This is the reporting piecing together Trump and Russia

This is the reporting piecing together Trump and Russia

Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.


Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

March 20. CNN: Then-FBI Director James Comey confirms that the agency is investigating ties between Trump campaign and Russia. In a hearing before the House intelligence committee, then-FBI Director James Comey confirmed that the agency had an open investigation into whether there was coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia’s interference with the U.S. election.

April 11. The Washington Post: FBI monitored communications of Trump’s campaign adviser Carter Page. Law enforcement and other U.S. officials told the Post that the FBI and the Department of Justice requested and received authorization to surveil Page’s communications because “there was probable cause to believe Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power, in this case Russia.”

April 27. The Washington Post: The Pentagon opened an investigation to determine whether former national security adviser Michael Flynn broke the law by receiving money from foreign groups without being authorized to. The Post published a letter Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD) released showing Flynn had been warned by a Defense Department lawyer about being “forbidden from receiving payments from foreign sources” without government permission. Since he failed to acquire that permission, the Pentagon informed Flynn that he was being investigated.

May 9. The New York Times: Trump fired Comey. The administration said Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had recommended Comey’s firing based on his handling of the investigation into Secretary Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.

May 10. The New York Times: Trump received the Russian ambassador to the U.S. and the Russian foreign minister in the Oval Office. The meeting between Trump and Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was closed off to the American press corps; only Russian media was allowed.

May 11. The New York Times: Trump asked Comey to pledge loyalty to him. Sources told the Times that Comey shared with some associates that during a dinner in January, Trump demanded Comey pledge his loyalty to him, and Comey refused by saying all he could pledge was honesty. The White House denied it and Trump told NBC that he never asked that of Comey.

May 11. NBC News: Trump told NBC’s Lester Holt he had planned to fire Comey before he received a recommendation to do so. In the televised interview, Trump also referred to Comey as a “showboat” and admitted that he had asked the former FBI director whether he was also under investigation.

May 15. The Washington Post: Trump revealed classified information to the Russians during their Oval Office meeting. “Current and former U.S.officials” told the Post that Trump revealed “highly classified information” to Lavrov and Kislyak that had been given to the U.S. by an ally. The White House denied the report through national security adviser H.R. McMaster, who said that nothing was disclosed that wasn’t “already known publicly.”

May 16. The Washington Post: Trump tweeted an acknowledgement of having shared classified information with Russia. In his tweets the next day, Trump undercut the White House’s narrative that the sharing had not occurred, by writing that he had “the absolute right to do so.” After Trump contradicted McMaster’s version from the day before, the national security adviser briefed the press, saying Trump’s decision to share the information was spur-of-the-moment and that Trump “wasn’t even aware of where this information came from.”

May 16. The New York Times: Israel was the ally who provided the U.S. with the information Trump shared with the Russian officials. Current and former officials told the Times that Israel had provided the information Trump disclosed. According to the Times, the disclosure “could damage the relationship between the two countries.”

May 16. The New York Times: Comey memo indicated Trump asked him to stop Flynn investigation. The Times reported that Comey wrote a memo after meeting Trump in February, in which he documented the president requesting him to shut down the investigation into Flynn’s ties with Russia by asking him to “let this go.” According to the Times, it’s “the clearest evidence that the president has tried to directly influence” federal investigations into his associates and Russia.

May 17. NPR: Former FBI Director Robert Mueller appointed special counsel of Russia investigation. The Justice Department appointed Robert Mueller, who preceded Comey as FBI director, as special counsel to lead the probe into Russia’s intervention into the 2016 elections and potential collusion with the Trump campaign.

May 17. The New York Times: Trump knew Flynn was being investigated when he appointed him. Two sources told the Times that Flynn told Trump’s transition team “weeks before the inauguration” that he was being investigated for “secretly working as a paid lobbyist for Turkey,” but Trump made him national security adviser nevertheless.

May 19. The Washington Post: A current White House official is being investigated as part of the Russia probe. Sources told the Post that a current White House official is “a significant person of interest” in the federal investigation looking into the possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

May 19. The New York Times: During the meeting with Russian officials, Trump said firing Comey eased “great pressure” from the Russia investigation. A document summarizing the May 10 meeting between Trump and Russian officials showed that Trump told Lavrov and Kislyak that firing “nut job” Comey had “taken off” the “great pressure because of Russia.”

May 19. CNN: Russian officials bragged that their Flynn connections would allow them to influence Trump. Sources told CNN that Russian officials had bragged about their connections to Flynn as a strategic advantage that they could use to “influence Donald Trump and his team.”

