Timeline of Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This is a timeline of major events related to election interference that Russia conducted against the U.S. in 2016. This timeline also includes major events related to investigations into suspected inappropriate links in 2016 between associates of President Donald Trump and Russian officials.[1]


2016 Election cycle

2015

  • Spring 2015: U.S. Intelligence intercepts conversations of Russian government officials discussing associates of Donald Trump.[2]
  • June 16: Donald Trump, a real estate developer and television personality, announces his candidacy for president.[3]
  • July onward: A wide range of fake Twitter accounts run by the Kremlin's Internet Research Agency begin to communicate praise for Trump over his political opponents by a wide and increasing margin up to election day, according to a later analysis by the Wall Street Journal.[4]
  • Summer: Hackers linked to the Russian FSB gain access to the DNC computer network.[5]
  • September: An FBI special agent contacts the Democratic National Committee to report that at least one DNC computer system has been hacked by an espionage team linked to the Russian government. The agent is transferred to a tech-support contractor at the help desk, who makes a cursory check of DNC server logs and does not reply to follow-up calls from the FBI agent, allegedly because of a belief that the call might have been a prank.[6]
  • September 21: On Hugh Hewitt’s radio program, Trump says, “The oligarchs are under [Putin’s] control, to a large extent. I mean, he can destroy them, and he has destroyed some of them… Two years ago, I was in Moscow . . . I was with the top-level people, both oligarchs and generals, and top-of-the-government people. I can’t go further than that, but I will tell you that I met the top people, and the relationship was extraordinary.”[7]
  • October 28: Donald Trump signs a 'letter of intent' to construct a Trump-branded building in Moscow; a fact made public in August 2017.[8][9]
  • November: Trump associate Felix Sater emails Trump lawyer Michael Cohen: "Michael, I arranged for Ivanka to sit in Putin's private chair at his desk and office in the Kremlin [...] Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it. I will get all of Putin's team to buy in on this".[10]
  • December 10: Retired Lieutenant General Michael T. Flynn gives a paid speech on world affairs in Moscow, at a gala dinner organized by RT News. Flynn had appeared on RT as an analyst after he retired from the Army. The dinner is also attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is the guest of honor.[11] Flynn is seated directly next to Putin; also seated at the head table are Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein and members of Putin's inner circle, including Sergei Ivanov, Dmitry Peskov, and Alexey Gromov.[12] For his December speech, Flynn nets $33,500 of the $45,000 paid to his speakers’ bureau.[13] For all of 2015, Flynn receives more than $65,000 from companies linked to Russia.[14]

January–June 2016

  • January: Cohen attempts to contact Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, requesting assistance towards construction of a Trump-branded building in Moscow.[15]
  • February 29: Paul Manafort submits a five-page proposal to Trump outlining his qualifications to help Trump secure enough convention delegates and win the Republican presidential nomination. Manafort describes how he had assisted several business and political leaders, notably in Russia and Ukraine.[16]
  • March/April: Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos conducts two meetings with Russian nationals, seeking damaging information about Hillary Clinton and attempting to arrange a meeting between the Trump campaign and Russian leaders. He pleads guilty in October 2017 to lying to the FBI about these meetings.[17]
  • March 19: Clinton presidential campaign chairman John Podesta is asked to change his email password in an apparent phishing attempt, believed to be spearheaded by Russian hackers. They successfully gain access to his account.[5]
  • March 21: In a Washington Post interview,[18][19] Trump identifies Carter Page and George Papadopoulos as being among his foreign policy advisers. Page had helped open the Moscow office of investment banking firm Merrill Lynch and had advised Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom, in which Page is an investor. He had blamed 2014 US sanctions relating to Russia’s annexation of Crimea for driving down Gazprom’s stock price.[20] Earlier in March 2016, Iowa tea party activist Sam Clovis had recommended Page to the Trump campaign.[21]
  • Spring: U.S. intelligence officials’ suspicions about Russian meddling in the election grow after their counterparts in Europe warn that Russian money might be flowing into the presidential election.[2]
  • March 29: On Roger Stone's recommendation,[22] Manafort joins the Trump campaign as convention manager, tasked with lining up delegates.
  • March 31: At a meeting involving Trump and Jeff Sessions, George Papadopoulos speaks of his connections with Russia, and offers to negotiate a meeting between Trump and Vladimir Putin. Sessions later stated he opposes the idea.[23][24][25]
  • April: Between April and November 2016, at least 18 further exchanges by telephone and e-mail occur between Russian officials and the Trump team.[26][27]
  • April: Hackers linked to the GRU gain access to the DNC computer network.[5]
  • April 20: Manafort becomes Trump’s campaign manager. Reports surface about his 2007 to 2012 ties to former President of Ukraine Victor Yanukovych, whom Manafort had helped to elect.[28]
  • April 26: George Papadopoulos is informed by Kremlin-linked politics professor Joseph Mifsud that Moscow has damaging information on Hillary Clinton, including thousands of emails.[29]
  • April 27: Trump and Jeff Sessions greet Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington D.C.. This contact is repeatedly omitted from testimony, or is denied.[30]
  • Late April: The Democratic National Committee's IT department notices suspicious computer activity. Within 24 hours, the DNC contacts the FBI, and hires a private cybersecurity firm, CrowdStrike, to investigate.[31]
  • May: CrowdStrike determines that sophisticated adversaries—denominated Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear—had been responsible for the DNC hack. Fancy Bear, in particular, is suspected of affiliation with Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU).[32]
  • May 26: The Associated Press reports Donald Trump has secured enough delegates to become the presumptive Republican nominee.[5]
  • June 3: Donald Trump Jr. receives an e-mail from Rob Goldstone, a British music publicist, offering on behalf of Azeri singer Emin Agalarov to meet an alleged Russian government official who “would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father,” as "part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” Trump Jr. responds "I love it," and schedules the meeting. Goldstone also offers to relay the information to Trump Sr. through his assistant, if it was desired.[33]
  • June 9: Jared Kushner, Manafort and Trump Jr. meet in Trump Tower with Goldstone, Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Russian attorney,[34] Rinat Akhmetshin, a Russian-American lobbyist[35] Ike Kaveladze, a representative of the Agalarovs' Crocus Group,[36] and a translator.[37] Veselnitskaya is best known for lobbying against the Magnitsky Act, an American law that blacklists suspected Russian human rights abusers.[38]
  • Early June: At a closed-door gathering of foreign policy experts visiting with the Prime Minister of India, Page hails Putin as stronger and more reliable than President Obama and touts the positive effect that a Trump presidency would have on U.S.-Russia relations.[39]
  • June 13: A hacker or group calling themselves Guccifer 2.0 releases over 10,000 names from the DNC in two spreadsheets and a list of objectionable quotes from Sarah Palin.[40]
  • June 18: Guccifer 2.0 dumps a new batch of documents from the DNC servers, including personal information of 20,000 republican donors and opposition research on Trump.[41]
  • June:
    • The FBI sends a warning to states about "bad actors" probing state voter-registration databases and systems to seek vulnerabilities; investigators believe Russia is responsible.[42]
    • Rick Dearborn, then Chief of Staff for Sessions, sends an email mentioning an individual from West Virginia seeking to connect Trump campaign members with Putin. Dearborn appears "skeptical" of the meeting request.[43]

