor Howard Lorber, president and CEO of the Vector Group, a holding company with various business interests in Russia. Trump spent three days in Moscow. During the trip, he visited Ducat Place, a site being developed by Liggett-Ducat, Ltd., a cigarette company owned by Lorber’s Vector Group. Trump and Lorber were discussing Trump’s plans to build a luxury residential tower in Moscow as part of a project owned by a subsidiary of Lorber’s firm. Lorber’s then-business partner Ben LeBow helped arrange the trip. The project never took off. Lorber later donated to Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and appeared on “The Apprentice.”
Jan, 22, 1997 — Russian general eyeing presidency meets with Trump — Alexsandr I. Lebed, a retired Russian general who aspired to be president of Russia, came to the United States and met with Donald Trump. Their hour-long meeting at Trump Tower was off-limits to the press. Trump told reporters that he talked about his intentions to build “something major” in Russia.
1997 — Trump makes deal with Russian artist for giant Christopher Columbus statue — A Russian artist named Zurab Tsereteli worked with Trump on a plan to erect a giant statue of Christopher Columbus on the Hudson River. The plans for the statue called for it to be six feet taller than the Statue of Liberty. Trump told New Yorker reporter Mark Singer that Trump had met with the artist in Moscow and that the statute had already been made. Trump told Singer that the head had already arrived in New York and that the statue was being donated by the Russian government.
September 1998 — Trump meets his future third wife, Melania Knauss — Trump had been dating Norwegian heiress Celina Midelfart. The pair were out one night, when he noticed Melania, a model from Slovenia, and asked for her number. http://www.cosmopolitan.com/politics/a8646265/donald-trump-melania-trump-relationship-timeline/.
1999 — Trump founds Trump Model Management
1999 — Trump makes public comments critical of Yeltsin and Russia — Calls Yeltsin “a disaster,” and calls Russia “out of control.”
June 8, 1999 — Trump divorces his second wife, Marla Maples
Aug. 16, 1999 — Putin comes to power and remains president until 2008
December 1999 — Trump mulls run for presidency with Roger J. Stone as his consultant — Trump explores a run for the presidency. He talks at length about it on the Howard Stern Show. Melania says that she’d be a traditional first lady “like Betty Ford or Jackie Kennedy.” Roger J. Stone, who was introduced to Trump in 1979 by Trump’s mentor, lawyer Roy Cohn, is Trump’s political consultant. http://www.nytimes.com/1999/12/01/nyregion/public-lives-a-model-as-first-lady-think-traditional.html.
2000s — Russians buy up millions in Trump-branded Florida real estate — Millions of dollars of Trump-branded real estate were bought by Russians. In an interview with the Financial Times, Russian real estate broker Ilya Reznik told the paper that Russian could be heard everywhere in the Trump properties on the Florida coast. According to the Miami Herald, Trump helped to transform Sunny Isles Beach, which was once a kitschy spot north of Miami Beach, into “an imposing, high-rise haven for rich Russians and Latin American millionaires.”
2000 — Trump adviser works as Putin image consultant in the United States — Michael Caputo, who helped run Trump’s efforts in the 2016 New York primary, lived in Russia in the 1990s. In 2000, he had a contract with Russian conglomerate Gazprom Media to improve Putin’s image in the United States. He later told the Buffalo News that he was “not proud of the work today. But at the time, Putin wasn’t such a bad guy.”
2001 — Trump enters agreement to license his name to six properties in Sunny Isles in South Florida — Trump struck a deal with American developers Michael and Gil Dezer (father and son) to license his name to six buildings operated by the Dezers in Sunny Isles in South Florida. Gil Dezer told Reuters that the project generated $2 billion in initial sales and that Trump received a commission. http://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/usa-trump-property/
2003 — Trump lawyer Michael Cohen opens off-shore gambling boat company in Miami Beach — Cohen’s two main partners in the venture, Arkady Vaygensberg and Leonid Tatarchuk, were both born in Ukraine. https://www.buzzfeed.com/anthonycormier/trumps-lawyer-launched-an-offshore-casino-and-left-a-wake?utm_term=.oh1xrjbEG#.wi72vJ16l
June 2003 — Trump sues Native American tribe (and rival developer) the Eastern Pequots
Jan. 8, 2004 — The first season of The Apprentice, starring Trump, airs on NBC
2004 — Trump Hotels and Casinos Resorts goes bankrupt (fifth bankruptcy)
2005 — Trump opens Trump University
2005 — Trump signs deal with Bayrock Group to build Trump Tower in Moscow — Trump signed a one-year deal with a New York real estate company called the Bayrock Group to try and build a Trump Tower in Moscow.
