Timeline of investigations into Trump and Russia (2018)

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This is a timeline of major events in 2018 related to the investigations into links between associates of Donald Trump and Russian officials that are suspected of being inappropriate. It follows the timeline of Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections and the timeline of investigations in 2017, and precedes that of 2019. These events are related to, but distinct from, Russian interference in the 2018 United States elections.

Relevant individuals and organizations[edit]

This is a list of individuals and organizations that have been involved in the events related to either the election interference that Russia conducted against the 2016 U.S. elections and/or the resulting investigations into suspected inappropriate links between associates of Donald Trump and Russian officials. Seth Abramson estimated more than 400 people could be listed here.[1]:3

A–E[edit]

F–K[edit]

L–Q[edit]

R–Z[edit]


2018[edit]

January[edit]

  • January: Federal agents photograph Maria Butina dining with Oleg Zhiganov, the director of the Russian Cultural Center. Zhiganov is expelled from the U.S. in March for being a suspected Russian spy. In a July hearing, prosecutors offer Butina's association with Zhiganov as one reason she should be considered a flight risk and denied bail.[5]
  • January 2: In a New York Times op-ed, Fusion GPS founders Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch request that congressional Republicans "release full transcripts of our firm’s testimony" and add that "the Steele dossier was not the trigger for the FBI’s investigation into Russian meddling." Their sources said the dossier was taken seriously because it corroborated reports from other sources, "including one inside the Trump camp."[6]
  • January 3:
    • Manafort files a lawsuit challenging Mueller's broad authority and alleging the DoJ violated the law in appointing Mueller.[7] A department spokesperson replies that "the lawsuit is frivolous but the defendant is entitled to file whatever he wants."[7]
    • CNN reports that Trump's legal team held talks with Mueller's team a few days before Christmas.[8]
    • Rosenstein and Wray meet with Ryan about the House Russia investigation.[9]
    • Excerpts from Fire and Fury, a forthcoming book by Michael Wolff, are published, in which Bannon describes Trump Jr's meeting with Natalia Veselnitskaya as "treasonous" and "unpatriotic". Wolff's book also describes Bannon's confidence that Trump Sr. knew of the meeting at the time. Trump subsequently tweets that Bannon had "very little to do with our historic victory" and that he has "lost his mind".[10][11][12][13][14]
    • Trump lawyers send Bannon a letter demanding that he refrain from making disparaging comments against Trump and his family.[15][16]
  • January 4:
    • The New York Times reports that two days after Comey's congressional testimony, an aide to Sessions approached a Capitol Hill staff member to ask for any derogatory information about Comey. Sessions purportedly wanted one negative article about Comey per day in the news media.[17]
    • Mueller has handwritten notes from Priebus that show that Trump talked to Priebus about how he had called Comey to urge him to say publicly that Trump was not under investigation.[17]
    • CNN reports that The Trump Organization has provided Mueller and Congressional investigators with documents on a wide range of events, including conversations and meetings about Trump's real estate business.[18]
    • A federal judge denies Fusion GPS's bid to prevent the House Intelligence Committee from obtaining the firm's bank records.[19]
  • January 5: Grassley and Graham make the first criminal referral of the congressional investigations, recommending that the DoJ investigate Steele for potentially making false statements to the FBI "regarding his distribution of information contained in the dossier".[20][21][22]
  • January 6: CNN reports that Spicer, Priebus and McGahn all tried to pressure Sessions not to recuse himself in the FBI's Russia Investigation, which ultimately led to Rosenstein appointing Mueller as special counsel.[23]
  • January 7: Senate Judiciary Committee members Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) write to Grassley, demanding the publication of the Fusion GPS testimony of August 22, 2017.[24][25][26]
Putin's Asymmetric Assault on Democracy in Russia and Europe: Implications for U.S. National Security
  • January 9:
    • Feinstein unilaterally releases the transcript of the Fusion GPS testimony given to the Senate Judiciary Committee on August 22, 2017.[27]
    • The Daily Beast reports that a senior National Security Council official proposed withdrawing some U.S. military forces from Eastern Europe as an overture to Putin during the Trump administration's early days.[28]
    • Trump's personal attorney Cohen sues BuzzFeed and Fusion GPS for defamation over allegations about him in a dossier the news organization published that was commissioned in 2016 by Trump's political opponents.[29]
    • FBI agents subpoena Bannon to appear before a grand jury.[30]
  • January 10:
    • The Washington Post reports that Mueller has added a veteran cyber prosecutor, Ryan K. Dickey, to his team, filling what has long been a gap in expertise and potentially signaling a recent focus on computer crimes. Dickey was previously assigned to the DoJ Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section.[31]
    • The United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee releases a report, "Putin's Asymmetric Assault on Democracy in Russia and Europe: Implications for U.S. National Security."[32]
    • In a refiling of a 2008 suit filed in the Cayman Islands, Deripaska sues Manafort and Gates in New York state court for over $25 million in damages. Deripaska alleges that Mueller's indictments of Manafort and Gates provide new information in the case.[33]
    • Senator John McCain's former staffer David J. Kramer testifies behind closed doors for a second time before the House Intelligence Committee. His lawyer, Larry Robbins, spends 30 minutes accusing Nunes' staff of "conduct unbecoming of how attorneys treat one another," causing alarm among members of both parties. Kramer received the subpoena for the hearing on December 27, 2017, four days after his lawyer accused the committee of leaking information to Cohen's lawyer.[34]
  • Week of January 15: Mueller's team interviews Jeff Sessions.[35]
  • January 16: Bannon testifies to the House Intelligence Committee,[36] and remains tight-lipped, citing executive privilege.[37] He indicates he will not invoke privilege when he testifies before Mueller's grand jury.[37] The next day, Axios reports that Bannon informed the Committee that he had had a discussion with Priebus, Spicer, and Corallo about the June 2016 Veselnitskaya meeting.[38][39]
  • January 17:
    • Lewandowski[40] and Dearborn testify before the House Intelligence Committee's investigators.[41]
    • BuzzFeed News reports that Mueller's team and Senate Intelligence Committee investigators are looking into hundreds of financial transactions flagged as suspicious between the Russian government and people in the United States.[42]
  • January 18:
    • McClatchy reports that the FBI is investigating whether the Central Bank of Russia's deputy governor, Alexander Torshin, funneled money to the Trump campaign through the NRA.[43][44]
    • The House Intelligence Committee releases the transcript of the Glenn Simpson testimony given on November 14, 2017.[45][46] Schiff says the testimony contains "serious allegations that the Trump Organization may have engaged in money laundering with Russian nationals". Trump Organization's chief counsel Alan Garten calls the allegations "unsubstantiated" and "reckless", and says that Simpson was mainly referring to properties to which Trump licensed his name. Democratic committee member Jim Himes says that Simpson "did not provide evidence and I think that's an important point. He made allegations."[47]
    • The Trump inaugural committee declines to comment when USA Today asks about its finances and whether it followed through on its September 2017 pledge to donate $3 million to the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and Samaritan's Purse.[48]
Nunes Memo
  • January 19:
    • German periodical Manager Magazin reports that Deutsche Bank has presented to Germany's financial authority, BaFin, evidence of "suspicious money transfers" by Kushner; this information is due to be handed to Mueller.[49] Deutsche Bank denies the report on January 22 and announces that it is taking legal action.[50]
    • House Republicans call for the release of a classified memo authored by Nunes alleging FISA abuses during the 2016 election.[51] Nunes has repeatedly refused to share his concerns with the FBI, even after repeated requests by the bureau.[52] The memo was primarily written by committee staffer Kash Patel who, unlike Nunes, read the underlying intelligence the memo is based upon.[53]
  • January 20: Twitter announces that it will notify 677,775 US citizens that they followed or retweeted accounts linked to Russian propaganda during the election. Twitter also announces the discovery of a further 1,062 propagandist accounts linked to the Kremlin's Internet Research Agency, bringing the total to 3,814, as well as the discovery of a further 13,512 automated bot accounts based in Russia, bringing the total to 50,258. Twitter estimates that the bot accounts produced 2.12 million tweets, collectively receiving 454.7 million impressions in the first week after each posting. Twitter's analysis indicates that Russian bots retweeted Trump's account 470,000 times in the run-up to election day, and Clinton's account 48,000 times.[54][55][56][57]
  • January 22:
    • Russian media outlet Meduza, published exclusively by Buzzfeed News in English, details the inside battle for control of Kaspersky Lab, and the kidnapping of Eugene Kaspersky's son which led to a battle that was won by the side allied with Russian security services (FSB).[58]
    • It is reported that Sessions, at Trump's urging, has been pressuring FBI Director Wray to fire Deputy Director McCabe, but that Wray threatened to resign if McCabe was removed.[59][60]
    • Papadopoulos's fiancée, Simona Mangiante, tells The Washington Post that he "knows far more" than has been reported by news outlets so far.[61]
    • CNN reports that Mueller's team and Papadopoulos's lawyers have delayed an upcoming check-in for his case, indicating that the investigation will stay active until at least springtime.[62]
  • January 23:
    • The New York Times reports that Mueller's team interviewed Sessions the previous week. He is the first serving Cabinet member known to have been interviewed in the course of the Russia investigation.[63][64]
    • The Washington Post reports that top congressional Democrats call on Facebook and Twitter to urgently investigate and combat Russian bots and trolls.[65]
    • The New York Times reports that Mueller's team interviewed Comey last year about the memos he took contemporaneously to Trump's potential obstruction of justice into the investigation of Flynn.[66]
    • The Washington Post reports that Mueller is seeking to question Trump in the coming weeks about his decisions to fire Flynn and Comey, suggesting potential obstruction of justice and abuse of power charges.[67]
    • The Washington Post reports that Trump, during an Oval Office meeting, asked McCabe whom he voted for in the presidential election.[68]
    • CNN reports that Gates has quietly added a prominent white-collar attorney, Tom Green, to his defense team, signaling that Gates's approach to his not-guilty plea could be changing. This is seen as a sign that Gates may be negotiating with Mueller's team.[69]
The US Justice Department warned that the public release of a classified memo alleging abuses in FBI surveillance tactics would be "extraordinarily reckless"[70]
  • January 24: Trump publicly confirms that he is willing to testify under oath to Mueller.[71]
  • January 25:
    • The Senate Judiciary Committee announces plans to release transcripts of its interviews with Trump Jr. and others who participated in the June 2016 Veselnitskaya meeting.[72]
    • The Senate Intelligence Committee releases a document detailing 129 fake political event announcements promoted on Facebook by Russian agents during the election.[73] The announcements are believed to have drawn the interest of 340,000 Facebook users.[74] Facebook admits to the Senate that it recommended Russian propaganda to some users.[75]
    • The New York Times and The Washington Post report that Trump ordered Mueller fired in June 2017, but backed off when McGahn threatened to quit. Trump reportedly also floated the idea of firing Rosenstein.[76][77]
    • Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant reports that hackers from the Dutch intelligence service AIVD infiltrated the Russian hacker group Cozy Bear in 2014 and witnessed the attacks on the DNC and the State Department, relaying evidence to US intelligence agencies all the while.[78][79]
    • The Daily Beast reports that Mueller's team had no interest in interviewing Bannon until they read Wolff's book Fire and Fury.[80]
January 29, 2018– HPSCI Meeting Transcript
  • January 29:
    • Trump's lawyers acknowledge that the president "dictated" the misleading statement put out by his son about the 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russians.[81]
    • Mark Warner tells Politico that the Senate Intelligence Committee late last year received “extraordinarily important new documents” in its investigation.[82]
    • McCabe steps down as Deputy Director of the FBI, telling friends he felt pressured to leave by Wray.[83]
    • Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, disregarding DoJ warnings that their actions would be “extraordinarily reckless,” vote on party lines to release the Nunes memorandum.[84][85] During the committee meeting, Nunes refuses to answer direct questions from Representative Mike Quigley about whether his staffers communicated with the White House while writing the memo.[86]
    • The Trump administration declines to impose additional sanctions on Russia as mandated under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which was designed to punish Moscow's alleged meddling, insisting the measure was already hitting Russian companies.[87]
    • Trump's legal team sends Mueller a letter asserting that it is not illegal for the President to obstruct justice because the Constitution gives him the power to, “if he wished, terminate the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon.”[88][89]
  • January 30:
    • In a last-minute reversal from their January 29 position, the Trump administration releases an updated list of Russian politicians and business figures in an attempt to increase pressure on Putin. The list includes 114 individuals the Treasury Department deems to be senior Russian political figures. It also includes 96 people deemed to be "oligarchs." The Treasury says each has an estimated net worth of $1 billion or more.[90]
    • The Guardian reports on the existence of a dossier compiled by political activist and former journalist Cody Shearer and handed over to the FBI by Christopher Steele in October 2016 that independently makes many of the same allegations as the Steele dossier. The Guardian states that the FBI is still assessing Shearer's claims and following leads.[91][92][93]
    • The Wall Street Journal reports that Mueller is seeking an interview with Mark Corallo, the former spokesman for Trump's legal team.[94]
      Schiff accusing Nunes of making material changes to memo after committee vote
  • January 31:
    • ABC News reports that the DoJ handed over numerous documents related to the proposed resignation of Sessions. The report also states that the White House handed over emails relating to Flynn's dismissal.[95]
    • Bloomberg reports that Wray informed the White House that the Nunes memo "paints a false narrative."[96]
    • CNN reports that Rosenstein visited the White House in December, seeking Trump's help in fighting off document demands from Nunes. Trump wanted to know where Mueller's Russia investigation was heading, and whether Rosenstein was "on my team".[97]
    • In a Washington Post op-ed, Schiff blasts Nunes's actions.[98]
    • US ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman says Pompeo recently met with his Russian counterparts when they traveled to the US. Russian media reports that those who met with Pompeo may have included the country's sanctioned spy chief, Sergey Naryshkin.[99][100]
    • In FEC filings, combined with the RNC, Trump's campaign reports paying a total of $5.5 million in legal bills during 2017 amid probes into Russia's role in the 2016 election.[101]
    • Schiff releases a statement; "BREAKING: Discovered late tonight that Chairman Nunes made material changes to the memo he sent to White House – changes not approved by the Committee. White House therefore reviewing a document the Committee has not approved for release."[102]

