Posted: 22 Feb 2018 09:42 PM PST
It’s easy to find timelines that detail Trump-Russia collusion developments. Here are links to two of them I recommend:
On the other side, evidence has emerged in the past year that makes it clear there were organized efforts to collude against candidate Donald Trump–and then President Trump. For example:
- Anti-Russian Ukrainians allegedly helped coordinate and execute a campaign against Trump in partnership with the Democratic National Committee and news reporters.
- A Yemen-born ex-British spy reportedly delivered political opposition research against Trump to reporters, Sen. John McCain, and the FBI; the latter of which used the material–in part–to obtain wiretaps against one or more Trump-related associates.
- There were orchestrated leaks of anti-Trump information and allegations to the press, including by ex-FBI Director James Comey.
- The U.S. intel community allegedly engaged in questionable surveillance practices and politially-motivated “unmaskings” of U.S. citizens, including Trump officials.
- Alleged conflicts of interests have surfaced regarding FBI officials who cleared Hillary Clinton for mishandling classified information and who investigated Trump’s alleged Russia ties.
But it’s not so easy to find a timeline pertinent to the investigations into these events.
Here’s a work in progress.
(Please note that nobody cited has been charged with wrongdoing or crimes, unless the charge is specifically referenced. Temporal relationships are not necessarily evidence of a correlation.)
“Collusion against Trump” Timeline
U.S. intel community vastly expands its surveillance authority, giving itself permission to spy on Americans who do nothing more than “mention a foreign target in a single, discrete communication.” Intel officials also begin storing and entering into a searchable database sensitive intelligence on U.S. citizens whose communications are accidentally or “incidentally” captured during surveillance of foreign targets. Prior to this point, such intelligence was supposed to be destroyed to protect the constitutional privacy rights the U.S. citizens. However, it’s required that names U.S. citizens be hidden or “masked” –even inside U.S. intel agencies –to prevent abuse.
July 1, 2012: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton improperly uses unsecured, personal email domain to email President Obama from Russia.
June 2013: FBI interviews U.S. businessman Carter Page, who’s lived and worked in Russia, regarding his ongoing contacts with Russians. Page reportedly tells FBI agents their time would be better spent investigating Boston Marathon bombing (which the FBI’s Andrew McCabe helped lead). Page later claims his remark prompts FBI retaliatory campaign against him. The FBI, under McCabe, will later wiretap Page after Page becomes a Donald Trump campaign adviser.
FBI secretly records suspected Russian industrial spy Evgeny Buryakov. It’s later reported that Page helped FBI build the case.
Sept. 4, 2013: James Comey becomes FBI Director, succeeding Robert Mueller.
Russia invades Ukraine. Ukraine steps up hiring of U.S. lobbyists to make its case against Russia and obtain U.S. aid. Russia also continues its practice of using U.S. lobbyists.
Ukraine forms National Anti-Corruption Bureau as a condition to receive U.S. aid. The National Anti-Corruption Bureau later signs evidence-sharing agreement with FBI related to Trump-Russia probe.
Ukrainian-American Alexandra Chalupa, a paid consultant for the Democratic National Committee (DNC), begins researching lobbyist Paul Manafort’s Russia ties.
FBI investigates, and then wiretaps, Paul Manafort for allegedly not properly disclosing Russia-related work. FBI fails to make a case, according to CNN, and discontinues wiretap.
August 2014: State Dept. turns over 15,000 pages of documents to Congressional Benghazi committee, revealing former secretary of state Hillary Clinton used private server for government email. Her mishandling of classified info on this private system becomes subject of FBI probe.
FBI opens investigation into Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe, including for donations from a Chinese businessman and Clinton Foundation donor.
FBI official Andrew McCabe meets with Gov. McAuliffe, a close Clinton ally. Afterwards, “McAuliffe-aligned political groups donated about $700,000 to Mr. McCabe’s wife…for her campaign to become a Democrat state Senator in Virginia.” The fact of the McAuliffe-related donations to wife of FBI’s McCabe—while FBI was investigating McAuliffe and Clinton—later becomes the subject of conflict of interest inquiry by Inspector General.
Feb. 9, 2015: U.S. Senate forms Ukrainian caucus to further Ukrainian interests. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is a member.
March 4, 2015: New York Times breaks news about Clinton’s improper handling of classified email as secretary of state.
In internal emails, Clinton campaign chairman (and former Obama adviser) John Podesta suggests Obama withhold Clinton’s emails from Congressional Benghazi committee under executive privilege.
March 2015: Attorney General Loretta Lynch privately directs FBI Director James Comey to call FBI Clinton probe a “matter” rather than an “investigation.” Comey follows the instruction, though he later testifies that it made him “queasy.”
March 7, 2015: President Obama says he first learned of Clinton’s improper email practices “through news reports.” Clinton campaign staffers privately contradict that claim emailing: “…it looks like [President Obama] just said he found out [Hillary Clinton] was using her personal email when he saw it on the news.” Clinton aide Cheryl Mills responds, “We need to clean this up—[President Obama] has emails from” Clinton’s personal account.
May 19, 2015: Justice Dept. Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs Peter Kadzik emails Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta from a private Gmail account to give him a “heads ups” involving Congressional questions about Clinton email.
Summer 2015: Democratic National Committee computers are hacked.
Sept. 2015: Glenn Simpson, co-founder of political opposition research firm Fusion GPS, is hired by conservative website Washington Free Beacon to compile negative research on presidential candidate Donald Trump and other Republicans.