Bayrock is a New York property developer. At the time, it was based in Trump Tower. Bayrock was founded by Tevfik Arif, a Soviet-born developer. Arif had a checkered history. Before coming to the United States, he’d worked in the food and hospitality unit of the Soviet commerce and trade ministry. He then operated an export-import business and built hotels in Turkey. He’d been arrested in Turkey on charges that he helped arrange an orgy on a yacht that had once belonged to the country’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (the charges were later dropped).
2005 — Paul Manafort signs on as adviser to Ukrainian steel magnate and buys apartment in Trump Tower — Manafort signed on as an adviser to a Ukrainian steel magnate, who, according to people who worked there with Manafort, connected him with one of the country’s most powerful politicians, Viktor Yanukovych. Back home, corporations linked to Manafort purchased a unit in Trump Tower for $3.7 million.
Jan. 22, 2005 — Trump marries his third wife, Melania Knauss
2006 — Trump children, Donald Jr. and Ivanka, travel to Moscow on business — In 2006, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. traveled to Moscow. Felix Sater and the Trump children stayed at the historic Hotel National Moscow and met with several potential business partners, according to The New York Times.
2006 — Manafort, eventual Trump adviser, works to craft image of Ukrainian president — By this point, eventual Trump campaign adviser Paul Manafort was working to craft a polished image of Viktor Yanukovych, the pro-Putin president of Ukraine who fled to Russia during the 2014 Euromaidan Revolution.
2006 — Illegal gambling scheme that involves Hollywood celebrities and Russians begins in Trump Tower — http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/09/trump-russian-mobster-tokhtakhounov-miss-universe-moscow; http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/feds-high-stakes-poker-sportsbooking-ring-a-list-celebs-wall-street-fat-cats-article-1.1318139.
March 20, 2006 — Barron Trump is born
2007 — Trump launches Trump SoHo development project with Bayrock Group — Trump launches the Trump SoHo development project. Trump built Trump SoHo with Bayrock and another New York real estate firm with Soviet roots. Called the Sapir Organization, it was founded by Georgia-native Tamir Sapir. One of his business partners was Felix Sater, a Russian with a criminal background in the U.S. (The New York Times profiled Sater in 2007.)
2007 — Trump travels to Moscow to promote Trump-branded vodka at Millionaire Fair — Trump traveled to Moscow for the Millionaire Fair. He was promoting Trump-brand vodka at the time. It may have been here that Trump first developed a relationship with Sergei Millian, a Russian businessman, who has been reported to be one of the sources for the dossier. The Millionaire Fair enticed Russian high-spenders with luxury yachts, diamond-encrusted mobile phones and islands for sale.
Drinks America, which sold Trump Vodka, announced an expansion into Russia. Trump issued a press release that praised the expansion as “Tremendous.” An ad for the Russian market featured Trump, a tiger, a buxom woman, Vladimir Lenin and the words “Money, money, money.”
Jan. 6, 2007 — Trump gets a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
2008 — Trump sells Palm Beach mansion to Russian billionaire — Trump sold a mansion in Palm Beach for $95-million to Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev. Trump had bought the home in a bankruptcy auction less than four years earlier for $41.4 million. Rybolovlev, who made his fortune in fertilizer, bought the 17-bedroom mansion that Trump had named “Maison l’Amite, or the Friendly House.” Politico has a long piece about the deal and the oligarch’s bio.