February[edit]

  • February: FBI agents assisting Mueller travel to Israel to interview employees of Psy-Group, the company whose founder, Joel Zamel, pitched psychological operations to the Trump campaign in 2016. Mueller also subpoenas records for payments made to PSY Group's bank account in Cyprus.[103]
  • Mueller's team interviews pollster Tony Fabrizio.[104]
  • February 1: Three attorneys file motion in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia to withdraw their representation of Gates.[105] One of them, Walter Mack, said in court last month that Mueller's prosecutors had warned him of more impending charges against Gates.[106] Attorneys from the firm of Gates's new counsel, Tom Green, are seen entering the building where Mueller works.[107]
  • February 2:
    Richard Pinedo statement of the offense
    • Trump declassifies the Nunes memo, which is publicly released by House Republicans.[108]
    • The Patriot Legal Expense Fund Trust is established to help defray the legal costs of Trump campaign aides, transition aides, and White House aides questioned by Mueller's team and the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. The fund is not available to Trump, his family, or anyone tied to "any charge or indictment for dishonest, fraudulent or criminal activity" unless "the acts forming the basis of such charge or indictment were undertaken by the Recipient on behalf of, or directly in support of, the Campaign, the Transition or the Administration in good faith and without knowledge that such acts were prohibited by law."[109]
    • Californian Richard Pinedo pleads guilty to one count of identity fraud arising from the Russia investigation, after allegedly selling stolen bank account information to individuals suspected of interfering in the election through Auction Essistance, an online marketplace. The plea agreement is kept secret until announced publicly on February 16.[110][111][112] In the statement of the offense, PayPal is identified as "Company 1".[113]
  • February 3:
    • Trump tweets that the released Nunes memo "totally vindicates" him in the ongoing investigation.[114][115]
    • U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg sides with the DoJ, to avoid releasing "sensitive nonpublic information", after multiple news organizations sued for the public release of Comey's memos after their Freedom of Information Act requests were denied.[116]
  • February 5:
    • The United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence votes unanimously to declassify the Democratic rebuttal to the Nunes memo.[117] Prior to the vote, Nunes refuses to give details to the other committee members of his investigation into the Justice Department and the FBI.[118]
    • Nunes admits that the FBI had indeed disclosed political backing for a Trump-Russia dossier in its October 19, 2016, FISA warrant application, which the Nunes memo, released on February 2, had denied.[119]
    • The New York Times reports that Trump's lawyers have advised him to refuse a wide-ranging interview with Mueller. Mueller would be able to subpoena and compel Trump to testify before Mueller's Washington DC grand jury.[120]
    • Bannon refuses to appear before the House Intelligence Committee, risking a charge of contempt of Congress.[121]
    • On Fox & Friends, Devin Nunes asserts that Papadopoulos never met Trump. In March 2016 The Trump campaign released photographic evidence of Papadopoulos and Trump in a meeting.[122]
  • February 6: The House Intelligence Committee gives Bannon one more week to comply with a subpoena to appear before the committee after missing an earlier deadline.[123][124]
  • February 7:
The White House declines to publish the Democratic rebuttal to the Nunes memo.
Russian troll farm, 13 suspects indicted for interference in U.S. election
Manafort/Gates Eastern District of Virginia superseding indictment
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announces indictments of thirteen Russian individuals and three Russian companies
  • February 8: Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny posts a 25-minute video on YouTube alleging that Manafort sent information to the Kremlin through the oligarch Oleg Deripaska. The video includes footage taken from the Instagram account of sex worker Anastasia Vashukevich, better known as Nastya Rybka, showing Deripaska with Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Prikhodko on his yacht in August 2016.[128]
  • February 9: The White House declines to publish the Democratic rebuttal to the Nunes memo. Although the document had been submitted to the DoJ and FBI for vetting before the House Intelligence Committee voted to release it, McGahn said in a letter to the committee that it "contains numerous properly classified and especially sensitive passages."[129]
  • February 12:
    • Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), ranking member on the Senate Finance Committee, asks the Treasury Department for documentation related to Trump's 2008 sale of an uninhabitable Palm Beach mansion to Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev.[130]
    • Foreign Policy reports that FTI Consulting has had investigators "traveling the globe" for the past six months trying to verify parts of the Steele dossier. BuzzFeed hired FTI Consulting to help in their defense against the libel suit filed by Aleksej Gubarev in February 2017.[131]
    • Russia threatens to block YouTube and Instagram if they do not take down videos and photos related to Deripaska that were posted by Navalny and Vashukevich.[132] (see Media freedom in Russia)
  • February 13:
    • In testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee, the heads of the U.S. intelligence community, including Pompeo, Wray, Rogers and Coats, say that Russia is intent on disrupting foreign elections, including the 2018 midterms.[133][134][135]
    • BuzzFeed sues the DNC to get information it believes will help it defend itself in the libel suit Gubarev filed against it in federal court in February 2017. BuzzFeed believes the DNC has information linking Gubarev to the hacking of DNC email servers in 2016.[136]
  • February 15:
    • NBC News reports that Mueller's investigators have interviewed Bannon for a total of about 20 hours.[137] The Associated Press adds that Bannon answered every question from Mueller's team.[138]
    • Bannon appears at the House Intelligence Committee under subpoena. According to committee members, he answers only 25 questions that were pre-approved by the White House, answering “no” to each, and invokes presidential executive privilege to decline answering further questions. Republican and Democratic members of the committee say they are considering seeking contempt of Congress charges.[139]
    • The Daily Beast reports that the Senate Intelligence Committee interviewed numerous former State Department staffers, including Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Tom Malinowski, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland, and Secretary of State John Kerry's chief of staff Jon Finer, about Russian efforts to meddle in the 2016 election.[140]
  • February 16:
    • The Daily Beast reports that Mueller has interviewed Corallo for over two hours.[141]
    • Mueller indicts 13 Russian citizens, IRA/Glavset and two other Russian entities in a 37-page indictment returned by a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia.[142][143]
    • Pinedo's plea agreement is publicly announced as pleading guilty to identity fraud for selling bank account numbers to Russians involved in election interference.[144]
  • February 17: During questioning at the Munich Security Conference, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov dismisses additional charges in the investigation as "just blather".[145][146]
  • February 18: The Los Angeles Times reports that Gates will plead guilty to fraud-related charges, and that he has agreed to testify against Manafort for a reduced sentence.[147]
  • February 20:
    Alex van der Zwaan statement of the offense
    Alex van der Zwaan, a London-based attorney formerly with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, pleads guilty to one count of lying to federal investigators about his interactions with Gates and an unidentified "Person A", and about his role in the production of a report on the trial of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. He also pleads guilty to deleting emails sought by Mueller's office, according to investigators. Van der Zwaan is the son-in-law of Ukrainian-Russian billionaire German Khan, who appeared in the Steele dossier and is suing Buzzfeed News over its publication.[148] In the statement of the offense, Konstantin Kilimnik is identified as "Person A",[149] and the firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom as "Law Firm A".[148]
  • February 21:
    • NBC News reports that federal investigators are looking into whether Manafort promised a Chicago banker, Stephen Calk, president of the Federal Savings Bank of Chicago,[150] a job in the Trump White House in return for $16 million in home equity loans.[151]
    • The Daily Beast reports that the Republican majority has blocked requests from the Democratic minority to subpoena the Twitter direct messages of Trump Jr., Stone, and other people in Trump's orbit in order to verify their veracity before the committee.[152]
  • February 22:
  • February 23:
    Rick Gates statement of the offense
    • Gates pleads guilty to one count of conspiracy against the United States and one count of making false statements. He becomes the fifth defendant publicly charged by Mueller's team to plead guilty and the third Trump associate to make a cooperation deal with Mueller.[158] In a statement issued by his lawyer, Manafort says he has no plans to follow suit and make a deal.[159] In the statement of the offense, Mercury Public Affairs is identified as "Company A",[160] Podesta Group as "Company B",[160] and Dana Rohrabacher as "Member of Congress".[161]
    • The Los Angeles Times reports that Gates's conviction of making false statements to investigators stems from a 2013 Ukraine-related meeting with Representative Rohrabacher. Gates purportedly told investigators that the meeting was not related to his or Manafort's work in Ukraine despite documents to the contrary.[162]
    • Gates's plea reveals that he lied during an FBI interview on February 1. That same day, his attorneys withdrew from representing him.[163]
    • Mueller reveals a new superseding indictment against Manafort, containing five counts: conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, unregistered agent of a foreign principal, false and misleading Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) statements, and false statements.[164]
  • February 24: The House Intelligence Committee releases the 10-page Democratic rebuttal to the Nunes memo.[165][166]
  • February 24–27: Manafort reaches out to Alan Friedman multiple times in an effort to coach him on what to say about their work in Ukraine. Later, Friedman informs the FBI of Manafort's inappropriate contacts. Manafort is charged with witness tampering in June and pleads guilty in September. In Manafort's statement of the offense, Friedman is identified as "Person D1".[167][168][169]
  • Late February – Early March: Mueller's team questions Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg and searches his electronics upon his arrival at a New York-area airport.[170]
  • February 25: PSY Group CEO Royi Burstien announces that the company is shutting down. The timing of the announcement is later considered interesting because it occurs the same week Nader testifies before Mueller's grand jury.[103]
  • February 27:
    • Buzzfeed News reports that Mifsud claimed to his former girlfriend that he was friends with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov. Mifsud subsequently goes missing, having last been seen on October 31, 2017.[171]
    • Charges against Gates are dismissed without prejudice, following his guilty plea.[172]
    • Hope Hicks testifies before the House Intelligence Committee. She declines to answer most questions, saying she has been instructed by the White House not to answer any questions relating to her time at the White House,[173] but admits that she has told lies for Trump.[174]
    • In Senate testimony, NSA director Mike Rogers says Trump has given him "no new authority" to counter Russian election meddling.[175]
    • CNN reports that Mueller's investigators asked witnesses questions about Trump's business dealings in Russia prior to his presidential campaign, including the 2013 Miss Universe pageant held in Moscow. The investigators also inquired about the timing of Trump's decision to run for president.[176]
  • February 28:
    • Manafort pleads not guilty in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Federal District Judge Amy Berman Jackson subsequently sets his trial to start on September 17, 2018.[177] Manafort pleads guilty on September 14.[167]
    • NBC News reports that Mueller's team is asking "pointed questions" about whether Trump knew that the DNC emails had been stolen before it was publicly known, and whether he was involved in their "strategic release".[178]
    • Hicks submits her resignation as White House Communications Director.[179]
    • The New York Times reports that one company lent the Kushners' business $184 million, and another $325 million. Both had held White House meetings with Kushner.[180] The SEC subsequently drops its investigation into Apollo Global Management, which gave Kushner the $184 million loan a month earlier.[181]
    • ExxonMobil announces that it will end its joint ventures with Rosneft for exploration and research, due to U.S. and European Union sanctions against Russia.[182]
    • The Washington Post reports that Mueller's team has questioned witnesses about Trump's apparent pressure on Sessions to resign during the summer of 2017.[183]
    • Kilimnik reaches out several times to Eckart Sager in an effort to coach him on what to say about their work with Manafort in Ukraine. Later, Sager informs the FBI of Kilimnik's inappropriate contacts, and Kilimnik and Manafort are subsequently charged with witness tampering in June. Manafort pleads guilty in September. In Manafort's statement of the offense, Sager is identified as "Person D2".[167][168][169]

