|THE PATRIOT POST|
The Russian plot to elect Donald Trump by interfering in the 2016 presidential election through sabotaging Hillary Clinton's campaign was an unprecedented assault from America's greatest foe on the bedrock of its democracy. It is the most explosive scandal since Soviet spies stole atomic bomb secrets over 70 years ago, and may well be considered the crime of the century.
Although the scandal did not explode into view until the latter stages of the 2016 campaign, its roots date back to 1980 when the first two members of Trump's inner circle who are linked to the scandal got together. As early as 2007, Trump was making clear his affection for Russian leader Vladimir Putin. By 2015, U.S. intelligence agencies had become aware of the first tentacles of the plot to interfere in the election, as well as an increasing number of contacts by Trump's inner circle with Russians who had ties to the Kremlin's intelligence services.
A timeline of the scandal has slowly come into focus. It remains a work in progress, but this is what is now known:
1980: Roger Stone, future Trump confidante and dirty trickster, founds a lobbying practice with future Trump presidential campaign manager Paul Manafort. Trump is one of the firm's first clients.
1984: Russian émigré David Bogatin, a former Soviet Army pilot, pays $6 million for five luxury condos in Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in New York City. Bogatin is not wealthy and is a front for Russian mobsters investing in high-end U.S. real estate to launder money from their criminal enterprises. Trump personally attends Bogatin's closing.
March 11, 1987: Bogatin pleads guilty in federal court to taking part in a massive gasoline bootlegging scheme with Russian mobsters. The government seizes his five Trump Tower condos.
July 1987: Trump and his wife Ivana visit Moscow and St. Petersburg as all-expense paid guests of Intourist. They sightsee and inspect potential sites for a new Trump Tower in Moscow.
December 9, 1987: Trump meets and talks with Mikhail Gorbachev at a White House state dinner hosted by President and Mrs. Reagan. Trump and the Soviet leader are said to have discussed hotel projects.
Early 1992: Russian mob boss and enforcer Vyachelsav Kirillovich Ivankov is sprung from a Siberian gulag after a judge is bribed and heads to New York where he partners with Felix Komarov, an art dealer and resident of Trump Plaza on Third Avenue, to build the New York branch of the Russian mafia from an extortion racket into a multibillion-dollar criminal enterprise.
January 29, 1997: Ivankov is sentenced to nine years in prison for extortion in federal court in Brooklyn.
October 15, 1998: Ground is broken for 72-story Trump World Tower, then the tallest residential building in the city, on First Avenue in Manhattan. A third of the units on the tower's priciest floors are bought by either individual buyers from the former Soviet Union or limited liability companies connected to Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. Kellyanne Conway, a future Trump campaign manager, also purchases a unit.
2000: Stone serves as chairman of Trump's presidential exploratory advisory committee. Trump decides not to run.
2002: Russian émigré Felix H. Stater, a felon and future fixer for Trump, and his Bayrock Group begin working with Trump on a series of U.S. real estate development deals, one of which becomes the Trump SoHo luxury hotel-apartments, and on projects in Russia, Ukraine and Poland.
2004: Ivankov is extradited to Russia to face murder charges.
May 20, 2004: Eduard Nektalov, a diamond dealer from Uzbekistan who owned a condo on a top floor of Trump World Tower and was being investigated for money laundering, is shot dead on Sixth Avenue after rumors circulate that he is cooperating with federal authorities.
2005: Manafort proposes to aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, a friend of Putin's, that he undertake a consulting assignment to influence politics, business deals and news coverage in the U.S. and Europe to benefit Putin's government.
February 2006: Two of Trump's children, Donald Jr. and Ivanka, travel to Moscow where they are shown around by Sater.
2007: Trump states in a lawsuit-related deposition that Bayrock brought Russian investors to Trump Tower to discuss deals. "It's ridiculous that I wouldn't be investing in Russia," he says. "Russia is one of the hottest places in the world for investment."
October 15, 2007: Trump, speaking publicly of Putin for the first of many times, tells Larry King on CNN that Putin "is doing a great job . . . he's doing a great job in rebuilding the image of Russia and also rebuilding Russia period."
November 2007: Manafort's consulting firm receives a $455,000 wire transfer from billionaire industrialist and Ukraine Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych's political party for a campaign to improve Putin-backed Yanukovych's image in the West.
2008: An estimated one third of the six Trump-branded condo skyscrapers in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida, which is nicknamed "Little Moscow," are owned by Russian speakers.
2008: Donald Jr. tells a real estate conference in New York, "Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets. . . . We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia."
2008: Manafort partners on an $850 million deal with Deripaska and Ukrainian billionaire mobster Dmitry Firtash, both Putin allies, to buy the Drake Hotel in Manhattan and convert it to luxury condos, possibly as a way to launder illegal funds. The deal later falls through.
July 2008: Trump sells a Florida residence to Russian potash magnate Dmitry Rybolov for $95 million, believed to be the biggest single-family home sale in U.S. history. The oligarch never lives in the house, which is later demolished.
July 28, 2009: Ivankov is shot by a sniper in Moscow. He dies of his wounds 73 days later. Hundreds of gangsters representing criminal syndicates attend his funeral.
October 14, 2009: Manafort's firm receives a $750,000 wire transfer from Yanukovych's political party for the image-enhancement campaign.
January 2010: Sater becomes Trump's "senior adviser."
February 2010: Yanukovych is elected Ukraine president.
April 9, 2010: Trump SoHo opens.
August 3, 2010: Trump and the promoters of Trump SoHo are sued by buyers who accuse them of fraudulently touting outsized sales figures to encourage them to buy units.
March 2011: Trump reportedly pays $1 million to build a Trump Tower in Batumi on the Black Sea in the Republic of Georgia. The deal involves unorthodox financing through the Silk Road Group, a trading and transport company that has deals with companies in Russia and Iran and involves Kazakh oligarch Timur Kulibayev and his family, who have a direct link to Putin and are accused of stealing billions of dollars of Kazakh money and laundering it through Trump SoHo and other Trump-branded condos. The Batumi tower is never built.
June 19, 2012: As President Obama meets with Putin, Trump tweets, "Putin has no respect for our president -- really bad body language."
April 2013: Viktor Krapunov, a former Kazakh energy minister and mayor of Almaty who has had business dealings with Bayrock, creates three limited liability companies which buy three condo apartments in Trump SoHo. Prosecutors allege the companies are used by Krapunov for his money-laundering network.
