Timeline of Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections

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This is a timeline of major events related to election interference that Russia conducted against the U.S. in 2016. It also includes major events related to investigations into suspected inappropriate links in 2016 between associates of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump and Russian officials.[1] Those investigations continued in 2017 and 2018.

Relevant individuals and organizations[edit]



Before Donald Trump's candidacy[edit]



  • January: Carter Page, a petroleum industry consultant, passes documents about the oil market to Victor Podobnyy, a Russian intelligence agent. He later claims the documents were public information. Podobnyy is charged with being an unregistered foreign agent in 2015.[16]
  • March 13: The FBI interviews Manafort about his offshore business dealings.[17]
  • March 19: Manafort has dinner with Rohrabacher as part of his unregistered lobbying efforts for the government of Ukraine. Vin Weber, a partner at Mercury Affairs, is also in attendance.[18] Three days later, Manafort gives Rohrabacher a $1,000 campaign contribution.[19] Richard Gates, Manafort's deputy, pleads guilty in 2018 to lying about the meeting to the FBI.[18]
  • April 13: Two Russian Foreign Intelligence Service agents discuss recruiting Page.[20][21]
  • June 15–18: Attending the Miss USA 2013 pageant, Trump dines with Aras Agalarov, Emin Agalarov, and Rob Goldstone in Las Vegas.[22] The next day he announces that Miss Universe 2013 will be held in Moscow.[22] He sends Putin a letter inviting him to the pageant[23] and ponders on Twitter whether the Russian president will be his "new best friend".[24]
  • August: Eric Trump tells author James Dodson, "We don’t rely on American banks [...] We have all the funding we need out of Russia", and says, "We go there all the time". In May 2017, Eric Trump calls this "fabricated" and an example of why people distrust the media.[25][7][26][27][28]
  • August 25: Page sends a letter to an academic press in which he claims to be an adviser to the Kremlin.[29]
  • October 17: In an appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman, Donald Trump says he has conducted "a lot of business with the Russians" and that he has met President Vladimir Putin.[30][31]
  • November 9: The Trump-owned Miss Universe pageant is held in Moscow, sponsored by VTB Bank.[25] According to various reports, the event’s $20 million licensing fee is paid by a Moscow real estate development firm called the Crocus Group, whose president is Aras Agalarov and vice president is his son, pop singer Emin Agalarov.[32][33] While Putin does not attend, the event is attended by Vladimir Kozhin,[34] the head of the Kremlin's property department,[35] which is responsible for development projects.[36] After the event, Trump tells Real Estate Weekly, "the Russian market is attracted to me. I have a great relationship with many Russians".[7][37]
  • November 12: The Moscow Times reports that Trump is in talks with Russian companies to build a new Trump Tower in Moscow.[38]


  • February 10: In a Fox and Friends phone interview, Trump says Putin contacted him while he was in Moscow for the Miss Universe pageant.[39]
  • March 6:
  • April: The Russian Internet Research Agency (IRA) creates a department called the "translator project". The department's focus is on interfering in the U.S. election.[42][43]
  • April 12: Asked about Putin by Eric Bolling on the Fox News show Cashin' In, Trump says Putin has taken the mantle from Obama. He continues, “Interestingly, I own the Miss Universe pageant, and we just left Moscow. He could not have been nicer. He was so nice and so everything. But you have to give him credit that what he’s doing for that country in terms of their world prestige is very strong.”[44]
  • May: The IRA begins its election interference campaign of "spread[ing] distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general.”[42][43]
  • May 27: Speaking at a National Press Club luncheon, Trump again claims to have spoken to Putin. "I own the Miss Universe [pageant]. I was in Russia. I was in Moscow recently. And I spoke indirectly and directly with President Putin who could not have been nicer. And we had a tremendous success.”[45]
  • June 4–26: Aleksandra Krylova and Anna Bogacheva, two IRA employees, travel to the U.S. to collect intelligence. Maria Bovda, a third employee, is denied a visa.[42] All three are indicted in February 2018 for their work on election interference.[43]
  • July 2: The FBI interviews Richard Gates about his international business dealings.[17]
  • July 22: Laurence Levy, a lawyer with the law firm Bracewell & Giuliani, advises Rebekah Mercer, Steve Bannon, and Alexander Nix on the legality of their company, Cambridge Analytica, being involved in U.S. elections. He advises that Nix and any foreign nationals without a green card working for the company not be involved in any decisions about work the company performs for any clients related to U.S. elections. He further advises Nix to recuse himself from any involvement with the company's U.S. election work because he is not a U.S. citizen.[46][47]
  • July 30: The FBI interviews Manafort about his international business dealings.[17]
  • September 11: The IRA spreads a hoax they created about a fictitious chemical plant fire in Centerville, St. Mary Parish, Louisiana, purportedly started by ISIS. The hoax includes tweets and YouTube videos showing a chemical plant fire. Centerville is home to many chemical plants, but the plant named in the tweets does not exist. Initial tweets are sent directly to politicians, journalists, and Centerville residents.[48]
  • September 21-October 11: The Material Evidence art exhibition is displayed at the Art Beam gallery in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City. It portrays the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine in a pro-Russian light. It is promoted by Twitter accounts that also spread the September 11 chemical plant fire hoax.[48] The exhibition is partly funded by the IRA.[49]
  • November 26–30: An unnamed IRA employee travels to Atlanta.[42][43]
  • December 13:
    • The IRA uses Twitter to spread a hoax about an Ebola outbreak in Atlanta. Many of the Twitter accounts used in the September 11 chemical plant fire hoax also spread this hoax. The hoax includes a YouTube video of medical workers wearing hazmat suits.[48]
    • Using a different set of Twitter accounts, the IRA spreads a hoax about a purported police shooting of an unarmed black woman in Atlanta. The hoax includes a blurry video of the purported event.[48]


  • January 23: A court filing by the U.S. government contains a transcript of a recorded conversation between two members of a Russian SVR spy ring, Victor Podobnyy and Igor Sporyshev. Their conversation concerns efforts to recruit "Male-1", later confirmed as Carter Page. Podobnyy calls Page an "idiot" and tells Sporyshev, "You get the documents from him and tell him to go fuck himself".[20][16][50]
  • March 18: Trump announces he is forming a presidential exploratory committee.[51]
  • Spring: U.S. Intelligence intercepts conversations of Russian government officials discussing associates of Donald Trump.[52]
  • April: Flynn begins advising ACU Strategic Partners, a company seeking to build nuclear power plants in the Middle East involving a sanctioned Russian company.[53]
  • April 11–12: Torshin attends the NRA convention in Nashville and briefly converses with Trump. Torshin and the Trump family dispute how much was said.[54]
  • June: Flynn travels to the Middle East. In September 2017, members of Congress present evidence to Mueller that Flynn's purpose was to promote a Russian-backed plan for the building of 40 nuclear reactors, with "total regional security" to be provided by U.S.-sanctioned Russian weapons exporter Rosoboron.[55][56][57][58]

2016 presidential campaign[edit]