March[edit]

Sam Nunberg subpoena attachment
  • March 1:
    • Bipartisan leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Richard Burr and Mark Warner, state that Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee leaked private messages between Warner and a lawyer associated with Deripaska, as Warner attempted to contact Steele. Burr and Warner reprimand Ryan for Nunes's behavior.[184][185]
    • NBC News reports that Mueller is preparing indictments against Russians and accomplices who engaged in criminal hacking and dissemination of private information intended to hurt Democrats in the 2016 election.[186]
    • The Daily Beast reveals new details about the Internet Research Agency gathered from a leak of internal documents.[187] The new information shows that the Russian troll farm used Reddit and Tumblr as part of its influence campaign.[188]
  • March 2:
    • In an interview with Megyn Kelly broadcast on NBC News on March 10, 2018, Putin suggests that the 13 individuals Mueller indicted may not be Russians, saying, "Maybe they are not even Russians, but Ukrainians, Tartars, or Jews, but with Russian citizenship, which should also be checked: maybe they have dual citizenship or a Green Card; maybe the US paid them for this. How can you know that? I do not know either."[189][190]
    • The Intercept reports that Jared Kushner and his father Charles Kushner made a proposal to Qatar's finance minister, Ali Sharif Al Emadi, in April 2017 to secure investment into 666 Fifth Avenue, a building the Kushner family owns. When the proposal was rejected, a group of Middle Eastern countries, with Jared Kushner's backing, initiated a diplomatic assault that culminated in a blockade of Qatar. Kushner specifically undermined Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's efforts to end the standoff.[191]
  • March 3: The New York Times reports that Mueller's team has questioned advisor to the United Arab Emirates George Nader and pressed other witnesses for specifics about possible attempts by the Emiratis to purchase influence by directing money to support Trump during the 2016 campaign.[192]
  • March 4:
    • The New York Times reports that the State Department has not used any of the $120 million fund that it was allocated by Congress in late 2016 to counter foreign efforts to meddle in the upcoming elections.[193]
    • Axios reports that Mueller has issued a subpoena to an unnamed witness for all his/her communications, emails, texts, handwritten notes, etc., regarding Trump and nine others (Carter Page, Corey Lewandowski, Hope Hicks, Keith Schiller, Cohen, Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, Roger Stone, and Steve Bannon) from November 1, 2015, to the present.[194]


  • March 5:
    • The New Yorker reports that Steele has briefed Mueller on one of his undisclosed memos that purportedly makes the claim that the offer for the position of Secretary of State to former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney was rescinded after the Kremlin intervened to voice its displeasure with the pick.[195]
    • Sam Nunberg publicly discloses that he has received a subpoena from Mueller. In live interviews with MSNBC[196] and CNN,[197] Nunberg initially says he will defy the grand jury's order to produce documents and testimony.[198] That evening, Nunberg says he has decided he will comply with the subpoena.[199] He attributes his erratic behavior to the influence of drugs and alcohol and says he will seek treatment after fulfilling his obligations to Mueller.[200]
  • March 6:
    • The Washington Post reports that Mueller is requesting documents and asking witnesses questions about Cohen's involvement in the aborted project for a Trump Tower in Moscow and the February 2017 Russia-friendly Ukraine peace proposal.[201]
    • The New York Times reports that George Nader, an adviser to the United Arab Emirates, is cooperating with Mueller, and gave testimony last week to the grand jury.[202]
  • March 7:
    • The Wall Street Journal reports that the Russian influence campaign gained personally identifying information about individual American citizens through Facebook.[203]
    • The New York Times reports that Trump has questioned people interviewed by Mueller about their interviews. According to legal experts, Trump's queries likely do not constitute witness tampering.[204]
    • The Washington Post reports that Mueller has evidence that the January 2017 Seychelles meeting between Prince and Dmitriev was an effort to establish a back channel to the Kremlin. According to the report, "George Nader’s account is considered key evidence—but not the only evidence—about what transpired in Seychelles".[205]
  • March 9
    • Mueller obtains a letter from Trump addressed to Putin, inviting him to the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow. The Washington Post reports that "at the bottom of the typed letter, Trump scrawled a postscript adding that he looked forward to seeing 'beautiful' women during his trip."[206]
    • Mueller obtains a new search warrant for five telephone numbers related to Manafort. The warrant is "relat[ed] to ongoing investigations that are not the subject of either of the current prosecutions involving Manafort”.[207]
    • Sam Nunberg appears before the grand jury in Washington, D.C.[208]
Minority status of the Russia investigation with appendices
  • March 12:
    • Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee announce the end of their investigation, over the objections of Democratic members. Their findings are that Russia interfered to create discord, but that "there was no evidence of collusion" between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and that Russia did not have a preference for Trump as a candidate.[209] The committee releases its classified report on March 22[210] and a redacted version on April 27.[211][212]
    • Tillerson publicly condemns Russia for the use of a nerve agent in the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in the United Kingdom.[213]
    • Buzzfeed News reports on a statement Felix Sater made under oath to House Intelligence Committee investigators in December 2017. In it, Sater said that he had been collaborating with U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies for more than 20 years, a collaboration that was continuing at the time of his statement.[214]
    • Butina responds to a Federal Election Commission query "about whether or not certain donations had been made to political campaigns."[215]
  • March 13:
    • Trump fires Tillerson and Steve Goldstein, the fourth highest-ranking official at the State Department, who had been sworn in on December 4. Trump announces his intention to nominate Mike Pompeo to replace Tillerson.[216]
    • Adam Schiff, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, criticizes the Republicans' draft report, calling it "little more than another Nunes memo in long form." Democrats on the committee plan to draft their own report on the investigation.[217]
    • House Intelligence Committee democrats issue a 21-page status report outlining the work they consider to be remaining in the investigation.[218][219]
    • The Washington Post reports that Sam Nunberg and another associate of Roger Stone claim that in 2016 Stone spoke directly to Assange, who informed him that WikiLeaks was in possession of emails stolen from John Podesta before it was publicly known that hackers had obtained the emails.[220]
  • March 15:
    • Trump imposes financial sanctions under CAATSA on the 13 Russian government hackers and front organizations Mueller has indicted.[221]
    • The New York Times reports that Mueller has subpoenaed the Trump Organization to turn over documents, including some related to Russia. It is the first known instance of the special counsel demanding records directly related to Trump's businesses.[222]
    • The U.S. Government accuses the Russian government of engineering a series of cyberattacks targeting United States and European nuclear power plants and water and electric systems.[223]
    • McClatchy reports that Congressional investigators have learned that Cleta Mitchell, a longtime NRA lawyer, expressed concern over the organization's ties to Russia and its possible involvement in funneling Russian money to support Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. Mitchell denies the reports.[224]
  • March 16:
  • March 17:
    • The New York Times and The Observer report on Cambridge Analytica's use of personal information acquired by an outside researcher who claimed to be collecting it for academic purposes. As a result, Facebook bans Cambridge Analytica from advertising on its platform.[228][229] The Guardian reports that Facebook has known about this situation for two years, but has done nothing to protect its users.[230]
    • John M. Dowd, one of Trump's attorneys, calls on Rosenstein to shut down Mueller's investigation.[231]
    • Erik Prince hosts a fundraiser for Representative Dana Rohrabacher.[232]
  • March 19
    • The Guardian reports that Joseph Chancellor, the co-director of Global Science Research (the company that harvested the data from tens of millions of Facebook users before selling it to Cambridge Analytica) has been working for Facebook as a corporate quantitative social psychologist since around November 2015.[233]
    • Channel 4 broadcasts its investigative documentary on Cambridge Analytica.[234]
Russian Targeting of Election Infrastructure During the 2016 Election
  • March 20
    • The Washington Post reports that Trump failed to follow detailed warnings from his national security advisers when he congratulated Putin on his reelection, including a section in his briefing materials reading “DO NOT CONGRATULATE.”[235]
    • The Washington Post reports that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is investigating whether Facebook violated its 2011 consent decree when it allowed Cambridge Analytica to access user data without informing users or seeking their permission.[236]
    • The Senate Intelligence Committee releases its preliminary recommendations on election security: "Russian Targeting of Election Infrastructure During the 2016 Election."[237][238]
    • A judge dismisses Carter Page's September 14, 2017, defamation suit against Yahoo! News and the Huffington Post for lacking factual accusations of defamation.[239]
  • March 21: The New York Times reports that Mueller has given George Nader immunity from prosecution for his testimony relating to his foreign lobbying in relation to Elliott Broidy and the United Arab Emirates.[240]
  • March 22:
  • March 23:
    • The British High Court grants the Information Commissioner's Office's application for a warrant to search Cambridge Analytica’s London offices.[244]
    • NBC News acquires a memo that attorney Lawrence Levy of Bracewell & Giuliani sent to Bannon, Rebekah Mercer and Cambridge Analytica founder Alexander Nix that said Nix would have to be "recused from substantive management of any such clients involved in U.S. elections" because Nix is not a U.S. national.[245]
    • Trump signs the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill in which Congress included strict new punishments against Russia.[246][247]
    • The Washington Post reports that emails from Papadopoulos, which are among thousands of documents turned over to Mueller, show that he had more extensive contact with key Trump campaign and presidential transition officials than has been publicly acknowledged, and asked the Trump campaign directly before taking meetings with Russian officials.[248]
    • CNN reports that Trump's National Security Council will recommend he expel an undetermined number of Russian diplomats in response to the poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal, 66, and his 33-year-old daughter Yulia on March 4 in Salisbury, England.[249]
  • March 25: Corey Lewandowski says he turned down Cambridge Analytica three times while Trump's campaign manager. He says he knew Steve Bannon was associated with the company, but not in what way. He insists the campaign did not hire the firm until after he left.[250]
  • March 26:
    • BuzzFeed News reports that European security officials, alarmed by of a set of meetings that Papadopoulos held with Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos in Europe in the months before and after the 2016 election, have informed investigators. Kammenos is known to be close to Putin.[251]
    • Trump joins other Western countries and expels 60 Russian diplomats in response to the poisoning of Skripal and his daughter on March 4.[252] A few days later, a State Department spokesperson clarifies that Russia can replace the expelled diplomats.[253][254][255]
    • The Associated Press reports that George Nader has testified to Mueller that he wired $2.5 million to Elliott Broidy via a Canadian company to fund a lobbying campaign to Republican members of Congress to persuade the U.S. to take a hard line against Qatar, an adversary of the United Arab Emirates.[256]
Alex van der Zwaan Government Sentencing Memorandum (Gov.uscourts.dcd.193647.19.0)
  • March 27:
    • Christopher Wylie tells U.K. lawmakers that Palantir, a secretive company co-founded by high-profile Trump supporter Peter Thiel, worked with Cambridge Analytica on their ad-targeting in the 2016 election.[257]
    • Ted Malloch is served with a search warrant to clone all of the electronic devices in his possession when he walks off the plane after flying from London's Heathrow to Boston's Logan airport, and is subsequently interrogated by the FBI, who ask about his involvement in the Trump campaign and connections to Nigel Farage and Stone. The FBI agents “seemed to know everything about me,” Malloch says later in a statement about his experience.[258][259][260] Mueller compels Malloch to testify about the Russian cyber-intrusions.[261]
  • March 28:
    • The New York Times reports that in 2017 Trump's attorney John Dowd discussed the idea of Trump pardoning Flynn and Manafort with their attorneys.[262][263]
    • Evidence related to the sentencing of Alex van der Zwaan is filed in court. "Person A" is revealed to be Konstantin Kilimnik, a former Ukraine-based aide to Gates and Manafort.[264]
    • ProPublica reports that Senate Judiciary Committee chief investigative counsel Jason Foster, empowered by chairman Charles Grassley, has been pseudonymously disparaging the FBI and Mueller's investigation for a year.[265]
    • Ecuador cuts Julian Assange's internet and telephone access at its London embassy, where Assange has been living for nearly six years.[266]
    • Sessions announces the Inspector General will investigate FBI surveillance of Carter Page.[267]
    • NRA outside counsel Steven Hart tells ABC News the NRA received only one contribution from a Russian since 2012, the life membership payment from Alexander Torshin.[268]
  • March 29