April 8, 2013: Three Russians whom the FBI later accuses of spying on the U.S. discuss recruiting businessman and future Trump campaign aide Carter Page, who has many Russian contacts, to spy for Moscow.
April 16, 2013: Federal agents raid several Trump Tower condos as part of a dragnet of 29 members of a global sports betting ring overseen by Russian mob boss Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, who had been indicted for conspiring to fix the ice-skating competition at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. The entire 51st floor of Trump Tower was used by the ring.
July 8, 2013: Trump terminates a BBC interview when asked about Sater's mob ties.
October 13, 2013: On The Late Show, David Letterman asks Trump if he had any dealings with Russians. Trump answers, "Well, I've done a lot of business with Russians."
November 2013: Trump hosts the Miss Universe pageant, then part of the Trump Organization, in Moscow in return for a $20 million licensing fee from the Crocus Group. It's president is Aras Agalarov, an Azerbaijani-Russian billionaire and close ally of Putin. The Crocus vice president is Agaralov's pop singer son, Emin. Among Trump's celebrity guests is Tokhtakhounov, who is a U.S. fugitive because of gambling ring charges.
Late November 2013: Emin Agaralov releases a music video starring Trump reprising his Apprentice television role.
December 2013: Putin sends Agaralov's daughter, Sheyla, to deliver a personal note and gift that Trump later describes as "a present, a beautiful present" to him at Trump Tower as a token of apology for their having been unable to meet when Trump was in Moscow for the beauty pageant.
2014: Plans by Trump and the Agalarovs to build a Trump Tower in Moscow collapse because of new Obama administration-imposed sanctions on Russia.
February 22, 2014: Yanukovych flees Ukraine amidst a popular uprising. A handwritten ledger left behind purports to show $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments to Manafort's firm from the deposed president's political party.
April 17, 2014: Trump tweets that Obama is a weakling compared to Putin. "America is at a great disadvantage. Putin is ex-KGB. Obama is a community organizer. Unfair."
March 2015: Clinton's use of a private email server while secretary of state is made public. She states she has turned over work-related emails to the government but that 30,000 or so personal emails on the server were deleted.
March 6, 2015: The Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City is fined $10 million -- the highest fine ever levied by the federal government against a casino -- after admitting to having willfully violated anti-money laundering regulations for years. Ivankov is identified as one of the Russian mobsters who routinely laundered large sums of money there prior to his 2009 assassination.
Summer of 2015: Future Trump campaign adviser Michael Flynn makes several trips to the Middle East as an adviser on a project to pursue a joint U.S.-Russia-Saudi business venture to develop nuclear facilities in Saudi Arabia.
June 16, 2015: Trump announces that he is running for the Republican presidential nomination.
September 2015: An FBI agent calls the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to warn that its computer network had been hacked by "the Dukes," a cyberespionage team linked to the Russian government. A DNC tech-support contractor does not take the call seriously.
September 2015: A secretive anti-Trump Republican hires Fusion GPS, a Washington, D.C. strategic intelligence firm, to compile an opposition research dossier on Trump as the Republican presidential primary campaign heats up.
October 11, 2015: Speaking on Face the Nation, Trump brags about sharing air time with Putin on 60 Minutes although they were on separate continents. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Trump says there isn't enough proof to blame Russian separatists for shooting down a Malaysian Airlines flight over Ukraine the previous year.
November 5, 2015: Mikhail Lesin, a former top Putin media adviser, is found dead in his Washington hotel room. A federal prosecutor concludes he died because of a series of drunken falls, while federal law enforcement sources tell BuzzFeed News he was murdered on the eve of a meeting with Justice Department officials.
Late 2015: Britain's GCHQ, which is equivalent to the U.S.'s NSA, first becomes aware of suspicious interactions between individuals connected to Trump and Russian agents. This intelligence is passed on to the U.S. as part of a routine exchange of information.
December 10-12, 2015: Flynn is paid $45,000 by RT, Putin's state propaganda network, for a three-day Moscow trip in which he gives a speech criticizing Obama's Russia policy and sits at Putin's table at a banquet.
December 17, 2015: Putin praises Trump and Trump quickly returns the favor, saying "It's always a great honor to be so nicely complimented by a man so highly respected in his own country and beyond."
Early 2016: Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner and his felon father, Charles, give up on a two-ear effort to obtain a half-billion dollar business bailout from Qatar to refinance a white elephant property on New York's Fifth Avenue.
February 11, 2016: Flynn meets with investigators in a routine meeting to discuss his application to renew his security clearance. When asked about his Moscow trip, he reportedly says, "I didn't take any money from Russia, if that's what you're asking me."
March 2016: The first wave of fake news stories targeting Clinton voters in swing states is detected. The source is believed to be Eastern European hackers supervised by the Russian government.
March 2016: George Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, makes the first of repeated efforts to interest Trump in meeting with Russian officials, including Putin, and may have been viewed by Moscow as an "entry point" into the campaign.
March 19, 2016: John Podesta, chairman of Clinton's presidential campaign, is emailed a link asking that he change his password, which is believed to be the way that Russia-associated hackers later gained access to his email account.
March 29, 2016: On the recommendation of Stone, Manafort is hired by the Trump campaign to line up convention delegates.
Spring of 2016: Page, a businessman with extensive Russian ties and previous contacts with Russian intelligence agents, is hired by the Trump campaign as a quick fix for its lack of foreign policy expertise.
April 2016: Hackers believed to be linked to Russia's Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) gain access to the DNC computer network.
April 2016: Kushner, accompanied by Flynn, meets with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C., the first of several meetings by Trump associates with Russian officials that are monitored by U.S. intelligence.
April 2016: At about the same time as the Mayflower meeting, U.S. intelligence intercepts the first communications among Russians who discuss aggressively trying to influence the presidential election by sabotaging Clinton.
April 2016: Papadopoulos sends an email to then-Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski that he has "gotten a lot of calls over the past month" about how "Putin wants to host the Trump team when the time is right."
Late April 2016: The DNC's IT department notices suspicious computer activity and hires private security firm CrowdStrike to investigate.
Early May 2016: Manafort meets in New York with Konstantine Kilimnik, a Ukrainian businessman who served in the Russian army and may be working for Russian intelligence.
May 2016: CrowdStrike determines that highly sophisticated Russian intelligence-affiliated adversaries named Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear are responsible for the DNC hack.
May 2016: An unidentified Democratic client takes over the Fusion GPS contract. Fusion hires Orbis Business Intelligence, a British intelligence firm co-founded by former MI6 officer Christopher Steele, to assist it in investigating Russia-Trump connections.