July–September 2016

  • July 7: In a lecture at the New Economic School in Moscow,[44] Page criticizes American foreign policy, saying that many of the mistakes spoiling relations between the US and Russia “originated in my own country.”[45] Page had received permission from the Trump campaign to make the trip.[46] Page also meets Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich during the visit.[47]
  • July 9: The Washington Post reports that Trump is considering Flynn for Vice President, with support from Senator Jeff Sessions.[48] Trump eventually selects Mike Pence, Governor of Indiana.
  • July 18–21: Republican Convention in Cleveland[49]
  • July 22: WikiLeaks publishes 20,000 emails from seven key officials of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). The emails shows them disparaging Bernie Sanders and favoring Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential primaries.[55]
  • July 24: DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is forced to resign over the email scandal.[56]
  • July 25–28: Democratic Convention in Philadelphia.[57]
  • July 25: Based on assessments from cybersecurity firms, the DNC and the Clinton campaign say that Russian intelligence operators have hacked their e-mails and forwarded them to WikiLeaks.[58]
  • July 27: At a news conference, Trump "hopes" that Russia can find Clinton's missing emails. The remark triggers a backlash from media and politicians who criticize Trump's "urging a foreign adversary to conduct cyberespionage" against his political opponent.[59][60] Trump replies that he was being "sarcastic".[61]
  • July 28: Hillary Clinton formally accepts the Democratic nomination.[62]
  • End July: CIA Director John Brennan, alarmed over intelligence that Russia is trying to "hack" the election, forms a working group of officials from the CIA, FBI and NSA.[63]
  • July: According to later testimony by James Comey, the FBI starts a counter-intelligence investigation about Russian interference, including possible coordination between Trump associates and Russia.[64]
  • August 4: Brennan calls his Russian counterpart Alexander Bortnikov, head of the Federal Security Service (FSB), to warn him against meddling in the presidential election.[63]
  • August 16: Stone tells Alex Jones that he is in contact with WikiLeaks director Julian Assange, claiming he has "political dynamite" on Clinton.[65]
  • August 18: The FBI issues a nationwide "flash alert" warning state election officials about foreign infiltration of election systems in two states, later reported to be Arizona and Illinois. The alert includes technical evidence suggesting Russian responsibility, and urges states to boost their cyberdefenses. Although labeled for distribution only to "NEED TO KNOW recipients," a copy is leaked to the media.[66]
  • August 19: Manafort resigns as Trump's campaign manager.[67]
  • August 26: Assange states that Clinton is causing "hysteria" about Russia, following her claims that Russian intelligence was behind the leaks.[68] He also says "The Trump campaign has a lot of things wrong with it, but as far as we can see being Russian agents is not one of them."[68]
  • August: Trump donor Rebekah Mercer asks the CEO of Cambridge Analytica whether the company could better organize the Clinton-related emails being released by WikiLeaks.[69]
  • September 8: Sessions meets with Kislyak a second time, in Sessions' office;[1] he later says they discussed Ukraine and terrorism.[70]
  • September 25: When asked by CNN about allegations linking Carter Page to Russia, Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway denies that Page is part of the Trump campaign.[71][72]
  • September 29: Comey testifies before the House Judiciary Committee, confirming that federal investigators have detected suspicious activities in voter registration databases, as stated in the August 18 alert.[73]

October–November 2016

  • October 7:
    • WikiLeaks begins publishing thousands of emails from Clinton campaign manager John Podesta, revealing excerpts from Clinton's paid speeches to Wall Street.[74][75]
    • The DHS and the ODNI issue a joint statement[76] accusing the Russian government of breaking into the computer systems of several political organizations and releasing the obtained material via DCLeaks, WikiLeaks and Guccifer 2.0, with the intent "to interfere with the U.S. election process."[77]
  • October 12: WikiLeaks writes to Trump Jr. “Hey Donald, great to see you and your dad talking about our publications,” “Strongly suggest your dad tweets this link if he mentions us.”[78] Fifteen minutes later, Donald Trump Sr. writes on Twitter, "Very little pick-up by the dishonest media of incredible information provided by WikiLeaks. So dishonest! Rigged system!"[79]
  • October 14:
    • Trump Jr. tweets a specific Wikileaks link.[80]
    • Mike Pence denies that the Trump campaign is working with Wikileaks, stating that "nothing could be further from the truth".[81]
  • October 19: During the third presidential debate, Clinton blames Russia for the DNC email leaks and accuses Trump of being a "puppet" of Putin.[82]
  • October 19: A Financial Times probe finds evidence a Trump venture has links to alleged laundering network.[83]
  • October 24: Trump announces at a Florida campaign rally, "I have nothing to do with Russia, folks, I’ll give you a written statement."[84]
  • October 27: At the Valdai Discussion Club yearly forum, Putin denounces American "hysteria" over accusations of Russian interference, saying “Does anyone seriously think that Russia can influence the choice of the American people?”[85]
  • October 31: Through the "red phone", President Obama tells President Putin to stop interfering or face consequences.[86]

Trump transition

November–December 2016

  • November 8: Trump is elected President of the United States.[87]
  • November 10:
    • Kislyak states that Russia was not involved with U.S. election hacking.[88]
    • In a private Oval Office meeting, Obama warns Trump against hiring Flynn.[89]
  • November 11: Trump campaign spokesperson Hope Hicks denies claims by the Kremlin that Trump officials met with its staff.[90]
  • November 18:
    • Trump announces he will nominate Sessions to be Attorney General[91] and Flynn as National Security Adviser.[92]
    • Elijah Cummings, ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, writes a letter to Pence warning that Flynn's connections to Russia and Turkey might create conflicts of interest. He asks the Trump administration's transition team for documents related to Flynn.[93] Receipt of the letter is acknowledged on November 28.[26]
  • December 1/2: According to an anonymous letter to The Washington Post citing leaked intercepts of Russian diplomatic communications, during a transition team meeting at Trump Tower, Kushner asks Kislyak about the potential to communicate directly with the Kremlin over a Russian-encrypted channel. Flynn also attends the meeting.[94]
  • Early December: In Russia, Sergei Mikhailov, FSB cyber chief, Ruslan Stoyanov, senior researcher with Kaspersky Lab, and Dmitry Dokuchayev, a hacker known as “Forb”, are arrested for treason.[95][96]
  • December: Kushner meets Russian banker and FSB Academy graduate Sergei Gorkov.[97] The meeting was first reported in March 2017, and attracted interest of federal and congressional investigators in May.[98]
  • December 9: Republican Senator John McCain delivers the Steele dossier to Comey.[99]
  • December 13: Trump picks Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State; Russian officials praise the decision.[100]
  • December 15: Clinton tells a group of donors in Manhattan that Russian hacking was ordered by Putin "because he has a personal beef against me" due to her accusation in 2011 that Russian parliamentary elections that year were rigged.[101][102]
  • December 18: Speaking to CBS News, Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway states that it is "false" and "dangerous" to suggest that members of the Trump campaign spoke to any Russians during the campaign.[103]
  • December 26: Oleg Erovinkin, a former KGB official, is found dead in the back seat of his car in Moscow. He was suspected of assisting former MI-6 agent Christopher Steele in compiling a dossier alleging Trump ties to Russia as part of opposition research.[104]
  • December 29:
    • Obama expels 35 Russian diplomats, locks down two Russian diplomatic compounds, and expands sanctions against Russia.[105]
    • Flynn has telephone conversations with Kislyak to discuss sanctions.[106]
  • December 30: Putin announces he will not retaliate against the U.S. expulsions, contrary to recommendations from Lavrov.[107] Trump approves.[108]

