During the presidential campaign, it struck me as odd how often Donald Trump was talking about Russia, because for the last 20 years most Americans haven’t paid much attention to Russia. The country ranks 30th as a trading partner both for imports and exports and hasn’t factored much in day to day American life. Sure, the country is aggressive and still dangerous (Georgia / Ukraine!), but it rarely took up more than a few news cycles. Then, suddenly, Trump was talking Russia all the time, especially heaping praise on Putin. Weird.
Then came the election hacking scandal, the Michael Flynn scandal, and lots of dead or imprisoned Russian agents. I wanted to understand for myself what happened when and why.
Below is a timeline I pulled together with linked public sources. Once the timeline was in place, major threads became clear.
The narrative seems straightforward, at least to me.
I don’t think it’s a stretch to speculate that Trump, deeply in debt, started laundering money with Russians. He wanted to build in Moscow and held pro-Moscow views. The Russians who had been cultivating Trump for years probably didn’t think he would win the election, but they wanted to push the party and the country into a more pro-Russia footing. The Russians supported Trump and his campaign with misinformation, pro-Russian staff, and cash.
If I’ve missed anything important, please let me know in the comments. Let’s keep pulling at threads.
- First put togther on Feb 5, 2017
- Jan 2019 — I’ve updated this timeline occasionally as new news has broken. Amazingly, even today, with all the scrutiny on Trump and Russia, Trump’s policy is overwhelmingly pro-Russia at the expense of US interests and Trump still openly kowtows to Putin.
Trump marries Ivana Zelnickova from Czechoslovakia and according to files released by the Czech secret service, the couple was closely watched by Soviet-block agents.
1978 Not related to Russia, but helpful in understanding how Trump became Trump: This is a Village Voice profile on his rise.
“Trump won’t do a deal unless there’s something extra — a kind of moral larceny — in it. He’s not satisfied with a profit. He has to take something more. Otherwise, there’s no thrill.”
Spring 1986 Trump meets Soviet ambassador Yuri Dubinina. Trump later angles for a Reagan administration government posting to the Soviet Union. He apparently thought he could end the cold war in an hour by talking to Gorbachev.
Jan 1987 Trump is invited to Russia after being seated next to Ambassador Yuri Dubinina at a social event. Dubinina was part of group of Russian officials meeting American business leaders. This group included future UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin. Trump meets Gorbachev.
March 16, 1987 Dan Bogatin pleads guilty to taking part in a gasoline-bootlegging scheme with Russian mobsters. The US Government says that his Trump Tower condos are part of a money-laundering scheme..
July 4, 1987 Trump and his wife Ivana are flown to Russia by Intourist, the Soviet agency for international tourism (then under KGB control). He talks of building a hotel next to the Kremlin. More on the trip and Russia’s cultivation of Trump. After returning home, Trump talks about running for president.
1990 Not related to Russia, but this Vanity Fair profile is helpful in understanding Trump. It speaks of his presidential ambitions and alleges he keeps a book of Hitler’s speeches by his bed.
“Donald is a believer in the big-lie theory,” his lawyer had told me. “If you say something again and again, people will believe you.”
“One of my lawyers said that?” Trump said when I asked him about it. “I think if one of my lawyers said that, I’d like to know who it is, because I’d fire his ass. I’d like to find out who the scumbag is!”
1996 Trump discusses building a hotel in Moscow during a second trip to Russia. He applies for Russian trademarks. He made this trip during a period of deep financial stress. According to the Moscow Times during news conference in Moscow he said, “I’ve seen cities all over the world. Some I’ve liked, some I haven’t, [but I’ve never been] as impressed with the potential of a city as I have been with Moscow.”
Dec 9, 1996 Trump meets Mikhail Gorbachev in Washington.
Jan 1997 Trump meets with Russian general Aleksandr Ivanovich Lebed and discusses building skyscrapers and hotels. Trump says he is looking into buying the Moskva Hotel and the Rossiya. Another report on this strange meeting.
1997 During a visit to Moscow, Trump discussed building a statue of Columbus 6 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty with Russian artist Zurab Tsereteli. The statue eventually ends up in Puerto Rico.
1998 Russia defaults on it’s debts. Russian money starts heading overseas.
1998 The Trump Taj Mahal broke anti-money laundering rules at least 106 times. The Taj Mahal was the preferred gambling spot for Russian mobsters.