June 2016: Russian-Macedonian hackers begin a fake news campaign to energize Bernie Sanders supporters against Clinton by planting stories that, among other things, she murdered former Bill Clinton aide Vince Foster.
Early June 2016: The CIA concludes in an internal report that Russia is actively engaged in interfering in the presidential election, including the goal of getting Trump elected.
June 2, 2016: Clinton gives her first major speech on national security in San Diego and repeatedly calls into question Trump's affection for Putin and his "bizarre fascination with dictators and strongmen who have no love for America."
June 3, 2016: Publicist Rob Goldstone, representing Emin Agaralov, emails Donald Jr. that he had met with "his father Aras this morning and . . . [he] offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary . . . and would be very useful to your father." Donald Jr. replies "if it's what you say I love it."
June 7, 2016: Trump promises "big news" on Clinton's "crimes" in a forthcoming "major speech."
June 9, 2016: As a result of the email exchange with Goldstone, Donald Jr. arranges a meeting of the campaign brain trust at Trump Tower with Goldstone and Natalia Veselnitskata, a Russian lawyer with intelligence agency ties, who through Goldstone has promised damaging material about Clinton. Also attending are Kushner, Manafort, Rinat Akhmetshin, a Russian-American lobbyist and former counterintelligence agent, and Ike Kaveladze, an official in the Agalarov's real estate company. The source of the undisclosed dirt on Clinton is believed to be Yuri Y. Chaika, Russia's prosecutor general.
June 12, 2016: WikiLeakers founder Julian Assange states in an interview that his site has a "very big year ahead" and promises the imminent release of emails "related to Hillary Clinton."
June 13, 2016: Trump does not give the promised "major speech" because of a mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub.
June 15, 2016: A hacker with the online persona Guccifer 2.0 claims credit for the DNC hack and begins posting DNC documents on the Guccifer 2.0 website.
June 15, 2016: House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy tells fellow Republican leaders that "There's two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump." Dana Rohrabacher is a California Republican. House Speaker Paul Ryan immediately interjects and swears those present to secrecy.
June 17, 2015: The Washington Post publishes a story headlined "Inside Trump's Financial Ties to Russia and His Unusual Flattery of Vladimir Putin."
June 20, 2016: Manafort replaces Lewandowksi as Trump's campaign manager.
June 20, 2016: Steele delivers the first of a series of reports to Fusion GPS based on several confidential sources. He identifies "Source A" as "a senior Russian Foreign Ministry figure," "Source B" as "a former top level intelligence officer still active in the Kremlin," and "Source E" as "an ethnic Russian" and "close associate of Republican US presidential candidate Donald Trump."
June 22, 2016: Trump, speaking in New York, excoriates Clinton for her handling of the Benghazi attacks and warns that emails she deleted from her private server could make her vulnerable to "blackmail" from unspecified countries hostile to the U.S.
July 2016: Russia escalates a campaign of harassment of American diplomats and intelligence operatives in Russia.
July 5, 2016: FBI Director James Comey rebukes Clinton for being "extremely careless," but recommends no criminal charges in connection with her handling of classified information as secretary of state, including emails on a private server, ostensibly lifting a cloud from her presidential campaign.
July 6, 2016: Another batch of hacked DNC documents appears on the Guccifer 2.0 website.
July 10, 2016: DNC staffer Seth Rich is shot to death in what Washington, D.C. police describe as an attempted armed robbery.
July 14, 2016: Another batch of hacked DNC documents appear on the Guccifer 2.0 website.
Mid-July 2016: Working behind the scenes, the Trump campaign rewrites the Republican National Convention platform on Ukraine, removing a pledge to provide lethal weapons in its fight with Russia over Crimea and a call for maintaining or increasing sanctions against Russia.
July 19, 2016: Trump is nominated for president at the convention after he, Flynn and other surrogates declare, in what becomes an oft-repeated campaign theme in the coming weeks, that Clinton should be "in jail" for her use of the private email server.
July 19, 2016: Trump's debt load has almost doubled from $350 million to $630 million over the past year, reports Bloomberg News.
July 22, 2016: WikiLeaks, which is friendly with Putin, begins releasing 44,000 hacked DNC emails.
July 24, 2016: Donald Jr. tells CNN's Jake Tapper that the Clinton campaign's suggestion that Russia was trying to interfere in the election on behalf of his father is "disgusting" and "phony."
July 25, 2016: Trump suggests that the Russians were behind the DNC hack because Putin "likes" him.
July 27, 2016: Trump calls on Russia to hack 30,000 so-called "missing" Clinton emails.
July 27, 2016: Manafort denies any relationship with the Russians and says it's "absurd" to suggest Russia was working on behalf of the Trump campaign.
Late July 2016: The FBI opens an investigation to examine possible links between the Trump campaign and Russia, but its existence is kept secret even from high ranking members of Congress colloquially known as the Gang of Eight, who by law are to be briefed on important intelligence matters.
Late July 2016: The FBI obtains and then renews a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court warrant allowing it to monitor Page, whom it believes is in touch with Russian agents and had been used in previous years by Moscow spies to obtain information.
Early August 2016: The CIA concludes that unnamed Trump campaign advisers might be working with Russia to interfere in the election by sabotaging the Clinton campaign through a multi-pronged attack personally approved by Putin that includes email hacking, disinformation and false news stories.
Early August 2016: The CIA informs the White House of Putin's campaign to interfere in the election. For the next five months, the administration secretly debates dozens of options on how to retaliate, including whether to use CIA-gathered material that would be embarrassing to Putin.
August 2016: CIA Director John Brennan convenes a secret task force with analysts and officers from the CIA, FBI and NSA to keep the White House and senior government officials informed.
August 2016: Manafort meets again with Kilimnik.
Early August: Steele begins sharing his memos to Fusion GPS with an FBI agent assigned to the bureau's Eurasian Joint Organized Crime Squad.
August 4, 2016: Brennan calls Alexander Bortnikov, director of the FSB, the post-Soviet successor to the KGB, to warn him that election interference will not be tolerated.
August 12, 2016: A batch of hacked Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) documents appear on the Guccifer 2.0 website.
August 14, 2016: Stone engages in direct messaging with Guccifer 2.0.
August 15, 2015: Guccifer 2.0 releases hacked DCCC documents on Florida primary elections.
August 15, 2016: Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson arranges a conference call with dozens of state election officials to enlist their support to shore up voting systems in light of the Russian effort. He gets no support.
August 19, 2016: Manafort is forced out as Trump's campaign manager, ostensibly over concerns about his ties with Russian officials.