January 2017

  • January 5:
    • Obama is briefed on the intelligence community’s findings.[109]
    • Flynn, Bannon and Kushner meet with the king of Jordan. According to BuzzFeed, they discuss a plan to deploy American nuclear power plants in Jordan with security support from a Russian company. "People close to the three Trump advisers" deny the allegations.[110][111]
    • R. James Woolsey Jr., who had joined as a senior adviser candidate Donald Trump in September 2016, resigned on amid Congressional hearings into cyber attacks and public statements by Donald Trump critical of the United States Intelligence Community.[112]
  • January 6: The ODNI releases an unclassified report stating that "Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election".[113]
  • January 9: Kushner is named Senior Advisor to the President.[114]
  • January 10:
  • January 11:
    • Trump tweets "Russia has never tried to use leverage over me. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA – NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!".[117] USA Today says this is "not exactly true".[118]
    • Erik Prince, a Trump campaign donor, meets in the Seychelles with an unidentified Russian said to be close to Putin. The meeting was organized by the United Arab Emirates and reportedly includes talks of a "back-channel" with Moscow to try and influence Russian policy in the Middle East.[119]
  • January 13: President-elect Trump nominates U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein to serve as Deputy Attorney General.[120]
  • January 15: Interviewed on CBS’ Face the Nation and Fox News Sunday, Vice President-elect Pence repeatedly denies any connection between the Trump campaign team and Russians.[26]
  • January 17: Sessions states in writing that he has not been "in contact with anyone connected to any part of the Russian government about the 2016 election."[121] Sessions had been accused of failing to disclose two meetings with Russian ambassador Kislyak.[122]
  • January 18/19: McClatchy[123] and The New York Times report that Trump associates Manafort, Page and Stone have been under investigation by the FBI, NSA, CIA, and FinCEN,[124] based on intercepted Russian communications and financial transactions.[125] Sources say "the investigators have accelerated their efforts in recent weeks but have found no conclusive evidence of wrongdoing."[124]
  • January 20: Obama leaves office.[126]

Trump administration

January 2017

  • January 20: Trump and Pence take office.[127]
  • January 21: Trump appoints Flynn as National Security Advisor.[128]
  • January 24: Flynn is interviewed by the FBI about his conversations with Kislyak.[129]
  • January 26: Acting Attorney General Sally Yates warns the Trump administration that Flynn has not been truthful about his contacts with Russia and that he may be vulnerable to blackmail by Russian intelligence.[130]
  • January 27:
    • Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos is interviewed by the FBI concerning Russian meetings in 2016. He pleads guilty in October 2017 to making omissions and false statements during the interview.[131][132]
    • White House Counsel Donald McGahn has further discussions with Yates on the Flynn matter.[133]
    • During a private dinner at the White House, Comey gets the impression that Trump wants to "create some sort of patronage relationship." Comey would later testify that Trump requested "loyalty" from him, and that he offered "honesty" instead.[134]
  • January 31: Trump dismisses Yates, citing her refusal to enforce Executive Order 13769.[135]

February 2017

  • Early February: Cohen delivers a pro-Russian Ukrainian peace plan to Flynn while visiting the White House. The plan was developed by Sater and Andrii Artemenko, a Ukrainian politician who said he was encouraged by "top aides" to Putin.[136]
  • February 8: Sessions is confirmed as Attorney General by a vote of 52 to 47;[137] he is sworn in the next day.[138]
  • February 9: Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) introduces a resolution of inquiry in relation to possible crimes relating to the financial dealings or collusion with Russia by President Trump.[139]
  • February 13: Flynn is dismissed after less than a month in office.[140]
  • February 14: Trump reportedly asks Comey to drop any investigation of Flynn. The White House denies the charge.[141]
  • February 16: Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos is interviewed for a second time by the FBI. In the following days, Papadopoulos deletes his Facebook account which he has run since 2005 (containing correspondence concerning Russia), opens a new Facebook account and changes his telephone number.[142][143]
  • February 20:
  • February 24: Asked about links between Trump and Russia, Press Secretary Sean Spicer states that "there are no connections to find out about".[146]

March 2017

  • March 1: Sessions comes under scrutiny after reports that he had contact with Russian government officials during the election campaign, even though he denied it during his confirmation hearings. Democratic representatives ask Sessions to resign his post as United States Attorney General.[147]
  • March 2: Sessions announces that he will recuse himself from any investigations into Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election.[148]
  • March 3: In testimony to Congress, Comey says: “It makes me mildly nauseous to think that we might have had some impact on the election.”[149]
  • March 5: In a Meet the Press interview, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper states that, as long as he was still in office, the NSA, FBI and CIA had found no evidence of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.[150]
  • March 20: The House Intelligence Committee holds its first public hearing. Comey admits that there is indeed an FBI investigation ongoing and whether there were any links between individuals associated with the Russian government and the Trump campaign, and whether there was coordination involved.[151]
  • March 22: House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) announces that he discovered the intelligence community "incidentally collected" the communications of some members of Trump's transition team, potentially including the president himself,[152] and claims that the information was "widely disseminated". It is later confirmed that he learned this from an unnamed source during his White House visit on the previous day.[153]
  • March 23: Rick Gates, longtime deputy to Manafort and Trump campaign advisor, is forced to leave the pro-Trump nonprofit 'America First Policies' after reports that Manafort sought to further Russian interests.[154]
  • March 27: Schiff and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi call for Nunes' recusal from the investigation after details of his White House visit become public.[155]
'Clint Watts tells Senate intel panel that Russia targets Trump with propaganda'. Video from C-Span
  • March 30:
    • Flynn tells the FBI and Congress that he would testify in exchange for immunity from prosecution.[156]
    • Former FBI special agent Clint Watts testifies as an expert witness before the Senate Intelligence Committee.[157]
  • Late March: Trump asks Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and NSA Director Mike Rogers to publicly deny any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Both refuse, saying the requests were inappropriate.[158]

April 2017

  • April 3: Eli Lake reports in Bloomberg View that former National Security Advisor Susan Rice had requested to unmask the identities of members of the Trump campaign and presidential transition in surveillance records.[159]
  • April 6: Nunes recuses himself from the House Intelligence Committee investigation.[160] The House Ethics Committee starts an investigation of Nunes' conduct in the month of March.[161]
  • April 25: Rosenstein is confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 94-6.[162][163]

May 2017

  • May 3: Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, who is the senior Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, states that there is "not yet" any evidence of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.[164]
  • May 4:
    • Rice refuses to testify to Congress.[165]
    • In a Wall Street Journal interview, Peter Smith, a GOP operative and independent opposition researcher says he tried to acquire the 33,000 deleted Clinton emails. Smith contacted several hackers who claimed to have data, including some potential Russian operatives. Flynn's son Michael G. Flynn was reportedly involved in the effort. Smith kills himself ten days after the interview, aged 81.[166][167][168]
  • May 5–7: At President Trump's direction, White House Senior Advisor for policy Stephen Miller writes a draft letter of dismissal of FBI Director Comey.[169]
  • May 8: In an Oval Office meeting, Trump informs Kushner, Pence and McGahn of his intention to remove Comey, and gives them copies of the Miller draft. McGahn objects to the angry tone of this letter and convenes a separate meeting later that day with Sessions and Rosenstein, who had previously considered removing Comey from office. Rosenstein is given a copy of Miller's draft and agrees to write a new memo that would support the dismissal, using Comey's handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation as the main rationale.[169]
  • May 9:
    • Rosenstein gives the memo to Sessions to provide the basis for Sessions' recommendation that Comey be dismissed.[170][26]
    • Trump dismisses Comey from his position as FBI Director.[149]
    • White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer tells the press that Trump "has no business in Russia; he has no connections to Russia."[171]
  • May 10: Trump holds a meeting in the White House with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Kislyak. US reporters are excluded.[172]
    • Trump reportedly tells Lavrov and Kislyak he fired Comey to relieve pressure caused by the investigation.[173]
    • Trump shares classified intelligence about ISIS with Lavrov and Kislyak, without first seeking permission from the allied sources who collected the information.[174] It is later confirmed that the intelligence came from Israel.[175]
    • Pence characterizes the dismissal of Comey as a reactive decision made by Trump in response to a recommendation by Sessions and Rosenstein.[176]
  • May 11: In an interview for NBC News, Trump states that the Russia investigation was a consideration for him at the time of deciding to dismiss James Comey.[177]
  • May 12: Trump threatens Comey with alleged secret recordings of their conversations.[178]
Congressman Al Green's Floor Speech on the Impeachment of President Trump
  • May 17:
  • May 18: The Russian State Duma approves the nomination of former Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov to replace Kislyak as U.S. ambassador.[181]
  • May 19: Senator Feinstein repeats her statement of May 3 that no evidence of collusion was found, and adds that "there are rumors".[182]
  • May 22: Flynn refuses to hand over subpoenaed documents to the Senate Intelligence Committee, citing the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination.[183]
'Russia, Trump Team in Contact, Former CIA Director Tells Congress' video from Voice of America
  • May 23:
    • U.S. Department of Justice ethics experts declare Mueller ethically able to function as special counsel.[184]
    • The House Intelligence Committee hears testimony from former CIA Director Brennan, who states that Russia "brazenly interfered in the 2016 election process" despite U.S. efforts to ward it off.[185]
  • May 24: U.S. media reports that Trump has hired lawyer Marc Kasowitz, his longtime legal counsel, to represent him in any inquiry.[186]
  • May 25: The Senate Intelligence Committee unanimously votes to give its Republican chairman Richard Burr, and Democratic vice chairman Mark R. Warner, "blanket authority" to issue subpoenas during their investigation.[187]
  • May 26:
    • The Washington Post reports that Kislyak told Moscow that Kushner wanted a secret communications channel with the Kremlin under Russian supervision.[94]
    • The Senate Intelligence Committee requests that the Trump campaign turn over "all of its emails, documents and phone records" related to Russia. Several months earlier, the committee had asked the campaign committee to preserve records.[188]
  • May 30:
    • Cohen is formally urged to preserve records by the special counsel and the congressional committees.[189] Flynn partially agrees to turn over documents in the investigation.[190]
    • CNN reports about leaked intercepts of conversations between Kremlin officials discussing their potential influence on some Trump campaign members, including financial matters.[191]
  • May 31:
    • The House Intelligence Committee serves seven subpoenas – including those on Cohen and Flynn – for testimony, personal documents and business records.[192][193]
    • The FBI and congressional committees enquire about a possible third encounter between Sessions and Kislyak on April 27, 2016.[194]
    • The Trump administration offers to re-open the two Russian diplomatic compounds, in New York and Maryland, that had been locked down by the Obama administration on December 29, 2016.[195]
    • The White House announces that it will no longer take questions relating to Russia-Trump allegations, referring such questions to Trump's lawyers.[196]