1999 Rex Tillerson meets Vladimir Putin for the first time as Exxon makes a deal with Russian state-owned oil giant Rosneft.
2000 Trump’s 2016 NY campaign manager Michael Caputo is hired as PR flak for Gazprom.
Feb 2000 Trump exits the Reform Party race.
2001 On the Howard Stern Show, a gossip columnist banters with Trump about Russian prostitutes.
2002 The Bayrock group is based in Trump Tower. Bayrock is founded by Tevfik Arif. Bayrock starts a series of deals with Donald Trump and his children.
2003 Trump starts doing business with the Felix Sater/The Bayrock Group. He is first introduced to Tevfik Arif and felon Felix Sater by a leasing agent for Trump Tower. The Bayrock Group arranged for the Trump Organization to become involved in the Camelback, Ocean Club and Merrimac developments and to have these developments marketed under the Trump brand. Trump began a series of Bayrock deals that culminate in the Trump Soho. The Trump Soho deal eventually becomes embroiled in a RICO lawsuit. [ed. note Read the first Forbes story. Nuts.]
Trump declare bankruptcy again.
June 2005 Paul Manafort starts working for Oleg Deripaska, a Russian billionaire and close Putin ally, to promote Russian interests. He is paid 10M/year.
Aug 30, 2005 Trump bids for Denver’s Union Station with the Bayrock Group.
Felix Sater travels to Moscow with Ivanka and Don Junior. They stay at the Hotel National Moscow across from the Kremlin.[date needed]
Sept 2007 Trump is photographed w/ Felix Sater at a Trump SoHo launch party. Sater changes the spelling of his name to Satter. Years later the Bayrock group is accused of being a front for an international money laundering scheme.
Oct 15 2007 Trump praises Putin on Larry King
Nov 22, 2007 Trump Vodka is introduced in Moscow. At the launch Trump meets Sergey Milliam who signs a deal to promote Trump in Russia. Trump announces 10K bottles have been ordered.
2008 Trump announces a deal with Affliction Entertainment, a mixed martial arts company, to bring a wrestling-based reality show to Russia. The show never got made, but one of Trump’s partners, Aleksander Emelianenko who was convicted of sexual assault has close ties with Vladimir Putin and continued to do business with Michael Cohen for many years.
April 2008 Trump partners with Russian oligarch Pavel Fuks to develop real estate licensing deals in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Sochi. These deals fall through.
July 2008 Trump sold a mansion for 95M to a Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev for a profit of roughly 50M. This was a curious transaction in that the house was listed as unlivable and many say Dmitry Rybolovlev never set foot in the house.
Sept 2008 Donald Trump Jr. says Trump businesses were seeing “see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.” “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets.” Trump Jr. also notes frequent travel to Russia with at least 8 trips in the previous 18 months. Note this is not direct investment from Russia, but rather financing that originates in Russia or from Russian people. My assumption is that Bayrock became one of Trump’s top financiers after his credit with traditional US banks dried up.
Unrelated to Russia, but interesting. Trump tries to woo Muammar al-Qaddafi as an investor.
Kremlin-linked Russian politician Alexander Torshin starts courting the NRA.
Trump declares bankruptcy again.
Sept 2010 Bayrock founder Tevfik Arif was Turkey on suspicion of running prostitute ring on $60m luxury yacht. After the arrests, Turkey deported nine Russian and Ukrainian women, including two under the legal age of consent. A reporter who looked at investigative materials claims the Arif’s organization provided escort services with girls as young as 13. The prostitution charges were later dropped and the records were changed to record that the women were above the age of 18.
Aug 30, 2011 Rex Tillerson negotiates a multi-billion-dollar deal between ExxonMobil and the Rosneft, the Russian state-owned oil company.
2011 The FBI monitors a Russian mafia ring run out of Trump Tower. This led to the indictment of 30 people.
Apr 2012 Julian Assange begins broadcasting on Russia Today (RT), the state-run broadcasting network.
Jan 2012 Bayrock announces units in the Trump Soho will be auctioned amid rumors of financial distress.
Feb 2013 The Russian government seizes key buildings in Crimea. This was part of a political crisis that several months earlier and would continue through 2014 when Russian troops entered Ukraine.
April 16, 2013 Federal agents burst into an apartment at Trump Tower as part of a larger raid that rounded up 29 suspected members of two global gambling rings with operations allegedly overseen by a supposed Russian mob boss named Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov. Later in Nov, Tokhtakhounov attends the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and is photographed w/ Trump. The FBI raids were part of money laundering investigation run by Russian organized crime: Helly Nahmad, an art dealer who lives in Trump Tower was also arrested.