August 21, 2016: Guccifer 2.0 releases hacked DCCC documents on Pennsylvania congressional primaries.
Late August 2016: Brennan is so concerned about Trump-Russia links that he initiates urgent, one-on-one briefings with the Gang of Eight.
Late August 2016: Stone boasts that he has communicated with Assange, who he says has materials including "deleted" Clinton emails that would be embarrassing to her.
August 25, 2016: Brennan tells Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, then the highest ranking Democrat, that the FBI and not the CIA would have to take the lead in what is a domestic intelligence matter.
Late August 2016: Reid writes to Comey without mentioning the Brennan briefing. He expresses great concern over what he calls mounting evidence "of a direct connection between the Russian government and Donald Trump's presidential campaign."
August 31, 2016: Guccifer 2.0 releases documents hacked from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's personal computer.
September 2016: Intelligence shows that although Republican sites are also being hacked by Russians, only DNC emails are being publicized by WikiLeaks.
September 2016: Aaron Nevins, a Republican political operative with ties to Stone, receives Democratic turnout analyses hacked by Guccifer 2.0 and publishes them online under a pseudonym.
September 5, 2016: Obama, meeting with Putin at a conference of world leaders in Hangzhou, China, tells him that the U.S. knows about the election interference and "[he] better stop or else." Putin responds by demanding proof and accuses the U.S. of meddling in Russia's internal affairs.
September 8, 2016: Trump campaign adviser Jeff Sessions meets with Kislyak in his Senate office.
September 15, 2016: Guccifer 2.0 releases hacked DCCC documents from New Hampshire, Illinois, North Carolina and Ohio.
September 16, 2016: Stone declares on Boston Herald Radio that "I expect Julian Assange and the WikiLeaks people to drop a payload of new documents on Hillary on a weekly basis fairly soon." He says he is in touch with Assange "through an intermediary."
September 22, 2016: Two other Gang of Eight members -- Dianne Feinstein and Representative Adam B. Schiff, the ranking Senate and House Intelligence Committee Democrats -- release a statement stating that Russian intelligence agencies are "making a serious and concerted effort" to influence the election.
September 23, 2016: Guccifer 2.0 releases hacked documents from DCCC chairman Ben Ray Lujan.
Late September 2016: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, at the behind-the-scenes urging of the Obama administration, is asked to warn state election officials of possible attempts to penetrate their computer systems by Russian hackers. McConnell resists, questioning the veracity of the intelligence.
September 25, 2016: McConnell writes to state election officials. He does not mention the Russian connection, but warns of unnamed "malefactors" who might seek to disrupt elections through online intrusions.
October 4, 2016: Guccifer 2.0 releases documents hacked from the Clinton Foundation.
October 7, 2016: The Obama administration publicly accuses the Russia government of hacking into emails from the DNC and other institutions and individuals.
October 7, 2016: National security adviser Susan Rice summons Kislyak to the White House and gives him a message to relay to Putin about U.S. plans to retaliate for the election inferference.
Late October 2016: The Russians launch a cyberattack on at least one U.S. voting software supplier and send spear-phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials.
October 28, 2016: Comey tells Congress that the FBI is reopening its Clinton investigation because of emails found on a computer belonging to former Congressman Anthony Weiner, whose estranged wife is a top Clinton aide. The Clinton campaign is thrown into crisis only 11 days before the election.
October 30, 2016: Reid writes a letter to Comey angrily accusing him of a "double standard" in renewing the Clinton investigation so close to the election while sitting on "explosive information" on ties between Trump and Russia.
October 31, 2016: The Obama administration, using a secure channel to Moscow originally created to avert a nuclear war, warns that the election meddling is unacceptable interference. Russia does not reply until after the election when it denies the accusation.
October 31, 2016: Mother Jones magazine reports without identifying former British spy Steele by name that he had produced a dossier that concluded Moscow had been "cultivating, supporting and assisting" Trump for years and had compromising information on him that could be used as blackmail. The story is little noticed in the flurry of election news.
November 6, 2016: Comey announces that after a intensive review of the "new" emails, they were found to be either personal or duplicates of those previously examined, and that the FBI had not changed the conclusions it reached in July in exonerating Clinton.
November 8, 2016: Sergei Krivov suffers fatal blunt force injuries after calling from the roof of the Russian consulate in New York. Krivov was widely believed to be a counter spy who coordinated efforts to prevent U.S. eavesdropping. Russian officials claim he died of a heart attack.
November 8, 2016: Trump defeats Clinton decisively in the Election College but loses the popular vote.
November 9, 2016: Russia's Parliament erupts in applause when Putin announces Trump's election victory.
November 10, 2016: Obama, meeting with Trump at the White House, expresses profound concerns about Flynn becoming a top national security aide because of problems when he managed the Defense Intelligence Agency, his 2015 trip to Moscow and other Russia ties.
November 10, 2016: Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov acknowledges the Trump campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election.
November 10 2016: Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks says the campaign had "no contact with Russian officials."
Mid-November 2016: Marshall Billingslea, a former Bush administration national security official, is named to head Trump's national security transition team. He is deeply concerned about Russian intentions and Trump-Russian contacts.
Late November 2016: Obama administration officials provide Billingslea with a CIA file on Kislyak because of Billingslea's belief that Flynn is not taking seriously the implications of his contacts with Kislyak.
Late November 2016: Senator John McCain, attending the annual Halifax International Security Forum in Nova Scotia, is made aware of the Steele dossier by Sir Andrew Wood, a former British ambassador to Russia and former Steele protégé.
December 1 or 2, 2016: Kushner and Flynn meet with Kislyak at Trump Towers. They discuss easing sanctions while Kushner proposes that a secret communications channel be set up between the Trump transition team and Kremlin using Russian diplomatic facilities in the U.S. to shield their discussions from monitoring.
Early December: David J. Kramer, a former State Department official with Russia expertise and staffer at the McCain Institute for International Leadership in Washington, D.C., meets Steele in London at McCain's behest and obtains a copy of the dossier, which includes information that there had been discussions between the Trump campaign and Russians about how to pay hackers who penetrated the DNC computer system and how to cover up the operation. Manafort, Page and Stone are mentioned by name.
December 8, 2016: Page visits Moscow to meet with what he calls "business leaders and thought leaders."
December 9, 2016: Obama orders a comprehensive review of Russian interference in U.S. elections going back to 2008 with the intention of making some of the findings public. They are not.
December 9: McCain meets privately with Comey in his FBI office and gives him a copy of the Steele dossier .