Oct. 2015: President Obama uses a “confidentiality tradition” to keep his Benghazi emails with Hillary Clinton secret.
Oct. 12, 2015: FBI Director Comey replaces head of FBI Counterintelligence Division at New York Field Office with Louis Bladel.
Oct. 22, 2015: Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) publicly states that Clinton is “not under criminal investigation.”
Clinton testifies to House Benghazi committee.
Oct. 23, 2015: Clinton campaign chair John Podesta meets for dinner with small group of friends including a top Justice Dept. official Peter Kadzik.
Late 2015: Democratic operative Chalupa expands her political opposition research about Paul Manafort to include Trump’s ties to Russia. She “occasionally shares her findings with officials from the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign.”
Dec. 4, 2015: Donald Trump is beating his nearest Republican presidential competitor by 20 points in latest CNN poll.
Dec. 9, 2015: FBI Director Comey replaces head of FBI Counterintelligence Division at Washington Field Office with Charles Kable.
Dec. 23, 2015: FBI Director Comey names Bill Priestap as assistant director of Counterintelligence Division.
Obama officials vastly expand their searches through NSA database for Americans and the content of their communications. In 2013, there were 9,600 searches involving 195 Americans. But in 2016, there are 30,355 searches of 5,288 Americans.
Justice Dept. associate deputy attorney general Bruce Ohr meets with Fusion GPS’ Christopher Steele, the Yemen-born ex-British spy leading anti-Trump political opposition research project.
January 2016: Democratic operative Ukrainian-American Chalupa tells a senior Democratic National Committee official that she feels there’s a Russia connection with Trump.
Jan. 29, 2016: FBI Director Comey promotes Andrew McCabe to FBI Deputy Director.
McCabe takes lead on Clinton probe even though his wife received nearly $700,000 in campaign donations through Clinton ally Terry McAuliffe, who’s also under FBI investigation.
March 2016: Clinton campaign chair John Podesta’s email gets hacked.
March 2, 2016: FBI Director Comey replaces head of Intelligence Division of Washington Field Office with Gerald Roberts, Jr.
March 11, 2016: Russian Evgeny Buryakovwhich pleads guilty to spying in FBI case that Carter Page reportedly assisted with.
March 25, 2016: Ukrainian-American operative for Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chalupa meets with top Ukrainian officials at Ukrainian Embassy in Washington D.C. to “expose ties between Trump, top campaign aide Paul Manafort and Russia,” according to Politico. Chalupa previously worked for the Clinton administration.
Ukrainian embassy proceeds to work “directly with reporters researching Trump, Manafort and Russia to point them in the right directions,” according to an embassy official (though other officials later deny engaging in election-related activities.)
March 29, 2016: Trump campaign hires Paul Manafort as manager of July Republican convention.
March 30, 2016: Ukrainian-American Democratic operative Alexandra Chalupa briefs Democratic National Committee (DNC) staff on Russia ties to Paul Manafort and Trump.
With “DNC’s encouragement,” Chalupa asks Ukrainian embassy to arrange meeting with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to discuss Manafort’s lobbying for Ukraine’s former president Viktor Yanukovych. The embassy declines to arrange meeting but becomes “helpful” in trading info and leads.
Ukrainian embassy officials and Democratic operative Chalupa “coordinat[e] an investigation with the Hillary team” into Paul Manafort, according to a source in Politico. This effort reportedly includes working with U.S. media.
April 2016: There’s a second breach of Democratic National Committee computers.
Washington Free Beacon breaks off deal with Glenn Simpson’s Fusion GPS for political opposition research against Trump.
Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee lawyer Mark Elias and his law firm, Perkins Coie, hire Fusion GPS for anti-Trump political research project.
April 5, 2016: Convicted spy Buryakov is turned over to Russia.
Week of April 6, 2016: Ukrainian-American Democratic operative Chalupa and office of Rep. Mary Kaptur (D-Ohio), co-chair of Congressional Ukrainian Caucus, discuss possible congressional investigation or hearing on Paul Manafort-Russia “by September.”
Chalupa begins working with investigative reporter Michael Isikoff, according to her later account.
April 10, 2016: In national TV interview, President Obama states that Clinton did not intend to harm national security when she mishandled classified emails. FBI Director James Comey later concludes that Clinton should not face charges because she did not intend to harm national security.
Around this time, the FBI begins drafting Comey’s remarks closing Clinton email investigation, though Clinton had not yet been interviewed.
April 26, 2016: Investigative reporter Michael Isikoff publishes story on Yahoo News about Paul Manafort’s business dealings with a Russian oligarch.
April 28, 2016: Ukrainian-American Democratic operative Chalupa is invited to discuss her research about Paul Manafort with 68 investigative journalists from Ukraine at Library of Congress for Open World Leadership Center, a U.S. congressional agency. Chalupa invites investigative reporter Michael Isikoff to“connect(s) him to the Ukrainians.”
After the event, reporter Isikoff accompanies Chalupa to Ukrainian embassy reception.
May 3, 2016: Ukrainian-American Democratic operative Chalupa emails Democratic National Committee (DNC) that she’ll share sensitive info about Paul Manafort “offline” including “a big Trump component…that will hit in next few weeks.”
May 4, 2016: Trump locks up Republican nomination.
May 19, 2016: Paul Manafort is named Trump campaign chair.
May 23, 2016: FBI probe into Virginia governor and Clinton ally Terry McAuliffe becomes public. (McAuliffe is ultimately not charged with a crime.)