April[edit]

  • April:
  • Early April: The Ukrainian chief prosecutor freezes the four Paul Manafort investigations his office is conducting and stops cooperating with the Mueller investigation. The timing is considered suspicious because it follows the Trump administration's sale of Javelin missiles to Ukraine.[275]
  • April 2
    • The Wall Street Journal reports that Mueller is investigating Roger Stone's claim that he met with Assange in August 2016. In an email sent to Sam Nunberg on August 4, 2016, Stone wrote "I dined with Julian Assange last night." Stone denied the meeting took place.[276]
    • Major Dmitry Dokuchaev of the FSB pleads guilty in Russia to transferring information to a foreign intelligence service. Dokuchaev is wanted by the FBI for his involvement in the August 2013 data breach of 500 million Yahoo! user accounts. It is believed he was involved in the Russian hacking of U.S. election servers in 2016.[277]
  • April 3:
    • Dutch attorney Alex van der Zwaan is sentenced to 30 days in federal prison and ordered to pay a $20,000 fine for lying to the FBI about his contacts with a former GRU officer and for withholding documents from the Mueller investigation.[278]
    • Facebook closes the Federal Agency of News (FAN) account. The FAN is a sister organization to the IRA located in the same building in St. Petersburg.[279]
  • April 4:
    • CNN reports that Mueller has been questioning Russian oligarchs who traveled into the US, stopping one and searching electronic devices when the private jet landed at a New York area airport.[280]
    • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, in a call to reporters, says the personal information of up to 87 million people, most of them Americans, may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica during the 2016 election.[281] Facebook announces sweeping changes to many of its APIs—software plugins that allow outside businesses and developers to collect data directly from Facebook.[282]
    • The Washington Post reports that the Trump administration is going to implement new economic sanctions designed to target oligarchs with ties to Putin.[283]
    • Roger Stone tells CNN that he did not travel to London and dine with Julian Assange in August 2016. His statement contradicts an email he sent to Sam Nunberg at the time.[284]
    • Kilimnik reaches out to Eckart Sager and Alan Friedman in an effort to coach them on what to say about their work with Manafort in Ukraine. Later, Sager and Friedman inform the FBI of Kilimnik's inappropriate contacts, and Kilimnik and Manafort are subsequently charged with witness tampering in June. Manafort pleads guilty in September. In Manafort's statement of the offense, Friedman is identified as "Person D1", and Sager as "Person D2".[167][168][169]
  • April 5: Politico reports Mueller moved to seize bank accounts at three different financial institutions last year the day before Manafort was indicted.[285]
Cohen v US – Gov't Opposition to TRO Request
  • April 6
    • The United States Treasury implements economic sanctions on seven Russian oligarchs and 12 companies they control, along with 17 top Russian officials, a state-owned weapons-trading company and a subsidiary bank. The high-profile names on the list include Oleg Deripaska, a billionaire with links to Manafort, and Kirill Shamalov, Putin's ex-son-in-law. The press release says, "Deripaska has been investigated for money laundering, and has been accused of threatening the lives of business rivals, illegally wiretapping a government official, and taking part in extortion and racketeering. There are also allegations that Deripaska bribed a government official, ordered the murder of a businessman, and had links to a Russian organized crime group."[286]
    • McClatchy reports Mueller's team spent the week interviewing a Trump Organization associate involved in overseas deals, including Trump-branded properties.[287]
Michael Cohen search warrants
  • April 9:
  • April 10
    • NRA general counsel John Frazer informs Senator Ron Wyden in a letter that the NRA accepted $2,512.85 from people with Russian addresses between 2015 and 2018. He says $525 came from contributions by two individuals, and the rest came from membership dues from 23 individuals. He notes that some of the individuals may be U.S. citizens. He acknowledges that Alexander Torshin is a life member of the NRA. Information in the letter contradicts earlier statements by the NRA.[294]
    • Dana Boente receives an interview request from Mueller.[295]
    • NJ.com reports that Mueller is investigating a series of previously unreported January 2017 meetings in the Seychelles in addition to the reported meeting between Erik Prince and Dmitriev. The meetings include politically-connected individuals from Russia, France, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa, and are part of a larger gathering hosted by UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.[296]
  • April 11
    • The New York Times reports that the FBI was seeking all records related to the “Access Hollywood” tape in the Cohen raids.[297]
    • CNBC reaches out to architect John Fotiadis for comment after McClatchy reports[287] Mueller is investigating some of the Trump-branded properties he designed in Eurasia. Fotiadis does not respond to an email and a phone call. Eight hours later, he tweets that he is closing his 10-year-old business. A few days later he closes his Twitter account and removes all content from his professional website.[298]
  • April 13: McClatchyDC reports that the special counsel has evidence that Cohen visited Prague in 2016, contrary to his denials of ever being there after the publication of the Steele dossier.[299]
  • April 15 U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley tells Margaret Brennan on Face The Nation that new U.S. sanctions on Russian companies will be announced the next day.[300] The new sanctions are a consequence of the companies providing material support to Syria's chemical weapons program. Haley's statement follows similar talking points the RNC published the day before. Russian press secretary Dmitry Peskov tells reporters in Moscow the sanctions are “undisguised attempts of unfair competition.” Trump cancels the sanctions announcement and postpones the new sanctions indefinitely.[301][302]
  • April 16:
  • April 18: Cohen drops his libel suits against Buzzfeed and Fusion GPS.[306]
Ex-FBI-Director-James-Comey-s-memos
  • April 19:
    • The full Comey memos are released.[307] In May 2019 CNN reports Mueller tried to block the release of Comey's contemporaneous memos over concerns that Trump and other witnesses would change their stories after reading them.[308]
    • The Pittsburgh police department instructs detectives to wear full uniforms and carry riot gear until further notice in case riots occur if Mueller is fired.[309]
  • April 20:
    • The DNC sues the Trump campaign, the Russian government, and WikiLeaks in federal court. Individual defendants include Emin and Aras Agalarov, Mifsud, Assange, Trump Jr., Manafort, Stone, Kushner, Papadopoulos, and Gates. The suit alleges a conspiracy by the defendants to tilt the 2016 election in favor of Trump.[310][311]
    • Phillip Ruffin contributes $50,000 to The Patriot Legal Expense Fund Trust, the legal fund established in February to help Trump campaign, transition, and White House aides.[312]
  • April 24:
    • The FBI questions Russian heavyweight mixed martial arts fighter Fedor Emelianenko at his Chicago hotel room, according to his manager Jerry Millen. Emelianenko is connected to Trump, Putin, and Cohen.[313][314]
    • Democrats on the House Judiciary and House Oversight committees interview Christopher Wylie about Cambridge Analytica's harvesting of data from Facebook. Republicans on the committees decline to attend.[315]
  • April 25: FBI agents in tactical gear search Butina's apartment. One of the warrants executed is related to a fraud investigation of Paul Erickson.[316][272][317][318]
  • April 26: The Senate Judiciary Committee votes to advance bipartisan legislation that protects Mueller from being fired by Trump. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell opposes the legislation, making a full Senate vote unlikely.[319]
The House Intelligence Committee's final report on Russian interference in the 2016 election.
The minority's views on the House Intelligence Committee's final report on Russian interference in the 2016 election.
  • April 27
    • Veselnitskaya tells The New York Times that she is an informant for the Russian prosecutor general, Yuri Chaika. She says she has worked with Chaika's office since 2013. Emails obtained by the Times corroborate her admission. Until this interview, Veselnitskaya publicly denied working for the Russian government. In November 2017, she told the Senate Judiciary Committee, "I operate independently of any governmental bodies."[320]
    • The House Intelligence Committee releases a redacted version of its classified final report on Russian active measures. The vote to release follows party lines. The 253-page report, written by the committee's Republican majority, clears Trump and his associates of wrongdoing. The committee's Democrats issue a 99-page unclassified rebuttal criticizing the partisan nature of the majority report.[211][212][321]
  • April 28: The Guardian reports that the British Foreign Office held a series of meetings with Cambridge Analytica executives in London, Washington, and New York after the 2016 election to "better understand" how Trump won and acquire insights into the "political environment" following his win.[322]
  • April 30: The Washington Post reports the House Freedom Caucus drafted articles of impeachment against Rosenstein. Caucus members claim the articles are a "last resort" political weapon to force the Justice Department to accede to their demands.[323]

