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ISSUE
Trump Campaign Russian Timeline

Published:2018-Apr-24
Last Updated:2018-Nov-27
Principal Writer:Rob Dennis

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Timeline shows pattern of Russian involvement

From the launch of Donald Trump's presidential campaign until he took office, at least 14 members of his inner circle (as well as Trump himself) had contacts with at least 20 Russian officials or others connected to the Kremlin.

What follows is a timeline of those contacts and other actions.

Some of these contacts on their own might appear scandalous. Others appear innocuous enough in isolation, but could be considered suspicious only because Trump and his aides repeatedly lied about and tried to conceal them.

Taken together, they appear to form a clear pattern.

Presidential campaign

2012

November
Donald Trump trademarks the slogan Make America Great Again, which will become his 2016 campaign slogan.

2013

November
Trump brings the Miss Universe pageant to Moscow. The event is hosted by Aras Agalarov. A VIP at the event is Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov.

Agalarov is a billionaire who has won several Russian state contracts and been honored by Russian president Vladimir Putin. Tokhtakhounov is a reputed Russian mobster - wanted in the U.S. after he was indicted in connection with an illegal gambling ring run out of Trump Tower in New York.

Trump attends a lunch with Russian oligarchs during the trip, including the CEO of Russia's largest bank. Trump signs a deal with Agalarov to pursue a Trump Tower in Moscow.
People: Aras Agalarov, Vladimir Putin, Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, Donald Trump

2014

The Internet Research Agency in Russia starts tracking U.S. politics and issues on social media. It later will include efforts to influence the U.S. presidential election by supporting Trump.

The project is set up by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a businessman with close ties to Putin.
People: Yevgeny Prigozhin

Early 2014
The National Security Agency (NSA) intercepts conversations among Russians about "Trump's coming White House run and how Moscow planned to boost him," according to a former NSA counterintelligence officer. A European intelligence service receives a top-secret report that Russia will back Trump in the next presidential election, according to the same officer.

2015

June 16
Trump announces his candidacy for president.

July
Hackers linked to Russian intelligence break into the Democratic National Committee network. They have access for nearly a year.

Oct. 28
Trump signs a non-binding letter of intent with a Russian developer for the Moscow tower.

Nov. 3
Felix Sater, a Russian-born convicted racketeer and longtime Trump associate, emails Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen to pitch a Trump Tower in Moscow. Sater had lined up financing with a Russian bank that was under U.S. sanctions. Sater wrote, "Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it. I will get all of Putins team to buy in on this."
People: Michael Cohen, Vladimir Putin, Felix Sater

November
Trump's daughter, Ivanka Trump, connects Cohen to Dmitry Klokov, a former Russian Olympic weightlifter who offers to introduce Trump to Putin to help facilitate the Trump Tower development in Moscow. Ivanka Trump was executive vice president of development and acquisitions for the Trump Organization at the time.
People: Michael Cohen, Dmitry Klokov, Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump

2016

January
Cohen emails Dmitry Peskov to ask for help with the project.  Peskov is Putin's personal spokesman.
People: Michael Cohen, Dmitry Peskov, Vladimir Putin

Early March
George Papadopoulos becomes a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign.
People: George Papadopoulos

March 14
While traveling in Italy, Papadopoulos meets Joseph Mifsud, a professor and foreign policy expert with ties to the Kremlin. Mifsud appears to become interested in Papadopoulos when he learns he is part of the Trump campaign.
People: Joseph Mifsud, George Papadopoulos

March 19
A Russian-linked hacking group known as Fancy Bear sends spear phishing emails to the personal accounts of senior members of Hillary Clinton's campaign, including chairman John Podesta. Hackers gain access to about 60,000 emails in Podesta's personal email account.
People: Fancy Bear

March 24
Papadopoulos meets in London with Mifsud and a woman introduced as a relative of Putin's with connections to senior Kremlin officials (it turned out the woman wasn't related to Putin).
People: Joseph Mifsud, George Papadopoulos

March 28
Trump hires Paul Manafort to wrangle delegates at the upcoming Republican National Convention. Manafort had spent the past 12 years working for pro-Russian oligarchs and politicians in Ukraine.
People: Paul Manafort

Spring 2018
Manafort meets secretly with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, the Guardian reported. A source told the Guardian the meeting happened around March. Manafort previously met with Assange in 2013 and 2015, the Guardian reported. Manafort and WikiLeaks have denied the meetings.
People: Julian Assange, Paul Manafort

March 31
Papadopoulos tells Donald Trump and other campaign officials that he has connections who could help arrange a meeting between Trump and Putin. He updates campaign officials on his progress in coming weeks.
People: George Papadopoulos, Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump

April
The Russian influence operation begins buying online ads supporting Trump and opposing Clinton, using the stolen identities of real Americans and virtual private networks to conceal their origin.