2008 — One of Trump’s 2016 campaign managers, Paul Manafort, tries to develop New York luxury apartment project with Dmitry Firtash, Ukrainian energy tycoon — Manafort’s business ties to the oligarch would later haunt him during Trump’s campaign.
2008 — Trump announces Russian reality show, which never got made — Trump announced that he would partner with a martial arts company to make a reality show in Russia. The deal fell through. The partner was called Affliction Entertainment.
June 4, 2008 — At Moscow real estate summit, Trump’s son touts Trump plans in Russia — At a Moscow summit called “Real Estate in Russia,” Donald Trump, Jr., announced that the Trump Organization had plans for construction of luxury housing and hotels in three Russian cities — Moscow, St. Petersburg and Sochi, according to Russian newspaper Kommersant. Trump, Jr., told the audience that he’d been to Russia six times in the last year and a half. The Trump organization worked with Paul Fuchs of the MosCityGroup to negotiate a developer’s license to use the Trump brand.
September 2008 — Trump’s son: “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets” — Trump’s son, Donald Jr., spoke at a real estate conference in Manhattan and told the audience that Russians held many of the Trump company’s assets. “And in terms of high-end product influx into the US, Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets; say in Dubai, and certainly with our project in SoHo and anywhere in New York. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.” He made his comments at the Cityscape USA’s Bridging US and the Emerging Real Estate Markets Conference held in Manhattan. Trump Jr. was on a panel called “U.S. Investors Abroad: Emerging Markets — Friend or Foe. The other panelists were David Roth of the Blackstone Real Estate Advisors and Charles Andrews, founder of the Florida-based Blue Coast Real Estate & Development.
Jan. 30, 2009 — Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago opens
2009 — Qaddafi rents Trump’s estate to put up a traditional Libyan tent for UN Assembly — The tent was erected, but Qaddafi did not end up staying in it because of local uproar.
2009 — Trump Entertainment Resorts goes bankrupt (sixth bankruptcy)
2010 — Trump completes the Trump SoHo, a 46-story hotel and condominium building that he developed with Bayrock Group.
2011 — Trump gives deposition: “I don’t know who owns Bayrock” — Trump testified in a deposition that he didn’t know who owned Bayrock, the development company that he’d partnered with on Trump SoHo, even though he had a close relationship with Soviet-born developer Tevfik Arif. “I don’t know who owns Bayrock,” Trump said. “I never really understood who owned Bayrock. I know they’re a developer that’s done quite a bit of work. But I don’t know how they have their ownership broken down.”
July 2011 — Ribbon-cutting for Trump Ocean Club in Panama, lots of Russian buyers — The project, headed by developer Roger Kafif, is the largest building in Central America. The condos are marketed at wealthy from other countries, particularly Russia. Kafif has gone to Moscow (not clear on what year) to pitch condos to Russians.
December 2011 — Mass protests against Putin, which he blamed on Clinton and US
March 2012 — Putin resumes presidency
October 2012 — Trump offers to donate $5-million if Obama will release college records, passport records
January 2013 — Carter Page, who later became a foreign policy adviser to Trump, meets a Russian intelligence operative at an energy conference in New York — Carter Page, who later was named by Trump as a foreign policy adviser, met a Russian intelligence operative named Victor Podobnyy at an energy conference. From January to June of that year, Page met with, emailed with, and “provided documents to [Podobnyy] about the energy business,” according to BuzzFeed. Podobnyy was charged in January 2015 by the U.S. government for acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign government as part of a federal investigation into a Russian spy ring that was seeking information on U.S. sanctions and on alternative energy.
June 18, 2013 — Trump tweets that he wants Putin to be his “best friend” — As the Miss Universe Pageant date approached, Trump tweeted out his admiration for Putin. “Do you think Putin will be going to The Miss Universe Pageant in November in Moscow — if so, will he become my best friend?”