  • June 16: Donald Trump announces his candidacy for president.[59]
  • June 17: In an interview on the Fox News show Hannity, Sean Hannity asks Trump if he has talked to Putin. Trump replies, "I don't want to say. But I got to meet all of the leaders. I got to meet all — I mean, everybody was there. It was a massive event. And let me tell you, it was tremendous."[60]
  • July: George Papadopoulos contacts Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski about joining the campaign as a policy advisor.[61]
  • July onward: Thousands of fake Twitter accounts run by the IRA begin to praise Trump over his political opponents by a wide margin, according to a later analysis by The Wall Street Journal.[62][63]
  • July 11: Maria Butina attends FreedomFest in Las Vegas, where Trump is speaking and taking questions. She asks Trump his stance on continuing sanctions; he replies he knows Putin and doesn't think sanctions are needed.[64] Reviewing a video of the encounter, Steve Bannon points out that "Trump had a fully developed answer".[65]
  • July 13: Butina is present at Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's presidential candidacy announcement.[64]
  • July 24: Rob Goldstone emails Trump's assistant Rhona Graff, suggesting that Emin Agalarov could arrange a meeting between Putin and Trump.[66]
  • Summer: Hackers linked to the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) gain access to the Democratic National Committee's computer network.[67] Dutch intelligence services alert their U.S. counterparts that a hacking group known as Cozy Bear has penetrated the DNC servers.[68]
  • August: Papadopoulos emails Michael Glassner, the executive director of Trump's campaign committee, expressing further interest in joining the campaign as a policy advisor. He continues corresponding with Glassner and Lewandowski for months, but is repeatedly told no position is available for him.[61]
  • August 8: Roger Stone leaves the Trump campaign. The campaign says it fired Stone, but Stone insists he quit. He subsequently gives the press a resignation letter that the campaign says it never received.[69]
  • August 21: Sessions makes his first appearance at a Trump campaign rally.[70]
  • September:
    • An FBI special agent reports to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) that at least one of its computer systems has been hacked by an espionage team linked to the Russian government. The agent is transferred to a tech-support contractor at the help desk, who makes a cursory check of DNC server logs and does not reply to the agent's follow-up calls, allegedly because of a belief that the call might have been a prank.[71]
    • Jill Stein] speaks briefly with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at a Russia Today gala in New York City.[72]
  • September–October: The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative website primarily funded by billionaire Paul Singer, hires Fusion GPS to perform opposition research on Trump. Initially a Marco Rubio supporter, Singer continues to fund the research after Rubio withdraws from the race.[73][74]
  • September 4–5: At the 2016 G20 Hangzhou summit, Obama confronts Putin about Russian cyber attacks, telling him to stop. Putin explains Russia's stance on the issue.[75]
  • September 11: Trump speaks at the Yalta European Strategy conference in Kiev via satellite. The organizer of the event, Victor Pinchuk, donates $150,000 to Trump's charity, the Trump Foundation.[76][77]
  • September 21: On Hugh Hewitt's radio program, Trump says, "The oligarchs are under [Putin's] control, to a large extent. I mean, he can destroy them, and he has destroyed some of them... Two years ago, I was in Moscow... I was with the top-level people, both oligarchs and generals, and top-of-the-government people. I can't go further than that, but I will tell you that I met the top people, and the relationship was extraordinary."[78]
  • October: For his remarks during a cybersecurity forum in Washington, D.C., Flynn receives $11,250 from Kaspersky Government Security Solutions Inc., the American subsidiary of Kaspersky Lab, owned by Eugene Kaspersky.[79][80]
  • October 28: Trump signs a letter of intent to construct a Trump-branded building in Moscow, a fact made public in August 2017.[81][82]
  • November
    • Trump associate Felix Sater emails Trump lawyer Michael Cohen: "Michael, I arranged for Ivanka to sit in Putin's private chair at his desk and office in the Kremlin [...] Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it. I will get all of Putin's team to buy in on this".[83][32] Sater also tells Cohen that the Kremlin's VTB Bank is ready to finance a Trump Tower project in Moscow.[25]
    • Ivanka Trump tells Cohen to speak with former Russian Olympic weightlifter Dmitry Klokov about the proposed Trump Tower in Moscow. Cohen and Klokov converse by phone and email. In one email, Klokov tells Cohen he can arrange a meeting between Trump and Putin. Cohen declines the offer.[84]
  • November 19: The IRA creates the @TEN_GOP Twitter account. Purporting to be the "Unofficial Twitter account of Tennessee Republicans," it peaks at over 100,000 followers.[85]
  • December: Unable to find a position in the Trump campaign, Papadopoulos joins the Ben Carson campaign.[61]
  • December 8–13: Outspoken Trump supporter Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke, former NRA President David Keene, future NRA President Pete Brownell, NRA Golden Ring of Freedom Chair Joe Gregory, major NRA donor Arnold Goldschlager, and NRA member Paul Erickson, travel to Moscow for the Right to Bear Arms convention. They meet Russian government officials, including Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and a gun manufacturer. Rogozin is under U.S. sanctions. They also meet with Torshin and Sergei Rudov, the head of the Saint Basil the Great Charitable Foundation. Clarke later files an ethics report showing that Butina's organization, Right to Bear Arms, covered $6,000 of his expenses.[64][86][87][88]
  • December 10: Flynn gives a paid speech on world affairs in Moscow, at a gala dinner organized by RT News.[89] Flynn had appeared on RT as an analyst after retiring from the U.S. Army. Putin is the dinner's guest of honor.[90] Flynn is seated next to Putin; also seated at the head table are Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein and members of Putin's inner circle, including Sergei Ivanov, Dmitry Peskov, Victor Vekselberg, and Alexey Gromov.[91][92] For his speech, Flynn nets $33,500 of the $45,000 paid to his speakers bureau.[93] For all of 2015, Flynn receives more than $65,000 from companies linked to Russia.[94]
  • December 21: John Podesta receives an email, which is later leaked by WikiLeaks, advising the Hillary Campaign on how to approach the issue of Trump, recommending that the "best approach is to slaughter Donald for his bromance with Putin".[95]

January–March 2016[edit]

  • January:
    • Cohen attempts to contact Putin's personal spokesman Dmitry Peskov to request assistance with construction of a Trump-branded building in Moscow. Cohen asks in an email what it will take to move the project forward because "the communication between our two sides has stalled".[96][97]
    • Flynn applies to renew his security clearance for five years. In an interview with security investigators, he claims U.S. companies paid for his trip to the RT dinner in Moscow. Documents subsequently obtained by the House Oversight Committee show that RT paid for the trip.[98]
  • January 19: Konstantin Sidorkov, executive at VKontakte (VK, Russia’s equivalent of Facebook), emails Trump Jr. and social media director Dan Scavino offering to help promote Trump’s campaign to its nearly 100 million users. Goldstone brokered the overture. Sidorkov emails again on November 5, 2016.[99]
  • February: Erickson and Butina form Bridges LLC. Erickson later tells McClatchy the South Dakota-based company was created to provide financial assistance for Butina's graduate school tuition.[64] As of January 2018, McClatchy was unable to find any of the company's financial transactions.[100]
  • February 28: Trump is formally endorsed by Jeff Sessions.[70]
  • February 29: Manafort submits a five-page proposal to Trump outlining his qualifications to help Trump secure enough convention delegates and win the Republican presidential nomination. Manafort describes how he assisted several business and political leaders, notably in Russia and Ukraine.[101]
  • March: Page begins working for the Trump campaign as an unpaid foreign policy adviser.[102][103][104]
  • Early March: Papadopoulos contacts Michael Glassner saying he is free again to join Trump's campaign. Glassner connects Papadopoulos with campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis. Clovis tells Papadopoulos that improving Russia relations is a top foreign policy goal for the campaign.[61]
  • March 3: Jeff Sessions is appointed to the Trump campaign's national security advisory committee.[70]
  • March 6: Papadopoulos learns he will be a foreign policy advisor for the Trump Campaign.[105][106][107] The campaign hires Papadopoulos on Ben Carson's recommendation.[108]
  • March 14: Papadopoulos first meets Maltese academic Joseph Mifsud while traveling in Italy.[105][109]
  • March 16: The FBI releases its Report of Investigation on Flynn's security clearance renewal application.[98]
  • March 19: Clinton presidential campaign chairman John Podesta is asked to change his email password in an apparent phishing attempt, believed to be spearheaded by Russian hackers. They gain access to his account.[67]
  • March 21: In a Washington Post interview,[110][111] Trump says Page and Papadopoulos are among his foreign policy advisers. Page had helped open the Moscow office of investment banking firm Merrill Lynch and advised Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom, in which Page is an investor. He had blamed 2014 US sanctions relating to Russia’s annexation of Crimea for driving down Gazprom’s stock price.[112] Earlier in March 2016, Iowa tea party activist Sam Clovis had recommended Page to the Trump campaign.[113]
  • March 24: In London, Papadopoulos meets Mifsud and Olga Polonskaya, who falsely claims to be Putin's niece.[114] Polonskaya is in regular email contact with Papadopoulos, in one message writing, "We are all very excited by the possibility of a good relationship with Mr. Trump".[109]
  • March 29: On Stone's recommendation,[115] Manafort joins the Trump campaign as convention manager, tasked with lining up delegates.[116]
  • March 30: Alexandra Chalupa, who worked in the White House Office of Public Liaison during the Clinton administration, briefs the DNC's communications staff on Manafort's and Trump's ties to Russia.[117]
  • March 31: At the first meeting of Trump's foreign policy team, which includes Trump and Sessions, Papadopoulos speaks of his connections with Russia, and offers to negotiate a meeting between Trump and Putin. Sessions later states he opposed the idea.[109][118][119][120] The meeting is held at the yet-to-open Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C..[61]
  • Spring:
    • U.S. intelligence officials’ suspicions of Russian meddling in the presidential election grow after their counterparts in Europe warn that Russian money might be flowing into the election.[52]
    • Stone tells associates he is in contact with Julian Assange.[121]