Justice Department Inspector General confirms it’s looking into FBI’s Andrew McCabe for alleged conflicts of interest in handling of Clinton and Gov. McAuliffe probes in light of McAuliffe directing campaign donations to McCabe’s wife.
FBI officials Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, who are reportedly having an illicit affair, text each other that Trump’s ascension in the campaign will bring “pressure…to finish” Clinton probe.
Nellie Ohr, wife of Justice Dept. associate deputy attorney general Bruce Ohr and former CIA worker, goes on the payroll of Fusion GPS and assists with anti-Trump political opposition research. Her husband, Bruce, reportedly fails to disclose her specific employer and work in his Justice Dept. conflict of interest disclosures.
Nellie Ohr applies for a ham radio license.
June 2016: Fusion GPS hires Yemen-born ex-British spy Christopher Steele for anti-Trump political opposition research project. Steele uses info from Russian sources “close to Putin” to compile unverified “dossier” later provided to reporters and FBI, which the FBI uses to obtain secret wiretap.
June 7, 2016: Hillary Clinton locks up the Democrat nomination.
June 9, 2016: Meeting in Trump Tower includes Donald Trump Jr., Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner with Russian lawyer who said he has political opposition research on Clinton. (No research was ultimately provided.) According to CNN, the FBI has not yet started up a second wiretap against Manafort but will soon do so.
June 10, 2016: Democratic National Committee (DNC) tells employees that its computer system has been hacked. DNC blames Russia but refuses to let FBI examine its systems.
June 15, 2016: “Guccifer 2.0” publishes first hacked document from Clinton campaign chair John Podesta.
June 17, 2016: Washington Post publishes front page story linking Trump to Russia: “Inside Trump’s Financial Ties to Russia and His Unusual Flattery of Vladimir Putin.”
June 22, 2016: WikiLeaks begins publishing embarrassing, hacked emails from Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee.
June 27, 2016: Attorney General Loretta Lynch meets privately with former President Bill Clinton on an airport tarmac in Phoenix, Arizona.
Late June 2016: DCLeaks website begins publishing Democratic National Committee emails.
The National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine signs evidence-sharing agreement with FBI and will later publicly release a “ledger” implicating Paul Manafort in allegedly improper payments.
June 30, 2016: FBI circulates internal draft of public remarks for FBI Director Comey to announce closing of Clinton investigation. It refers to Mrs. Clinton’s “extensive” use of her personal email, including “from the territory of sophisticated adversaries,” and a July 1, 2012 email to President Obama from Russia. The draft concludes it’s possible that hostile actors gained access to Clinton’s email account.
Comey’s remarks are revised to replace reference to “the President” with the phrase: “another senior government official.” (That reference, too, is removed from the final draft.)
Attorney General Lynch tells FBI she plans to publicly announce that she’ll accept whatever recommendation FBI Director Comey makes regarding charges against Clinton.
July 2016: Ukraine minister of internal affairs Arsen Avakov attacks Trump and Trump campaign adviser Paul Manafort on Twitter and Facebook, calling Trump “an even bigger danger to the US than terrorism.”
Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk writes on Facebook that Trump has “challenged the very values of the free world.”
July 1, 2016: Under fire for meeting with former President Clinton amid the probe into his wife, Attorney General Lynch publicly states she’ll accept whatever FBI Director Comey recommends—without interfering.
FBI official Lisa Page texts her boyfriend, FBI official Peter Strzok, sarcastically commenting that Lynch’s proclamation is “a real profile in courage, since she knows no charges will be brought.”
July 2, 2016: FBI official Peter Strzok and other agents interview Clinton. They don’t record the interview. Two potential subjects of the investigation, Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson, are allowed to attend as Clinton’s lawyers.
July 5, 2016: FBI Director Comey recommends no charges against Clinton, though he concludes she’s been extremely careless in mishandling of classified information. Comey claims he hasn’t coordinated or reviewed his statement in any way with Attorney General Lynch’s Justice Department or other government branches. “They do not know what I am about to say,” says Comey.
Fusion GPS’ Steele, a British citizen and ex-spy, approaches FBI with allegations against Trump, according to Congressional investigators.
Days after closing Clinton case, FBI official Peter Strzok signs document opening FBI probe into Trump-Russia collusion.
July 10, 2016: Democratic National Committee (DNC) aide Seth Rich, reportedly a Bernie Sanders supporter, is shot twice in the back and killed. Police suspect a bungled robbery attempt, though nothing was apparently stolen. Conspiracy theorists speculate that Rich—not the Russians— had stolen DNC emails after he learned the DNC was unfairly favoring Clinton. The murder remains unsolved.
July 2016: Trump adviser Carter Page makes a business trip to Russia.
FISC (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court) rejects FBI request to wiretap Page.
Obama national security adviser Susan Rice begins to show increased interest in National Security Agency (NSA) intelligence material including “unmasked” Americans’ identities, according to news reports referring to White House logs.
July 18-21, 2016: Republican National Convention
Late July 2016: FBI agent Peter Strzok opens counterintelligence investigation based on Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos.
Democratic operative and Ukrainian-American Chalupa leaves the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to work full-time on her research into Manafort, Trump and Russia; and provides off-the-record guidance to “a lot of journalists.”
July 22, 2016: WikiLeaks begins publishing hacked Democratic National Committee emails. WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange denies the email source is Russian.