November 9, 2013 — Trump hosts Miss Universe Pageant in Moscow, meets oligarchs — Trump hosted the Miss Universe Pageant at the Crocus City Hall, a concert venue in Krasnogorsk, a suburb of Moscow. Trump made millions off the deal for the pageant, which was financed in part by Russian billionaire Aras Agalarov (he’s sometimes known as the “Trump of Russia” because he often puts his own name on his buildings). Agalarov is an interesting character. He’s worth about $1.3 billion. His company, the Crocus Group, won the contracts for two of the 2018 World Cup stadiums, and he was honored by Putin at a ceremony in 2013 at the Kremlin for his contributions to Russia.
Agalarov’s connection to Trump came through Agalarov’s son, Emin, a pop music star. In 2013, Emin filmed a music video with Miss Universe 2012, Olivia Culpo. Miss Universe representatives then introduced Trump to the Agalarovs.
During Trump’s trip, he and his business partners from the Trump Soho development — Alex Sapir and Rotem Rosen — met with Russian developer Aras Agalarov to discuss plans for a hotel in Moscow. Trump told Real Estate Weekly that he networked at the pageant’s swanky afterparty, “The Russian market is attracted to me. I have a great relationship with many Russians, and almost all of the oligarchs were in the room.” During the trip, Trump also met with a businessman from Sberbank Russia.
It’s unclear whether Trump met with Putin during the trip, but it seems highly unlikely. News organizations reported that he was slated to meet with Putin but did not because he took a later flight from the United States so that he could attend Billy Graham’s birthday party. But, in an interview during the trip, he told NBC News that he and Putin had “a relationship” and that the Russian leader was particularly “interested” in him and what he had to say.
Here is the full quote about Putin: “I do have a relationship,” Trump replied, “and I can tell you that he’s very interested in what we’re doing here today. He’s probably very interested in what you and I are saying today and I’m sure he’s going to be seeing it in some form. But I do have a relationship with him and I think it’s very interesting to see what’s happened. I mean, look, he’s done a very brilliant job in terms of what he represents and who he’s representing. If you look at what he’s done with Syria, if you look at so many of the different things, he has really eaten our president’s lunch, let’s not kid ourselves.”
November 11, 2013 — Trump makes deal with Crocus Group for Trump Tower in Moscow — A Russian business newspaper reported that Trump had made a deal with Agalarov’s Crocus Group to build a skyscraper similar to the Trump Tower in the Krasnogorsk region of Russia. It was his fifth attempt at building a Trump Tower in Russia. The story cited unnamed sources close to Agalarov. The story said the Trump brand is licensed in Russia to developers of residential, commercial and hotel realty projects and that Trump had been interested in Moskva and Rossiya hotel projects, as well as luxury hotels in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Sochi.
2014 — Trump announces licensing deal for Trump Hotel Rio de Janeiro
2014 — Trump sues Trump Entertainment Resorts to remove his name from Trump Taj Mahal and Trump Plaza casinos
March 2014 — Russia invades Crimea
March 13, 2014 — In NBC interview, Trump says Putin has “eaten Obama’s lunch” — In an interview on NBC to announce the location of the Miss Universe pageant, Trump says that he had fired a Miss Russia and then began talking about his views that Obama looked weak against Putin. He said, “We should definitely do sanctions and we have to show some strength. I mean, Putin has eaten Obama’s lunch, therefore, our lunch for a long period of time. And I just hope that Obama, who is not looking too good, doesn’t do something very foolish and very stupid to show his manhood.”
2015 — Trump’s now-national security adviser sits near Putin, stuns diplomats — Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Trump’s national security adviser, stunned the diplomatic community by sitting near Putin at a 2015 Moscow dinner honoring RT, the English-language network aligned with the Kremlin that broadcasts into the United States.
Aug. 10, 2015 — Trump fires campaign consultant Roger Stone — Trump campaign released a statement that “Roger wanted to use the campaign for his own personal publicity.” http://www.nationalreview.com/article/422353/donald-trump-roger-stone-interview
Feb. 29, 2016 — Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions becomes first senator to publicly support Trump as nominee for presidency http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/271109-gop-senator-expected-to-endorse-trump
March 3, 2016 — Trump announces Sessions will chair campaign’s national security advisory team
March 21, 2016 — Trump names five foreign policy advisers in meeting with Washington Post editorial board — In a meeting with the Washington Post’s editorial board, Trump named five of his foreign policy advisers, Carter Page, Walid Phares, Joseph Schmitz, George Papadopoulos and J. Keith Kellogg Jr.