April 10
Papadopoulos emails the Russian woman and Mifsud about setting up "a potential foreign policy trip to Russia." The Russian woman responds, "As mentioned we are all very excited about the possibility of a good relationship with Mr. Trump."
People: Joseph Mifsud, George Papadopoulos

April 11
Manafort emails Ukrainian business associate Konstantin Kilimnik. "How do we use to get whole?" Manafort asks, referring to his media coverage as part of the Trump campaign. "Has OVD operation seen?"

Investigators believe the initials refer to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who has close ties to the Kremlin. Manafort had a prior business relationship with Deripaska. In a court filing, prosecutors have claimed Kilimnik has ties to a Russian intelligence service, "and had such ties in 2016."
People: Oleg Deripaska, Konstantin Kilimnik, Paul Manafort

April 18
Mifsud introduces Papadopoulos via email to a Russian connected to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Though not named in court records, the contact appears to be Ivan Timofeyev, director of programs at the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) think tank. The Russian foreign ministry founded the RIAC and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is chairman of the board.
People: Sergey Lavrov, Joseph Mifsud, George Papadopoulos, Ivan Timofeyev

April 26
Mifsud tells Papadopoulos that he has just returned from a trip to Moscow, where he learned that the Russian government has "dirt" on Hillary Clinton, consisting of thousands of emails. For several months afterward, Papadopoulos continues to pursue a Trump visit to Russia, and later an "off the record" meeting between campaign officials and Kremlin officials.
People: Joseph Mifsud, George Papadopoulos

April 27
Trump delivers a foreign-policy speech at the Mayflower hotel in Washington, D.C., hosted by the Center for the National Interest, a Kremlin-sympathetic think tank. Trump meets with Russian ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak during a VIP reception beforehand. Former ambassador Richard Burt, who is lobbying at the time for a Kremlin-controlled gas pipeline, helps craft the speech.
People: Richard Burt, Sergey Kislyak

May
Papadopoulos drunkenly brags to an Australian diplomat that Russia has political dirt on Clinton.
People: George Papadopoulos  

Early May
Manafort meets in person with Kilimnik.
People: Konstantin Kilimnik, Paul Manafort

May 19
Manafort is promoted to chairman and chief strategist of the Trump campaign.
People: Paul Manafort

Trump's son Donald Trump Jr. meets with Russian banker Alexander Torshin during a National Rifle Association (NRA) event in Louisville, Ky. Spanish investigators have accused Torshin of laundering money for Russian mobsters when he served in the Russian parliament. He denies the allegations.

The FBI reportedly is investigating whether Torshin, a lifetime NRA member, illegally funneled money to the NRA to help Trump win the presidency. The NRA donated three times as much to Trump as they did to 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
People: Alexander Torshin, Donald Trump Jr.

Late May
Longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone meets with Henry Greenberg. Greenberg, who also uses the name Henry Oknyansky, is a Russian expatriate living in the United States. He was offering damaging information on Hillary Clinton in exchange for $2 million. Trump campaign communications official Michael Caputo set up the meeting. Afterward, Stone texted Caputo - referring to Greenberg as "the Russian" and saying he turned down Greenberg's offer.

Stone and Caputo later denied any contact with Russians during the campaign - both in interviews and in testimony given under oath before the House Intelligence Committee. Both now claim they had forgotten about the meeting.
People: Michael Caputo, Henry Greenberg, Roger Stone

June
The Russian influence operation begins to organize rallies posing as U.S. grassroots activists, soliciting the unwitting support of genuine activists and low-level members of the Trump campaign.

June 3
Trump's son Donald Trump Jr. receives an email through an intermediary of Agalarov offering "to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father. ... This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump."