April–June 2016[edit]

  • April:
    • Between April and November 2016, there are at least 18 further exchanges by telephone and email between Russian officials and the Trump team.[122][123]
    • Hackers linked to the GRU gain access to the DNC computer network.[67]
    • Russian social media company SocialPuncher releases an analysis showing that Trump has quoted or retweeted Twitter bots 150 times since the beginning of 2016.[124][125]
    • Rohrabacher meets with Natalia Veselnitskaya in Moscow to discuss the Magnitsky Act. Vladimir Yakunin, under U.S. sanctions, is also present.[126] Rohrabacher later says he met Yakunin at the request of Kislyak.[127] He also meets with officials at the Russian Prosecutor General's office, where he receives a document full of accusations against Magnitsky. U.S. Embassy officials are worried Rohrabacher may be meeting with FSB agents. The meeting at the prosecutor's office is not on his itinerary.[126] The document is given to Rohrabacher by Deputy Prosecutor Viktor Grin, who is under U.S. sanctions authorized by the Magnitsky Act. Rohrabacher subsequently uses the document in efforts to undermine the Magnitsky Act.[127] His accepting the document from Grin, a sanctioned individual, and using it to influence U.S. government policy leads to a July 21, 2017, complaint being filed against Rohrabacher and his staff director, Paul Brends, for violating Magnitsky Act sanctions.[128]
    • The IRA starts buying online ads on social media and other sites. The ads support Trump and attack Clinton.[42][43]
    • Marc Elias, a lawyer at Perkins Coie and general counsel for the Clinton campaign, takes over funding of the Fusion GPS Trump investigation. He uses discretionary funds at his disposal and does not inform the campaign about the research.[129][130][74]
  • April 4: A rally is held in Buffalo, New York, protesting the death of India Cummings. Cummings was a black woman who had recently died in police custody. The IRA's "Blacktivist" account on Facebook actively promotes the event, reaching out directly to local activists on Facebook Messenger asking them to circulate petitions and print posters for the event. Blacktivist supplies the petitions and poster artwork.[131]
  • April 11: Manafort and Konstantin Kilimnik, his former aide in Kiev, exchange emails about whether recent press coverage of Manafort joining the Trump campaign can be used to make them "whole" with Deripaska. Manafort is in debt to Deripaska for millions of dollars at the time.[132]
  • April 16: A rally protesting the death of Freddie Gray attracts large crowds in Baltimore. The IRA's Blacktivist Facebook group promotes and organizes the event, including reaching out to local activists.[133]
  • April 18: Mifsud introduces Papadopoulos to Ivan Timofeev, program director of the Kremlin-sponsored Valdai Discussion Club. Papadopoulos and Timofeev communicate for months about potential meetings between Russian government officials and members of the Trump campaign. Later records indicate that Timofeev discussed Papadopoulos with former Russian Foreign Minister Igor S. Ivanov.[114][109][107]
  • April 20: Manafort becomes Trump’s campaign manager. Reports surface about his 2007 to 2012 ties to former President of Ukraine Victor Yanukovych, whom Manafort helped elect.[134]
  • April 23: A small group of white-power demonstrators hold a rally they call "Rock Stone Mountain" at Stone Mountain Park near Stone Mountain, Georgia. They are confronted by a large group of protesters, and some violent clashes ensue. The counterprotest was heavily promoted by IRA accounts on Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook, and the IRA website blackmatters.com. The IRA uses its Blacktivist account on Facebook to reach out, to no avail, to activist and academic Barbara Williams Emerson, the daughter of Hosea Williams, to help promote the protests. Afterward, RT blames anti-racist protesters for violence and promotes two videos shot at the event.[131]
  • April 26:
    • Papadopoulos meets Mifsud in London again. Mifsud claims that he has learned that Russians are in possession of thousands of stolen emails that may be politically damaging to Clinton.[135][109][114]
    • Before the second Mifsud meeting, Papadopoulos emails Stephen Miller, informing him that Putin has extended an "open invitation" to Trump. After the meeting, Papadopoulos tells Miller that he has "some interesting messages coming in from Moscow about a trip when the time is right."[114]
  • April 27:
    • Trump, Sessions and Jared Kushner greet Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington D.C. This contact is repeatedly omitted from testimony or denied.[111][136][137] Afterward, Kislyak reports the conversation with Sessions to Moscow.[138] Kushner is the first to publicly admit the Kislyak meeting took place in his prepared statement for Senate investigators on July 24, 2017.[139]
    • Trump delivers a speech edited by Papadopoulos that calls for improved relations between the US and Russia. Papadopoulos brings the speech to the attention of Mifsud and Polonskaya, and tells Timofeev that it should be considered "the signal to meet".[109]
    • Papadopoulos tells Lewandowski via email that Putin wants to meet Trump.[107]
  • Late April: The DNC's IT department notices suspicious computer activity. Within 24 hours, the DNC contacts the FBI, and hires a private cybersecurity firm, CrowdStrike, to investigate.[140]
  • May:
    • CrowdStrike determines that sophisticated adversaries—denominated Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear—are responsible for the DNC hack. Fancy Bear, in particular, is suspected of affiliation with Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU).[141]
    • In London, during a night of heavy drinking, Papadopoulos tells the Australian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Alexander Downer, that the Russians have politically damaging material on Hillary Clinton. Two months later, Australian officials pass this information to American officials.[109]
    • Erickson contacts Trump campaign advisor Rick Dearborn. In an email headed "Kremlin Connection", Erickson seeks the advice of Dearborn and Sessions about how to arrange a meeting between Trump and Putin. Erickson suggests making contact at the NRA’s annual convention in Kentucky. The communication refers to Torshin, who is under instructions to contact the Trump campaign.[142][143]
    • Papadopoulos travels to Greece and meets with Greece's president, defense minister, foreign minister, and a former prime minister. Putin makes an official visit to Athens during Papadopoulos's trip.[144]
    • Stone and Michael Caputo meet in Miami with Russian national who reportedly called himself "Henry Greenberg" and, according to Greenberg, a Ukrainian friend Greenberg later identifies as "Alexei". Greenberg and Alexei offer Caputo and Stone political dirt on Hillary Clinton. Stone repeatedly denies knowingly meeting with any Russian nationals in 2016 until The Washington Post asks him about this meeting in June 2018.[145]
  • May 2: A second rally is held in Buffalo, New York, protesting the death of India Cummings. Like the rally on April 4, the event is heavily promoted by the IRA's Blacktivist Facebook account, including attempted outreach to local activists.[131]
  • May 4:
    • Papadopoulos forwards Lewandowski an email from his contact at the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) that offers a meeting between the MFA and Papadopoulos in Moscow. The next day, campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis replies, “[t]here are legal issues we need to mitigate, meeting with foreign officials as a private citizen.”[107]
    • Trump becomes the only remaining candidate for the Republican presidential nomination when John Kasich withdraws.[146]
  • May 19–22: The NRA annual conference is held in Louisville, Kentucky. Trump and Trump Jr. attend. Trump Jr. speaks with Torshin.[147][148][149]
