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Documenting the presidency: Russia tracker

FBI Director James Comey testified before the House Intelligence Committee on March 20, publicly confirming an investigation between President Donald Trump’s advisers and Russia. This article tracks news reports regarding the links between Russian agents and/or the 2016 election/Trump Administration.

Who are the players?

  • Carter Page: founder and managing partner of Global Energy Capital and a foreign policy advisor to the Trump campaign
  • Devin Nunes: U.S. Representative (R-CA) and chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
  • Jeff Sessions: Former U.S. attorney, former U.S. Senator (R-AL), Attorney General; surrogate and policy adviser to the Trump campaign
  • Michael Flynn: retired U.S. Army lieutenant general; former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency; former National Security Advisor
  • Paul Manafort: lobbyist, political consultant, and Trump campaign manager
  • Roger Stone: political consultant and Trump campaign adviser
  • Sergey Kislyak: Russian ambassador to the United States

After assuming the presidency

Day 4, 3 April 2017

  • BuzzFeed reports that in 2013 Carter Page passed documents to a Russian spy (“unregistered agent”). This is the “most clearly documented contact to date between Russian intelligence and someone in Trump’s orbit.” Page contends that his interactions “did not include anything sensitive.”
  • Washington Post reports that the United Arab Emirates arranged for Blackwater founder Erik Prince to meet with a “Russian close to President Vladi­mir Putin” in January, prior to the inauguration. Prince “presented himself as an unofficial envoy for Trump to high-ranking Emiratis involved in setting up his meeting with the Putin confidant.” He contributed $250,000 after the RNC. His sister, Betsy DeVos, is the education secretary. Prince founded Blackwater, which was a high profile contractor in the Iraq war. In 2007, company guards were accused and convicted of killing civilians.

    Days before the November election, Prince appeared on Bannon’s program again, saying that he had “well-placed sources” in the New York City Police Department telling him they were preparing to make arrests in the investigation of former congressman Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) over allegations he exchanged sexually explicit texts with a minor. Flynn tweeted a link to the Breitbart report on the claim. No arrests occurred.

Day 72, 1 April 2017

  • AP poll (margin of error, +/- 4%) found that 61% of adults believe Donald Trump’s relationship with Russia is extremely or moderately important. Only 23% believe it is not important. About half, 52%, favor an independent investigation into whether the campaign had inappropriate contacts with the Russian government.  Only 23% oppose such an investigation. Given that more voters picked Clinton than Trump on November 8, this result is not surprising.

Day 71, 31 March 2017

  • According to NBC, the Senate intelligence committee is not interested in Flynn’s request for immunity.

Day 70, 30 March 2017

Day 69, 29 March 2017

Day 68, 28 March 2017

Day 67, 27 March 2017

  • According to the New York Times, Jared Kushner met with Sergey Gorkov, the chief of Russia’s state-owned development bank in December 2016, at the direction of Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Day 64, 24 March 2017

Day 63, 23 March 2017

  • The Attorney General of Cyprus is cooperating with US officials in turning over information related to Paul Manafort. Cyprus was “once known as a haven for money laundering by Russian billionaires.” From AP: “In one case, the AP found that a Manafort-linked company received a $1 million payment in October 2009 from a mysterious firm through the Bank of Cyprus. The $1 million payment left the account the same day—split in two, roughly $500,000 disbursements to accounts with no obvious owner.”

Day 62, 22 March 2017

Day 61, 21 March 2017

Day 60, 20 March 2017

Day 56, 16 March 2017

Day 50, 10 March 2017

Day 47, 7 March 2017

  • Fired National Security Adviser Flynn “registered with the Justice Department as a foreign agent for $530,000 worth of lobbying work before Election Day that may have aided the Turkish government.”

Day 45, 5 March 2017

Day 44, 4 March 2017

Day 42, 2 March 2017

Day 41, 1 March 2017

  •  According to the Washington Post, Jeff Sessions did not disclose in his January confirmation hearings that he had two meetings with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador.

Day 39, 27 February 2017

  • Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) called for a special prosecutor to examine the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russians; Issa is chair of the House Oversight Committee. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was involved in President Trump’s campaign and should not lead the investigation, according to Issa. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) echoed this sentiment on March 1. Both called Sessions “a friend.”

Day 38, 26 February 2017

Day 37, 25 February 2017

Day 36, 24 February 2017

Day 35, 23 February 2017

Day 33, 21 February 2017

  • The president’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, was at the center of a Sunday New York Times report regarding a “peace plan for Russia and Ukraine.” He has told four different stories to the press.

Day 31, 19 February 2017

Day 29, 17 February 2017

Day 28, 16 February 2017

  • The Washington Post reported that Flynn lied in a January 24 FBI interview; lying to the FBI is a felony, but the Department of Justice (headed by AG Sessions) would have to press charges.
  • Trump tells reporters that “nobody that I know of” in the campaign had been in contact with Russia.

Day 27, 15 February

  •  On PBS Newshour, Carter Page denies meeting with any Russian officials in 2016.

Day 26, 14 February 2017

Day 25, 13 February 2017

Day 22, 10 February 2017

Day 21, 9 February 2017

  • US National Security adviser, Michael Flynn, came under fire after both the Washington Post and the New York Times reported that he talked to the Russian ambassador about the sanctions from the Obama administration before they happened.

Day 20, 8 February 2017

  • Jeff Sessions confirmed as Attorney General (52-47).
  • Washington PostFlynn denies discussing US sanctions with the Russian ambassador.

Day 7, 26 January 2017

  • Acting Attorney General Sally Yates tells White House counsel Don McGahn that Flynn had discussed US sanctions with the Russian ambassador.

Day 4, 23 January 2017

  • In his first press briefing, White House press secretary Sean Spicer tells reporters that national security adviser Michael Flynn’s conversations with the Russian ambassador did not include US sanctions.

Day 1, 20 January 2017

  • Trump is inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States.

Post-election

January 2017

December 2016

November 2016

2016 campaign

November 2016

October 2016

September 2016

Sessions met with Russian ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak in a private meeting in his office; he did not disclose this meeting at his confirmation hearings.

  • September 25: Flynn said, “When you are given immunity, that means you have probably committed a crime.”

August 2016

July 2016

June 2016

News of attacks on the DNC computer network by two groups (Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear) associated with Russian intelligence.  Guccifer 2.0 then claims sole responsibility for the breach.

May 2016

March 2016