May 20. CNN: A source close to Comey said the former FBI director believes Trump tried “to influence his judgment about the Russia probe.”

May 22. The Washington Post: Trump asked two intelligence officials to “publicly deny” collusion between his campaign and Russia. Former and current officials told the Post that Trump asked Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats and Director of the National Security Agency Michael Rogers to push back against the Russia investigation and deny the “existence of any evidence of collusion.” Both officials refused and deemed the requests inappropriate.

May 23. The New York Times: Former CIA Director Brennan “had unresolved questions” about Trump and Russia ties. During testimony to the House intel committee, Former CIA Director John Brennan said “he was concerned” by, as the Times reported, “suspicious contacts between Russian government officials and Mr. Trump’s associates.” Brennan testified that he “had unresolved questions” about “whether or not the Russians had been successful in getting U.S. persons involved in the campaign or not to work on their behalf.”

May 24. The New York Times: In the summer of 2016 senior Russian officials were intercepted discussing how they would influence Trump. As reported by the New York Times, American intelligence "collected information" last year that showed senior Russian "intelligence and political" officials were focused on using Flynn and Trump's campaign manager, Paul Manafort, "to exert influence over Donald J. Trump."

May 25. The Washington Post: The FBI is now looking at Trump's senior advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner in conjunction with its investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. The Post reported May 19 that the FBI’s investigation included a focus on a senior White House official but didn’t name the individual. A week later, the Post reported that, while he is not a central focus, the FBI is looking at meetings between Kushner and Russians given “the extent and nature of his interactions with the Russians.”

May 26. The Washington Post: Russian ambassador told Moscow that Kushner wanted secret communications channel with Kremlin. In a May 26 article, the Post reported that according to U.S. officials briefed on intelligence reports, Kushner "discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Trump's transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities." The conversation took place during a meeting between Kushner, Flynn, and Kislyak, and according to the Post, it was "an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring." 

May 30. The New York Times: Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen was asked to testify before Senate and House intel committees investigating Russia ties. Cohen declined to cooperate saying the requests were “poorly phrased, overly broad and not capable of being answered.”

May 30. The Washington Post: Michael Flynn expected to hand over documents and records to the Senate intelligence committee. Sources told the Post that Flynn is expected to “hand over documents and records to the Senate intelligence committee.” The documents were subpoenaed by the committee to aid in its investigation of Russia’s intervention in the U.S. presidential election. Flynn’s attorneys indicated Flynn would “start turning over” the requested information.

May 30. ABC News: Trump associate Boris Epshteyn has received “a request for information” from the House intelligence committee. Former White House press officer Boris Epshteyn confirmed that “he has received a request for information and testimony from the House intelligence committee.” His lawyer said in a statement that Epshteyn hasn’t been subpoenaed and is asking the committee to specify the kind of information it is seeking to decide whether Epshteyn will be “able to reasonably provide it.”

May 31. CNN: Comey expected to testify before the Senate intelligence committee. Sources told CNN that Comey will testify publicly before the Senate intelligence committee to reportedly shed light on the accusation that Trump asked Comey to drop the bureau’s investigation into Flynn’s interactions with Russia.

June 1. The New York Times: Putin suggests that “patriotic hackers” from Russia could have meddled in the U.S. presidential election. During an economic forum in St. Petersburg, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that “patriotically minded” hackers in Russia may have interfered with the American presidential election. Putin also insisted that none of the meddling was supported by Russian officials.

June 4. Reuters: Putin denied Russia meddled in the U.S. election, downplayed his relationship with Flynn. In an interview with NBC’s Megyn Kelly, Putin denied that the Russian government had meddled in the U.S. election, saying intelligence agencies “have been misled.” Putin added, “They aren’t analyzing the information in its entirety. I haven’t seen, even once, any direct proof of Russian interference in the presidential election.” Putin called Kelly’s questions on the topic a “load of nonsense.” Putin also denied having classified information implicating Trump and downplayed his relationship with Flynn.

June 6. The Washington PostTrump asked top intelligence official to ask Comey to halt investigation into Flynn. Coats told associates that Trump had complained to him and CIA Director Mike Pompeo about Comey and the FBI investigation into Russia. Besides requesting that intelligence officials publicly deny that there was any evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, Trump attempted to have top intelligence officials stop Comey from continuing the FBI’s investigation.