  • May 21:
    • Papadopoulos forwards a note from Timofeev to Manafort stressing the MFA's desire to meet with Trump. Manafort shoots down the idea in an email to Rick Gates.[61][107]
    • Two competing rallies are held in Houston to alternately protest against and defend the recently opened Library of Islamic Knowledge at the Islamic Da'wah Center. The "Stop Islamization of Texas" rally is organized by the Facebook group "Heart of Texas". The Facebook posting for the event encourages participants to bring guns. A spokesman for the group converses with the Houston Press via email but declines to give a name. The other rally, "Save Islamic Knowledge", is organized by the Facebook group "United Muslims of America" for the same time and location. Both Facebook groups are later revealed to be IRA accounts.[150][151]
  • May 25: The Westboro Baptist Church holds its annual protest of Lawrence High School graduation ceremonies in Lawrence, Kansas. The "LGBT United" Facebook group organizes counterprotesters to confront the Westboro protest, including by placing an ad on Facebook and contacting local people. About a dozen people show up. Lawrence High School students do not participate because they are "skeptical" of the counterprotest organizers. LGBT United is an IRA account that appears to have been created specifically for this event.[152]
  • May 26: The Associated Press reports that Trump has secured enough delegates to become the presumptive Republican nominee.[67]
  • May 27–28: Putin makes an official visit to Greece and meets with government leaders. His visit overlaps with a trip to Greece by Papadopoulos.[144][153]
  • May 29: The IRA hires an American to pose in front of the White House holding a sign that says, "Happy 55th Birthday, Dear Boss." "Boss" is a reference to Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin.[42][43]
  • June:
    • The FBI sends a warning to states about "bad actors" probing state voter-registration databases and systems to seek vulnerabilities; investigators believe Russia is responsible.[154]
    • At Butina's urging, Christian activist Rick Clay emails Dearborn with the subject "Kremlin connection" offering a meeting between Trump and Torshin.[100] Dearborn, then Sessions's Chief of Staff, sends an email mentioning a person from West Virginia seeking to connect Trump campaign members with Putin. Dearborn appears "skeptical" of the meeting request.[155] Jared Kushner rejects the request. Torshin and Trump Jr. later meet at the NRA convention.[100]
    • Fusion GPS hires Christopher Steele to research Trump's activities in Russia. A resultant 35-page document, later known as the Trump–Russia dossier or Steele dossier, is published on January 10, 2017, by BuzzFeed News.[156]
  • Early June: At a closed-door gathering of foreign policy experts visiting with the Prime Minister of India, Page hails Putin as stronger and more reliable than Obama and touts the positive effect a Trump presidency would have on U.S.-Russia relations.[157]
  • June 1:
    • Based upon a referral from Lewandowski, Papadopoulos emails Sam Clovis about more interest from the Russian government to set up a Trump meeting in Russia. He writes, "I have the Russian MFA asking me if Mr. Trump is interested in visiting Russia at some point."[158][159]
    • The IRA plans a Manhattan rally called "March for Trump" and buys Facebook ads promoting the event.[42][43]
  • June 3: Trump Jr. receives an e-mail from Goldstone offering, on behalf of Emin Agalarov, to meet an alleged Russian government official who “would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father”, as "part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” Trump Jr. responds, "I love it," and schedules the meeting. Goldstone also offers to relay the information to Trump through his assistant.[160]
  • June 4: The IRA email account allforusa@yahoo.com sends news releases about the "March for Trump" rally to New York City media outlets.[42][43]
  • June 5: The IRA contacts a Trump campaign volunteer to provide signs for the "March for Trump" rally.[42][43]
  • June 9: Kushner, Manafort and Trump Jr. meet in Trump Tower with Goldstone, Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya,[161] Russian-American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin,[162] Ike Kaveladze of Aras Agalarov's Crocus Group,[163] and a translator.[164] Veselnitskaya is best known for lobbying against the Magnitsky Act, an American law that blacklists suspected Russian human rights abusers.[165] Trump Jr. later acknowledges that he asked Veselnitskaya for damaging information about the Clinton Foundation and says she had none.[166] He calls a blocked number before and after the meeting. Trump spends the day at Trump Tower, where the private residence has a blocked number, and holds no public events.[167]
  • June 11–12: The DNC expels Russian hackers from its servers. Some of the hackers had been accessing the DNC network for over a year.[168]
  • June 12: Julian Assange appears on the ITV television show Peston on Sunday. He tells Robert Peston that emails related to Clinton are "pending publication" and says, "WikiLeaks has a very good year ahead."[169][170]
  • June 14: The DNC publicly alleges that they have been hacked by Russian state-backed hackers.[169][168]
  • June 15:
    • Guccifer 2.0 claims credit for the DNC hacking and posts some of the stolen material to a website. CrowdStrike stands by their "findings identifying two separate Russian intelligence-affiliated adversaries present in the DNC network in May 2016."[171]
    • House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Speaker Paul Ryan meet separately with Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman at the Capitol. Groysman describes to them how the Kremlin is financing populist politicians in Eastern Europe to damage democratic institutions. McCarthy and Ryan have a private meeting afterwards with GOP leaders that is secretly recorded. Toward the end of their conversation, after laughing at the DNC hacking, McCarthy says, "there's two people, I think, Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump...[laughter]...swear to God." Ryan then tells everyone to keep this conversation secret. A transcript of the recording becomes public a year later.[172][173]
  • June 19: After communicating with the MFA via email and Skype, Papadopoulos tells Lewandowski by email that the MFA is interested in meeting with a "campaign rep" if Trump can't meet with them. Papadopoulos offers to go in an unofficial capacity.[158][159]
  • June 20: Trump fires Lewandowski.[174]
  • June 23: The IRA persona "Matt Skiber" contacts an American to recruit for the "March for Trump" rally.[42][43]
  • June 24: The IRA group "United Muslims of America" buys Facebook ads for the "Support Hillary, Save American Muslims" rally.[42][43]
  • June 25:
    • The IRA's "March for Trump" rally occurs.[42][43]
    • The IRA Facebook group LGBT United organizes a candlelight vigil for the Pulse nightclub shooting victims in Orlando, Florida.[175][176]
  • June 29: Goldstone emails Trump campaign social media director Dan Scavino about promoting Trump on VKontakte. He says the email is a follow-up to his recent conversation with Trump Jr. and Manafort.[99]
  • Summer:
    • Papadopoulos is approached via LinkedIn by American-Belarussian Sergei Millian of the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce. Papadopoulos and Millian meet repeatedly in Manhattan to discuss starting an energy business together, to be financed by Russian billionaires "who are not under sanctions". They also discuss the possibility of a Trump Tower in Moscow.[109]
    • IRA employees use the stolen identities of four Americans to open PayPal and bank accounts to act as conduits for funding their activities in the United States.[42][43]

July 2016[edit]