May[edit]

  • May: Butina graduates from American University with a master's degree in international relations.[324][325]
  • May 1: Senate Intelligence Committee investigators interview Michael Caputo.[326]
  • May 2:
    • Mueller's team interviews Michael Caputo.[327] Afterward, Caputo tells CNN that Mueller's team is "focused on Russia collusion."[328] One topic of questioning is the relationships between Nigel Farage and Trump associates.[329]
    • Cambridge Analytica files for bankruptcy in the U.S. and the U.K. and ceases operations. The company says it lost almost all of its customers and suppliers after news reports describing how it improperly obtained user data from Facebook.[330] Some employees move on to successor companies Data Propria and Emerdata.
    • Ty Cobb, Trump's lead lawyer handling the Mueller investigation, announces he will retire at the end of the month.[331]
  • May 6: The Associated Press reports Mueller's team interviewed Tom Barrack, one of Trump's closest friends, "months ago". He was questioned about Manafort, Gates, Trump campaign finances, the presidential transition, and Trump's inauguration.[332]
  • May 7: The NRA announces board member Oliver North will replace Peter Brownell as president of the organization after Brownell announces he will not seek a second term. The selection of North is unusual because the NRA board normally selects someone who has served two terms each as the first and the second vice president, and North has held neither position. In August, David Corn of Mother Jones points out that the move comes two weeks after the FBI raided Butina's apartment and that Brownell is an associate of Butina.[317]
  • May 8:
  • May 9
  • May 11: ABC News reports that Mueller's team is investigating contributions to Trump's inaugural fund made by people with close ties to Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emeriates, and Qatar.[340]
  • May 14:
    • Andrii Artemenko confirms to Politico that he received a subpoena from Mueller to testify before a grand jury on May 18.[341]
    • Lawyers for Concord Management and Consulting file a motion asking the judge to review Mueller's grand jury instructions because they claim Mueller's team failed to show "that the Defendant acted willfully, in this case meaning that Defendant was aware of the FEC and FARA requirements." The essence of their argument is that the company didn't know their actions broke American laws.[342]
  • May 16:
    Senate Judiciary Democrats report – "Preliminary Findings About Trump Campaign’s Effort to Obtain Incriminating Information on Secretary Clinton from Russia at Trump Tower Meeting"
    • The Senate Intelligence Committee endorses the U.S. intelligence community's assessment that Russia tried to help Trump win the 2016 presidential election, disagreeing with the House Intelligence Committee.[343]
    • The Senate Judiciary Committee releases transcripts of its interviews of Trump Tower meeting participants.[344] The committee indicates that claims by intelligence leaders, such as former National Security Agency Director and United States Cyber Command Commander Mike Rogers, former CIA Director John Brennan, and former Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper, that Russia meddled in the 2016 election are accurate and that the campaign anticipated a "smoking gun" from Veselnitskaya.[345][346]
    • Mueller's team subpoenas Jason Sullivan, Stone's social media consultant during the Trump campaign, to provide documents and appear before the grand jury on May 18.[347]
    • The New York Times acknowledges it buried the lead in its pre-election October 31, 2016, Russia–Trump story.[348]
  • May 17: Mueller files under seal an unredacted copy of the memo defining his investigative mandate in the Virginia federal court overseeing one of Manafort's criminal cases.[349]
  • May 18:
    • Mueller's team subpoenas John Kakanis, Stone's driver, accountant and operative.[350]
    • U.S. Senators Bob Menendez, Mark Warner, and Sherrod Brown call for a multi-agency inspector-general investigation into the Trump administration's failure to fully implement congressionally mandated CAATSA sanctions against Russia.[351]
  • May 20:
    • Trump demands the Justice Department investigate whether the FBI "infiltrated or surveilled" his presidential campaign under Obama's orders.[352] Rosenstein instructs the Justice Department inspector general to look for any inappropriate surveillance of the Trump campaign.[353]
    • A federal filing reveals that the Republican National Committee paid nearly half a million dollars to Trout Cacheris & Janis, a law firm that represents Hicks and others in the Russia investigations.[354]
  • May 21:
    • Rosenstein, Wray and Coats meet with Trump at the White House, where Rosenstein agrees that John Kelly will set up a meeting at which congressional leaders can review "highly classified and other information they have requested" related to the Russia probe.[355]
    • Continental Resources, Inc., an oil company whose CEO Harold Hamm is a Trump advisor, contributes $25,000 to The Patriot Legal Expense Fund Trust, the legal fund established in February to help Trump campaign, transition, and White House aides.[312]
  • May 22:
    • James Clapper's book Facts and Fears: Hard Truths from a Life in Intelligence is published. In it Clapper says he believes Russia swayed the presidential election to Trump,[356] writing, "Of course the Russian effort affected the outcome. Surprising even themselves, they swung the election to a Trump win. To conclude otherwise stretches logic, common sense, and credulity to the breaking point."[357]
    • Sam Patten submits a proffer agreement to Mueller's team.[358]
  • May 23
    • FBI seizes control of a key server, “VPN Filter”, in a Russian botnet that has been linked to the Russian hacking group responsible for the breach of the DNC and the Clinton campaign during the 2016 election.[359][360]
    • The Senate Intelligence Committee releases documents showing the participants on both sides of the June 9, 2016, Trump Tower meeting appear to have coordinated their public responses about the meeting. The coordination continued at least six months into the Trump Administration.[361]
  • May 25
    • Mueller's team is reported to be probing associates about Stone's finances, including his tax returns.[362]
    • Spanish anti-corruption prosecutor José Grinda travels to Washington to meet with the FBI. Grinda publicly acknowledges that a few months earlier his office gave the FBI wiretap transcripts of 33 conversations between Alexander Torshin and Alexander Romanov, a now convicted Russian money-launderer.[363][364]
  • May 26: Manafort communicates by text with the Trump administration.[365][366]
  • May 29:
    • The New York Times reports Trump asked Sessions to reconsider his recusal from any Russia investigations.[367]
    • Trump tweets “The Fake Mainstream Media has, from the time I announced I was running for President, run the most highly sophisticated & dishonest Disinformation Campaign in the history of politics.”[368]
  • May 30: Friends of Paul Manafort create a legal defense fund to help pay his legal bills.[369]
  • May 31: Trump publicly asserts he didn't fire James Comey over the Russia investigation,[370][371] contradicting his own statements made in May 2017.[372][373]

June[edit]