July 25-28, 2016: Democratic National Convention
Summer 2016: Nellis Ohr, wife of Justice Dept. associate deputy attorney general Bruce Ohr is still on the payroll of Fusion GPS.
Fusion GPS’ Christopher Steele, a British citizen, briefs FBI leadership on his anti-Trump political opposition research. Weeks later, the info makes it to FBI agent Peter “Strzok and his team,” according to New York Times.
Aug. 4, 2016: Ukrainian ambassador to U.S. writes op-ed against Trump.
Aug. 14, 2016: New York Times breaks story about cash payments made a decade ago to Paul Manafort by pro-Russia interests in Ukraine. The ledger was released and publicized by the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine.
Aug. 15, 2016: CNN reports the FBI is conducting an inquiry into Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort’s payments from pro-Russia interests in Ukraine in 2007 and 2009.
After a meeting discussing the election in FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s office, the FBI’s Lisa Page and Peter Strzok text of needing an “insurance policy” in case Trump is elected.
Aug. 19, 2016: Paul Manafort resigns as Trump campaign chairman.
Ukrainian parliament member Sergii Leshchenko holds news conference to draw attention to Paul Manafort and Trump’s “pro-Russia” ties.
Approx. Aug. 2016: FBI initiates a new wiretap against ex-Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, according to CNN, which extends at least through early 2017.
Sept. 2016: British citizen Christopher Steele, who compiled Trump opposition research for Fusion GPS, meets with Washington reporters, including Yahoo News. One meeting is at office of Democratic National Committee general counsel.
Fusion GPS’ Steele becomes FBI source and uses associate deputy attorney general Bruce Ohr as point of contact. Steele tells Ohr that he’s “desperate that Donald Trump not get elected.”
President Obama warns Russia not to interfere in the U.S. election
Sept. 2, 2016: FBI officials Lisa Page and Peter Strzok text that “[President Obama] wants to know everything we’re doing.”
Sept. 13, 2016: The nonprofit First Draft, funded by Google, whose parent company is run by major Hillary Clinton supporter and donor Eric Schmidt, announces initiative to tackle “fake news.” It appears to be the first use of the phrase in its modern context.
Sept. 15, 2016: Clinton computer manager Paul Combetta appears before House Oversight Committee but refuses to answer questions, invoking his Fifth Amendment rights.
Sept. 19, 2016: At UN General Assembly meeting, Ukrainian President Poroshenko meets with Hillary Clinton.
Late Sept. 2016: Fusion GPS’ Christopher Steele’s FBI contact tells him the agency wants to see his opposition research “right away” and offers to pay him $50,000, according to the New York Times, for solid corroboration of his salacious, unverified claims.
Sept. 22, 2016: Clinton computer aide Brian Pagliano is held in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with subpoena.
Sept. 23, 2016: It’s revealed that Justice Department has granted five Clinton officials immunity from prosecution: former chief of staff Cheryl Mills, State Department staffers John Bentel and Heather Samuelson, and Clinton computer workers Paul Combetta and Brian Pagliano.
Yahoo News publishes article by Michael Isikoff about Carter Page’s July 2016 trip to Moscow. (The article is apparently based on leaked info from Fusion GPS Steele anti-Trump “dossier” political opposition research.)
Sept. 26, 2016: Obama administration asks secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) court to allow National Counter Terrorism Center to access sensitive, “unmasked” intel on Americans acquired by FBI and NSA. (The Court later approves the request.)
Sept. 27, 2016: Justice Department Assistant Attorney General of National Security Division John Carlin announces he’s stepping down. He was former chief of staff and senior counsel to former FBI director Robert Mueller.
Early October 2016: Fusion GPS’ Christopher Steele, the Yemen-born author of anti-Trump “dossier,” meets in New York with David Corn, Washington-bureau chief of Mother Jones.
Oct. 3, 2016: FBI seizes computers belonging to Anthony Weiner, who is accused of sexually texting an underage girl. Weiner is married to top Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin. FBI learns there are Clinton emails on Weiner’s laptop but waits several weeks before notifying Congress and reopening investigation.
Oct. 4, 2016: FBI Director Comey replaces head of Counterintelligence Division, New York Field Office with Charles McGonigal.
Oct. 7, 2016: Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Department of Homeland Security issue statement saying Russian government is responsible for hacking Democrat emails to disrupt 2016 election.
Oct. 13, 2016: President Obama gives a speech in support of the crackdown on “fake news” by stating that somebody needs to step in an “curate” information in the “wild, wild West media environment.”
Oct. 16, 2016: Mary McCord is named Assistant Attorney General for Justice Department National Security Division.
Oct. 18, 2016: President Obama advises Trump to “stop whining” after Trump tweeted the election could be rigged. “There is no serious person out there who would suggest somehow that you could even — you could even rig America’s elections,” said Obama. He also calls Trump’s “flattery” of Russian president Putin “unprecedented.”
Oct. 19, 2016: Ex-British spy Christopher Steele writes his last memo for anti-Trump “dossier” political opposition research provided to FBI. The FBI reportedly authorizes payment to Steele. Fusion GPS has reportedly paid him $160,000.
Approx. Oct. 21, 2016: For the second time in several months, Justice Department and FBI apply to wiretap former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. This time, the request is approved based on new FBI “evidence,” including parts of Fusion GPS’ “Steele dossier” and Michael Isikoff Yahoo article. The FBI doesn’t tell the court that Trump’s political opponent— the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee— funded the “evidence.”