  • July:
    • The IRA's translator project grows to over 80 employees.[42][43]
    • Page makes a five-day trip to Moscow.[177] The Steele dossier alleges that in July, Page secretly met Rosneft chairman Igor Sechin in Moscow, together with a "senior Kremlin Internal Affairs official, DIVYEKIN", that Sechin offered Trump a 19% stake in Rosneft (worth about $11 billion) in exchange for lifting the sanctions against Russia after his election,[178][179] and that Page confirmed, on Trump's "full authority", that he intended to lift the sanctions.[180][181][182]
  • July 5:
    • At Steele's London office, Steele reveals to an FBI agent from Rome some of his findings that indicate a wide-ranging Russian conspiracy to elect Trump.[109][183]
    • "United Muslims of America", an IRA group, orders posters with fake Clinton quotes promoting Sharia Law. The posters are ordered for the "Support Hillary, Save American Muslims" rally they are organizing.[42][43]
  • July 6: Guccifer 2.0 releases another cache of DNC documents and sends copies to The Hill.[184][185]
  • July 6–10: The IRA's "Don't Shoot" Facebook group and affiliated "Don't Shoot Us" website try to organize a protest outside the St. Paul, Minnesota police headquarters on July 10 in response to the July 6 fatal police shooting of Philando Castile. Some local activists become suspicious of the event because St. Paul police were not involved in the shooting: Castile was shot by a St. Anthony police officer in nearby Falcon Heights. Local activists contact Don't Shoot. After being pressed on who they are and who supports them, Don't Shoot agrees to move the protest to the St. Anthony police headquarters. The concerned local activists investigate further and urge protesters not to participate after deciding Don't Shoot is a "total troll job." Don't Shoot organizers eventually relinquish control of the event to local organizers, who subsequently decline to accept any money from Don't Shoot.[186][187]
  • July 7:
    • In a lecture at the New Economic School in Moscow,[188] Page criticizes American foreign policy, saying that many of the mistakes spoiling relations between the US and Russia "originated in my own country."[189] Page had received permission from the Trump campaign to make the trip.[190] Page also meets Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich during the visit.[191]
    • In an email exchange using his official Trump campaign email address, Manafort asks Kilimnik to forward an offer to provide "private briefings" to Deripaska.[192][193]
  • July 8: Page emails Trump campaign officials about his presentation at the New Economic School in Moscow. He describes meeting Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich. He says 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."[194]
  • July 9:
  • July 10: A Black Lives Matter protest rally is held in Dallas. A "Blue Lives Matter" counterprotest is held across the street. The Blue Lives Matter protest is organized by the "Heart of Texas" Facebook group, controlled by the IRA.[196][175][151]
  • July 12: An IRA group buys ads on Facebook for the "Down with Hillary" rally in New York City.[42][43]
  • July 13: A hacker or group calling themselves Guccifer 2.0 releases over 10,000 names from the DNC in two spreadsheets and a list of objectionable quotes from Sarah Palin.[185]
  • July 16: The IRA's Blacktivist group organizes a rally in Chicago to honor Sandra Bland on the first anniversary of her death. The rally is held in front of the Chicago Police Department's Homan Square building. Participants pass around petitions calling for a Civilian Police Accountability Council ordinance.[197][198]
  • July 18: Guccifer 2.0 dumps a new batch of documents from the DNC servers, including personal information of 20,000 Republican donors and opposition research on Trump.[199]
  • July 18–21: Republican Convention in Cleveland[200]
    • July 18:
      • Kislyak attends the convention, meeting Page and J. D. Gordon;[1] as Trump's foreign policy advisers, they stress that he would like to improve relations with Russia.[201] Sessions speaks with Kislyak at a Heritage Foundation event.[1][70]
      • Gordon lobbies to remove arms sales to Ukraine from the Republican platform, citing concerns over conflict escalation in Donbass.[202][203] In December 2017, Diana Denman, a Republican delegate who supported the weapons sale, says that Trump directed Gordon to weaken that position.[204]
    • July 21: Trump formally accepts the Republican nomination.[205]
  • July 22: WikiLeaks publishes 20,000 emails from seven key DNC officials. The emails show them disparaging Bernie Sanders and favoring Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential primaries.[206]
  • July 23: The IRA-organized "Down with Hillary" rally is held in New York City. The agency sends 30 news releases to media outlets using the email address joshmilton024@gmail.com.[42][43]
  • July 24:
  • July 25–28: Democratic Convention in Philadelphia.[209]
  • July 25: Based on assessments from cybersecurity firms, the DNC and the Clinton campaign say that Russian intelligence operators have hacked their e-mails and forwarded them to WikiLeaks.[210]
  • July 27:
    • Trump calls for Russia to give Clinton's missing emails to the FBI. His tweet is before his statements on the matter to the press.[211]
    • Trump tells a CBS affiliate in Miami, “I have nothing to do with Russia. Nothing to do. I never met Putin. I have nothing to do with Russia whatsoever.” This contradicts his many claims since 2013 to have met Putin and done business in Russia.[23]
    • At a news conference, Trump says he "hopes" Russia can find Clinton's missing emails. The remark triggers a backlash from media and politicians who criticize Trump's "urging a foreign adversary to conduct cyberespionage" against his political opponent.[212][213] Trump responds that he was being "sarcastic".[214]
  • July 28: Clinton formally accepts the Democratic nomination.[215]
  • July 31:
  • End July: CIA Director John Brennan, alarmed at intelligence that Russia is trying to "hack" the election, forms a working group of officials from the CIA, FBI, and NSA.[219]

August 2016[edit]