  • June:
    • A whistleblower gives the House Intelligence Committee a cache of documents detailing the interactions between Arron Banks and Alexander Yakovenko, the Russian ambassador to London. Democrats on the committee begin investigating Banks.[329]
    • Butina offers to assist prosecutors in an investigation of Paul Erickson.[272]
  • June 1: NBC News reports the Mueller probe has been asking questions about Richard "Rick" Gerson, a close friend of Jared Kushner. They report Gerson was involved in the Four Seasons Hotel meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi and Tony Blair in December 2016 and the Seychelles meetings in January 2017.[374]
  • June 2: The New York Times publishes a confidential letter Trump's legal team sent Mueller in January that asserts that it is not illegal for the president to obstruct justice because the Constitution gives him the power to, “if he wished, terminate the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon.” The letter also admits Trump dictated the July 2017 statement about the June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting issued to the Times.[88][89][375] Trump tweets about the letter an hour before the Times publishes it.[376][377]
  • June 4
  • June 5
    • Trump blames Sessions for the continuing Russia investigation and says he would have picked someone else to be Attorney General if he had known Sessions was going to recuse himself.[382][383]
    • Sarah Huckabee Sanders tries to defend her credibility at a White House press briefing. Her August 2017 assertions about Trump's involvement in drafting the response to The New York Times regarding the Trump Tower meeting were contradicted by the January letter from Trump's lawyers the Times published three days earlier.[375]
  • June 7:
    • The Atlantic reports that the Senate Judiciary Committee is investigating the ties between Cohen and former congressman Curt Weldon. Weldon is a longtime friend of Artemenko, has ties to Vekselberg, and was involved with Artemenko's February 2017 peace plan.[384]
    • Former Obama national security advisor Ben Rhodes writes in his new memoir that the Obama administration first learned of Flynn's December 2016 communications with Kislyak from Trump transition team members and not from "unmasking", as Nunes had alleged.[385]
Paul Manafort and Konstantin Kilimnik superseding indictment June 8, 2018
  • June 8
    • Mueller files new obstruction charges against Paul Manafort and his associate, Konstantin V. Kilimnik, for witness tampering. The indictment alleges Manafort and Kilimnik coached witnesses on their stories for Manafort's ongoing criminal cases.[386] The two witnesses mentioned in the indictment are Alan Friedman (as "Person D1"), and Eckart Sager (as "Person D2").[168] In September, Manafort pleads guilty to the witness tampering charge.[167][387]
    • Mueller's grand jury in Washington, D.C., questions Andrii Artemenko for several hours about his interactions with Cohen.[388]
    • An unsolicited memo from former U.S. attorney general William Barr arrives at the Justice Department. The memo details Barr's views on the Mueller investigation and his legal theory that the president cannot be charged with obstruction of justice unless he is involved in the explicit destruction of evidence. Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel Steven Engel tells Justice Department staff that he invited Barr for a brown bag lunch with the department on June 27. Engel and his office are responsible for providing the White House with legal opinions and answering their legal questions, but do not provide personal legal advice. In April 2019 the department insists that Barr was invited days before receiving the memo and not because of the memo's contents.[389]
  • June 11: Attorney George T. Conway III, who is married to Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway, publishes an article defending the constitutionality of Mueller's investigation.[390]
  • June 12: Arron Banks, the bankroller of the Brexit Leave.EU campaign, tells the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee that he provided the Russian ambassador to the U.K., Alexander Yakovenko, with contact information for the Trump transition team a few days after meeting with Trump at Trump Tower on November 12, 2016.[391][392]
  • June 13: Court officials accidentally post unredacted court documents on the Washington, D.C., federal district court website identifying the two people referred to as "D1" and "D2" in the June 8 superseding indictment of Manafort. The two are Alan Friedman and Eckart Sager. Both are PR executives at FBC Media and former journalists. The documents are quickly replaced by redacted versions.[393]
  • June 14:
    DOJ-OIG Report. (June 14, 2018)
    • The Washington Post reports that Trump and his allies recently launched a public relations campaign to discredit Cohen in case he starts cooperating with the Mueller investigation. The thrust of the campaign is to argue that Cohen will fabricate any compromising evidence he voluntarily hands over to Mueller's team in order to please Mueller.[394]
    • The Department of Justice Inspector General releases a report on FBI and DOJ actions in the 2016 election. The report discusses the contentions between the Trump-Russia investigation and the Clinton email investigation.[395][396]
  • June 15:
  • June 17: The Washington Post reports that in May 2016 Stone and Michael Caputo met in Miami with a Russian national who reportedly called himself "Henry Greenberg" and, according to Greenberg, a Ukrainian friend Greenberg identified as "Alexei". Caputo and Stone were offered political dirt on Hillary Clinton. The Post's 2018 story is the first time Stone admits to knowingly meeting with any Russian nationals in 2016.[399] Greenberg also goes by the name "Henry Oknyansky".[400][401]
  • June 18:
    • Lawyers for Andrew Miller, a former associate of Roger Stone, challenge in court a subpoena he received for information about Stone, WikiLeaks, "Guccifer 2.0", "DCLeaks", and Julian Assange. Miller's lawyer Alicia Dearn asserts at the hearing that Miller had asked for immunity regarding political action committee transactions involving himself and Stone.[402]
    • Christopher Steele is deposed in London by lawyers for Aleksej Gubarev. Gubarev is seeking information on the Steele dossier to help his libel suit against BuzzFeed.[403]
  • June 21: U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson rejects a motion to suppress evidence found in a search of Manafort's storage locker on May 27, 2017. The defense argued the evidence was improperly collected because the FBI entered the locker without a search warrant, even though the FBI left and returned with a warrant after seeing the locker's contents. The judge ruled the evidence was properly collected because the Manafort associate who opened the locker was on the lease, had a key, and voluntarily let the FBI in.[404]
  • June 22: Judge Jackson rejects a request to toss out a money laundering charge against Manafort. His lawyers argued that receiving tens of millions of dollars for lobbying while an unregistered foreign agent was not illegal in itself. Instead, they argued, failing to register was the illegal act. The judge ruled, "It is a crime to 'act' [as a foreign agent] 'unless' one has registered – the statute does not simply state that the failure to register is unlawful[.]"[405]
  • June 24: Credico tells Jimmy Dore that he received a request from Mueller for a voluntary interview. Credico tells The Daily Beast that he will refuse to speak to Mueller's team unless he is subpoenaed.[406]
  • June 25: ABC News reports that Erik Prince gave Mueller's team "total access to his phones and computer."[407]
  • June 27: The Office of Legal Counsel holds a brown-bag lunch at the Department of Justice with William Barr as featured speaker. When The Guardian reports on the lunch in April 2019, a spokesperson for the department insists that Barr's invitation was routine and that his June 8 memo was not discussed at the lunch.[389]
  • June 28: The House of Representatives passes H. Res 970 subpoenaing FISA surveillance on a party line vote with Congressman Justin Amash voting present.[408]
  • June 30:
    • The federal judge overseeing the Concord Management and Consulting case rejects the defense attorneys' request to share evidence with co-defendant Yevgeniy Prigozhin, which they insisted was critical to their defense. The judge also bars the defense attorneys "from sharing sensitive case materials from any foreign national without court approval."[409]
    • Major donor to the Trump campaign Geoffrey Palmer contributes $100,000 to The Patriot Legal Expense Fund Trust, the legal fund established in February to help Trump campaign, transition, and White House aides.[312]

July[edit]

  • A warrant is filed targeting Broidy's office in Los Angeles, in order to obtain documents related to his dealings with foreign officials and Trump administration associates, including Gates and George Nader, regarding conspiracy, money laundering, and crimes associated with illegal lobbying on behalf of foreign officials.[410]
  • July 2: The Washington Post reports that the SEC and the Federal Trade Commission joined the Justice Department's investigation of Facebook. Investigator's questions center around what Facebook knew in 2015 about Cambridge Analytica's use of Facebook's user data and discrepancies in recent statements about the incident.[411]
  • July 3:
    Unclassified Summary of Initial Findings on 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment released by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
    • The Senate Intelligence Committee releases initial unclassified findings of its in-depth review of the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA). The committee finds the ICA to be "a sound intelligence product."[412][413]
    • Dana Rohrabacher tells Elex Michaelson in an interview for Fox 11 Los Angeles that the theft of DNC emails was an inside job and not carried out by Russian hackers.[414][415]
    • U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle dismisses a lawsuit against the Trump campaign because the plaintiffs failed to show the D.C. district court has jurisdiction over the matter. Protect Democracy filed the suit on behalf of Roy Cockrum, Eric Schoenberg, and Scott Comer. It alleges the campaign "entered into an agreement with other parties, including agents of Russia and WikiLeaks, to have information stolen from the DNC publicly disseminated in a strategic way that would benefit the campaign to elect Mr. Trump as President."[416]
  • July 5: The Daily Beast reports that an unknown person hired bloggers in India and Indonesia to write articles whitewashing ties between Trump, Sater, Tevfik Arif, and Bayrock Group. The campaign appears to have been designed to influence Google Search results.[417]
  • July 10:
    • The U.K. Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) fines Facebook £500,000 for two violations of the Data Protection Act 1998, the maximum fine the Act allows. The ICO found Facebook failed to safeguard user data and wasn't transparent about allowing third parties to harvest user information. The ICO also announces that it is going to criminally prosecute SCL Elections Ltd, the parent of Cambridge Analytica, for refusing to cooperate in the ICO's investigation.[418][419][420]
    • Rudolph Giuliani, one of Trump's lawyers, tells The Washington Post that he works for foreign clients while working for Trump. He insists there are no conflicts of interest because his work for Trump is pro bono, and no need to register as a foreign agent because he does not lobby the government, though some lobbying experts disagree.[421]
  • July 11: Brian Benczkowski is controversially confirmed as a US Assistant Attorney General and head of the Criminal Division, which is under Rosenstein's purview. Benczkowski has no prosecutorial experience.[422] After working for the Trump transition team, he worked for Alfa-Bank in 2017, defending it against accusations of suspicious contacts with a Trump Organization server in 2016.[423]
  • July 12:
    • The White House orders that all members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees be given access to classified materials related to the FBI informant who contacted Papadopoulos and Page in 2016. Previously, the materials were only made available to the Gang of Eight.[424]
    • Peter Strzok testifies before the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees. During heated questioning, Strzok vigorously defends himself and the integrity of the 2016 FBI investigations into Russian interference in the election and Clinton's email server.[425]
Grand Jury Indicts 12 Russian Intelligence Officers for Hacking Offenses Related to 2016 Election
Indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers
Criminal complaint against Maria Butina
Affidavit supporting the criminal complaint against Maria Butina.
  • July 15: Butina is arrested in Washington, D.C., on charges of being an unregistered foreign agent of the Russian Federation working to infiltrate politically influential organizations in the U.S. and influence U.S. officials.[429][430]
  • July 16:
    • The Justice Department announces Butina's arrest and the criminal charges that led to it.[429]
    • NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch clarifies her May 8 denial[336] of the December 2015 NRA trip to Moscow, telling Mark Follman of Mother Jones that she meant it wasn't an official trip.[335][431]
    • Trump meets with Putin in Helsinki for two hours with only translators present. At a joint press conference afterward, Trump says in his opening statement, “During today's meeting, I addressed directly with President Putin the issue of Russian interference in our elections.” Putin says in his statement, "...the Russian state has never interfered and is not going to interfere into internal American affairs, including the election process." Jeff Mason from Reuters asks Putin why Americans should believe him. Trump jumps in and talks about his electoral college win and denies collusion with Russia. Putin responds, "As to who is to be believed and to who is not to be believed, you can trust no one, if you take this." Jonathan Lemire from AP asks Trump if he believes Putin or his own intelligence officials on whether Russia interfered in the election. Trump responds by asking about a Pakistani working for the DNC and Clinton's emails, and calls into question the FBI's investigation of hacked DNC servers. He concludes, "So I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today."[432] Mason also asked Putin, "President Putin, did you want President Trump to win the election and did you direct any of your officials to help him do that?" and Putin responded, "Yes, I did. Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the U.S.-Russia relationship back to normal". This exchange is missing from the official transcripts and video of the summit for ten days before being added.[433][434][435][436]
  • July 17:
  • July 18:
    • Butina pleads not guilty at a preliminary hearing. The judge orders Butina be held without bail pending trial.[439]
    • The New York Times reports that Trump was shown evidence that Putin personally ordered the 2016 hacking of DNC servers in a January 6, 2017, intelligence briefing.[440]
    • CNN reports that the Secret Service has been blocking the DNC's attempts to serve Jared Kushner with the lawsuit it filed against him in April.[441]
    • Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee interview Simona Mangiante Papadopoulos, George Papadopolous's wife, for four hours. Afterward, she says she was asked about her husband's role in the Trump campaign and her relationship with Joseph Mifsud.[442]
  • July 19:
  • July 20: TMZ reports Kristin Davis is expecting a subpoena from Mueller's team.[448]
  • July 23:
    • Senators Ron Wyden, Robert Menendez, and Sheldon Whitehouse send Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin a letter demanding the "production of any documents relevant to financial links between the NRA, its associated entities and Ms. Butina and any entities or individuals related to her." The letter is a follow-up to a similar letter Wyden sent Mnuchin in February.[449]
    • After initial denials,[273] a spokesperson for Russian billionaire Konstantin Nikolaev confirms that Nikolaev funded "Right to Bear Arms" from 2012 to 2014.[274]
  • July 24: Jury selection in the first Manafort trial begins.[450]
  • July 25:
    • Articles of impeachment against Rod Rosenstein are introduced in the House of Representatives by Freedom Caucus members Mark Meadows, Jim Jordan, and nine other cosponsors. The articles say Rosenstein should have recused himself from overseeing the Mueller investigation because he signed the FISA warrant applications for surveilling Carter Page, and accuse Rosenstein of withholding documents from Congress.[451][452] House speaker Paul Ryan opposes the articles and convinces Meadows and Jordan not to try to force a floor vote.[453]
    • Senator Chuck Grassley asks Gubarev's lawyers in a letter to provide a copy of the Steele deposition to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Steele was deposed in London on June 18 as part of Gubarev's libel suit against BuzzFeed.[454][455]
  • July 26:
    • CNN reports that Cohen claims that Trump was informed by Donald Trump Jr. of the Russians' offer of dirt on Hillary Clinton in advance of the 2016 June 9 meeting with Veselnitskaya, contradicting claims by Trump and Trump Jr. that Trump only learned of the meeting shortly before it was reported by the New York Times in July 2017.[456]
    • The Wall Street Journal reports that longtime Trump Organization finance executive Allen Weisselberg has been subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury in Cohen's ongoing criminal investigation.[457]
    • The Daily Beast reports that Senator Claire McCaskill's reelection campaign was targeted by Fancy Bear for a phishing attack in August 2017. This is the first 2018 midterm campaign publicly identified as a Russian hacking target.[458]
    • The New York Times reports that Mueller is examining Trump's tweets about Sessions and Comey as part of his search for possible evidence of obstruction of justice.[459]
"Disinformation and ‘fake news’: Interim Report" by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Committee
  • July 28: The U.K. Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee releases its interim report on disinformation and "fake news". The report's topics include the activities of Cambridge Analytica, SCL, Facebook, Russia, and the Leave.EU campaign.[460][461]
  • July 30: Devin Nunes tells the audience at a fundraiser for Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers that the Rosenstein impeachment effort is on hold until after Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is voted on by the Senate. He says that if the House votes to impeach Rosenstein, the Senate will have to drop everything, including consideration of Kavanaugh, until they vote on the impeachment, and putting Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court is more important than removing Rosenstein. Nunes also tells the audience that it is illegal for a candidate to use stolen emails in their campaign. The fundraiser is a private event that excludes the press, but an attendee secretly records Nunes's comments and gives the recording to MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show.[462]
  • July 31:
    • Paul Manafort's trial for bank and tax fraud charges starts in Alexandria, Virginia.[463]
    • Facebook announces they have shut down eight pages, 17 profiles, and seven Instagram accounts related to "bad actors" identified recently with activity profiles similar to the IRA. The company says it doesn't have enough information to attribute the accounts, groups, and events to the IRA, but that a known IRA account was briefly an administrator of the "Resisters" group.[464] The "Resisters" group was the first organizer on Facebook of the upcoming "No Unite The Right 2 - DC" protest scheduled in Washington, D.C., for August 10. Some of the event's other organizers insist they started organizing before "Resisters" created the event's Facebook page.[465]
    • Andrew Miller, a former associate of Roger Stone, loses his attempt to challenge a subpoena from Mueller by asserting Mueller's appointment was unconstitutional. U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell rules Mueller's appointment was constitutional and that the subpoena is therefore valid and Miller must appear "at the earliest date available to the grand jury, and to complete production of the subpoenaed records promptly."[466]