Trump Jr. responds, "If it's what you say I love it especially later in the summer."
People: Aras Agalarov, Donald Trump Jr.

June 7
Trump promises to give a "major speech" within days "discussing all of the things that have taken place with the Clintons."
People: Donald Trump

June 9
Trump Jr., son-in-law Jared Kushner and then-campaign chair Paul Manafort meet with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya to discuss the information about Clinton.

Also attending the meeting are Irakly Kaveladze and Rinat Akhmetshin. Kaveladze is a Soviet-born financier who once was the focus of a congressional probe into money-laundering. Akhmetshin is a Russian-American lobbyist and ex-Soviet counter-intelligence officer who was involved in two hacking-related cases after working for Russian businessmen tied to Putin.
People: Rinat Akhmetshin, Irakly Kaveladze, Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, Donald Trump Jr., Natalia Veselnitskaya

July 7
Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page travels to Moscow to speak at the New Economic School. Page, who handed over unclassified documents to a Russian spy in 2013, delivers a speech criticizing the U.S. and other western democracies. The Trump campaign approved the trip.

Page meets at the event with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich and Andrey Baranov, a high-ranking official at state-controlled oil giant Rosneft.

"In a private conversation, Dvorkovich expressed strong support for Mr. Trump and a desire to work together toward devising better solutions in response to the vast range of current international problems," Page writes to other campaign officials after the meeting.
People: Andrey Baranov, Arkady Dvorkovich, Carter Page

Manafort offers to provide "private briefings" on the presidential race to Deripaska. Manafort asks Kilimnik to pass on the message.
People: Oleg Deripaska, Konstantin Kilimnik, Paul Manafort

July 18-21
Republican National Convention is held in Cleveland, Ohio.

On July 20, Page and two other campaign aides, J.D. Gordon and Jeff Sessions, meet with Russian ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

At the convention, the Republican Party platform was changed to weaken support for Ukraine in its conflict with Kremlin-backed rebels. The change came at the request of the Trump campaign, reportedly from Trump himself.
People: J.D. Gordon, Sergey Kislyak, Carter Page, Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump

July 22
WikiLeaks releases about 22,000 emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee.

July 27
At a campaign rally, Trump appears to call on Russia to hack Hillary Clinton's missing emails.
People: Donald Trump

July 29
Kilimnik tells Manafort in an email that he has "important messages" from "the guy who gave you your biggest black caviar jar several years ago," apparently referring to Deripaska. "He asked me to go and brief you on our conversation."
People: Oleg Deripaska, Konstantin Kilimnik, Paul Manafort

Early August
Manafort and Kilimnik meet in New York.
People: Konstantin Kilimnik, Paul Manafort

Aug. 4
In an email to former Trump adviser Sam Nunberg, Stone writes that he had dinner with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange the night before. He later claims he was joking, and denies meeting Assange.

In a phone call, Stone tells Nunberg the next leaks will be about the Clinton Foundation. In an interview on the radio show Infowars the same day, he says "...their defense to all the Clinton Foundation scandals is not that 'we didn't do,' but 'you have no proof.' I think Julian Assange has that proof and I think he is going to furnish it for the American people." Stone also says he spoke with Trump the previous day.
People: Julian Assange, Sam Nunberg, Roger Stone

Aug. 10
Stone tells a local group of Republican lawmakers that he "actually communicated with Julian Assange." He repeatedly claims over the next few weeks to have "backchannel communications" with Assange.
People: Julian Assange, Roger Stone

Aug. 14
Stone engages in direct messages with the hacker of the DNC emails, Guccifer 2.0, which was a front for Russian intelligence.
People: Guccifer 2.0, Roger Stone

Aug. 21
Stone tweets that it soon will be "Podesta's time in the barrel," referring to Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta.
People: Roger Stone

August or September
Cohen reportedly makes a secret trip to Prague. If the trip is confirmed, it will lend credence to a key assertion in the Steele dossier - that Cohen met secretly with Kremlin representatives there in August or September 2016 to discuss, among other things, making "deniable" payments to hackers involved in the Russian operation to support Trump.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has evidence that Cohen made the trip in late-summer 2016, McClatchy DC has reported. Cohen has repeatedly denied the allegation, claiming that he has never been to Prague (though he previously said he visited Prague in 2001).
People: Michael Cohen, Robert Mueller

September and October
Trump's deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates, a longtime business associate of Manafort's, contacts a person with ties to Russian intelligence believed to be Kilimnik.
People: Rick Gates, Konstantin Kilimnik

Oct. 11
Trump Jr. speaks at an event in Paris organized by a pro-Russian French think tank, the Center of Political and Foreign Affairs. The organization has nominated Putin for the Nobel Peace Prize. Trump Jr. likely earned at least $50,000 for the speech.
People: Donald Trump Jr.