  • August: Trump donor Rebekah Mercer asks the CEO of Cambridge Analytica whether the company could better organize the Clinton-related emails being released by WikiLeaks.[220]
  • August 2–3: The IRA's "Matt Skiber" persona contacts the real "Florida for Trump" Facebook account. The "T.W." persona contacts other grassroots groups.[42][43]
  • August 3: Trump Jr., George Nader, Erik Prince, Stephen Miller, and Joel Zamel meet at Trump Jr.'s office in Trump Tower. Nader relays an offer from the leaders of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to help get Trump elected. Zamel pitches his Israeli company's services for a multi-million-dollar campaign to manipulate social media. It is not known whether the social media campaign occurred.[221]
  • August 4:
    • Brennan calls his Russian counterpart Alexander Bortnikov, head of the FSB, to warn him against meddling in the presidential election.[219]
    • The IRA's Facebook account "Stop AI" accuses Clinton of voter fraud during the Iowa Caucuses. They buy ads promoting the post.[42][43]
    • IRA groups buy ads for the "Florida Goes Trump" rallies. The 8,300 people who click on the ads are sent to the Agency's "Being Patriotic" Facebook page.[42][43]
  • August 5:
    • Stone writes an article for Breitbart News in which he insists Guccifer 2.0 hacked the DNC, using statements by Guccifer 2.0 on Twitter and to The Hill as evidence for his claim. He tries to spin the DNC's Russia claim as a coverup for their supposed embarrassment over being penetrated by a single hacker.[222][223] The article leads to Guccifer 2.0 reaching out to and conversing with Stone via Twitter.[224]
    • In response to questions about Page's July 7 speech in Moscow, Hope Hicks describes him as an "informal foreign policy adviser [who] does not speak for Mr. Trump or the campaign."[157]
    • The IRA Twitter account @March_For_Trump hires an actress to play Hillary Clinton in prison garb and someone to build a cage to hold the actress. The actress and cage are to appear at the "Florida Goes Trump" rally in West Palm Beach, Florida on August 20.[42][43]
  • August 6: By video link, Assange addresses the Green Party National Convention in Houston about the hacked DNC documents published by WikiLeaks.[225] Green candidate Jill Stein later states she does not know why or how this address was arranged.[72]
  • August 8: Stone, speaking in Florida to the Southwest Broward Republican Organization, claims he is in contact with Assange, saying, "I actually have communicated with Assange. I believe his next tranche of his documents pertain to the Clinton Foundation."[226][223] Stone later claims the communications were through an intermediary.[227]
  • August 9: WikiLeaks denies having communicated with Stone.[228]
  • August 11: The IRA Twitter account @TEN_GOP claims that voter fraud is being investigated in North Carolina.[42][43]
  • August 12:
    • In a #MAGA Podcast, Stone says Assange has all the emails deleted by Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills.[229]
    • Journalist Emma Best has two simultaneous conversations by Twitter direct message with Guccifer 2.0 and WikiLeaks. Best tries to negotiate the hosting of stolen DNC emails and documents on archive.org. WikiLeaks wants Best to act as an intermediary to funnel the material from Guccifer 2.0 to them. The conversation ends with Guccifer 2.0 saying he will send the material directly to WikiLeaks.[230]
  • August 14: The New York Times reports that Manafort's name has been found in the Ukrainian "black ledger". The ledger, belonging to the Ukrainian Party of Regions, shows $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments to Manafort from 2007 to 2012. Manafort's lawyer, Richard A. Hibey, says Manafort never received "any such cash payments".[5] The Associated Press later verifies some of the entries against financial records.[231]
  • August 15:
    • After several weeks of communications between Papadopoulos and his campaign superiors about an unofficial trip to Russia to meet with the MFA, Sam Clovis tells Papadopoulos, "I would encourage you [and Walid Phares to] make the trip[], if it is feasible." The trip never occurs.[158][159]
    • A Trump campaign county chair contacts the IRA through their phony email accounts to suggest locations for rallies.[42][43]
  • August 16:
    • Stone tells Alex Jones that he is in contact with Assange, claiming he has "political dynamite" on Clinton.[232]
    • The IRA buys ads on Instagram for the "Florida Goes Trump" rallies.[42][43]
  • August 17:
    • Trump is warned in an FBI briefing that foreign adversaries including Russia would likely attempt to infiltrate his campaign. This is Trump's first classified briefing. Clinton receives a similar briefing in the same month.[233][234][235]
    • Steve Bannon is named Trump campaign CEO.[236]
    • Kellyanne Conway is named Trump campaign manager.[236]
  • August 18:
    • The FBI issues a nationwide "flash alert" warning state election officials about foreign infiltration of election systems in two states, later reported to be Arizona and Illinois. The alert includes technical evidence suggesting Russian responsibility, and urges states to boost their cyberdefenses. Although labeled for distribution only to "NEED TO KNOW recipients," a copy is leaked to the media.[237]
    • The IRA uses its joshmilton024@gmail.com email account to contact a Trump campaign official in Florida. The email requests campaign support at the forthcoming "Florida Goes Trump" rallies. It is unknown whether the campaign official responded.[42][43]
    • The IRA pays the person they hired to build a cage for a "Florida Goes Trump" rally in West Palm Beach, Florida.[42][43]
  • August 19:
    • Manafort resigns as Trump's campaign manager.[238]
    • A Trump supporter suggests to the IRA Twitter account "March for Trump" that it contact a Trump campaign official. The official is emailed by the agency's joshmilton024@gmail.com account.[42]
    • The IRA's "Matt Skiber" persona contacts another Trump campaign official on Facebook.[42][43]
    • Leave.EU campaigners Arron Banks and Andy Wigmore meet with the Russian ambassador to the U.K., Alexander Yakovenko, before traveling to the U.S. to attend a Trump campaign rally.[239]
  • August 20: 17 "Florida Goes Trump" rallies are held across Florida. The rallies are organized by Russian trolls from the IRA.[43][240]
  • August 25
  • August 26: After Clinton claims that Russian intelligence was behind the leaks, Assange says she is causing "hysteria" about Russia, adding, "The Trump campaign has a lot of things wrong with it, but as far as we can see being Russian agents is not one of them."[243]
  • August 26-27: Frederick Intrater registers several Internet domain names that are variations on the term "alt-right." The domain names are registered using his name and the name and contact information of his employer, private equity firm Columbus Nova. Intrater is the brother of Columbus Nova CEO Andrew Intrater and a cousin of Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg. Columbus Nova is the American investment arm of Vekselberg's business empire.[244]
  • August 27: The IRA Facebook group "SecuredBorders" organizes a "Citizens before refugees" protest rally at the City Council Chambers in Twin Falls, Idaho. Only a small number of people show up for the three-hour event, most likely because it is Saturday and the Chambers are closed.[245]
  • August 31:
  • Late August: CIA director John Brennan gives individual briefings to the Gang of Eight on links between the Trump campaign and Russian interference in the election.[248]

September 2016[edit]

  • September
  • September 2: Lisa Page writes in a text message to Peter Strzok that a meeting at the FBI was set up "because Obama wanted 'to know everything we are doing'."[250] Lisa Page was referring to the FBI investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, not the Clinton emails investigation, which had concluded months earlier.[251][250]
  • September 3: The IRA Facebook group "United Muslims of America" organizes a "Safe Space for Muslim Neighborhood" rally outside the White House, attracting at least 57 people.[252]
  • September 3–5: Wealthy Republican donor Peter W. Smith gathers a team to try to acquire the 30,000 deleted Clinton emails from hackers. He believes Clinton's private email server was hacked and copies of the emails were stolen.[253] Among the people recruited is Matt Tait, a former information-security specialist for the GCHQ.[254] The team creates "KLS Research", an LLC registered in Delaware, as a vehicle "to avoid campaign reporting."[255] The team finds five groups of hackers claiming to have the emails. Two of the groups are Russian. Flynn is in email contact with the team. Smith commits suicide on May 14, 2017, about ten days after telling the story to The Wall Street Journal but before the story is published in June.[253]
  • September 8: Sessions meets with Kislyak a third time, in Sessions's office;[1] he later says they discussed Ukraine and terrorism.[256]
  • September 9
    • Papadopoulos contacts deputy communications director Bryan Lanza about a request from Interfax for an interview with Ksenia Baygarova. Lanza approves the interview.[61]
    • The IRA sends money to its American groups to fund the September 11 rally in Miami, and to pay the actress who portrayed Clinton at the West Palm Beach, Florida, rally.[42][43]
  • Mid-September: Papadopoulos approaches British government officials asking for a meeting with senior ministers. He is given a meeting with a mid-level Foreign Office official in London. Papadopoulos mentions he has senior contacts in the Russian government. British officials conclude he is not a major player and discontinue contact.[257]
  • September 20: Flynn meets with Rohrabacher. On November 10, 2017, the Mueller investigation is reported to have asked questions about this meeting.[258]
  • September 20–26: BlackMattersUS, an IRA website, recruits activists to participate in protests over the police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina. The IRA pays for expenses such as microphones and speakers.[259]
  • September 22
    • Senator Dianne Feinstein and Representative Adam Schiff issue a statement warning that Russia is trying to undermine the election. Their warning is based on what they learned from intelligence briefings as members of the Gang of Eight.[260]
    • The IRA buys ads on Facebook for "Miners for Trump" rallies in Pennsylvania.[42][43]
  • September 23: Yahoo News reports that U.S. intelligence officials are investigating whether Page has set up private communications between the Trump campaign and senior Russian officials, including talks on possibly lifting sanctions if Trump is elected.[261]
  • September 25
    • When asked by CNN about allegations linking Page to Russia, Conway denies that Page is part of the Trump campaign.[262][263]
    • Page sends Comey a letter asking that the FBI drop the reported investigation into his activities in Russia. He denies meeting with sanctioned Russian officials.[264]
  • September 26: Page tells Josh Rogin in an interview for The Washington Post that he is taking a leave of absence from the Trump campaign. He denies meeting with sanctioned individuals in Moscow.[265]
  • September 29: Comey testifies before the House Judiciary Committee, confirming that federal investigators have detected suspicious activities in voter registration databases, as stated in the August 18 alert.[266]
  • September 30: Ksenia Baygarova interviews Papadopoulos for Interfax on Trump's foreign policy positions in relation to Russia.[267] The interview was approved by Trump campaign deputy communications director Bryan Lanza. Baygarova later tells The Washington Post that she had been tasked to interview a representative from each campaign. She says Papadopoulos was the only person from the Trump campaign to respond. She describes him as not very experienced.[61]

October–November 2016[edit]