Jun 1, 2013 Michael T. Flynn gives an address to the Main Intelligence Agency of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (the GRU). He later hosts GRU officers at the American embassy.
June 18, 2013 Trump wonders on twitter, “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?”
July 2013 The Trump Toronto opens with funding from Russian partners in the midst lawsuits from 38 investors. This article in American Interest takes a hard look at Trump’s financing during this period.
Oct 17th, 2013 On Letterman Trump says, “I’ve done a lot of business with the Russians.”
Nov 5, 2013 Under oath Trump states he barely knows Felix Sater.
Nov 8–9, 2013 Trump partners with Russian billionaire Aras Agalarov to host the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow. Trump later attends the pageant. He doesn’t meet Putin, but brags, “almost all the oligarchs were in the room.” Trump ties to the pageant were cemented by the pop star son of one of the oligarchs. The Guardian wrote a detailed account of Trump’s time in Moscow.
Nov 11th Trump thanks his oligarch friend via twitter, “@AgalarovAras I had a great weekend with you and your family. You have done a FANTASTIC job. TRUMP TOWER-MOSCOW is next. EMIN was WOW!”
Feb 10, 2014 Trump praises Putin.
March 2014 At CPAC Trump brags, “You know, I was in Moscow a couple months ago, I own the Miss Universe pageant, and they treated me so great,” Trump said. “Putin even sent me a present, beautiful present, with a beautiful note.”
March 2014 The Obama administration imposes sanctions on Russia for it’s annexation of Crimea and entry into Ukraine. The Russian reaction to sanctions.
May 2014 Trump told a press luncheon that he “spoke, indirectly and directly, with President Putin, who could not have been nicer.” A year earlier, he told MSNBC: “I do have a relationship and I can tell you that he’s very interested in what we’re doing here today.”
June 16, 2015 Donald Trump announces he’s running for president.
July 2015 Hackers breach the DNC and stay in the network for at least 11 months.
July 11, 2015 Russian-connected NRA surrogates ask Trump ask Trump about sanctions: “What will be your foreign politics, especially in the relationships with my country? Do you want to continue the policy of sanctions that are damaging both economies? Or [do you] have any other ideas?”
“I know Putin, and I’ll tell you what, we’ll get along with Putin,” he said in response. “I would get along very nicely with Putin, I mean, where we have the strength. I don’t think you’d need the sanctions. I think we would get along very, very well.”
Sept 2015 The FBI contacts the DNC telling them that they have been compromised. The message is routed through a low level help desk and the seriousness of the hack takes some time to sink in.
Sept 2015 Ukrainian steel magnate Victor Pinchuk’s foundation becomes the single largest outside donor to Donald Trump’s private charity in 2015.
Sept 29, 2015 Trump praises Putin on Fox News.
Oct 28, 2015 Trump personally signs a letter of intent for his Moscow tower project. This was the same day as the third Republican debate.
Late 2015 British spies see information from Democratic party emails circulating within Russia and warn their US counterparts. The hacking scandal slowly starts to unwind.
Nov 15, 2015 In an email Felix Sater says to Michael Cohen, “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, I will manage this process.”
Dec 2, 2015 Associated Press reporters ask Trump about his relationship with Sater. Trump said, “Felix Sater, boy, I have to even think about it. I’m not familiar with him.”
Dec 17, 2015 Putin begins praising Trump in public.
Dec 31, 2015 Russia’s national security plan defines NATO as a threat.
Jan 14, 2016 Michael Cohen emails Dmitry Peskov, a top aide and spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, to enlist his help “to secure land and permits,” according to documents submitted to Congress.
March 19, 2016 APT28 gets access to John Podesta’s gmail account.
March 27, 2016 Trump calls NATO obsolete.
March 28, 2016 Paul Manafort is hired by Trump to head delegate wrangling. After the nomination he becomes campaign chair. Manafort has an apartment in Trump tower and has deep ties with Russian interests especially within the Ukraine.
March 30, 2016 Carter Page joins the campaign and starts promoting lifting sanctions. This profile details his deep Russia ties.
April 16, 2016 Paul Manafort takes over the Trump campaign.