June 14. The Washington Post: Trump is under investigation for obstruction of justice. Officials told the Post that Mueller is widening the scope of the probe into Russian intervention in the 2016 election to investigate  whether Trump “attempted to obstruct justice.” Officials are examining Trump’s firing of former FBI Director Comey and “any evidence of possible financial crimes among Trump associates.”

June 29. ABC News: Congress' investigation into Russia’s election interference focusing on Trump’s longtime bodyguard Keith Schiller. Sources told ABC News that the House intelligence committee wants to interview Keith Schiller, Trump’s longtime bodyguard and current White House director of Oval Office operations. The ongoing investigations “are touching Trump’s inner circle,” as congressional investigators are interested in also interviewing Roger Stone, Michael Flynn, Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort.

July 8 & July 9. The New York Times: Trump team, including Donald Trump Jr., met with a Kremlin-associated lawyer during the campaign to seek “damaging information” on Clinton. In June 2016, Donald Trump Jr. attended a meeting with a Russian lawyer with connections to the Kremlin, along with then-campaign chairman Manafort and Kushner, the Times reported. Initially, Trump Jr. said in a statement that the meeting had been about an adoption program, but on July 9, theTimes reported that the younger Trump had been promised “damaging information about Hillary Clinton.” Trump Jr. updated his account of the meeting in a statement saying, “the woman stated that she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Mrs. Clinton. Her statements were vague, ambiguous and made no sense. No details or supporting information was provided or even offered. It quickly became clear that she had no meaningful information.”

July 10. The New York TimesTrump Jr. was offered damaging information about Clinton in an email that also stated it was part of a Russian government effort to help his father. As reported by the Times, Rob Goldstone, “a publicist and former British tabloid reporter” who aided in arranging the meeting between Trump Jr. and the Russian lawyer, sent Trump Jr. an email offering damaging information about Clinton and saying the “material was part of a Russian government effort to aid his father’s candidacy.”

July 14. APNBC and CNN: At least 8 people were in attendance at Trump Jr.'s meeting with the Russian lawyer, one of whom was a former Soviet counterintelligence officer. The morning of July 14, the Associated Press reported that "a prominent Russian-American lobbyist and former Soviet military officer attended" the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with Trump Jr. Rinat Akhmetshin "confirmed his involvement" in the meeting to the AP, but had "not been previously identified as a participant in the meeting." Later that morning, CNN reported that the meeting "included at least eight people." NBC added more context, noting that Akhmetshin is "a former Soviet counterintelligence officer who is suspected by some U.S. officials of having ongoing ties to Russian intelligence." 

July 20. The New York Times and The Washington Post: Trump is inquiring about “his power to pardon,” while his legal team is attempting to “investigate the investigators” in order to “discredit the investigation.” Sources told both the Times and the Post that Trump’s lawyers and aides are “looking for conflicts of interest” among Mueller’s investigative team that “they could use to discredit the investigation — or even build a case to fire Mr. Mueller.” Additionally, a source told the Post that “Trump has asked his advisors about his power to pardon aides, family members, and even himself in connection with the probe.”

July 24. The Washington Post: Kushner questioned on Russia by Senate intelligence committee. As reported by the Post, Kushner faced the Senate intelligence committee behind closed doors to answer questions about “his contacts with Russian officials.” Following the questioning, Kushner delivered a statement, saying, “I did not collude with Russia, nor do I know of anyone else in the campaign who did so.”

July 31. The Washington Post: Trump Jr.’s misleading statement to The New York Times about meeting with the Russian lawyer came directly from Trump. The Post reported that the first statement Trump Jr. released to the Times (in which he dismissed his meeting with the Russian lawyer as one to discuss “a program about the adoption of Russian children” and misled the press about the true purpose of the meeting, which was getting compromising information about Clinton) was dictated by Trump himself.

August 3. The Wall Street Journal: Mueller “has impaneled a grand jury” to “investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections.” The Wall Street Journal reported that Mueller has formed a grand jury in Washington, D.C., to investigate Russian intervention in the 2016 presidential elections, indicating that the probe into "whether President Donald Trump’s campaign or associates colluded with the Kremlin as part of that effort" is “growing in intensity and entering a new phase.” As the Journal explained, “Grand juries are powerful investigative tools that allow prosecutors to subpoena documents, put witnesses under oath and seek indictments, if there is evidence of a crime.”

Posted In
The Presidency & White House
Network/Outlet
The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, CNN
Person
Donald Trump
Stories/Interests
Trump / Russia
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