  • October: The FBI obtains a FISA warrant to monitor the communications of Page as well as two Russian banks suspected of being part of the Russian interference in the election.[21][268]
  • Early October: A team of FBI agents travel to Europe to speak with Steele about his dossier.[109] On or about the same date, Steele gives the FBI a dossier of allegations compiled by Cody Shearer, which corresponded "with what he had separately heard from his own independent sources." It includes the unverified allegation that Trump was sexually compromised by the Russian secret service at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Moscow in 2013.[269][270]
  • October 2: "Miners for Trump" rallies are held across Pennsylvania. The IRA uses the same techniques to organize the rallies as they used for the "Florida Goes Trump" rallies, including hiring a person to wear a Clinton mask and a prison uniform.[42][43]
  • October 7:
    • The DHS and the ODNI issue a joint statement[271] accusing the Russian government of breaking into the computer systems of several political organizations and releasing the obtained material via DCLeaks, WikiLeaks, and Guccifer 2.0, with the intent "to interfere with the U.S. election process."[272]
    • The Washington Post publishes a raw video tape from the television show Access Hollywood of Trump bragging about grabbing women by their genitals.[273] While the tape is not relevant to the Russian interference in the election, the distraction of its release lessens the public impact of the joint intelligence report released hours earlier and may have triggered WikiLeaks' Podesta emails release two hours later.[274][223]
    • WikiLeaks begins publishing thousands of emails from Clinton campaign manager John Podesta, revealing excerpts from Clinton's paid speeches to Wall Street.[275][276]
  • October 8: Kushner's company receives $370 million in new loans, including $285 million from Deutsche Bank, to refinance his portion of the former New York Times building. The size and timing of the Deutsche Bank loan draws scrutiny from the House Financial Services Committee, the Justice Department, and, later, the Mueller investigation. The concern is that the transaction may be related to Russian money laundering through Deutsche Bank.[277][278]
  • October 11: Trump Jr. travels to Paris to give a paid speech at the Ritz Hotel. The dinner event is sponsored by the Center of Political and Foreign Affairs, a group founded by Fabien Baussart and his business partner. Baussart is openly linked to Russian government officials. Randa Kassis, one of the hosts, travels to Moscow after the election and reports the details of the event to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov.[279]
  • October 12: WikiLeaks writes to Trump Jr., “Hey Donald, great to see you and your dad talking about our publications” and “Strongly suggest your dad tweets this link if he mentions us.”[280] Fifteen minutes later, Donald Trump tweets, "Very little pick-up by the dishonest media of incredible information provided by WikiLeaks. So dishonest! Rigged system!"[281]
  • October 13: Roger Stone and WikiLeaks communicate directly using private tweets.[282]
  • October 14:
    • Trump Jr. tweets a specific WikiLeaks link.[283]
    • Pence denies that the Trump campaign is working with WikiLeaks, stating that "nothing could be further from the truth".[284]
  • October 16: The IRA's Instagram account "Woke Blacks" makes a post aimed at suppressing black voter turnout.[42][43]
  • October 19:
    Senator Harry Reid Letter to FBI Director James B. Comey[285]
    • The FBI and the DoJ apply for a FISA warrant to conduct surveillance on Page.[286]
    • During the third presidential debate, Clinton blames Russia for the DNC email leaks and accuses Trump of being a "puppet" of Putin.[287] Trump denies ever having met Putin and any connection to him.[288]
    • A Financial Times probe finds evidence a Trump venture has links to alleged laundering network.[289]
  • October 21: WikiLeaks sends Trump Jr. private tweets suggesting that the campaign give them Trump's tax returns to publish so that they seem less of a "‘pro-Trump’ ‘pro-Russia’" source.[281]
  • October 22: A large rally is held in Charlotte, North Carolina, protesting the police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott. The IRA website BlackMattersUS recruits unwitting local activists to organize the rally.[290] BlackMattersUS provides an activist with a bank card to pay for rally expenses.[259]
  • October 24: Trump announces at a Florida campaign rally, "I have nothing to do with Russia, folks. I’ll give you a written statement."[263]
  • October 27: At the Valdai Discussion Club yearly forum, Putin denounces American "hysteria" over accusations of Russian interference, saying “Does anyone seriously think that Russia can influence the choice of the American people?”[291]
  • October 30: Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid sends FBI Director James Comey a letter, asking him to reveal Trump's ties to the Russian Federation.[285]
  • October 31:
    • Through the "red phone", Obama tells Putin to stop interfering or face consequences.[292]
    • Mother Jones magazine's David Corn reports that a veteran spy, later publicly identified as Steele, gave the FBI information alleging a Russian operation to cultivate Trump, later known as the "Steele dossier".[293]
    • Slate publishes an article by Franklin Foer alleging that a Trump server was in suspicious contact with Alfa-Bank in Russia.[294] Snopes examined the story and rated it "Unproven". Several cyber security experts saw nothing nefarious, while the FBI was still investigating the matter: "One U.S. official said investigators find the server relationship 'odd' and are not ignoring it. But the official said there is still more work for the FBI to do. Investigators have not yet determined whether a connection would be significant."[295]
  • November 2: The IRA Twitter account @TEN_GOP alleges "#VoterFraud by counting tens of thousands of ineligible mail in Hillary votes being reported in Broward County, Florida."[citation needed] Trump Jr. retweets it.[42][43]
  • November 3: The IRA Instagram account "Blacktivist" suggests people vote for Stein instead of Clinton.[42][43]
  • November 5:
    • Konstantin Sidorkov again emails Trump Jr. and Trump campaign social media director Dan Scavino. He again offers to promote Trump to VK's 100 million users. His previous email was sent on January 19, 2016.[99]
    • Anti-Clinton "Texit" rallies are held across Texas. The IRA's "Heart of Texas" Facebook group organizes the rallies around the theme of Texas seceding from the United States if Clinton is elected. The group contacts the Texas Nationalist Movement, a secessionist organization, to help with organizing efforts, but they decline to help. Small rallies are held in Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, and other cities. No one attends the Lubbock rally.[296][297][298]

Post-election transition[edit]

November–December 2016[edit]