March 28, 2016 — Trump hires Paul Manafort to help him secure delegates for campaign https://www.nytimes.com/politics/first-draft/2016/03/28/donald-trump-hires-paul-manafort-to-lead-delegate-effort/
April 27, 2016 — Trump gives his first major foreign policy speech — The event, at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C., was the first time the candidate laid out his foreign policy plans. The event was sponsored by the National Interest and the Center for the National Interest. Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak and three other ambassadors attended.
May 19, 2016 — Trump promotes Paul Manafort to campaign manager — By then, Trump is the presumptive nominee for the Republican Party.
July 8, 2016 — Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page gives speech in Moscow that criticizes U.S. policy toward Russia — The speech was reported on as highly critical of the United States. It’s available on YouTube.
July 18–21 — Jeff Sessions meets with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during Republican Convention — J.D. Gordon and Carter Page also meet with the Russian ambassador at the convention.
July 19, 2016 — Bloomberg reports Trump’s debt is $630 million, net worth is $3 billion — A Bloomberg analysis of Trump’s financial disclosure form showed that Trump had $630 in debt from property development, golf courses and Trump tower. His total assets were valued at $3 billion, from Trump Tower, resorts, his partnership with Vornado, condos, airplanes and his new D.C. hotel.
July 22, 2016 — WikiLeaks publishes email leak from Democratic National Committee
July 25, 2016 — FBI announces it will investigate the hack of DNC emails
July 26, 2016 — Trump tweets that he has “zero investments in Russia” https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/758071952498159616?lang=en
July 27, 2016 — Trump publicly calls on Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails — In a press conference, Trump calls on Russia to hack Clinton’s emails, setting off an uproar. Here’s what he said: “I will tell you this, Russia: If you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”
Aug. 14, 2016 — New York Times reports that pro-Russian political party in Ukraine had secret payments earmarked for Trump’s campaign manager https://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/15/us/politics/paul-manafort-ukraine-donald-trump.html?_r=0
Aug. 18, 2016 — Manafort goes on NBC, denies any business relationship with Ukrainian oligarch http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/donald-trump-aide-paul-manafort-scrutinized-russian-business-ties-n631241
Aug. 19, 2016 — CNN reports FBI and DOJ are investigating U.S. ties to corruption allegations against former President of Ukraine; Manafort resigns http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/19/politics/paul-manafort-donald-trump-ukraine/
Oct. 7, 2016 — U.S. intelligence agencies announce Russia is to blame for email hacks — “We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities,” according to statement from the Department of Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence — https://www.dni.gov/index.php/newsroom/press-releases/215-press-releases-2016/1423-joint-dhs-odni-election-security-statement.
Oct. 21, 2016 — Russian hacker accused of hacking LinkedIn and Dropbox arrested in Czech Republic, in custody as Russian and United States fight over extradition https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/yevgeniy-nikulin-indicted-hacking-linkedin-dropbox-and-formspring
Oct. 31, 2016 — David Corn publishes first story breaking news of Trump/Russia dossier http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/10/veteran-spy-gave-fbi-info-alleging-russian-operation-cultivate-donald-trump. Months later, after the BuzzFeed published the dossier in its entirety, Corn wrote about his interviews with the former spy who’d written the dossier: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/01/spy-who-wrote-trump-russia-memos-it-was-hair-raising-stuff.
Oct. 31, 2016 — New York Times publishes story with headline “Investigating Donald Trump, FBI sees no clear link to Russia https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/01/us/politics/fbi-russia-election-donald-trump.html
Nov. 6, 2016 — Two days before presidential election, WikiLeaks releases new trove of hacked DNC emails http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/06/politics/wikileaks-dnc-emails-surprise/
Nov. 8, 2016 — Trump elected president
Nov. 14, 2016 — Putin calls Trump to congratulate him on election victory — During the call, Putin reportedly called for “cooperation in ending a crisis in Russian-American relations.”