Oct. 12
WikiLeaks begins to release emails stolen from Podesta. The emails include embarrassing details about, among other things, the Clinton Foundation.

Nov. 8
Trump is elected president.

Trump's deals as president-elect

2016 (continued)

Dec. 1
Kushner and Flynn meet with Kislyak at Trump Tower in New York, where they reportedly discuss setting up a secret back channel for communications between the Trump team and the Russian government.
People: Sergey Kislyak, Jared Kushner

Dec. 8
Page travels to Moscow, where he again meets Dvorkovich at a dinner.
People: Arkady Dvorkovich, Carter Page

Dec. 13
Kushner meets with the head of Russian state-controlled Vnesheconombank (VEB), Sergey Gorkov, a graduate of the FSB Academy.

VEB is the bank of choice for Putin's pet projects, including the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia, and it extended bailout loans to favored Russian oligarchs. The bank has been under U.S. sanctions since the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014.
People: Sergey Gorkov, Jared Kushner

Dec. 29
The Obama administration announces sanctions in retaliation for Russian interference in the 2016 election to help Trump win the presidency.

Trump's incoming national security adviser, Michael Flynn, speaks to Kislyak the same day. Flynn urges Russia "not to overreact" to the sanctions and makes it clear that "the two sides would be in position to review the matter after Trump was sworn in as president." The next day, Putin announces he won't immediately respond to the sanctions.
People: Michael Flynn, Sergey Kislyak, Vladimir Putin

2017

Jan. 9
Eleven days before Trump is inaugurated president, Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg and his cousin, Andrew Intrater, meet with Cohen at Trump Tower in New York. Intrater runs American investment firm Columbus Nova. The company has a shadowy relationship with Russian company Renova Group, which is owned by Vekselberg.

The men discuss "a mutual desire to strengthen Russia's relations with the United States under President Trump," Intrater told the New York Times.
People: Andrew Intrater, Viktor Vekselberg

Jan. 11
Unofficial Trump adviser Erik Prince, the founder and former CEO of the private security firm Blackwater USA, meets secretly in the Seychelles with Kirill Dmitriev, a Russian sovereign wealth fund manager close to Putin. Also attending the meeting is George Nader, an adviser to the crown prince of the United Arab Emirates.

The meeting was held to discuss foreign policy and "establish a line of communication between the Russian government and the incoming Trump administration," ABC News reported.
People: Kirill Dmitriev, George Nader, Erik Prince

Post inauguration

2017 (continued)

Jan. 20
As Trump delivers his inaugural address, Flynn texts a former business associate telling him that a plan to build nuclear power plants in the Middle East with Russian partners that would require the lifting of sanctions is "good to go."
People: Michael Flynn

Late January
Right after Trump takes office, top administration officials try to relax or remove sanctions against Russia.

A few days after the inauguration, Columbus Nova awards Cohen a $1 million consulting contract. The company paid $580,000 of the contract over seven months into a shell company controlled by Cohen, which he also used to pay an adult film star to stay silent about a sexual relationship she claims to have had with Trump.
People: Michael Cohen

Early February
Cohen hand-delivers a pro-Russia peace plan for Ukraine to Flynn in the White House. The proposal was brokered by Cohen, Sater and an obscure Ukrainian opposition politician named Andrii Artemenko.
People: Andrii Artemenko, Michael Cohen, Felix Sater

March
Former Rep. Curt Weldon, who has known Artemenko for a decade, reportedly said they "had already secured funding for the promotion of the [Ukrainian peace] plan from Viktor Vekselberg's fund in New York City." Weldon reportedly was referring to Columbus Nova.

Weldon lost his re-election bid in 2006 amid an FBI probe into his ties to a Russian energy company.
People: Andrii Artemenko, Viktor Vekselberg

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