April 27, 2016 Richard Burt writes a major foreign policy speech for Trump. The speech was arranged by The Center for National Interest, a Russian-aligned conservative think tank and held at the Mayflower Hotel. Burt is on the board of Alfa-Bank, the largest commercial bank in Russia, and an investment fund with a large position in Gazprom. When he wrote the speech Burt was a paid lobbyist for Russia. This was Trump’s first major foreign policy speech. Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak — in a break of protocol — attends the speech. Trump, Michael Flynn, and Jeff Sessions met Kislyak in a private VIP reception at this event. Kislyak later forgets to mention these meetings when asked about connections to the Trump campaign.
April 2016 A Baltic state intelligence agency gives the CIA Director John Brennan with a tape of a conversation about money from the Kremlin going into the US presidential campaign. A joint counter-intelligence taskforce was created comprised of the FBI, CIA, NSA, Treasury Department and DNI.
Felix Sater visits Trump Tower and donates to the Trump campaign. Trump denies he would recognize Sater if they were in the same room.
May 6, 2016 Andrew Napolitano, a Fox news contributor, alludes to Russia releasing 20K DNC emails implying knowledge of the hack.
Spring 2016 Michael Cohen plans a trip to Russia to push the Trump Tower Moscow deal as Trump becomes the presumptive GOP nominee.
June 3, 2016 Donald Trump Jr agrees to meet Russian officials who offer damaging information on Hillary Clinton in Trump Tower.
June 8, 2016 Romanian-registered DCLeaks.com begins posting stolen DNC emails. The emails came from GRU according to US intelligence
.June 9, 2016 Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort meet with a Kremlin-connected lawyer who promised damaging information on Hillary Clinton.
Trump tweets about the stolen emails.
June 10, 2016 Russian oligarch and property developer Aras Agalarov delivers an “expensive painting” to Trump for his birthday. Agalarov helped arrange the meeting with Donald Trump Jr and is accused of money laundering and embezzlement.
June 14, 2016 The Washington Post breaks the story of the DNC hack alleging Russian involvement. A complete timeline of the email hacking story.
June 20, 2016 The Steele dossier begins to circulate in Washington making multiple allegations. It continues to be updated through Dec. The FBI gets a portion of the document in July.
June 21, 2016 Paul Manafort takes over the Trump campaign.
June 2016 The FBI seeks warrant from a FISA court to monitor Russian banks. The application which named Trump, is rejected. The FBI petitions again in July and is again rejected.
July 2016 Alleged meeting between Carter Page and Igor Sechin to discuss the sale of 19% of Russian oil giant Rosneft in return for a lifting of sanctions. [This is an unconfirmed Steele dossier allegation. 19.5% of Rosneft is sold to an unknown buyer in Dec.] Carter Page travels to Moscow in July and gives a speech critical of US policy. More on this trip.
July 2016 Michael Cohen alleges that Roger Stone tells Trump about an impending Wikileaks dump from Julian Assange.
July 11, 2016 Trump staffers exclude anti-Russia pro-Ukraine language from the GOP platform. Frank Mermoud, helped shepherd this. He’s connected to Russia via Cub Energy, a Black Sea oil and gas company. He’s on the board of the US Ukraine Business Council.
July 21, 2016 Trump accepts the Republican nomination.
July 22, 2016 Wikileaks releases 20K DNC emails.
July 25, 2016 06:31:22 AM Trump tweets “The new joke in town is that Russia leaked the disastrous DNC e-mails, which should never have been written (stupid), because Putin likes me”
July 27, 2016 Trump at a press conference, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 [Hillary Clinton] emails that are missing.”
July 31, 2016 Once again Trump parrots key Russian talking points at odds with US interests and policy: “You know, the people of Crimea, from what I’ve heard, would rather be with Russia than where they were,” he said in an ABC News interview.
Congressional leaders are briefed on a computer backchannel between the Trump camp and Russia’s Alfa bank. More than 2700 lookup messages were passed. The FBI couldn’t find an explanation.
Aug 2, 2016 Paul Manafort meets with Konstantin Kilimnik at the Grand Havana Room in New York City to discuss American policy in Ukraine. The meeting came just days after Kilimnik met in Moscow with Oleg Deripaska, a powerful oligarch and close ally of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. “In emails first reported by the Washington Post, Manafort proposed giving Deripaska “private briefings” on the Trump campaign, and told Kilimnik to pass the idea on to the oligarch.”
Aug 6, 2016 Paul Manafort meets with Russian army veterans with ties to Russian intellegence.