June 2017

At a conference in St. Petersburg, NBC's Megyn Kelly repeatedly questioned Putin about Russian interference in the 2016 US elections.[197]
  • June 3: Mueller takes over an earlier probe into Manafort's activities in Ukraine. He may also look into the involvement of Sessions and Rosenstein in the dismissal of James Comey, in which case Rosenstein would recuse himself from supervising Mueller.[198]
  • June 5: The Intercept publishes a top secret NSA document which discusses the targeting by GRU of computer systems maintaining voter rolls in several states.[199][200] Reality Winner, an NSA contractor, is arrested for leaking the document.[201]
'Coats refuses to say whether Trump asked him to intervene in Flynn investigation'. Video from C-Span
  • June 7:
    • Coats and Rogers testify to the Senate Intelligence Committee that they never felt pressured by Trump to do anything inappropriate, but decline to answer questions on private conversations with him.[202]
    • In a prepared written testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee,[203] Comey confirms telling President Trump that he was not personally under any investigation, and refusing to say this publicly without prior approval from the Attorney General's office.[204] He also states that Trump felt the Russia story was a "cloud" that prevented him from performing his job as president.[204]
  • June 8: Comey testifies before the Senate Intelligence committee.[205]
  • June 12:
  • June 13:
    • The U.S. Senate agrees a new package of sanctions on Russia in retaliation to the election interference. The bill is drafted to prevent Trump from lifting sanctions unilaterally.[209]
    • Sessions testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee.[210]
    • Rosenstein testifies to the Senate that he is the only person empowered to dismiss Robert Mueller, and that he sees no reason to do so.[211]
  • June 14: The Washington Post confirms that Mueller is investigating Trump for obstruction of justice, in relation to his dismissal of Comey.[212]
  • June 16: Trump tweets: "I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt."[213]
  • June 18: Trump's lawyer Jay Sekulow states that he has not been notified of any investigation into Trump himself.[214]
  • June 19: ABC News contradicts the Post's report of June 14, saying no decision has yet been made on whether to investigate Trump for potential obstruction of justice.[215]
  • June 21: Kushner's lawyers provided an amended SF-86 to the FBI, their third such change, to list the meeting with the Russian lawyer.[216]
  • June 23: Kushner is interviewed by the FBI about his security clearance.[216]
  • June 27: Manafort registers retroactively as a foreign agent with the United States Department of Justice, showing that his firm received $17.1 million over two years from Yanukovych's Party of Regions.[217]
  • June 30: On the Lawfare blog, British security consultant Matt Tait claims that he had a series of conversations with Peter Smith in 2016, concerning Hillary Clinton's emails, an unnamed dark web contact, and a new Delaware company called KLS Research.[218][219] Tait is interviewed by Mueller shortly thereafter.[220]

July 2017

  • July 7: During a two-hour meeting with Trump at the 2017 G20 Hamburg summit, Vladimir Putin denies interfering in the 2016 US election. Trump conducts a second meeting with Putin some hours later, with no US aides. The second meeting is undisclosed by the White House until July 18th, following news reports.[221][222][223][224]
  • July 9:
    • The New York Times first reports that Trump Jr., Kushner and Manafort met Veselnitskaya at Trump Tower on June 9, 2016.[34][225]
    • U.S. President Donald Trump says he and Russian President Vladimir Putin "discussed forming an impenetrable cyber security unit so that election hacking, and many other negative things, will be guarded and safe." Trump later says he does not think this will happen.[226]
  • July 10–18: Further details about the Veselnitskaya meeting emerge in the press.[35][36][37]
  • July 11: Trump Jr. tweets his emails about the Veselnitskaya meeting before the Times publishes them minutes later.[33][227]
  • July 12:
    • Two Democratic Party donors and a former party staff member file an invasion of privacy lawsuit against Trump’s campaign and Stone.[228]
    • Articles of Impeachment against President Trump are formally filed in the House of Representatives.[229]
    • Speaking on Fox News, the Vice President's spokesman Marc Lotter repeatedly refuses to clarify whether or not Pence met with Russian representatives.[230]
  • July 14: Brad Parscale, the digital media director of Trump's campaign, issues a statement stating "I am unaware of any Russian involvement in the digital and data operation of the 2016 Trump presidential campaign", following accepting an invitation to testify before the House Intelligence Committee.[231]
  • July 19:
    • The New York Times reports on offshore transactions and shell companies linked to Manafort's work in Ukraine and investments with a Russian oligarch.[232]
    • The New York Times reports on sources claiming that Deutsche Bank is cooperating with federal investigators about Trump accounts.[233]
    • Trump, in an interview with The New York Times, threatens Mueller's job if the investigation expands to his personal finances.[234]
  • July 20:
    • Bloomberg News reports that Mueller is investigating Trump's business transactions.[235]
    • The Washington Post reports Trump is asking his attorneys about his ability to pardon himself and other key aides and family members.[236]
  • July 21:
    • The Washington Post reports Sessions discussed Trump campaign-related matters with Kislyak.[237]
    • John M. Dowd replaces Marc Kasowitz at the head of Trump's legal team, following personal threats made by Kasowitz.[238] Legal spokesman Mark Corallo resigns.[239]
  • July 22: Trump asserts ‘complete power’ to pardon anyone in relation to the Russia investigation.[240]
  • July 24: After a closed-door meeting with the Senate Intelligence Committee, Kushner issues a statement denying any collusion with Russian officials.[241][242]
  • July 25:
    • Kushner meets with the House Intelligence Committee in a closed-door meeting.[243][242]
    • Manafort meets with members of the Senate Intelligence Committee and turns over contemporaneous notes of the June 9th meeting.[244][245]
    • In an Oval Office interview with the Wall Street Journal's Gerard Baker, Trump states that there was "nobody on the campaign that saw anybody from Russia".[246]
  • July 26: The FBI conducts a pre-dawn raid on Paul Manafort's home, seizing documents and electronic devices.[244][247] The raid was on the day Manafort was scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.[248]
  • July 27: Former Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos is arrested upon arrival at Washington Dulles International Airport.[249]
  • July 28: Trump indicates his intention to sign the bill passed by overwhelming veto-proof majorities in both houses of Congress; taking the sanctions in place against Russia out of the control of the president.[250][251]
  • July 30: Putin, responding to sanctions, orders a cut in U.S. diplomatic staff by 755, and bars U.S. officials from entering a warehouse in Moscow used by the United States Embassy and to a site along the Moscow River.[252]
  • July 31: The Washington Post reports that Trump personally dictated a statement for Trump Jr. stating that the Veselnitskaya meeting “primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children”.[253] The next day, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders clarifies that Trump "certainly didn't dictate, ... but he weighed in, offered suggestion, like any father would do, based on the limited information that he had."[254]