Oct. 24, 2016: Benjamin Wittes, confidant of FBI Director James Comey and editor-in-chief of the blog Lawfare, writes of the need for an “insurance policy” in case Trump wins. It’s the same phrase FBI officials Lisa Page and Peter Strzok had used when discussing the possibility of a Trump win.
Obama intel officials orally inform Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of an earlier Inspector General review uncovering their “significant noncompliance” in following proper “702” procedures safeguarding the National Security Agency (NSA) intelligence database with sensitive info on US citizens.
Oct. 26, 2016: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court holds hearing with Obama intel officials over their “702” surveillance violations. The judge criticizes NSA for “institutional lack of candor” and states “this is a very serious Fourth Amendment issue.”
Oct. 28, 2016: FBI Director Comey notifies Congress that he’s reopening Clinton probe due to Clinton emails found on Anthony Wiener laptop several weeks earlier.
Oct. 30, 2016: Mother Jones writer David Corn is first to report on the anti-Trump “dossier,” quoting unidentified former spy, presumed to be Christopher Steele. FBI general counsel James Baker had reportedly been in touch with Corn but Corn later denies Baker was the leaker.
FBI terminates its relationship with Steele because Steele had leaked his FBI involvement in Mother Jones article.
Steele reportedly maintains backchannel contact with Justice Dept. through Deputy Associate Attorney General Bruce Ohr.
Nov. 6, 2016: FBI Director Comey tells Congress that Clinton emails on Anthony Weiner computer do not change earlier conclusion: she should not be charged.
Nov. 8, 2016: Trump is elected president.
Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice’s interest in NSA materials accelerates, according to later news reports.
Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr meets with Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson shortly after election.
The FBI interviews Ohr about his ongoing contacts with Fusion GPS.
Nov. 2016: National Security Agency Mike Rogers meets with president-elect Trump and is criticized for “not telling the Obama administration.”
Nov. 17, 2016: Trump moves his Friday presidential team meetings out of Trump Tower.
Dec. 2016: Text messages between FBI officials Strzok and Page are later said to be “lost” due to a technical glitch beginning at this point.
David Kramer, senior director at nonprofit McCain Institute and ex-State Dept. official, meets with Yemen-born anti-Trump researcher Christopher Steele in London at request of Sen. John McCain to view “the pre-election memoranda on a confidential basis,” according to court filings. Kramer brings copy to McCain who gives them to FBI.
Dec. 8, 2016: Hillary Clinton makes a pubic appearance denouncing “fake news.”
Hillary Clinton and Democratic operative David Brock of Media Matters announces he’s leaving board of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), one of his many propaganda and liberal advocacy groups, to focus on “fake news” effort.
Brock later claims credit— privately to of donors— for convincing Facebook to crack down on conservative fake news.
Dec. 15, 2016: Obama intel officials “incidentally” spy on Trump officials meeting with the United Arab Emirates crown prince in Trump Tower. This is taken to mean the government was wiretapping the prince and “happened to capture” Trump officials communicating with him at Trump Tower. Identities of Americans accidentally captured in such surveillance are strictly protected or “masked” inside intel agencies for constitutional privacy reasons.
Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice secretly “unmasks” names of the Trump officials, officially revealing their identities. They reportedly include: Steve Bannon, Jared Kushner and Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.
Director of National Intelligence Clapper expands rules to allow the National Security Agency (NSA) to widely disseminate classified surveillance material within the government.
Dec. 29, 2016: President Obama imposes sanctions against Russia for its alleged election interference.
President-elect Trump national security adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn speaks with Russian Ambassador to U.S. Sergey Kislyak. The call is wiretapped by U.S. intelligence and later leaked to the press.
State Department releases 2,800 work-related emails from Huma Abedin, a top aide to Hillary Clinton, found by FBI on laptop computer of Abedin’s husband, former Rep. Anthony Weiner.
Jan. 2017: According to CNN: a wiretap reportedly continues against former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, including times he speaks to Trump, meaning U.S. intel officials could have “accidentally” captured Trump’s communications.
Justice Dept. Inspector General confirms it’s investigating several aspects of FBI and Justice Department actions during Clinton probe.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testifies to Congress that Russia interfered in U.S. elections by spreading fake news on social media.
Justice Dept. official Peter Kadzik, who “tipped off” Clinton campaign regarding Congressional questions about her email, leaves government work for private practice.
Jan. 3, 2017: Obama Attorney General Lynch signs rules Director of National Intelligence Clapper expanded Dec. 15 allowing the National Security Agency (NSA) to widely disseminate surveillance within the government.
Jan. 5, 2017: Intelligence Community leadership provides classified briefing on alleged Russia hacking during 2016 campaign, according to notes later written by national security adviser Susan Rice.
After briefing, according notes made later by Rice, President Obama convenes Oval Office meeting with her, FBI Director Comey, Vice President Biden and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates. The “Steele dossier” is discussed reportedly discussed.
Jan. 6, 2017: FBI Director Comey and other Intel leaders meet with President-Elect Trump and his national security team at Trump Tower in New York to brief them on alleged Russian efforts to interfere in the election.
Later, Obama national security adviser Susan Rice would write herself an email stating that President Obama suggested they hold back on providing Trump officials with certain info for national security reasons.
After Trump team briefing, FBI Director Comey meets alone with Trump to “brief him” on Fusion GPS Steele allegations “to alert the incoming President to the existence of this material, even though it was salacious and unverified…” Comes later says Director of National Intelligence Clapper asked him (Comey) to do the briefing personally.