December 13, 2016: A Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman terms emerging stories about election-related hacking a power struggle between American security agencies.
December 16, 2016: Obama, in one of his last news briefings, expresses anger that the election "came to be dominated by a bunch of these leaks."
Mid-December 2016: Kushner meets with Sergey Gorkov, a close associate of Putin and chief executive of Vnesheconombank, a development bank with close ties to Russian intelligence services that had been sanctioned by the Obama administration and one of its executives convicted of espionage.
December 18, 2016: Campaign official Kellyanne Conway tells CBS News that there was no contact between the campaign and the Russians: "Absolutely not. And I discussed that with the president-elect just last night. Those conversations never happened."
December 26, 2016: Oleg Erovinkin, believed to be instrumental in helping Steele to compile his dossier, is found dead in the back seat of his car in Moscow.
December 29, 2016: After five months of internal debate, Obama announces modest new sanctions against Russia because of its election interference, including expelling 35 diplomats and closing Russian compounds in Maryland and on Long Island.
December 29, 2017: Flynn talks with Kislyak about easing sanctions.
Early January 2017: The CIA and FBI are said to have "high confidence" that Russia was trying to help Trump through a hacking campaign, while the NSA has only "moderate confidence." The agencies also believe that Russia gained computer access to election boards in several states.
January 3~5, 2017: In a series of tweets, Trump attacks the integrity of the U.S. intelligence community's findings that Russia interfered in the election.
January 4, 2017: Flynn tells Trump's transition team that he is under federal investigation for secretly working as a paid lobbyist for Turkey during the campaign.
January 5, 2017: Obama's national security director releases a report stating that the CIA, FBI and NSA believe that Russia hacked Democratic email accounts and then passed the emails on to WikiLeaks to try to tip the election to Trump because he would be friendlier to their interests.
January 6, 2017: Comey briefs the president-elect on the contents of the Steele dossier in a meeting at Trump Tower and begins keeping notes on his meetings with Trump.
January 10, 2017: BuzzFeed News publishes a story stating that the Steele dossier has been circulating among elected officials, intelligence agents and journalists.
January 10, 2017: Attorney General nominee Sessions states at a Senate confirmation hearing that he never had communications with Russians.
January 10, 2017: Susan Rice, Obama's national security adviser, informs Trump of a military plan to retake the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, Syria with the help of Syrian-Turkish forces. National security adviser designate Flynn, who has been secretly lobbying for the anti-Kurd Turkish government, tells Rice to hold off approving the mission.
January 11, 2017: Former Blackwater boss Erik Prince, working as an emissary for Trump, meets secretly with an unidentified man close to Putin in the Seychelles islands in an apparent effort to establish a back-channel line of communication between Moscow and the president-elect.
January 15, 2017: Vice President Pence states on Face the Nation that Flynn, whom Trump has named national security adviser, did not discuss sanctions with Kislyak nor did any Trump associates have contacts with Russians.
Mid-January 2017: Former Trump campaign manager Manfort tells Trump chief of staff Reince Priebus that the Steele dossier is "garbage" and suggests it was motivated by Democratic activists and donors working with Ukrainian government officials who supported Clinton.
January 20, 2017: Trump becomes president. He insists that the Russia scandal is "fake news" while naming Flynn and other people to key positions in his administration who had contacts with Russians involved in the interfering effort.
January 22, 2017: Flynn is sworn in as national security adviser.
January 22, 2017: Trump singles out Comey at a White House event, hugs him and declares, "Oh, and there's Jim. He's become more famous than me."
January 24, 2017: Flynn is interviewed by the FBI at the White House, possibly about his contacts with Kislyak.
January 26, 2017: Acting Attorney General Sally Yates tells White House counsel Donald F. McGahn II that misstatements made by Flynn to the Trump administration regarding his meetings with Russians make him vulnerable to blackmail by Moscow.
January 27, 2017: Yates, responding to a query from McGahn, says that Flynn could be criminally prosecuted.
January 27, 2017: Trump tells Comey "I need loyalty, I expect loyalty" during a private dinner in the Green Room at the White House. Comey, according to a memo he made of the meeting, replies that he can pledge "honesty" but not pledge "loyalty."
Late January: Michael Cohen, Trump's personal lawyer, Sater and Andrii Artemenko, a wealthy oligarch and Ukrainian lawmaker, meet at the Loews Regency Hotel in Manhattan where a "peace plan" for control of Russian-held Crimea is hatched.
Late January: Cohen delivers the "peace plan" to Flynn at the White House, reports The New York Times.
January 30, 2017: Yates agrees to a request from McGahn to see intelligence data about Flynn.
January 30, 2017: Trump fires Yates, allegedly over her conclusion that Trump's Muslim ban is unconstitutional.
February 2017: Federal officials seek the extradition to the U.S. of Firtash, a former Manafort business partner, on racketeering charges.
February 7: Alarmed at reports that Trump plans to ease Russia sanctions, two senators introduce bipartisan legislation to bar the administration from granting sanctions relief without congressional review.
February 13, 2017: Flynn is forced to resign as national security director when it is revealed he misled Pence about his communications with Kislyak.
February 14, 2017: Trump tells Comey in a private Oval Office meeting that he wants him to drop the FBI's investigation of Flynn.
February 15, 2017: Priebus asks Comey and his top deputy, Andrew McCabe, to refute news reports about Trump campaign ties with Russian government officials. They demur.
February 15, 2017: Comey confronts AG Sessions and tells him he doesn't want to be left alone again with the president.
February 24, 2017: Comey rejects requests from the Trump administration to publicly rebut reports about Trump associates' contacts with Russians. Trump counters by tweeting that FBI sources are leaking information to the press and demands that stop.
February 26, 2017: Chuck Todd of NBC News notes a pattern in which Trump attacks the press immediately after a new Trump-Russia story breaks.
March 2017: Over the course of five sessions, the FBI questions Page about allegations that he served as a middleman between the Trump campaign and Moscow during the election.
March 2, 2017: Alex Oronov, a naturalized U.S. citizen, dies under unexplained circumstances in his native Ukraine. He reportedly helped set up the late January meeting between Cohen, Sater and Artemenko.
March 2, 2017: Sessions recuses himself from the Justice Department's investigation into Russia-Trump connections after acknowledging that he failed to disclose his meetings with Kislyak while he was advising the Trump campaign.
March 4, 2017: Trump, reportedly furious that Session recused himself, tweets that Obama ordered the phones at Trump Tower to be wiretapped.