August 2017

  • August 1: The Washington Post reports on a lawsuit filed by Rod Wheeler, claiming direct involvement by the Trump White House in the publication of a Fox News story concerning the Seth Rich conspiracy theory.[255]
  • August 2:
    • Trump signs the Congressional legislation limiting his ability to ease sanctions against Russia. He describes the bill as "flawed" and "unconstitutional".[256]
    • The Trump campaign turns over about 20,000 pages of documents to the Senate Intelligence Committee, as demanded by Senators Feinstein and Grassley.[257]
  • August 3:
  • August 4: Politico reports that a pair of Republican staffers were secretly sent by an aide to the recused Devin Nunes to London in July 2017, to contact Christopher Steele and his lawyer.[262][263][264]
  • August 6: Rosenstein confirms that Mueller is authorized to investigate any crime exposed by his inquiry.[265]
  • August 9: The Washington Post reports on the FBI raid at Manafort's home on July 26.[244] According to The New York Times, the search was ordered by Mueller for tax documents and foreign banking records.[266]
  • August 11: Akhmetshin gives sworn testimony for two hours to Mueller's grand jury.[267]
  • August 14:
    • Vice President Pence states that he "never witnessed" and was "not aware" of any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.[268]
    • The Washington Post first reports on Trump advisor George Papadopoulos' repeated attempts to arrange campaign meetings with the Russian leadership, which Manafort is said to have refused.[269]
  • August 16: ABC News reports that FBI investigator Peter Strzok is no longer on Mueller's team.[270]
  • August 22:
    • Steele identifies to the FBI named sources for the information in his Trump dossier.[271]
    • Fusion GPS founder Glenn R. Simpson, who had hired Steele for this work, speaks with the Senate Judiciary Committee and hands over more than 40,000 documents.[271]
  • August 24:
    • The New York Times reports that Akhmetshin had stronger ties to the Russian government and Kremlin-backed oligarchs than previously known.[272]
    • House Intelligence Committee issues subpoenas to the FBI and the Department of Justice for documents relating to the Trump dossier. They were not complied with by the September 1 deadline; deadline extended to September 14.[273]
  • August 25: The Washington Post and NBC report that Mueller has issued subpoenas to several lobbying firms connected to Flynn and Manafort, including Mercury Public Affairs and SGR LLC.[274][275]
  • August 29: CNN reports that Manafort's former attorney Melissa Laurenza and spokesman Jason Maloni have received subpoenas from Mueller.[276]
  • August 30: Politico reports that Mueller has teamed up with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to set up a separate method of charging people in the case, if Trump tries to use his pardon power to stymie the investigation.[277]
  • August 31:
    • The Daily Beast reports that Mueller has enlisted the IRS to investigate Trump's tax returns by the Criminal Investigations Unit of the agency.[278]
    • The Wall Street Journal reports that Trump's lawyers have attempted to make their case against charges of obstruction of justice against Trump to Mueller in the past months.[279]