Aug 15, 2016 Donald Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort’s name shows up in ledgers that show 12.7 M in cash payments by pro-Russia elements in Ukraine. More on Manafort’s deep Russian ties.
In an interview, Michael Flynn says the state-run Russia Today is no different than CNN. He also discusses being seated next to Putin at a Russia Today dinner.
Time Magazine article detailing Trump’s deep business ties w/ Russia and Russians despite his denials. To be clear Trump doesn’t seem to own property in Russia despite attempt to build there, the connections are financial.
Jeff Sessions changes his tune on Russia. For years he had called Russia an enemy of the US, in comments today he urged de-escaltion.
Aug 20, 2016 Paul Manafort resigns.
Sept 2016 Fake news supporting Trump and demeaning Clinton much of it produced by Russian-backed actors are microtargeted on Facebook using data from Cambridge Analytica. The Trump campaign spent 5M/week on this targeting during the last weeks of the campaign hitting many millions of users. More on Cambridge Analytica. [Info on the amount of Facebook payments, and the type of material targeted came from two sources within Facebook] This is a 3 part series on Russia’s long history of this kind of misinformation campaign.
Sept 6, 2016 Trump advisors J.D Gordon and Carter Page meet with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyav (and possibly several other Trump campaign staffers) at a conference connected with the RNC.
Sept 8, 2016 Jeff Sessions met with Russian Ambassador Kislyak. On the same day Trump is interviewed on state supported Russia Today by Larry King.
Sept 13, 2016 Russian UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin defends Trump and other far right candidates supported by Moscow.
Sept 23, 2016 US intelligence starts to probe Carter Page as a possible backchannel to Russian intelligence. Two days later Page calls the inquiry a “witch hunt” but his carefully worded letter to the FBI raises lots of questions and is also now provably false.
Sept 26, 2016 Trump misdirects on the Russian hacks, “She’s saying Russia, Russia, Russia, but I don’t — maybe it was. I mean, it could be Russia, but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, OK?”
Oct 2, 2016 Trump advisor Roger Stone predicts a release of Russian hacked emails on Wikileaks before they are released. He later says he has a Wikileaks backchannel.
Oct 7, 2016 An Access Hollywood outtake from 2005 shows Trump making lewd comments about women. The US government says it is confident Russia hacked the DNC.
Oct 15, 2016 A FISA court issues a warrant to investigate two Russian banks — Alfa and SBC. Three members of the Trump team are included in the warrant.
Nov 3, 2016 The flight path of Russian billionaire, Dmitry Rybolovlev’s private plane, once again matches the path of the Trump campaign plane. Normally this would be considered a coincidence, but Rybolovlev is the billionaire who purchased Trump’s Palm Beach estate at a huge markup in 2008.
Nov 8, 2016 On the morning of the American election an official at the Russian consulate in New York is found dead. Sergei Krivov was found with blunt force trauma to the head.
Donald Trump wins in an upset election in the electoral college that few predicted. He looses the popular vote by 2.8 million votes.
Dec 1, 2016 Kushner meets Ambassador Kislyak at Trump Tower. News reports say Kushner suggests setting up a back channel.
Dec 14, 2016 Former Trump surrogate Jack Kingston shows up in Moscow telling a Russian audience they can expect sanctions to be lifted.
Dec 15, 2016 09:24:29 AM Trump tweets, “If Russia, or some other entity, was hacking, why did the White House wait so long to act? Why did they only complain after Hillary lost?”
Mid Dec, 2016 At the request of Russian ambassador Kislyak, Jared Kushner meets with Sergey N. Gorkov, the chief of Vnesheconombank, which the United States placed on its sanctions list after President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia annexed Crimea and began meddling in Ukraine. The meeting is the second in less than a month between Kushner and Kislyak.
Dec 25, 2016 General Michael Flynn and Ambassador Sergey Kislay exchange texts. Between the 25th and the 29th they would speak at least 5 times.
December 26, 2016 Oleg Erovinkin, a top adviser to Igor Sechin, the CEO of the Russian oil giant Rosneft is found dead in his Lexus. Sechin is a central figure in the Steele dossier and a close friend of Rex Tillerson. The dossier states that Sechin met with Carter Page in July 2016.
Dec 30, 2016 Rather than retaliating against the American sanctions as had been signaled, Russia says it will do nothing and invites the children of American diplomats to the Kremlin.
Trump later tweets 02:41:33 PM “Great move on delay (by V. Putin) — I always knew he was very smart!”