Jan. 10, 2017: The 35-page Fusion GPS anti-Trump “dossier” is leaked to the media and published. It reveals that sources of the unverified info are Russians close to President Putin.
Jan. 12, 2017: Obama administration finalizes new rules allowing NSA to spread certain intel to other U.S. intel agencies without normal privacy protections.
Justice Dept. inspector general announces review of alleged misconduct by FBI Director Comey and other matters related to FBI’s Clinton probe as well as FBI leaks.
Jan. 13, 2017: Senate Intelligence Committee opens investigation into Russia and U.S. political campaign officials.
Jan. 20, 2017: Trump becomes president.
Fifteen minutes after Trump becomes president, former National Security Adviser Susan Rice emails memo to herself purporting to summarize the Jan. 5 Oval Office meeting with President Obama and other top officials. She states that Obama instructed the group to investigate “by the book” and asked them to be mindful whether there were certain things that “could not be fully shared with the incoming administration.”
Jan. 22, 2017: Intel info leaks to Wall Street Journal which reports “US counterintelligence agents have investigated communications” between Trump aide Gen. Michael Flynn and Russia ambassador to the U.S. Kislyak to determine if any laws were violated.
Jan. 24, 2017: Acting Attorney General Sally Yates sends two FBI agents, including Peter Strzok, to the White House to question Gen. Flynn.
Approx. Jan. 21, 2017: FBI renews wiretap against Carter Page.
Acting Attorney General Sally Yates and a high-ranking colleague go to White House to tell counsel Don McGahn that “the underlying conduct that Gen. Flynn had engaged in was problematic in and of itself.”
Jan. 27, 2017: Acting Attorney General Sally Yates again visits the White House.
Jan. 31, 2017: President Trump fires Acting Attorney General Sally Yates after she refuses to enforce his temporary travel ban on Muslims coming into U.S. from certain countries.
Dana Boente becomes Acting Attorney General. (It’s later revealed that Boente signed at least one wiretap application against former Trump adviser Carter Page.)
Feb. 2, 2017: It’s reported that five men employed by House of Representatives Democrats, including leader Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Florida), are under criminal investigation for allegedly “accessing House IT systems without lawmakers’ knowledge.” Suspects include three Awan brothers “who managed office information technology for members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and other lawmakers.”
Feb. 3, 2017: A Russian tech mogul named in the Steele “dossier” files defamation lawsuits against BuzzFeed in the U.S. and Christopher Steele in the U.K. over the dossier’s claims he interfered in U.S. elections.
Feb. 8, 2017: Jeff Sessions becomes Attorney General and Dana Boente moves to Deputy Attorney General.
Feb. 9, 2017: News of FBI wiretaps capturingTrump national security adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn speaking with Russia’s ambassador is leaked to the press. New York Times and Washington Post report Flynn discussed U.S. sanctions, despite his earlier denials. The Post also reports the FBI “found nothing illicit” in the talks.
Feb. 13, 2017: Washington Post reports Justice Dept. has opened a “Logan Act” violation investigation against Trump national security adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.
Feb. 14, 2017: New York Times reports that FBI had told Obama officials there was no “quid pro quo” (promise of a deal in exchange for some action) discussed between Gen. Flynn and Russian ambassador Kislyak.
Gen. Flynn resigns, allegedly acknowledging he misled vice president Mike Pence about the content of his discussions with Russia.
Feb. 17, 2017: Washington Post reports that “Flynn told FBI he did not discuss sanctions” with Russia ambassador and that “Lying to the FBI is a felony offense.”
March 1, 2017: Washington Post reports Attorney General Jeff Sessions has met with Russian ambassador twice in the recent past (as did many Democrat and Republican officials). His critics say that contradicts his earlier testimony to Congress.
March 2017: FBI Director James Comey gives private briefings to members of Congress and reportedly says he does not believe Gen. Flynn lied to FBI.
House Intelligence Committee requests list of unmasking requests Obama officials made. The intel agencies do not provide the information, prompting a June 1 subpoena.
March 2, 2017: Attorney General Jeff Sessions recuses himself from Russia-linked investigations.
Rod Rosenstein, the Deputy Attorney General, becomes Acting Attorney General for Russia Probe. It’s later revealed that Rosenstein singed at least one wiretap application against former Trump adviser Carter Page.
March 4, 2017: President Trump tweets: “Is it legal for a sitting President to be ‘wire tapping’ a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!” and “How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!”
March 10, 2017: Former Congressman Dennis Kucinich, a Democrat, steps forward to support Trump’s wiretapping claim, revealing that the Obama administration intel officials recorded his own communications with a Libyan official in Spring 2011.
March 20, 2017: FBI Director Comey tells House Intelligence Committee he has “no information that supports” the President’s tweets about “alleged wiretapping directed at him by the prior administration. “We have looked carefully inside the FBI,” Comey says. “(T)he answer is the same for the Department of Justice and all its components.”
FBI Director Comey tells Congress there is “salacious and unverified” material in the Fusion GPS dossier used by FBI, in part, to obtain Carter Page wiretap. (Under FBI “Woods Procedures,” only facts carefully verified by the FBI are allowed to be presented to court to obtain wiretaps.)
March 22, 2017: Chairman of House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) publicly announces he’s seen evidence of Trump associates being “incidentally” surveilled by Obama intel officials; and their names being “unmasked” and illegally leaked. Nunes briefs President Trump and holds a news conference. He’s criticized for doing so. An ethics investigation is opened into his actions but later clears him of wrongdoing.