August[edit]

  • August 1:
    • CNN reports that over the past few months Mueller referred three people and their firms to the U.S. Attorney for the SDNY for further investigation into failing to register as lobbyists for a foreign government. The referrals include Tony Podesta, former U.S. Representative Vin Weber (MN-R), and former Obama White House counsel Greg Craig. Manafort paid all three, and their firms, through the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine to lobby on behalf of the Ukrainian government. Craig worked at the same firm as Alex van der Zwaan.[467][468]
    • Trump calls for Sessions to end the Mueller investigation immediately.[469][470]
    • The Senate votes to allow the Senate Intelligence Committee to share the transcript of Butina's testimony before the committee with the prosecutorial and defense teams in her criminal case.[471]
    • Mueller's team interviews Kristin M. Davis.[472][473]
    • The Senate Intelligence Committee sends Assange an invitation to testify before the committee.[474]
  • August 2: Sanders, Bolton, Coats, Nielsen, Wray, and Nakasone hold a White House news briefing that confirms that Russia interfered in US elections and that the threat is real.[475]
  • August 3: Lawyers for Concord Management and Consulting ask District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich to declare Mueller's appointment invalid. When Friedrich says she should follow Supreme Court precedent, lawyer James Martin asks her to "be brave" and ignore it.[476]
  • August 5: In a tweet, Trump admits publicly for the first time that the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting was about getting dirt on Hillary Clinton.[477][478]
  • August 6: Politico reports that almost all of the money contributed to The Patriot Legal Expense Fund Trust, the legal fund established in February to help Trump campaign, transition, and White House aides, came from four donors closely linked to Trump.[312]
  • August 7: Senator Elizabeth Warren sends Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross a letter inquiring about the details of the exemption to aluminum tariffs granted to Rusal America Corporation on July 19. Rusal America Corporation is a subsidiary of Rusal, which is under sanctions for its financial ties to Deripaska.[445][446][447]
  • August 8:
    • The Hill reports the White House is drafting an executive order allowing the president to impose sanctions on "10 of the 30 largest businesses" in a country whose nationals are found to have meddled in U.S. elections.[479]
    • The Commerce Department reverses its decision to grant an aluminum tariffs exemption to Rusal America Corporation a day after Senator Warren inquired about the exemption. The department claims the original grant was a clerical error.[446][447][480]
  • August 9:
    • The Hill reports House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte is preparing subpoenas for people connected to the Steele dossier, including Nellie and Bruce Ohr, Glenn Simpson, and former FBI and DOJ officials Jim Baker, Sally Moyer, Jonathan Moffa, and George Toscas.[481]
    • The Daily Beast reports that Igor Pisarky, the founder and chairman of the Russian public relations firm R.I.M. Porter Novelli, was Butina's point of contact for the funding she received from billionaire Konstantin Nikolaev.[482]
  • August 10:
    • Judge Howell rules Andrew Miller is in contempt of court for refusing to appear before one of Mueller's grand juries. Howell stays the contempt order to allow an appeal to proceed. After the closed hearing, Miller's lawyer Paul Kamenar says he asked the court for the contempt ruling so that he can file an appeal challenging the legality of the Mueller investigation.[402] Miller's challenge is being funded by the National Legal and Policy Center because, they say, they share his concerns about the constitutionality of the Mueller investigation.[483]
    • Rick Davis appears before one of Mueller's grand juries.[484]
    • Randy Credico's lawyer says Credico is scheduled to appear before Mueller's grand jury on September 7.[484]
    • DNC lawyers use Twitter to serve WikiLeaks with the lawsuit it filed in April.[485]
  • August 13:
  • August 15: Trump strips former CIA director John O. Brennan of his security clearance.[491]
  • August 16:
    • In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Trump connects his revoking of John Brennan's security clearance to the Russia investigation.[491]
    • Former CIA Director John O. Brennan, commenting on the reason his credentials were revoked by Trump, stated that Trump's claims of no collusion were "hogwash": "The only questions that remain are whether the collusion that took place constituted criminally liable conspiracy, whether obstruction of justice occurred to cover up any collusion or conspiracy, and how many members of 'Trump Incorporated' attempted to defraud the government by laundering and concealing the movement of money into their pockets."[492]
  • August 17: Mueller files a sentencing memorandum for George Papadopoulos in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, arguing that Papadopoulos's concealment of information in January 2017 prevented the FBI from effectively confronting Mifsud in February and potentially arresting him before he left the United States. Mueller recommends Papadopoulos be incarcerated for up to six months and fined up to $9,500. He says Papadopoulos agreed to the fine, but has not been very cooperative and only volunteered information when confronted with evidence.[493][494]
  • August 18: The New York Times reports that White House Counsel Don McGahn gave Mueller over 30 hours of voluntary testimony over the past nine months.[495]
  • August 20: Judge Anthony C. Epstein of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia throws out a libel suit the founders of Alfa-Bank filed on April 16 against Steele and his company, Orbis Business Intelligence. The case is dismissed with prejudice in response to a motion by lawyers for Orbis Business Intelligence.[496][497][498]
  • August 21:
    Michael Cohen's plea agreement
    Michael Cohen charging documents
    • Cohen pleads guilty in US District Court for the SDNY to five counts of tax evasion, one count of bank fraud and two counts related to campaign finance law violations. Cohen says he paid Stormy Daniels "at the direction of" Donald Trump for the purpose of "influencing the election".[499]
    • Paul Manafort is convicted on eight of eighteen counts in his first trial. He is found guilty of filing false tax returns for years 2010 through 2014, defrauding Citizens Bank and Banc of California, and failing to declare a foreign bank account. The jury was deadlocked on the other 10 charges.[500]
    • Facebook announces that it has taken down hundreds of pages since July involving disinformation campaigns originating in Russia and Iran.[501] Among the pages removed is the GRU-linked "Inside Syria Media Center" fake news outlet.[502]
    • Nunes is in London trying to meet with MI5, MI6, and GCHQ to get information on Steele and his interactions with Bruce Ohr. The agencies decline to meet with Nunes because they are concerned he is "trying to stir up a controversy." Nunes does meet with U.K. deputy national-security adviser Madeleine Alessandri.[503]
  • August 23:
  • August 24: The Wall Street Journal reports that federal prosecutors in New York granted immunity from prosecution to Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg in exchange for his cooperation. Weisselberg is identified as "Executive-1" in the Cohen charging document.[510]
  • August 27:
    • The Wall Street Journal reports that Manafort's legal team started plea discussions with Mueller's team before Manafort's first trial ended. The discussions fell apart because of objections from Mueller.[511]
    • Digital Culture, Media and Sport Committee chair Damian Collins and Labour party deputy leader Tom Watson call for a Mueller-style investigation of likely Russian interference in the 2016 Brexit referendum. Collins says his committee's investigation was limited in scope by its jurisdiction, and other government watchdog agencies suffer from similar limitations, preventing a full accounting of Russia's influence on the referendum.[512]
  • August 28:
    • Trump tweets that China hacked Clinton's email server.[513][514]
  • August 29
    • In response, the FBI issues a brief statement that says, "The FBI has not found any evidence the servers were compromised."[515]
    • CNN reports that the US Attorney's Office for the SDNY rejected a request from a second Trump Organization employee for an immunity deal.[516]
    • Trump announces that McGahn will leave the White House in the fall.[517][518]
    • Trump tweets that Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts should tell the head of FISA Court Rosemary M. Collyer to question FBI and Justice Department officials about their use of the Trump-Russia dossier as part of a collusion probe, with particular focus on Ohr.[519]
    • Papadopoulos decides not to withdraw from his plea deal with Mueller.[520]
  • August 30
  • August 31:
    Samuel Patten statement of the offense
    • Sam Patten, a lobbyist and associate of Paul Manafort, pleads guilty in Washington D.C. to failing to register as a foreign lobbyist. The case was referred by the Special Counsel. As part of his plea deal, Patten agrees to work with Mueller's office. Patten's company received more than $1 million for its Ukraine work from 2015 to 2017, and helped his foreign client pay $50,000 to Trump's inaugural committee.[526][527][358][528] In the statement of the offense, Konstantin Kilimnik is identified as "Foreigner A", his and Patten's company Begemot Ventures International as "Company A", and Serhiy Lyovochkin as "Foreigner B".[528][529][530]
    • The first major documentary to address the allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and agents of the Russian state timeline, Active Measures is distributed, both in theaters and digitally.[531][532][533]