March 5, 2017: Comey asks the Justice Department to deny Trump's wiretapping claim. Justice refuses and Comey's request is leaked to the news media.
March 11, 2017: Trump fires New York U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who was conducting, among others, a Russia-related investigation.
March 17, 2017: At least 63 wealthy Russians have invested nearly $100 million in Trump luxury high rises in southern Florida, according to Reuters.
March 20, 2017: Comey in effect calls Trump a liar in publicly acknowledging for the first time in testimony before Congress that the FBI's investigation into Russian election interfering includes Trump associates' contacts with Russians who were working to sabotage Clinton.
March 2017: In the wake of Comey's testimony, Trump makes separate appeals to Daniel Coats, the director of national intelligence, and Admiral Michael S. Rogers, director of the NSA to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of Trump-Russia collusion. They refuse.
April 7, 2017: Spanish authorities arrest Pyotr Levashov at the request of U.S. authorities, who believe he is one of the election interference hackers. They say he distributed fake news to try to influence voters through sendings billions of spambot messages by infecting tens of thousands of computers.
April 8, 2017: House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes recuses himself from the panel's investigation after it is revealed that White House security staffers fed him information in an effort to bolster Trump's false claim that Obama had personally ordered that his Trump Tower phones be tapped.
April 11, 2017: Trump asks Comey in a phone call when he plans to issue a statement that he is not under investigation. Comey responds that he has passed the request on to his bosses at Justice but had not heard back.
April 25, 2017: House Oversight Committee members assert that Flynn may have violated federal law by not fully disclosing his business dealings with Russians.
April 28, 2017: The Senate Intelligence Committee asks four Trump campaign associates -- Flynn, Page, Manafort and Stone -- to hand over emails and other records of their dealings with Russians and says it is prepared to subpoena those who refuse to cooperate.
Early May 2017: Comey meets with Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein to request a substantial increase in funding and personnel to expand the FBI's investigation in light of information showing possible evidence of Trump-Russia collusion.
Early May 2017: Stone, who is being investigated for his Russia ties, reportedly lobbies the president to fire Comey.
Early May 2017: White House lawyers warn Trump that it would be inappropriate for him to reach out to Flynn because he is under investigation.
May 2, 2017: Trump agrees in a phone conversation with Putin to meet with foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, who will be meeting with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in coming days. Putin neglects to tell Trump that the Lavrov-Tillerson meeting with be 4,100 miles away in Alaska, while the White House keeps secret the forthcoming visit.
May 2, 2017: Clinton says Comey's decision to tell Congress of the "new" Clinton emails and WikiLeaks email disclosures helped alter the outcome of the election because people inclined to vote for her "got scared off."
May 2, 2017: Trump tweets that the scandal is "phony."
May 2, 2017: Trump criticizes Comey in a tweet, saying "[He] was the best thing to ever happen to Hillary Clinton in that he gave her a free pass for many bad deeds."
May 3, 2017: Comey tells Congress, "It makes me mildly nauseous to think that we might have had some impact on the election" because of his Clinton case disclosure. He says the Russia investigation is continuing.
May 5, 2017: Kushner reportedly urges Trump to take a hard line when he announces support for an Arab boycott of Qatar, which had turned down Kushner and his father for a half-billion dollar bailout.
May 8, 2017: Yates testifies before a Senate subcommittee about the repeated warnings given Trump and his White House legal counsel about Flynn being a security risk and possibly liable for criminal prosecution because of his Russia ties.
May 9, 2017: Trump hires a Washington law firm to send a letter to Senator Lindsey Graham, who says he intends to look into Trump's extensive business dealings with Russians. Trump claims yet again that he has no connections to Russia.
May 9, 2017: The Senate Intelligence Committee issues a subpoena to Flynn demanding that he turn over records of his interactions with Russians after he refuses to do so. A federal grand in Alexandria, Virginia issues subpoenas to a number of Flynn's business associates.
May 9, 2017: Trump summarily fires Comey, asserting that he mishandled the Clinton email investigations.
May 9, 2017: Rosenstein threatens to resign after the White House portrays him as the mastermind behind the Comey firing.
May 10, 2017: Trump, meeting with Lavrov and Kislyak at the White House, boasts about highly classified information from an ally about ISIS.
May 11, 2017: Testifying before Congress, Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe rejects White House assertions that Comey had lost the backing of rank-and-file agents, and says the bureau's Russia investigation will continue.
May 12, 2017: Trump issues a veiled threat to Comey to not leak any information that he may have and indicates he may have tapes of their conversations.
May 12, 2017: The Justice Department abruptly settles a case against Prevezon Holdings, which was accused of laundering dirty money through Manhattan real estate, for a mere $6 million. One of Prevezon's lawyers is Natalia Veselnitskaya, who met with Donald Jr. and the Trump campaign brain trust in Trump Tower in June 2016.
May 14, 2017: Right-wing Republican opposition researcher Peter W. Smith is found dead in a Rochester, Minnesota hotel room. Smith had implied in an interview with a Wall Street Journal reporter about 10 days before his apparent suicide that he worked for Flynn, who he says was colluding with Russian hackers trying to obtain the "missing" Clinton emails.
May 15, 2017: The Washington Post publishes a story on Trump's boast to Lavrov and Kislyak. The White House denies that the president revealed sensitive intelligence.
May 16, 2017: Trump, in early morning tweets, contradicts his aides and appears to acknowledge that The Post story is accurate, while the White House refuses to release a transcript of the Lavrov and Kislyak meeting.
May 16, 2017: Fox News publishes, with the help of a wealthy Trump backer, a story stating that Rich stole DNC emails prior to his murder. The story is an attempt to discredit the U.S. intelligence community's conclusion that Russia hacked the emails, which WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange cryptically suggested may have been linked to the email thefts. Fox says that Democrats might have been connected to the murder and that a cover-up had thwarted the official investigation.
May 17, 2017: In a remarkable offer, Putin says he is willing to provide Congress with a transcript of the meeting. Democrats and Republicans reject the offer.
May 17, 2017: Rosenstein names Robert Mueller, who preceded Comey as FBI director, as special counsel to oversee its Russia investigation. Trump calls the appointment the "greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history."
May 18, 2017: FBI and congressional investigators say Flynn and other Trump campaign advisers were in contact with Russians in at least 18 calls and emails during the last seven months of the presidential race, according to Reuters.
May 18, 2017: Trump yet again calls the Russia investigation a "witch hunt," but for the first time equivocates, saying that "I cannot speak for others."
May 19, 2017: Rosenstein tells members of Congress that Mueller has been given the authority to investigate the possibility of a cover-up.