In an interview on PBS, former Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice responds to Nunes allegations by stating: “I know nothing about this…I really don’t know to what Chairman Nunes was referring.” (She later acknowledges unmasking names of Trump associates.)
March 2017: Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) writes Justice Dept. accusing Fusion GPS of acting as an agent for Russia—without properly registering—due to its pro-Russia effort to kill a law allowing sanctions against foreign human rights violators. Fusion GPS denies the allegations.
March 24, 2017: Fusion GPS declines to answer Sen. Grassley’s questions or document requests.
March 27, 2017: Former Deputy Asst. Secretary of Defense Evelyn Farkas admits she encouraged Obama and Congressional officials to “get as much information as they can” about Russia and Trump officials before inauguration. “…that’s why you have the leaking,” she told MSNBC.
April 3, 2017: Multiple news reports state that Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice had requested and reviewed “unmasked” intelligence on Trump associates whose information was “incidentally” collected by intel agencies.
April 4, 2017: Obama former National Security Adviser Rice admits, in an interview, that she asked to reveal names of U.S. citizens previously masked in intel reports. She says her motivations were not political. When asked if she leaked names, Rice states, “I leaked nothing to nobody.”
April 6, 2017: House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes recuses himself from Russia part of his committee’s investigation.
April 11, 2017: FBI Director Comey appoints Stephen Laycock as special agent in charge of Counterintelligence Division for Washington Field Office.
Washington Post reports FBI secretly obtained wiretap against Trump campaign associate Carter Page last summer. (Later, it’s revealed the summer wiretap had been turned down, but a subsequent application was approved in October.)
April 20, 2017: Acting Assistant Attorney General Mary McCord resigns as acting head of Justice Dept. National Security Division. She’d led probes of Russia interference in election and Trump-Russia ties.
Approx. April 21, 2017: A third FBI wiretap on Carter Page is security approved.
April 28, 2017: Dana Boente is appointed acting assistant attorney general for national security division to replace Mary McCord. (Boente has signed one of the questioned wiretap applications for Carter Page.)
National Security Agency (NSA) submits remedies for its egregious surveillance violations (revealed last October) to Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court promising to “no longer collect certain internet communications that merely mention a foreign intelligence target.” The NSA also begins deleting collected data on U.S. citizens it had been storing.
May 3, 2017: FBI Director Comey testifies he’s “mildly nauseous” at the idea he might have affected election with the 11th hour Clinton email notifications to Congress.
Comey also testifies he’s “never” been an anonymous news source on “matters relating to” investigating the Trump campaign.
Obama’s former national security adviser Susan Rice declines Republican Congressional request to testify at a hearing about unmaskings and surveillance.
May 8, 2017: Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testify to Congress. They admit having reviewed “classified documents in which Mr. Trump, his associates or members of Congress had been unmasked,” and possibly discussing it with others under the Obama administration.
May 9, 2017: President Trump fires FBI Director James Comey. Andrew McCabe becomes acting FBI Director.
May 12, 2017: Benjamin Wittes, confidant of ex-FBI Director James Comey and editor in chief of Lawfare, contacts New York Times reporter Mike Schmidt to leak conversations he’d had with Comey as FBI Director that are critical of President Trump.
May 16, 2017: New York Times publishes leaked account of FBI memoranda recorded by former FBI Director James Comey. Comey later acknowledges engineering the leak of the FBI material through his friend, Columbia Law School professor Daniel Richman, to spur appointment of special counsel to investigate President Trump.
Trump reportedly interviews, but passes over, former FBI Director Robert Mueller for position of FBI Director.
May 17, 2017: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appoints Robert Mueller as Special Counsel, Russia-Trump probe. Mueller and former FBI Director Comey are friends and worked closely together in previous Justice Dept. and FBI positions.
The gap of missing text messages between FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page ends. The couple is soon assigned to the Mueller team investigating Trump.
May 19, 2017: Anthony Wiener, former Congressman and husband of Hillary Clinton confidant Huma Abedin, turns himself in to FBI in case of underage sexting; his third major kerfuffle over sexting in six years.
June 1, 2017: House Intelligence Committee issues 7 subpoenas, including for information related to unmaskings requested by ex-Obama officials national security adviser Susan Rice, former CIA Director John Brennan, and former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power.
June 8, 2017: Former FBI Director James Comey admits having engineered leak of his own memo to New York Times to spur appointment of a special counsel to investigate President Trump.
June 20, 2017: Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe names Philip Celestini as Special Agent in Charge of the Intelligence Division, Washington Field Office.
Approx. July 21, 2017: FBI renews wiretap against Carter Page for the fourth and final time that we know of. (He is never ultimately charged with a crime.)
Late July, 2017: FBI reportedly searches Paul Manafort’s Alexandria, Virginia home.
Summer 2017: FBI lawyer Lisa Page is reassigned from Mueller investigation. Her boyfriend, FBI official Peter Strzok is removed from Mueller investigation after the Inspector General discovers compromising texts between Strzok and Page. Congress is not notified of the developments.
Aug. 2, 2017: Christopher Wray is named FBI Director.
August 2017: Ex-FBI Director Comey signs a book deal for a reported $2 million.
Sept. 13, 2017: Under questioning from Congress, Obama’s former National Security Adviser Susan Rice reportedly admits having requested to see the protected identities of Trump transition officials “incidentally” captured by government surveillance.