September 2017

  • September 6:
    • The Washington Post reports that Facebook admitted that they sold advertisements to Russian companies seeking to advertise to the 2016 U.S. election audience.[280] Hours after the Post story was published, the New York Times confirmed the story with their own take on it, specifying that it was hundreds of accounts that were tied to the Internet Research Agency.[281][282]
    • Mueller contacted Facebook subsequently to the company's disclosure that it sold ads to a Russian spy agency-linked company, and the Menlo Park-based company has pledged full cooperation in Mueller's investigation, and began with providing all information about the advertisement bought by the Russian government, including the identities of the individuals who made the purchases.[283]
  • September 7: In a five hour long questioning with the Senate Judiciary Committee's staff, Donald Trump Jr states that he met with a group of Russians in Trump Tower in June 2016 in order to seek damaging information about Hillary Clinton, but that no such information was forthcoming.[284]
  • September 8: The Washington Post reports Muller gave the White House the names of six current and former aides he expects to question in Russia probe (Hope Hicks, Sean Spicer, Reince Priebus, Don McGahn, James Burnham and Josh Raffel).[285]
  • September 11: The Daily Beast reports that Russia used Facebook events to organize anti-immigrant rallies on U.S. soil.[286]
  • September 12: Yahoo! News reports the FBI has begun a Foreign Agent Registration Act violation investigation against Sputnik.[287]
  • September 13:
    • The United States bans use of Kaspersky Lab software in federal agencies amid concerns of Russian espionage.[288]
    • NBC News reports that former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn's Son, Michael G. Flynn, is named as a subject of Mueller's investigation.[289]
    • CNN reports that the Justice Department is preventing Senate investigators from interviewing two top FBI officials who could provide first-hand testimony over the firing of former FBI Director James Comey, a sign that Mueller could be investigating the circumstances around the firing.[290]
    • Bloomberg reports that Mueller has a “red-hot” focus on Russia’s effort to influence U.S. voters through Facebook.[291]
    • The Justice Department has asked a company that supplies services to the US affiliate of the state-owned Russian news outlet Russia Today to register as a foreign agent, according to an article published Monday on RT's website.[292]
    • The Wall Street Journal reports Michael T. Flynn promoted a multi-billion-dollar Middle Eastern Russian-backed nuclear-plant project while working in the White House.[293]
    • Facebook has concluded that a 225,000-member anti-immigrant group that attempted to organize anti-Clinton rallies in Texas during the 2016 presidential campaign was "likely operated out of Russia," Business Insider reports.[294]
  • September 14: Carter Page files suit against Yahoo! and The Huffington Post, alleging defamation in a September 2016 news article concerning Page's connections to Russia.[295]
  • September 15:
    • The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook shared with Mueller, in response to a warrant, copies of advertisements and account information related to the Russian advertisement purchases, beyond that which it shared with Congress in the previous week.[296]
    • According to the Wall Street Journal, California Representative Dana Rohrabacher contacted the White House this week trying to broker a deal that would end WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s U.S. legal troubles in exchange for what he described as evidence that Russia wasn’t the source of hacked emails published by the antisecrecy website during the 2016 presidential campaign.[297]
    • BuzzFeed reports Michael Flynn, Jared Kushner, and Steve Bannon met with King Abdullah II while Flynn was reportedly pressing for a controversial, for-profit deal to build nuclear power plants in the Middle East.[298]
    • Politico reports; a spokesman for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Jason Maloni, spent about two-and-a-half hours testifying Friday before Robert Mueller's federal grand jury probing potential collusion between the campaign and Russia.[299]
    • Politico reports that prosecutor Kyle Freeny has left the Justice Department's money laundering investigation unit to become the sixteenth lawyer on Mueller's team.[300]
  • September 17: The Financial Times reports that United States Senate Intelligence committee seeks further information about Russia links with Facebook, and are stepping up the pressure on Facebook as concerns rise about the role the social media network played in Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.[301]
  • September 18:
    • The New York Times reports that Robert Mueller notified Paul Manafort that he is a target of the investigation and will be indicted.[302]
    • CNN reports US investigators wiretapped former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort under secret court orders before (at least 2014) after the election. The government surveillance continued into early 2017, including a period when Manafort was known to talk to President Donald Trump.[303]
    • CNN reports that Facebook handed Russia-linked ads over to Mueller under search warrant.[304]
  • September 19:
    • A private interview by the Senate Intelligence Committee with Michael Cohen is disbanded upon learning that Cohen had previously shared his prepared statement with the media. Senators Burr and Warner release a statement condemning Cohen's action, and announce that he will be recalled to testify publicly on October 25th.[305][306]
    • Congressional Committees say Facebook is withholding information that may demonstrate the nature of Russian election interference.[307]
    • CNN reports that Mueller's Manafort investigation covers eleven years of activity.[308]
    • Reports emerge that Trump is using campaign and RNC funds to pay legal bills from the Russia probe.[309]
    • The Wall Street Journal reports that Mueller's team interviewed Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in the summer of 2017.[310]
    • During a Senate confirmation, Jon Huntsman, President Donald Trump’s pick for ambassador to Russia, said there is no doubt Moscow interfered in the 2016 U.S. election.[311]
    • CBS News has independently confirmed the FISA warrant surveillance on Manafort occurred during the 2016 presidential campaign.[312]
  • September 20:
    • The New York Times and The Washington Post report that Mueller is seeking White House documents related to Trump’s actions as President, including records and emails concerning matters including the dismissal of Comey and the warning that Flynn was under investigation.[313][314]
    • The Washington Post reports that less than two weeks before Trump accepted the Republican presidential nomination, his campaign chairman Manafort offered to provide briefings to a Kremlin-linked Russian billionaire.[315]
    • The Daily Beast reports on emerging evidence that numerous pro-Trump and anti-Clinton Facebook and Twitter activist accounts, including "Being Patriotic" and "march_for_trump", were run by Russian propagandists.[316]
  • September 21: The New York Times reports that Facebook is handing information on more than 3,000 Russia-linked advertisements to the Senate and House Intelligence Committees.[317]
  • September 22:
    • President Trump and Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov issue separate denials that Russia purchased advertising space on Facebook.[318][319]
    • Politico reports that Mueller has requested phone records about Air Force One statement.[320]
    • The Department of Homeland Security notifies election officials in 21 states that hackers targeted their systems last year; among those, only Illinois reported a successful breach.[321]
    • Senator Charles Grassley sends a letter to the FBI asking whether the FBI warned the Trump campaign in 2016 that Paul Manafort was under federal surveillance while working for that campaign, and if not then why such a warning was not given like the warning purportedly given to the McCain presidential campaign in 2008.[322]
  • September 24: The Washington Post reports that then-President Obama warned Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg over the potential electoral impact of fake news on Facebook, an idea Zuckerberg had dismissed as “crazy”.[323]
  • September 25: The Washington Post reports that "Russian operatives used Facebook ads to exploit divisions over black political activism and Muslims."[324]
  • September 26:
    • Roger Stone speaks to a closed session of the House Intelligence Committee. He denies all allegations of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign and describes the inquiry as politically motivated.[325]
    • CNN reports that the IRS is sharing information with Mueller.[326]
    • Politico reports on approximately $150,000-worth of Russian-funded advertisements on Facebook promoting candidates Trump, Sanders and Stein.[327]
    • The Daily Beast reports that Sean Spicer has hired lawyer Chris Mead to handle issues related to Mueller’s inquiry.[328]
    • Senator Richard Blumenthal tells Politico that criminal charges against Flynn and Manafort are virtually certain.[329]
  • September 27:
    • Senator Mark Warner's office states that Reddit is of interest to the investigation.[330][331]
    • CNN reports that at least one of the Facebook ads bought by Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign referenced Black Lives Matter and was specifically targeted to reach audiences in Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore.[332]
    • Facebook says it took down 'tens of thousands' of fake accounts created by Russians before the German election.[333][334]
    • The Senate Intelligence Committee has invited Facebook, Twitter and Google parent company Alphabet to testify.[335]
    • Mark Zuckerberg responds to Trump, regrets he dismissed election concerns.[336]
    • The Daily Beast reports Russians impersonated American Muslims to stir chaos on Facebook and Instagram.[337]
    • The Daily Beast reports that Mark Zuckerberg showed lack of sensitivity to warnings of Russian trolls before the attack on America.[338]
    • The New York Times reports "Twitter, With Accounts Linked to Russia, to Face Congress Over Role in Election".[339]
  • September 28:
    • Democrats rebuke Twitter for 'frankly inadequate' response to Russian meddling.[340]
    • Mother Jones reports "Fake News on Twitter Flooded Swing States That Helped Trump Win", saying that "millions of tweets were flying furiously in the final days leading up to the 2016 US presidential election."[341]