Nov. 18, 2016 — Trump appoints Michael Flynn as national security adviser
December 2016 — Jared Kushner and Michael Flynn meet with Russian ambassador in Trump Tower https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/02/us/politics/kushner-flynn-sessions-russia.html
Dec. 25, 2016 — Russian ambassador and Michael Flynn exchange text messages
Dec. 26, 2016 — Russian Oil Exec tied to dossier found dead in Moscow https://themoscowtimes.com/news/top-rosneft-exec-found-dead-in-moscow-56649
Dec. 28, 2016 — Russian ambassador texts Michael Flynn
Dec. 29, 2016 — Obama announces new sanctions against Russia and expels 35 Russian diplomats; Russian ambassador and Michael Flynn speak by phone several times that day
Dec. 30, 2016 — Putin announces that Moscow will not expel American diplomats in response to U.S. sanctions — Putin says that Russia would attempt to rebuild relations with U.S. after Trump is inaugurated. Trump tweets, praises Putin.
Jan. 6, 2017 — U.S. intelligence report confirms that Putin ordered a cyber campaign to assist Trump in U.S. election
Jan. 10, 2017 — Sessions says under oath during confirmation hearing that he had never contacted Russians
Jan. 11, 2017 — Donald Trump tweets that he has “nothing to do with Russia” Full tweet read: “Russia has never tried to use leverage over me. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA — NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!”
Jan. 11, 2017 — Blackwater founder Erik Prince and a Russian close to Vladimir Putin meet secretly in the Seychelles as part of effort to establish back-channel communication between Moscow and Trump — The United Arab Emirates organized a secret meeting between Prince and a high-level Russian before Trump’s inauguration as part of a plan to create a back-channel line of communication between Trump and Moscow, U.S., European and Arab officials told the Washington Post. The meeting happened about Jan. 11 in the Seychelles islands in the Indian Ocean. Prince presented himself as an unofficial envoy for Trump to high-ranking officials from the UAE, who arranged the meeting, officials told the Post. Prince was a strong supporter of Trump’s campaign. His sister, Betsy DeVos, was chosen as Trump’s education secretary.
Jan. 13, 2017 — Trump spokesman says nothing nefarious about Flynn’s calls to Russian ambassador
Jan. 15, 2017 — Vice President Mike Pence tells CBS that Flynn and Russian ambassador did not discuss sanctions
Jan. 16, 2017 — Trump aide meets at Davos with Russian organization on sanctions list — Anthony Scaramucci, aide to President-elect Donald Trump and founder of SkyBridge Capital, discussed possible joint investments in a meeting in Davos with the head of a Russian sovereign wealth fund that the U.S. sanctioned in 2015, the fund’s press service said. The meeting with Kirill Dmitriev, head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, a $10 billion state-run investment vehicle, is the first public contact between the incoming administration and Kremlin-backed business. https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-01-17/in-davos-trump-aide-talks-deals-with-sanctioned-kremlin-fund
Jan. 20, 2017 — Trump inaugurated as president
Feb. 2, 2017 — In interview with ABC’s Brian Ross, Carter Page denies allegations in dossier http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/trump-associate-denies-middle-man-russia/story?id=45206444
Feb. 8, 2017 — Sessions confirmed as attorney general https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/08/us/politics/jeff-sessions-attorney-general-confirmation.html
Feb. 9, 2017 — Pence learns that Flynn did not tell him the whole truth about Russian ambassador phone calls
Feb. 10, 2017 — Flynn aide says that Flynn may have talked about sanctions during call with Russian ambassador
Feb. 14, 2017 — Trump spokesman says Trump asked for Flynn’s resignation
Feb. 27, 2017 — House Intelligence Committee agree to investigate Russia’s alleged interference in U.S. election
March 2017 — Trump administration sought to block former acting attorney general Sally Yates from testifying to Congress in Russia inquiry — The Washington Post reported that the Justice Department notified Sally Yates in March that the Trump administration considered much of her possible testimony to be barred from discussion in a congressional hearing because the topics were covered by the presidential communication privilege. Yates and other former intelligence officials had been asked to testify before the House Intelligence Committee in late March, a hearing that was abruptly canceled by Chairman Devin Nunes.