Jan 6, 2017 The DNI releases a report on Russian hacking.
Jan 10, 2017 Jeff Sessions appears to lie under oath about contact with the Russian officials during the campaign.
Jan 11, 2017 07:31:31 AM Trump tweets, “Russia has never tried to use leverage over me. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA — NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!”
07:13:40 AM Trump tweets, “Russia just said the unverified report paid for by political opponents is “A COMPLETE AND TOTAL FABRICATION, UTTER NONSENSE.” Very unfair!”
Several days after being briefed by the heads of the NSA, FBI and CIA, Trump finally admits that Russians hacked the DNC releasing their emails. “As far as hacking, I think it was Russia, but we also get hacked by other countries and other people”
Around the same day Blackwater founder and Besty DeVos’ brother Erik Prince held secret meetings to establish a Trump-Putin back channel.
Jan 13, 2017 06:11:13 AM Trump tweets, “Totally made up facts by sleazebag political operatives, both Democrats and Republicans — FAKE NEWS! Russia says nothing exists.“
Jan 17, 2017 Anthony Scaramucci, aide to President-elect Donald Trump and founder of SkyBridge Capital, discussed possible joint investments with the head of a Russian sovereign wealth fund. In an interview with TASS Scaramucci criticised sanctions against Russia. Trump has suggested he could ease the sanctions on Russia if the Kremlin cooperates on his policy priorities.
Jan 20, 2017 Donald J. Trump becomes president. An unusual number of Russian billionaires with Kremlin ties attend Trumps inauguration and are granted prime access. Michael Cohen meets with oligarch Viktor Vekselberg.
Jan 22, 2017 Trump singles out James Comey at a White House reception for a handshake.
Jan 23, 2017 At his first press conference Sean Spicer is asked about Michael Flynn’s communications with the Russian ambassador. Spicer denies Flynn talked about sanctions.
Jan 26, 2017 Acting attorney general Sally Yates tells the White House national security adviser Mike Flynn had discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador during the transition and is vulnerable to Russian blackmail. Flynn denied discussing sanctions to Mike Pence who repeated his denials on air.
Trump asks James Comey for his loyalty at a private dinner.
Michael Cohen meets with Felix Sater and a pro-Russian Ukrainian businessman who pitch a pro-Russia plan that involves dropping sanctions.
Feb 2017 In an interview one of Paul Manafort’s Russian contacts, Konstantin Kilimnik, talks about Manafort, spying, and polling.
Feb 1, 2017 The Trump team schedules and then cancels a meeting with Alexander Torshin who is under investigation in Spain as a Russian mafia boss in the Taganskaya organization.
Feb 2, 2017 The Treasury department eases Obama’s Russian sanctions making it easier for American companies to get techology products into Russia. The meeting was cancelled after it was flagged by an NSC stafter.
Feb 3, 2017 Report that the Kremlin is in the midst of a major FSB purge of officials who might have leaked information related to hacking the American elections. This includes Sergei Mikhailov, deputy chief of the FSB’s Center for Information Security and his counterpart Dmitry Dokuchayev as well as Ruslan Stoyanov, head of Kaspersky Lab. This purge seems to be widespread with several high level officers arrested.
Feb 5, 2017 Trump creates a moral equivalence between the US and Russia during a pre-superbowl interview with Bill O’Reilly. Here’s a Chicago Tribune story on this. For reference, this is how Putin deals with opponents: Russia killing political opponents. Journalists killed by the Russian state. An activist falls mysteriously ill.
Feb 7. 2017 According to the New York Times, a back-channel plan for lifting US sanctions on Russia was delivered to Michael Flynn by Michael D. Cohen, the president’s personal lawyer, Felix H. Sater, a shadowy Bayrock-connectd businessman, and Andrii V. Artemenko, a Ukrainian polititian tied to Paul Manafort. The plan hopes to oust the Ukrainian president Petro O. Poroshenko with intelligence from top Putin aides. [ed. note: Lifting Russian sanctions has been the apparent motive of many people who surround Trump.]
Feb 9, 2017 The Washington Post reports NSA head Michael Flynn discussed sanctions with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak before taking office.
Feb 11, 2017 Business Insider publishes a list of Russia-related campaign events alleged in the Steele dossier to events that have now been verified.
Feb 13, 2017 Michael Flynn resigns as National Security Advisor.