May 19, 2017: A transcript of the May 10 Lavrov-Kislyak meeting shows that Trump told them that firing "real nut job" Comey had relieved "great pressure" on him. "I faced great pressure because of Russia. That's taken off."
May 19, 2017: Russian officials bragged in conversations during the presidential campaign that they could use Flynn to influence Trump and his team, according to CNN.
May 20, 2017: The House Intelligence Committee asks Michael Caputo to submit to a voluntary interview, reports The New York Times. Caputo, who worked for the Trump campaign for six months, had extensive dealings with Kremlin officials in the 1990s.
May 22, 2017: Flynn's lawyers tell the Senate Intelligence Committee that he is invoking the Fifth Amendment rather than comply with a subpoena to produce documents regarding his contacts with Russians.
May 23, 2017: Brennan tells the House Intelligence Committee that the Trump campaign may have been successfully recruited by Russia and said there is evidence of "troubling" contacts between the campaign and Russian officials.
May 23, 2017: Trump retains lawyer Marc E. Kasowitz in connection with the scandal. He previously represented Trump in fraud, divorce and numerous other cases, and has clients with extensive Kremlin ties.
May 23, 2017: Fox News retracts the Rich story.
May 30, 2017: Cohen, Trump's personal lawyer, says he will refuse to cooperate with the Senate and House intelligence committee investigations.
May 31, 2017: Clinton, in an interview at Recode's Code Conference, says she is "leaning" toward believing that Trump's campaign colluded with Russia.
June 1, 2017: Shifting from previous blanket denials of Russian involvement, Putin says "patriotically minded" private Russian hackers could have been involved in cyberattacks to help the Trump campaign.
Early June 2017: Mueller is said to be expanding his investigation beyond Trump-Russia ties to include the roles of AG Sessions and Deputy AG Rosenstein in firing Comey.
June 5, 2017: Trump, in a series of tweets, chastises the Justice Department for his problems. Sources say the president also is angry at Sessions for recusing himself.
June 6, 2017: Kushner reportedly urges Trump to take a hard line as he announces support for an Arab boycott of Qatar, which had turned down Kushner and his father for a half-billion dollar bailout loan in early 2016.
June 7, 2017: Coats and Rogers, testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee, refuse to discuss Trump's efforts to get them to deny the existence of evidence of Trump-Russia collusion.
June 8, 2017: Comey, in testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee carried lived on national television, calls Trump a liar and untrustworthy, implies the president has obstructed justice and says he leaked notes of his February 14 meeting with Trump to The New York Times with the intention of getting a special counsel named.
June 9, 2017: Trump says Comey's testimony vindicates him, accuses the former FBI director of lying and offers to give sworn testimony.
June 11, 2017: Trump calls Comey "cowardly" and vows to find out if he leaked any more sensitive information.
June 12, 2017: A longtime Trump friend says the president is considering whether to fire Mueller as some of Trump's conservative allies attack the special counsel's credibility.
June 13, 2017: Kasowitz bragged to friends that he got New York U.S. Attorney Bharara fired after telling Trump "this guy is going to get you," according to Talking Points Memo.
June 13, 2017: Rosenstein says Mueller will have "full independence" and only he can fire him for cause, while Adam Schiff, the ranking House Intelligence Committee Democrat, says Congress would immediately reappoint Mueller.
June 13, 2017: Sessions testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee, indignantly denies any collusion with Russia but declines to answer key questions about his conduct and interactions with Trump.
June 14, 2017: Mueller is investigating whether Trump obstructed justice, reports The Washington Post.
June 15, 2017: VP Pence hires a criminal defense lawyer to assist him in the various investigations.
June 15, 2017: Trump's transition team general counsel orders team members to preserve documents and other materials related to the Russia investigations because of the possibility some of them are under investigation.
June 15, 2017: Trump tweets that Mueller is "a very bad and conflicted" person.
June 16, 2017: Trump attacks Rosenstein in a tweet for leading a "witch hunt" in acknowledging publicly for the first time that he is under investigation.
Mid-June 2017: Coats and Rogers tell Mueller's team and Senate investigators that Trump suggested they say publicly there was no collusion between his campaign and the Russians.
June 20, 2017: Sessions hires a criminal defense lawyer to help him in the various investigations.
June 21, 2017: Jae Johnson tells the House Intelligence Committee that the Obama administration feared acknowledging Russian election interference would reveal too much about intelligence gathering and be interpreted as "taking sides" in the race.
June 22, 2017: Trump says in a tweet that he did not tape his meetings with Comey.
June 23, 2017: Trump says in a "Fox & Friends" interview that his tweet hinting at taped meetings with Comey was intended to influence his testimony before Congress.
June 25, 2017: Presidential counselor Conway, appearing on ABC's "This Week," blames the Obama administration for failing to deal with Russian interference in the election.
June 27, 2017: Manafort registers retroactively as a foreign agent. He reveals that he failed to disclose, as required by law, that his consulting firm received more than $17 million over two years from Yanukovych's political party before Yanukovych fled Ukraine to Russia in 2014.
June 29~30, 2017: The Wall Street Journal publishes two stories based on an interview with Smith about Flynn's possible collusion with Russian hackers.
July 2017: Mueller impanels a grand jury in Washington to issue subpoenas for documents related to the business dealings of Flynn, among others.
July 6, 2017: Trump, at a news conference in Warsaw, Poland, again questions U.S. intelligence agency claims Russia interfered in the election and said Obama deliberately didn't address Russian hacking for political reasons.
July 7, 2017: Trump and Putin meet for the first time at a G20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany. Trump raises the issue of election interference, which Putin denies. Putin claims Trump had "agreed" with his statements of denial. It is later revealed that Trump met with Putin in an undisclosed hour-long second meeting without the benefit of his own interpreter or national security advisers.
July 9, 2017: Trump, returning from Europe, declares it is "time to move forward" in a constructive relationship with Russia and says he is prepared to team with Moscow on forming an "impenetrable Cyber Security" unit to prevent future hacking breaches.
July 9~11, 2017: The New York Times publishes stories on consecutive days on Donald Jr.'s meeting with Veselnitsakya and other Russians in June 2016.
July 10, 2017: Donald Jr. hires a criminal defense lawyer to assist him in the various investigations.
July 12, 2017: Trump tweets that Donald Jr. "was open, transparent and innocent. This is the greatest Witch Hunt in political history. Sad!"