  • November 8:
    • Trump is elected President of the United States.[299]
    • Rospatent, the Russian government agency responsible for intellectual property, grants 10-year extensions on four of Trump's trademarks.[300]
    • Hours after the polls close, the hashtag #Calexit becomes one of the top trends on Twitter. Within a few hours of the initial tweet,[301] #Calexit is mentioned over 100,000 times, including thousands of retweets by IRA accounts.[298]
  • November–December
  • November–January: During the transition period, the FBI warns Trump aide Hope Hicks at least twice that she may be approached by Russian government operatives using fake identities.[306][307]
  • November 10:
    • Kislyak states that Russia was not involved with U.S. election hacking.[308]
    • In a private Oval Office meeting, Obama warns Trump against hiring Flynn.[309]
    • Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov tells the Interfax news agency "there were contacts" with the Trump team during the campaign.[310]
    • Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova tells Bloomberg News that it was "normal practice" for Russian Embassy staffers to meet with members of the Trump campaign. She says the Clinton campaign declined requests for meetings.[310]
    • Mark Zuckerberg describes the idea that "fake news" on Facebook could have influenced the election as "crazy."[311][312]
  • November 11:
  • November 12:
    • Butina holds a birthday party at Cafe Deluxe in Washington, D.C., attended by Erickson and Trump campaign aides. Butina claims to be part of Russian communications with the Trump campaign, something she has bragged about for months.[316]
    • A Trump protest called "Trump is NOT my President" attracts 5,000-10,000 protestors in Manhattan who march from Union Square to Trump Tower. The protest is organized by the IRA using their BlackMattersUS Facebook account.[42][43][317]
    • Banks, Farage and Wigmore meet with Trump at Trump Tower. Wigmore asks Trump's receptionist for the Trump transition team's contact information.[318][319]
  • November 13: Zakharova jokingly comments on the Rossiya 1 show Sunday Evening with Vladimir Solovyov that "our people in Brighton Beach won the election for Donald Trump."[320]
  • November 15
    • Devin Nunes replaces former Representative Mike Rogers as a Trump transition team national security advisor.[321]
    • Banks and Wigmore meet with Yakovenko; they discuss their November 12 meeting with Trump. At Yakovenko's request, Banks provides Yakovenko with contact information for the Trump transition team.[318][319][322]
  • November 18:
  • November 19:
    • The IRA organizes the "Charlotte Against Trump" rally in Charlotte, North Carolina.[42][43]
    • Barack Obama has a private meeting with Mark Zuckerberg at a gathering of world leaders in Lima, Peru. Obama urges Zuckerberg to take the threats of political disinformation and "fake news" seriously. Obama warns Zuckerberg that doing nothing will cause problems in the next election. Zuckerberg responds that there were only a few messages and doing something about the problem would be difficult.[312]
  • Late November: Senior members of Trump's transition team warn Flynn about the dangers of contacting Kislyak, including that Kislyak's conversations are probably being monitored by the FBI and the NSA. Flynn is recorded a month later discussing sanctions with Kislyak.[326]
  • November 30: On a recommendation from the GSA, Trump transition team members discuss installing Signal, an encrypted messaging app, on Flynn's phone to encrypt his communications.[327]
  • December: Concerned that the incoming Trump administration will suppress the information collected in the Russia investigation, the White House spreads it across government agencies to leave a trail for future investigators.[328]
  • December 1: According to an anonymous letter to The Washington Post citing leaked intercepts of Russian diplomatic communications, during a transition team meeting at Trump Tower, Kushner asks Kislyak about the potential to communicate directly with the Kremlin over a Russian-encrypted channel. Flynn also attends the meeting.[329][330]
  • Early December: In Russia, FSB cyber chief Sergei Mikhailov, senior Kaspersky Lab researcher Ruslan Stoyanov, and hacker Dmitry Dokuchayev (known as “Forb”) are arrested for treason.[331][332]
  • December 9:
    • Republican Senator John McCain delivers the Steele dossier to Comey.[333]
    • The Trump transition team dismisses reported intelligence assessments finding Russian interference in the election. Their statement says, "These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It’s now time to move on and ‘Make America Great Again.’"[249]
  • December 12: Kislyak meets with Kushner's assistant, Avi Berkowitz, to arrange a meeting between Kushner and the FSB-connected Sergey Gorkov, head of sanctioned Russian bank Vnesheconombank.[25][334][335][336]
  • December 13:
    • Gorkov arrives from Moscow to secretly meet Kushner in New York, before flying to Japan, where Putin is holding a summit. The meeting is first reported in March 2017, and attracts the interest of federal and congressional investigators in May. Kushner later characterizes the meeting as brief and meaningless. The White House later describes the meeting as a diplomatic encounter. The bank later says they discussed Kushner's real estate business.[25][335][337]
    • Trump picks Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State; Russian officials praise the decision.[338]
  • December 15
  • December 18: Speaking to CBS News, Conway says it is "false" and "dangerous" to suggest that members of the Trump campaign spoke to any Russians during the campaign.[263][346]
  • December 22: At the direction of a "very senior member" of the transition team, Flynn asks Kislyak to delay or defeat a pending vote on a United Nations Security Council resolution. Flynn later pleads guilty to lying to the FBI about the effort to defeat the resolution.[347][348]
  • December 23: Kislyak calls Flynn and tells him Russia will not vote against the United Nations Security Council resolution they spoke about the day before.
  • December 26: Oleg Erovinkin, a former KGB official, is found dead in the back seat of his car in Moscow. He was suspected of assisting Steele in compiling his dossier.[349]
  • December 29:
    • Following Executive Order 13757 signed the previous day, Obama's administration expels 35 Russian diplomats, locks down two Russian diplomatic compounds, and expands sanctions against Russia.[350][351][352][353] Flynn consults with the Trump transition team,[354][355] then speaks with Kislyak by telephone to request that Russia not escalate matters in response to Obama's actions.[356][357] Flynn later pleads guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations with Kislyak regarding the new sanctions.[348]
    • Before Flynn's call to Kislyak, K. T. McFarland emails other Trump transition officials saying that Flynn will be speaking to Kislyak to try to prevent a cycle of retaliation over the newly imposed sanctions. The email is forwarded to Flynn, Reince Priebus, Steve Bannon, and Sean Spicer.[358]
    • The NCCIC releases a joint analysis report titled "GRIZZLY STEPPE – Russian Malicious Cyber Activity" as a follow-up to the October 7, 2016, joint statement on election security. The report describes methods used by Russian intelligence groups APT29 and APT28 to penetrate election-related servers.[359]
  • December 30: Putin announces he will not retaliate against the U.S. expulsions, contrary to recommendations from Lavrov.[360] In reply, Trump tweets "Great move on delay (by V. Putin) – I always knew he was very smart!"[361]
  • December 31: Kislyak calls Flynn to tell him that Russia has decided not to retaliate based upon Flynn's request. Afterward, Flynn tells senior members of the transition team about his conversations with Kislyak and Russia's decision not to escalate.[348]

January 2017[edit]

  • January 11:
    • Trump tweets, "Russia has never tried to use leverage over me. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA – NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!".[385] USA Today says this is "not exactly true".[386]
    • BBC News's Paul Wood writes that the salacious information in Steele's dossier was also reported by "multiple intelligence sources" and "at least one East European intelligence service".[387][388]
    • Erik Prince, a Trump campaign donor and brother of forthcoming Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, meets in the Seychelles with Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian government's $10bn Russian Direct Investment Fund. Prince will claim in August that he scarcely remembers Dmitriev. Dmitriev's identity is revealed in November 2017, and Prince confirms the meeting in an interview with House investigators on November 30.[389][390] The meeting was organized by the United Arab Emirates and reportedly includes talks of a "back channel" with Moscow to try to influence Russian policy in the Middle East.[345][391] George Nader, an adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates, facilitates and attends.[392][366] In May 2018 Dmitriev suggests the meeting was more than a chance encounter.[393]
  • January 13:
    • President-elect Trump nominates U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein as Deputy Attorney General.[394]
    • Sean Spicer claims in a press conference that Flynn had only one call with Kislyak, about setting up a call between Trump and Putin.[395] Emails from December show Spicer most likely knew Flynn discussed sanctions with Kislyak on December 29, 2016, and may have known about the purpose of the call in advance.[358]
  • January 15: Interviewed on CBS's Face the Nation and Fox News Sunday, Vice President-elect Pence repeatedly denies any connection between the Trump campaign team and Russians.[122] He also denies Flynn discussed sanctions with Kislyak.[395]
  • January 16: Anthony Scaramucci, then a member of the Trump transition team, meets Dmitriev at the World Economic Forum in Davos. They discuss possible joint investments with the Russian Direct Investment Fund, which is under U.S. sanctions.[391][396][397]
  • January 17: Sessions states in writing that he has not been "in contact with anyone connected to any part of the Russian government about the 2016 election."[398] Sessions had been accused of failing to disclose two meetings with Kislyak.[399]
  • January 18: Jared Kushner files his security clearance application without listing his meetings with Russians.[400]
  • January 18/19: McClatchy[401] and The New York Times report that Manafort, Page and Stone have been under investigation by the FBI, NSA, CIA, and FinCEN,[402] based on intercepted Russian communications and financial transactions.[403] Sources say "the investigators have accelerated their efforts in recent weeks but have found no conclusive evidence of wrongdoing."[402]
  • January 19: Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ben Cardin send Treasury Secretary-Designate Steve Mnuchin a letter asking him to commit to investigating Scaramucci for possibly violating U.S. sanctions on the Russian Direct Investment Fund during his January 16 meeting with Dmitriev in Davos.[391][396][404] On May 12, in response to a follow-up query, the Treasury Department informs Warren her letter was forwarded to the Office of Foreign Assets Control.[391][405]
  • January 20: Barack Obama leaves office.[406]




See also[edit]


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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]