Feb 15, 2017 Both the New York Times and CNN report several major players on the Trump team had repeated and constant contact with senior Russian intelligence officials during the campaign. The White House asks the FBI to dispute reports of conversations between Trump’s campaign and the Kremlin.
07:08:12 AM Trump tweets, “This Russian connection non-sense is merely an attempt to cover-up the many mistakes made in Hillary Clinton’s losing campaign.”
Feb 18, 2017 The New Yorker published a in-depth profile on former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. It concludes: “This story is bigger than Mike Flynn,” the senior military intelligence official said. “Who told Mike to go do this? I think somebody said, ‘Mike, you’ve got some contacts. Let them know it’s gonna be all right.’ Mike’s a soldier. He did not go rogue.”
Feb 20, 2017 Russian UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin, one of the men who first introduced Trump to Russia, dies unexpectedly of a heart attack.
Feb 24, 2017 Republican congressman Darrell Issa suggests a special prosecutor should investigate Trump’s Russia connections.
The New Yorker files a long story detailing the history of covert election-relation Russian influence attempts and goes into Putin’s motivations for favoring Trump.
Mar 1, 2017 The New York Times reports the Obama administration widely disseminated intelligence regarding close connections between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence fearing that the incoming Trump administration would hide and destroy the intelligence.
Mar 2, 2017 After over 20 denials of contact with Russian officials Carter Page admits to contact with Russian officials and backtracks on his connections to the Trump campaign.
Mar 3, 2017 Trump claims President Obama tapped his phones during the election. Assuming the phones were tapped, this would have been directed by the FBI under a FISA warrant that had probable cause.
Mar 7, 2017 Michael Flynn retroactively registers with the State Department as an agent of a foreign government for pre-election work he did for Turkey.
Mar 10, 2017 Closed door Oval Office meeting with Russians.
Mar 11, 2017 Trump fires Preet Bharara, US Attorney of SDNY, who led the breakup of a Russian crime ring operating out of Trump Tower.
Mar 30, 2017 The Washington Post profiles alleged Trump associate Sergei Millian who for years has claimed to represent Trump and is alleged to be a source in the Steele dossier.
May 9, 2017 Trump fires James Comey, the director of the FBI.
July 7, 2017 Trump meets Putin. During this meeting he and Putin talked privately of over an hour. Trump has kept the contents of the conversation a secret and destroyed his translator’s notes. They meet at least twice. There is no official American record of the conversation.
July 8, 2017 After a meeting with Putin, Trump drafts a statement about his son’s meetings with Russian agents saying the meeting was about adoptions.
Oct 25, 2017 Michael Cohen testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee. In Jan 2019, Buzzfeed reported Cohen was directed by Trump to lie about negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Robert Mueller’s office issued a press release saying the Buzzfeed report was inaccurate.
Nov 11, 2017 Trump called Mr. Putin and congratulated him on his election victory, overriding aides who told him not to congratulate the despot.
Dec 14, 2017 Trump called Putin to thank him and discuss North Korea after a news conference in which Putin showed a video of missiles attacking the US.
Mar 20, 2018 Trump meets Putin in Da Nang, Vietnam.
April 16, 2018 Trump stops plan for new Russian sanctions.
June 7, 2018 Trump says the G7 “should let Russia come back in”.
July 16, 2018 Two hour private meeting in Helsinki between Putin and Trump in Helsinki. Again there is no official American record of what was said. Trump did not criticize Putin and questioned American intelligence agencies.
Midyear Trump floats the idea of US withdrawal from NATO to the dismay of aids and allies. NATO destabilization is a major Russian policy goal.
Nov 30, 2018 Informal conversation with Vladimir Putin at the G-20 in Buenos Aries after their official meeting was canceled. Again, not recorded.
Dec 19, 2018 The Trump administration announced it’s intent to lift sanctions against the empire of Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska. The sanctions are lifting helping Deripaska, one of Putin’s closest confidants (and former Paul Manafort employer).
Dec 20, 2018 Trump abruptly announces the US will withdraw from Syria, a major Russian policy goal. The announcement prompts the resignation of his Secretary of Defense.
Janury 2019 Sanctions are lifted on companies controlled by Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska. Congressmen raise concerns about ties between Deripaska and Treasury Steve Mnuchin.
January 29, 2019 Roger Stone pleads not guilty to seven criminal counts connected to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. Stone is suspected of helping coordinate the release of emails collected from the Clinton campaign by Russian intelligence through Wikileaks.