October 2017

  • October 1: Facebook announces that it will send thousands of ads bought by Russian operatives to Congress.[342]
    • President Trump misses deadline for implementing new Russian sanctions.[343]
  • October 2:
    • The Washington Post reports that Russian Facebook ads showed a black woman firing a rifle, amid efforts to stoke racial strife.[344]
    • The Washington Post reports that Trump’s company had more contact with Russia during campaign, according to documents turned over to investigators.[345]
    • The Washington Post reports that the Russians used similar methods as corporate America by using Facebook tool to ID and influence voters.[346]
    • Facebook announces 10 million Americans saw the advertisements purchased by Russian intelligence officers in the 2016 election influence campaign.[347]
  • October 3:
    • CNN reports Russian-linked Facebook ads targeted Michigan and Wisconsin.[348]
    • The Washington Post reports that the Senate Intelligence Committee is expected to largely endorse intel report on Russian meddling and sound the alarm about next election.[349]
  • October 5:
    • Former Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos pleads guilty to giving false testimony to the FBI about meetings he had with Russians in March 2016.[350]
    • CNN reports that Mueller's investigators met with the former British spy, Christopher Steele, who wrote the dossier on alleged Russian efforts to aid the Trump campaign.[351]
  • October 9:
    • The Washington Post reports that Google uncovered Russian-bought ads on YouTube, Gmail and other Alphabet-owned platforms aimed at influencing the 2016 presidential election.[352]
    • The Washington Post and ABC News report on correspondence which indicates that Veselnitskaya's intended subject matter for the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower was the Magnitsky Act.[353]
    • The Daily Beast reports that Russia recruited YouTubers to publicly criticize Hillary Clinton.[354]
    • The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook removed mention of Russia from an April report on election influence.[355]
    • Recode reports that Microsoft is reviewing its records for signs of Russian interference during the election.[356]
  • October 13:
    • NBC News reports on the transfer of $26 million from Oleg Deripaska's firm, Oguster Management Ltd, to Yiakora Ventures Ltd, a company linked to Manafort.[363]
    • President Trump's former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus is interviewed by Mueller's investigators for the entire day.[364]
    • Politico reports that Twitter deleted data potentially crucial to Russia probes.[365]
    • Facebook takes down data and thousands of posts, obscuring reach of Russian disinformation.[366]
  • Mid October: Mueller issues a first subpoena to the Trump campaign, who are voluntarily co-operating with his inquiry.[367]
  • October 16: Speaking to reporters at the White House, President Trump rejects the suggestion that he intends to dismiss Robert Mueller.[368]
  • October 17:
    • The Senate Intelligence Committee issues Page with a subpoena.[369]
    • Business Insider reports that Mueller has interviewed former GCHQ security specialist Matt Tait, who says he was "recruited to collude with the Russians" as part of Peter Smith's effort to locate Clinton's missing State Department emails.[220]
    • The Guardian reports that Russian trolls posing as Americans paid US activists to help fund protests during the 2016 election.[370]
    • A federal judge rejects a libel lawsuit filed by Deripaska against the Associated Press.[371]
    • Former press secretary Sean Spicer meets with Mueller's team for an interview that lasted much of the day.[372]
  • October 19:
    • The Daily Beast reports that Kellyanne Conway, Donald Trump Jr. and digital director Brad Parscale pushed messages from an account operated from Russia’s ‘troll farm’—including allegations of voter fraud a week before Election Day.[373][374]
    • Trump questions if Russia, FBI or Democrats paid for dossier.[375]
    • Senators Mark Warner and Amy Klobuchar introduces the Honest Ads Act, which would require digital platforms such as Facebook and Google to archive, in a publicly available file, advertisements purchased around election content. Senator John McCain co-sponsors the legislation.[376]
    • U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley says that Russian online interference in American elections is “warfare” and spreading misinformation is the country’s “new weapon of choice.”[377]
    • According to The Washington Post, CIA director Mike Pompeo "distorts intelligence community’s findings on Russian interference".[378]
    • British MP Damian Collins, chairman of the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, sends a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg requesting documents relating to possible Russian government manipulation of Facebook during the 2016 Brexit referendum and 2017 British general election. The letter, which was made public several days later, seeks "examples of all advertisements purchased by Russian-linked accounts, details on pages set up by other related accounts, as well as how many people these ads reached and how much was paid for them."[379]
  • October 20:
    • A Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev has emerged as a central figure in the controversy surrounding the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with the Kremlin is under investigation in Monaco.[380]
    • CNN reports that Senate investigators spoke with Russians present at Trump Tower meeting with Trump Jr.[381]
  • October 21: In an interview with New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, former President Jimmy Carter says, “I don't think there's any evidence that what the Russians did changed enough votes, or any votes."[382][383]
  • October 23:
    • NBC News reports Tony Podesta and the Podesta Group are now the subjects of Mueller‘s investigation.[384]
    • Kaspersky Lab, the Moscow-based cybersecurity firm whose software U.S. officials suspect helped the Russian government spy on Americans, promises to make its source code available for an independent review.[385]
  • October 24:
    • Fusion GPS is asking a federal judge in Washington for a restraining order to block the House Intelligence Committee from obtaining the firm's bank records, arguing that turning over the records would violate the First Amendment and poses an "existential threat" to the company.[386]
    • Twitter plans to make political ads more transparent amid Russia revelations.[387]
    • The Washington Post reports that the Clinton campaign and DNC were some of the parties that paid for research that led to Russia dossier.[388]
  • October 26:
    • Twitter says it will no longer accept advertising from accounts owned by Russian-backed news outlets RT and Sputnik.[393][394][395] Twitter vows to give away the $1.9 million already earned from RT and Sputnik.[396]
    • RT reports that Twitter pushed RT for a large ad buy for the 2016 US election, but the channel declined the offer.[397]
    • House Speaker Paul Ryan says that the FBI plans to hand over documents related to the Trump dossier.[398]
    • The Guardian reports that Cambridge Analytica used data from Facebook and Politico to help Trump win the 2016 presidential election.[399]
  • October 27:
    • Dianne Feinstein sends five letters to key players, including one asking Facebook and Twitter for copies of advertising that Russian buyers aimed at the U.S.[400]
    • The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative website funded by a major Republican donor, initially retained Fusion GPS to conduct opposition research on Trump, including a salacious dossier that described numerous ties between Trump and the Russian government.[401]
    • Mueller's team interviewed former CIA Director James Woolsey about Mike Flynn.[402]
    • The ODNI states that the dossier itself played absolutely no role in the coordinated intelligence assessment that Russia interfered in the U.S. election.[403]
    • A federal grand jury in Washington, DC approves the first charges in Mueller‘s investigation.[404][405][406][407]
  • October 28: Reports further clarify that the charges returned by the grand jury under seal are; "related to meddling in the US presidential election."[408]
  • October 30:
    • Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former campaign official Rick Gates surrender themselves to the FBI after both are indicted on twelve federal charges brought by special counsel Mueller, including conspiracy against the United States and money laundering.[409][410][411][412] Appearing in court a few hours later, Manafort and Gates each enter pleas of 'not guilty'.[413] Manafort was released to home confinement on a $10,000,000 bond, and Gates on a $5,000,000 bond. They are required to surrender all passports and to submit to extreme in-home monitoring.[414]
    • Robert Mueller announces that former Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos has pleaded guilty to making false testimony to the FBI.[415] It is revealed that Papadopoulos met a Kremlin-linked professor (later identified by The Daily Telegraph as Joseph Mifsud of the University of Stirling's politics department),[416] who informed him that Moscow had damaging information on Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails,” according to court documents unsealed Monday.[417][418][419][420]
    • A lawyer for Trump campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis states that Clovis was "being polite", following reports that he encouraged Papadopoulos to meet with Russian officials.[421][422]
    • New disclosures provided to Congress by digital social media companies indicate that Russian agents during the campaign placed 1,000 videos on YouTube, 131,000 messages on Twitter, and, via 170 accounts, 120,000 items on Instagram.[423] 80,000 Russia-linked posts placed on Facebook were viewed by up to 126 million people.[424]
  • October 31:
    • Trump belittles ‘Low Level’ Advisor [Papadopolous] who tried to connect with Russia, and calls him a 'liar.'[425]
    • The Kremlin dismissed as “baseless” and “ludicrous” the notion that charges leveled by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III against three former Trump campaign officials constituted proof of a possible meddling by Russia in U.S. political affairs.[426]
    • The Ukrainian government says it warned Facebook and US officials years ago that Russia was conducting disinformation campaigns on its platform including account takedowns and fake news.[427]
    • NBC News reports that Sam Clovis was questioned by Mueller's team and testified before the investigating grand jury last week.[428]
    • Mueller schedules interview with Hope Hicks, the White House communications director, to speak with prosecutors in the Russia probe after Trump returns from his Asia trip.[429]
    • Sam Clovis, President Donald Trump’s controversial nominee to be the Agriculture Department’s chief scientist, has been “a fully cooperative witness” in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.[430]
    • Sarah Huckabee Sanders says that Mueller’s probe brought down Papadopoulos only thanks to White House cooperation.[431]