March 1, 2017 — Washington Post reports that Sessions twice met with Russian ambassador in 2016; contradicts what he said during confirmation hearing
March 2, 2017 — Sessions announces he will recuse himself from any investigations involving Russian interference in election
March 20, 2017 — First committee hearing involving allegations of Russian involvement in election — House Intelligence Committee
March 20, 2017 — FBI director confirms investigation into Russian involvement in U.S. election, Trump campaign’s relationship with Russians — During the House Intelligence Committee hearing, the first public hearing on Russian meddling in the U.S. election, FBI director James Comey disclosed that the FBI is investigating both Russia’s efforts to influence the U.S. election and the relationship that the Trump campaign might have had in that meddling.
During the hearing, Comey said, “The FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 Presidential election. And that includes investigating 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.”
March 21, 2017 — House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes meets with an intelligence official on the White House grounds to view secret intelligence documents, Nunes later tells Bloomberg — After reports surfaced that Nunes had made a mysterious visit to the White House on March 21, Nunes confirmed that he went to the White House that evening. He told reporters that he met with a person to view secret intelligence documents that he used to give credence to Trump’s claims that he was wiretapped by Obama. Nunes said it was the most convenient secure location that had a computer that connected into the system where the intelligence reports were stored. Nunes repeatedly declined to give any details about the source of what he called “dozens” of classified intelligence reports. The ranking Democrat on the committee, Adam Schiff, accused Nunes of viewing the reports in a “dead-of-night excursion.”
March 22, 2017 — House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes tells reporters that American intelligence agencies may have “incidentally” picked up Trump team during surveillance of foreign officials — Nunes went to the White House and briefed President Trump about intelligence he’d seen on surveillance of foreign nationals after the election. Nunes then told reporters that American intelligence agencies monitoring foreign officials may have “incidentally” heard communications that involved members of Trump’s team. The White House responded by pointing to this as evidence to support Trump’s recent tweets accusing the Obama administration of wiretapping him. “I think it’s startling information,” said Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary. Nunes refused to say how he obtained the information, and he withheld it from members of the intelligence committee. The unusual way that Nunes handled the information led some to speculate that his discovery was calculated to help the White House, an attempt to derail the investigation of the Trump campaign’s possible ties to Russia.
March 22, 2017 — FBI has information that Trump’s associates communicated with Russian operatives, possibly to coordinate release of damaging information about Hillary Clinton, CNN reports — http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/22/politics/us-officials-info-suggests-trump-associates-may-have-coordinated-with-russians/index.html
March 29, 2017 — Senate Intelligence Committee leaders vow to conduct thorough inquiry into Russian interference in the presidential election — The senators who are leading the investigation into Russian interference in the November election held a press conference, pledging to conduct a vigorous inquiry. Senators Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Mark Warner (D-Virginia) told reporters that the committee had begun to schedule the first of at least 20 interviews in the investigation.
March 30, 2017 — Trump’s former national security adviser seeks immunity in exchange for testimony in inquiries into Trump campaign’s potential ties to Russia — Michael Flynn, who served as Trump’s national security adviser, told the FBI and congressional officials that he would be willing to be interviewed in exchange for being given immunity from prosecution, according to the Wall Street Journal.
April 5, 2017 — Trump removes Steve Bannon from the National Security Council — Trump removed Steve Bannon from the National Security Council. The New York Times reported that the move was coordinated by Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, Trump’s national security adviser. Bannon’s position on the council had drawn criticism because Bannon had no national security experience.
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Abbie VanSickle is a reporter with the Investigative Reporting Program at the University of California’s Graduate School of Journalism.