Approx. Oct. 10, 2017: Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos pleads guilty to lying to FBI about his unsuccessful efforts during the campaign to facilitate meetings between Trump officials and Russian officials.
Oct. 17, 2017: Obama’s former U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power reportedly tells Congressional investigators that many of the hundreds of “unmasking” requests in her name during the election year —were not made by her.
Oct. 24, 2017: Congressional Republicans announce new investigations into a 2010 acquisition that gave Russia control of 20% of U.S. uranium supply while Clinton was secretary of state; and FBI decision not to charge Clinton in classified info probe.
Oct. 30, 2017: Special Counsel Mueller charges ex-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and business associate Rick Gates with tax and money laundering crimes related to their foreign work. The charges do not appear related to Trump.
Nov. 2, 2017: Carter Page testifies to House Intelligence committee under oath without an attorney and asks to have the testimony published. He denies ever meeting the Russian official that Fusion GPS claimed he’d met with in July 2016.
Nov. 5, 2017: Special Counsel Robert Mueller files charges against ex-Trump national security adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn for allegedly lying to FBI official Peter Strzok about contacts with Russian ambassador during presidential transition.
Dec. 1, 2017: Former national security adviser Gen. Flynn pleads guilty of lying to the FBI.
James Rybicki steps down as chief of staff to FBI Director.
Dec. 6, 2017: Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr is reportedly stripped of one of his positions at Justice Dept. amid controversy over his and his wife’s role in anti-Trump political opposition research.
Dec. 7, 2017: FBI Director Wray incorrectly testifies that there have been no “702” surveillance abuses by the government.
Dec. 19, 2017: FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe repeatedly testifies that the wiretap against Trump campaign official Carter Page would not have been approved without the Fusion GPS info. FBI general counsel James Baker, who is himself subject of an Inspector General probe over his alleged leaks to the press, attends as McCabe’s attorney. McCabe acknowledges that if Baker had met with Mother Jones reporter David Corn, it would have been inappropriate.
FBI general counsel James Baker is reassigned amid investigation into his alleged anti-Trump related contacts with media.
Jan. 4, 2018: Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) refer criminal charges against Christopher Steele to the FBI for investigation. There’s an apparent conflict of interest with the FBI being asked to investigate Steele since the FBI has used Steele’s controversial political opposition research to obtain wiretaps.
Jan. 8, 2018: Justice Dept. official Bruce Ohr loses his second title at the agency.
Jan. 10, 2018: Donald Trump lawyer Michael Cohen files defamation suits against Fusion GPS and BuzzFeed News for publishing the “Steele dossier” which he says falsely claimed he met Russian government officials in Prague, Czech Republic, in August of 2016.
Jan. 11, 2018: House of Representatives approves government’s controversial “702” wireless surveillance authority. The Senate follows suit.
Jan. 19, 2018: Justice Dept. produces to Congress some text messages between FBI officials Lisa Page and Peter Strzok but states that FBI lost texts between December 14, 2016 and May 17, 2017 due to a technical glitch.
President Trump signs six-year extension of “702” wireless surveillance authority.
Jan. 23, 2018: Former FBI Director Comey friend who leaked on behalf of Comey to New York Times to spur appointment of special counsel is now Comey’s attorney.
Jan. 25, 2018: Justice Dept. Inspector General notifies Congress it has recovered missing text messages between FBI officials Lisa Page and Peter Strzok.
Jan. 27, 2018: Edward O’Callaghan is named Acting Assistant Attorney General, National Security Division.
Jan. 30, 2018: News reports allege that Justice Department Inspector General is looking into why FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe appeared to wait three weeks before acting on new Clinton emails found right before the election.
Feb. 2, 2018: House Intelligence Committee (Nunes) memo is released. It summarizes classified documents revealing for the first time that Fusion GPS political opposition research was used, in part, to justify Carter Page wiretap; along with Michael Isikoff Yahoo News article based on the same opposition research.
Memo also states that Fusion GPS set up back channel to FBI through Nellie Ohr, who conducted opposition research on Trump and passed it to her husband, associate deputy attorney general Bruce Ohr.
Feb. 7, 2018: Justice Department official David Laufman, who helped oversee the Clinton and Russia probes, steps down as chief of National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section.
Feb. 9, 2018: Former FBI Director Comey assistant Josh Campbell leaves FBI for job at CNN.
Justice Department Associate Attorney General, Office of Legal Policy, Rachel Brand, resigns.
Feb. 16, 2018: Special counsel Mueller obtains guilty plea from a Dutch attorney for lying to federal investigators about the last time he spoke to Rick Gates regarding a 2012 project related to Ukraine. The plea does not appear to relate to 2016 campaign or Trump. The Dutch attorney is married to the daughter of a Russian oligarch who’s suing Buzzfeed and Christopher Steele for alleged defamation in the “dossier.”
Feb. 22, 2018: Former State Dept. official and Sen. John McCain associate David Kramer invokes his Fifth Amendment right not to testify before House Intelligence Committee. Kramer reportedly picked up the anti-Trump political opposition research in London and delivered it to Sen. McCain who delivered it to the FBI.
Special counsel Mueller files new charges against former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and former campaign aide Rick Gates, accusing them of additional tax and bank fraud crimes. The allegations appear to be unrelated to Trump.
Watch Sharyl Attkisson’s TEDx Talk on the surprising origins of “Fake News.”