July 12, 2017: Two Democratic Party donors and a former party staff member file an invasion-of-privacy lawsuit against the Trump campaign and Stone, accusing them of conspiring in the release of hacked Democratic emails and files that exposed their personal information to the public.
July 14, 2017: Trump hires criminal defense lawyer Ty Cobb, a former prosecutor, while Kushner hires a new criminal lawyer.
July 14, 2017: Kushner has updated his security clearance application at least three times because of omissions and added more than 100 names of foreign contracts after initially providing none, as well as dozens of financial holdings, CBS News and The Washington Post report.
July 15, 2017: Trump tweets that the scandal is a "hoax," yet again attacks Clinton and defends Donald Jr.'s June 2016 meeting with Russians.
July 17, 2017: Approaching six months in office, 58 percent of voters disapprove of Trump in the Washington Post-ABC Poll, a level never reached by presidents Clinton and Obama and reached only in the second term by President George W. Bush.
July 19, 2017: Trump, in an interview with The New York Times, says he would not have appointed Sessions if he knew he was going to recuse himself, and warns Mueller not to delve into his family's finances.
July 20, 2017: The Treasury Department fines ExxonMobil $2 million for signing business agreements with the head of Russian-government owned energy giant Rosneft in 2014 in violation of sanctions. Tillerson was chief executive of the U.S. energy giant at the time.
July 20, 2017: Thomas Bossert, Trump's chief counterterroris adviser, says it's "pretty clear" that Russia interfered in the election.
July 20, 2017: Trump's advisers are exploring his options to pardon scandal suspects and how to undermine Mueller's investigation, according to multiple media reports.
July 20, 2017: Mark Corallo, chief spokesman for Trump's personal legal team, resigns because of growing frustration with the team and whether he wad being told the truth.
July 21, 2017: Kislyak told his superiors in Moscow that he had substantive discussions about campaign-related matters and policy issues important to Moscow when he met with Sessions, contradicting public assertions by the embattled attorney general, reports The Washington Post.
July 21, 2017: Kushner and Manafort, threatened with subpoenas, agree to turn over documents to Senate and House intelligence committees.
July 21, 2017: Brennan and former national intelligence director James Clapper express anger at Trump's statements disparaging the community and express incredulity at his embrace of Russia.
July 22, 2017: Trump tweets that he has "complete power to pardon" relatives, aides and possibly himself and defends Sessions after stating he regretted appointing him.
July 22, 2017: Defying Trump, congressional leaders reach an agreement on sweeping new sanctions to punish Russia for its election interference.
July 23, 2017: New White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci says on CNN's "State of the Union" that Trump remains unconvinced of Russian election interference because he cannot separate intelligence findings from his view that the issue is being used to cast doubt on his presidency.
July 24, 2017: Kushner secured a $295 million real estate deal in 2015 with Lev Leviev, a Soviet-born oligarch who was a business partner in Prevezon Holdings, The Guardian reports.
July 24~25, 2017: Kushner testifies behind closed doors before the Senate and House intelligence committees. In a prepared statement, he denies any collusion in his four meetings with Russian officials and says his real estate company and other business interests have not relied on Russian funds. He contradicts Trump and administration members who deny any Russian contacts during the campaign by confirming that he had several.
July 25, 2017: The Senate Judiciary Committee subpoenas Manafort to publicly testify.
July 25, 2017: The House approves in a 419-3 vote a sweeping package of economic sanctions against Russia.
July 26, 2017: Trump, for the third consecutive day, publicly criticizes Sessions for recusing himself and not pursuing an investigation against Clinton as the president's aides consider whether to replace him.
July 26, 2017: FBI agents working for Mueller raid Manafort's Alexandria, Virginia home, using a search warrant to seize documents and other materials they may have had reason to believe he would not voluntarily produce.
July 27, 2017: The Senate approves in a 98-2 vote and sends to Trump the sweeping package of economic sanctions against Russia, setting up a congressional confrontation with the president, who has sought to ease sanctions.
July 28, 2017: Russia, retaliating for congressional approval of expanded sanctions, seizes two U.S. diplomatic compounds and orders the U.S. embassy in Moscow to reduce its staff.
July 30, 2017: Putin dramatically escalates his pushback against sanctions by ordering the U.S. to reduce its diplomatic staff by 755 people, the largest forced reduction since the Communist revolution in 1917.
July 31, 2017: Scaramucci is fired.
July 31, 2017: Trump overruled his aides to personally direct that misleading statements be issued regarding Donald Jr.'s June 2016 meeting with Russians and was the sole author of those statements, making himself further vulnerable to coverup allegations, reports The Washington Post.
August 1, 2017: A lawsuit is filed against Fox News and a wealthy Trump backer for its story about the Rich murder being linked to DNC email thefts. The suit states that the White House was aware of the story and Trump himself might have worked on it.
August 2, 2017: Trump signs the sanctions bill.
August 2, 2017: Four senators -- two Democrats and two Republicans -- announce legislation to prevent Trump from firing Mueller without cause.
August 3, 2017: Trump, speaking at a rally in West Virginia, forcefully dismisses allegations of collusion with Russia as "a total fabrication" and blames the scandal on Democrats who "still can't get over" 2016 election results.
August 4, 2017: Trump, inviting speculation that he or a family member could be indicted by the grand jury empaneled by Mueller, retweets a video clip from "Fox & Friends" in which guest and longtime Trump friend Jeanine Pirro calls Mueller's investigation politically motivated.
August 6, 2017: Trump and Conway call Mueller's investigation a "fabrication" in separate interviews.
August 10, 2017: Trump's aversion to criticizing Putin remains intact as he says he is "very thankful" that U.S. diplomats were expelled because it means a smaller State Department payroll. He also contradicts private statements about his desire to dismiss Mueller, saying he has not considered firing him.
August 12, 2017: Mueller tells the White House that he wants to interview current and former senior administration officials, including departed Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, reports The New York Times.
SOURCES: The Atlantic, The Associated Press, Bloomberg News, Business Insider, BuzzFeed News, CBS News, CNN, Capital Alpha Security, Daily Mail, The Financial Times, The Guardian, The Hill, Huffington Post, The Independent UK, The Intercept, Krebson Security, McClatchy News Service, Mother Jones, Moyers & Company, National Public Radio, Newsweek, New York magazine, The New Yorker, NewsMax Media, The New Republic, The New York Times, Politico, ProPublica, Reuters, Russia Today Network, Salon, Slate, Christopher Steele-Orbis Business Intelligence, Talking Points Memo, ThinkProgress, The Village Voice, Vox, WNYC New York, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Watchdog Report, Wired, Yahoo News.