November 2017

  • November 1:
    • Facebook reports to Congress that the Russians succeeded in organizing a ‘Miners for Trump’ rally.[432]
    • The House Intelligence Committee releases a small sample of the ads a Russian troll farm purchased on Facebook during and after the U.S. presidential election.[433]
  • November 2:
    • Carter Page testifies to the House Intelligence Committee for seven hours. He confirms that he met Russian government officials during his July 2016 trip to Moscow,[434] and contradicts Attorney General Sessions' testimony to the Senate in July that he did not know that Page had travelled to Russia during the campaign.[435] Page also tells the Committee that he had briefed Hope Hicks, J. D. Gordon and Corey Lewandowski about the trip.[436] Page invokes his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when asked by Committee members why he had withheld documents requested by the committee.[437]
    • Court transcript shows that federal prosecutors described the Papadopoulos case as just a "small part" of Mueller's investigation.[438] Those documents "represent the first concrete evidence that ... Trump was personally told about ties between a campaign adviser and Russian officials."[439]
    • The Wall Street Journal reports that the Justice Department has identified more than six Russian government officials involved in hacking the DNC's servers, and were considering bringing charges against those officials.[440]
    • Jared Kushner's team turns over documents to Mueller.[441]
  • November 5:
    • NBC News reports that federal investigators have gathered enough evidence to bring charges in their investigation of Michael T. Flynn and his son Michael G. Flynn as part of Mueller’s investigations.[442]
    • The New York Times reports that Wilbur Ross, after becoming Commerce Secretary, did not disclose his retained investments in a shipping firm he once controlled that has significant business ties to a Russian oligarch subject to American sanctions and Putin’s son-in-law, Kirill Shamalov.[443][444][445][446][447]
    • House Speaker Paul Ryan vows that Congress shall not interfere with Mueller's investigations.[448]
  • November 6:
    • A new analysis of Twitter data shows Kremlin-backed support for Donald Trump’s candidacy over social media began much earlier than previously known.[449]
    • Wendy Teramoto served as a part-time adviser to Wilbur Ross while maintaining her board seat at the energy shipping company, Navigator, with a Kremlin-linked client.[450]
    • Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says there is “nothing whatsoever improper” about the relationship between an international shipping company he holds significant investments in and a Russian energy company whose owners include an oligarch subject to U.S. sanctions and a family member of Russian President Vladimir Putin.[451]
    • Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who met with Donald Trump Jr. in 2016, says Trump Jr. indicated that a law targeting Russia could be re-examined if his father won the election and asked her for written evidence that illegal proceeds went to Hillary Clinton’s campaign.[452]
    • BuzzFeed has subpoenaed the Democratic National Committee for information related to the Democratic hack, as part of its efforts to defend itself against an ongoing libel suit connected to its publication of the Steele dossier.[453]
  • November 7:
    • Corey Lewandowski, a former campaign manager for Trump, said that his "memory has been refreshed" regarding his email exchange with Carter Page in which the former foreign policy adviser requested Lewandowski’s permission to travel to Moscow.[454]
    • Keith Schiller, Trump's longtime bodyguard and, until September 20, his Oval Office Operations director, is privately interviewed by House Intelligence Committee. Schiller testifies that he thought that Russians offered to send five women to Trump's hotel room during their 2013 trip to Moscow for the Miss Universe pageant, but that he did not think Trump met with the women.[455][456]
  • November 8:
    • CNN reports that Michael T. Flynn has expressed concern about the potential legal exposure of his son, Michael G. Flynn, who, like his father, is under scrutiny by Mueller.[457]
    • The Intercept reports that CIA Director Mike Pompeo met late last month with a discredited former U.S. intelligence official who has become an advocate for a disputed theory that the theft of the Democratic National Committee’s emails during the 2016 presidential campaign was an inside job, rather than a hack by Russian intelligence.[458]
    • Glenn Simpson, a co-founder of Fusion GPS, has agreed to be interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee.[459]
    • Congressional investigators have interviewed ex-Donald Trump aides about the campaign’s push to remove proposed language that called for giving lethal weapons to Ukraine.[460]
    • Senate Democrats have been privately investigating Russia’s Europe meddling without Republican help.[461]
  • November 10:
    • Russia plans new measures to restrict U.S. media working in Russia after RT said it was pressured into registering as a foreign agent in America.[464][465]
    • The Wall Street Journal reports that Mueller is investigating an alleged plan involving Michael T. Flynn and his son Michael G. Flynn to forcibly remove a Muslim cleric living in the U.S., Fethullah Gülen, and deliver him to Turkey in return for $15 million.[466][467] The reports have been strongly denied by both Turkey and lawyers for Flynn.[468]
    • NBC News reports that Mueller's investigators are questioning witnesses about an alleged September 2016 meeting between Michael T. Flynn and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a staunch advocate of pro-Russia policies.[469]
  • November 11:
    • Despite the unified assessment of the U.S. intelligence community—including CIA Director Mike Pompeo, White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, and White House Homeland Security and Counterterrorism adviser Thomas Bossert, who have said they support the conclusion that of the coordinated Intelligence Assessment that Russia sought to manipulate the 2016 Presidential election—Trump said he takes the Russian president, and former K.G.B. colonel, Vladimir V. Putin at his word when he denies directing the influence campaign.[470][471] Trump later says he sides with the U.S. intelligence agencies.[472] Former CIA director John O. Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. said that Trump is being "played" by Putin, and "accused him of being susceptible to foreign leaders who stroke his ego."[473]
  • November 12:
    • British spymasters fear that Kaspersky Lab anti-virus software given away for free by Barclays to more than 2m customers may be being used as an intelligence-gathering tool by the Russian government.[474]
    • A photograph has emerged of British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson with the “London professor,” Joseph Mifsud, whose alleged high-level Kremlin contacts have led to him featuring in the FBI’s investigation into links between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia.[475]
    • Lawyers for Alexsej Gubarev, who owns the Dallas-based web hosting firm Webzilla, are seeking to force Christopher Steele, a former MI6 officer, to provide testimony in the billionaire’s case against the American news organization BuzzFeed, and its editor, Ben Smith, in a U.S. court in the southern district of Florida.[476]
  • November 13:
  • November 14:
    • Buzzfeed reports that the FBI is scrutinizing more than 60 money transfers sent by the Russian foreign ministry to its embassies across the globe. The transactions, which moved through Citibank accounts and totaled more than $380,000, each came from the Russian foreign ministry and most contained a memo line referencing "to finance election campaign of 2016".[482]
    • The New York Times reports that Rex Tillerson hired a Russian company with a K.G.B. link to Vladimir V. Putin to guard the United States Embassy in Moscow.[483][484][485]
    • Russia introduced a new law on “foreign agents” to the media in retaliation for being forced to register RT as a propaganda outlet under FARA, which does not silence foreign agents, but forces disclosure to inform Americans who is paying to influence the debate in the public square. The Russian bill is quite different, and could come into law as early as this week, it would give Russia’s justice ministry the power to ban any media outlet that receives funding from abroad.[486]
  • November 15:
    • The Guardian reports that Russian hackers attacked British media, telecoms and energy companies over the last year, the head of the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre has confirmed for the first time.[487]
    • Russia’s Duma has unanimously voted to allow the Kremlin to brand undesirable foreign media outlets as “foreign agents”, in retaliation for moves against a Kremlin-funded television station in the US.[488]
    • Former MI6 officer Christopher Steele believes his dossier on Trump-Russia is 70-90% accurate and that his FBI contacts greeted his intelligence report with ‘shock and horror’.[489]
  • November 16:
    • Jared Kushner received and forwarded emails about WikiLeaks and a “Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite” that he kept from Senate Judiciary Committee investigators.[490]
    • The Wall Street Journal reports that Special Counsel Mueller Issued Subpoena for Russia-Related Documents From Trump Campaign Officials.[491]
    • Reza Zarrab, a dual Turkish-Iranian national gold trader, who is close to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, is now cooperating with federal prosecutors in a money laundering case and now is out of jail and speaking to prosecutors; a move President Erdoğan had been desperately hoping to avoid. It is thought that Zarrab is Mueller's key to taking down Michael T. Flynn in relation to his alleged illegal foreign lobbying activities while being the United States National Security Advisor.[492][493]
  • November 17:
    • Politico reports that George Papadopoulos in a Greek newspaper claimed last year that Donald Trump telephoned him to discuss his new position as a foreign policy adviser to his presidential campaign and that the two had at least one personal introductory meeting that the White House has not acknowledged.[494]
    • Jared Kushner told congressional Russia investigators that he did not communicate with WikiLeaks and did not recall anyone on the Trump campaign who had.[495]
    • Congressional aides may have answers on pro-Russia GOP platform change.[496]
  • November 20:
    • Politico reports that Michael T. Flynn’s work could meet part of the Manafort standard that refers to a “sham entity” fronting for a foreign government. This would explain an otherwise unnecessary explanation of using sham companies to avoid FARA registration in the Manafort charging documents.[497]
    • Business Insider reports that Mueller requested new documents from the DOJ that could spell trouble for Trump and Sessions.[498]

See also

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Further reading

External links

  • "Joint Statement from the Department Of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Election Security", October 7, 2016
  • Bill Moyers: Interactive Timeline: Everything We Know About Russia and President Trump
  • Committee to Investigate Russia
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