September[edit]

  • September: The U.S. Attorney's office in Washington, D.C., sends Paul Erickson a letter informing him that it is considering bringing charges against him for secretly acting as a foreign agent and a possible additional charge for conspiracy.[534]
  • September 4: The New York Times reports that Mueller's office told Trump's legal team in a letter that Mueller would accept written answers from Trump to questions about whether his campaign conspired with Russia to interfere in the 2016 U.S. elections.[535]
  • September 5:
    • Roger Stone associate Jerome Corsi receives a subpoena to appear before Mueller's grand jury on September 7.[536]
    • Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee to testify on their companies' efforts to combat fake news and the manipulation of their platforms heading into the midterm elections.[537]
    • The Daily Beast reports that the GRU-linked "Inside Syria Media Center" fake news outlet is actively posting content on the Facebook page "Oriental Review" after being banned from Facebook two weeks earlier.[502]
    • Magistrate Judge John J. O'Sullivan denies a request that he order Gubarev's lawyers to give a copy of the Steele deposition to the Senate Judiciary and House Intelligence Committees.[455]
  • September 6: Jerome Corsi meets with Mueller's team. His grand jury appearance is put on indefinite hold.[538]
  • September 7:
    • Randy Credico testifies before Mueller's grand jury.[538]
    • Papadopoulos is sentenced to 14 days in jail, one year of supervised release, 200 hours of community service, and a $9,500 fine for lying to the FBI.[539][540]
    • Bloomberg reports that federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating possible campaign finance law violations by executives at the Trump Organization.[541]
    • Bloomberg reports that Manafort is negotiating a plea deal with federal prosecutors for the charges in his upcoming trial.[542]
  • September 9: Papadopoulos tells George Stephanopoulos on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" that he lied to the FBI in January 2016 to protect Trump from possible incrimination.[543]
  • September 10:
    • Papadopoulos posts a series of Twitter messages questioning Australian ambassador Alexander Downer's motivations for contacting him in London in May 2016. He suggests Downer was probing him on his business interests in Israel on behalf of Clinton, MI6, or private intelligence agencies.[544]
    • The Daily Beast reports that Erickson is under investigation by the FBI and the U.S. attorney in South Dakota for fraudulently seeking $100,000 investments at conservative political events to fund North Dakota companies allegedly involved in the Bakken oil fields.[545]
  • September 12:
    • BuzzFeed News reports that federal investigators are examining suspicious bank transactions involving accounts controlled by the Agalarov family a few days after the Trump Tower meeting and a few days after the 2016 election.[546]
    • Trump issues an executive order authorizing sanctions against individuals and governments who interfere in the upcoming 2018 U.S. elections. It covers meddling with election infrastructure and attempts to influence voting from outside the country. The order is seen as an effort to forestall bipartisan legislation that would mandate tougher actions.[547][548]
    • ABC News reports that Manafort is attempting to negotiate a plea deal to avoid his upcoming trial, but refuses to accept a clause requiring cooperation with Mueller's investigation.[549]
    • The U.S. Senate votes to share the transcript of the Senate Intelligence Committee's closed-door interview of Sam Patten with the prosecutors in Manafort's second trial.[550]
    • The Wall Street Journal reports that nearly 600 IRA Twitter accounts posted nearly 10,000 mostly conservative-targeted messages about health policy and Obamacare from 2014 through May 2018. Pro-ObamaCare messages peaked around the spring of 2016 when Senator Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton were fighting for the Democratic Party presidential nomination. Anti-Obamacare messages peaked during the debates leading up to the attempted repeal of the Affordable Care Act in the spring of 2017.[551]
  • September 14:
    Paul Manafort plea agreement
    Paul Manafort statement of the offense and other acts
  • September 17: The White House announces that Trump ordered declassification of a large number of classified documents, including 21 pages of an application for a renewed FISA warrant against former campaign aide Carter Page, all FBI interviews related to the warrant application, and text messages from FBI agents Ohr, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, as well as former FBI director Comey and former FBI deputy director McCabe, in another attempt to discredit the FBI and the Mueller investigation.[557][558][559] According to David S. Kris, "The release of FISAs like this is off the charts" in the degree to which it is unprecedented.[560]
  • September 19:
    • NPR reports that beginning in 2014, Marina Butina urged Americans to hold gun rights demonstrations.[561]
    • U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan schedules Michael Flynn's sentencing hearing for December 18. The sentencing is for Flynn's December 2017 plea agreement.[562]
    • Trump tells TheHill.com he ordered the declassification on the urging of the "great Lou Dobbs, the great Sean Hannity, the wonderful, great Jeanine Pirro."[563][564]
American Media Inc. Non-Prosecution Agreement
  • September 20:
    • American Media, Inc., enters into a non-prosecution agreement with federal prosecutors in the SDNY for cooperation into the investigation of a $150,000 payment it made to Karen McDougal in concert with the Trump campaign. The deal requires cooperation for three years, though it does not cover prosecution for any associated tax liabilities. The agreement is kept under seal and revealed by prosecutors on December 12.[565]
    • Butina's lawyers issue a subpoena to American University demanding "[a] copy of each class roster (and photo roster, if one) for each of Maria Butina’s courses at American University."[566]
  • September 21:
    • After receiving push-back from foreign allies over his September 17 declassification order, Trump walks it back and says the Justice Department Inspector General will review the documents instead.[567][568]
    • The New York Times reports that confidential memos McCabe wrote in early 2017 show that Rosenstein talked of secretly recording the chaos he observed in the White House and discussed the possibility of invoking the 25th amendment to remove Trump from office. Rosenstein disputes the accuracy of The New York Times article.[569]
    • Corsi testifies before Mueller's grand jury.[570]
  • September 22:
    • The Washington Post reports that K. T. McFarland changed her statement to the FBI shortly after Flynn's guilty plea in December 2017. Her new statement says a general statement made by Flynn may have indicated he discussed sanctions with Kislyak on December 29, 2016. Her previous statement to the FBI, made in the summer of 2017, denied any knowledge of Flynn and Kislyak discussing sanctions. Court documents filed with Flynn's guilty plea refer to contemporaneous emails between Flynn and McFarland that show they discussed the contents of Flynn's conversations with Kislyak. McFarland's inconsistent statements scuttled her nomination to be the ambassador to Singapore.[571]
    • The Daily Beast reports that the U.K. implored Trump not to release unredacted copies of Page's FISA warrants and related intelligence documents.[572]
  • September 24: The New Yorker reports that election researcher Kathleen Hall Jamieson's nonpartisan analysis of the 2016 presidential debates, campaigns, opinion polls, targeted advertising by Russians, and the Russian and WikiLeaks's dumps of Clinton and DNC confidential campaign materials leads to the conclusion that Russia's interference most likely swayed enough of the electorate for Trump to win the election.[573]
  • September 25: The New York Times reports that the Moscow-based news website "USAReally.com" appears to be a continuation of the IRA's fake news propaganda efforts targeting Americans. The site, launched in May, has been banned from Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit. A new Facebook page created by the site is being monitored by Facebook.[574]
  • September 28: The House Intelligence Committee votes to declassify 53 witness testimonies. The Republican-majority committee also votes along party lines not to release the transcripts of the testimony of Rohrabacher, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Comey, Brennan, and Rogers. Chairman Nunes refuses to answer when asked by Representative Mike Quigley whether the votes' timing was influenced by the White House or the president's legal team.[575]

October[edit]

  • October 3: Kathleen Hall Jamieson publishes Cyberwar: How Russian Hackers and Trolls Helped Elect a President; What We Don't, Can't, and Do Know, a book that gives a detailed, nonpartisan analysis of how Russian activities likely swayed the 2016 election to Trump.[573]
  • October 4:
    • Russian Deputy Attorney General Saak Albertovich Karapetyan, a close associate of Natalia Veselnitskaya, the lawyer who met senior Trump campaign officials in 2016, dies in a helicopter crash.[576]
    • The U.S. Justice Department announces the indictment of seven GRU officers for cybercrimes including hacking into the World Anti-Doping Agency and leaking the test results of prominent athletes. Four of the officers were among the 12 GRU officers indicted by the Mueller investigation in July. The indictment alleges the GRU took the actions in retaliation for Russian athletes being banned from the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.[577]
    • The Daily Beast reports that Brittany Kaiser, the former director of business development at Cambridge Analytica, will be interviewed by House Intelligence Committee Democrats, and that she previously testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee.[578]
  • October 5–6: Deripaska aide and former Russian intelligence officer Commander Viktor A. Boyarkin confirms to TIME magazine that he was in communication with Manafort during his time working for the Trump campaign in order to collect the debts Manafort owes to Deripaska.[579]
  • October 8: The New York Post reports Deripaska's New York City mansion has been frozen alongside all of his U.S. assets.[580]
  • October 11: The Trump campaign argues in a court filing that WikiLeaks cannot be held liable for publishing stolen emails because it is a passive publishing platform like Google or Facebook. It further argues WikiLeaks is not part of a conspiracy because publishing the emails was not illegal.[581]
  • October 15: Politico reports that Anthony Lomangino, a recycling mogul, major Republican campaign contributor, and Mar-a-Lago member, gave $150,000 to the Patriot Legal Expense Trust Fund.[582]
  • October 17: Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards, a senior official at the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), is accused of leaking confidential banking reports of suspects charged in the Mueller probe.[583][584]
  • October 18: Bloomberg reports that Mueller's preliminary report will be out just after the November 6 elections.[585]
United States of America v. Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova criminal complaint
  • October 19:
  • October 30: Mueller spokesman Peter Carr announces, "When we learned last week of allegations that women were offered money to make false claims about the special counsel, we immediately referred the matter to the FBI for investigation." The week before, bloggers and journalists received an email claiming to be from a woman who was offered $30,000, and other benefits, by radio host Jack Burkman to make false allegations about Mueller.[590]

November[edit]

  • November 2: The Daily Beast reports that the Senate Intelligence Committee asked the NRA for documents related to its connections to Russia, including the December 2015 Moscow trip.[591]
  • November 6:
    ICO report: Investigation into the use of data analytics in political campaigns
    • Midterm elections: Democrats take the House of Representatives. Republicans pick up seats in the Senate.
    • The New York Times reports that Mueller has acquired communications between Arron Banks and Russian diplomats.[592]
    • The Information Commissioner's Office releases its final report on Cambridge Analytica, titled "Investigation into the use of data analytics in political campaigns". The commissioner found Cambridge Analytica would have received a substantial fine if it were still in business, and that it "unfairly process[ed] people’s personal data for political purposes, including purposes connected with the 2016 U.S. presidential campaigns." It said the company "nimbly" evaded the few restrictions Facebook imposed on acquiring user data. The commissioner also found that Cambridge Analytica and Leave.EU never reached an agreement to work together even though an executive appeared with Leave.EU officials at a press conference.[592]
  • November 7:
    Jeff Sessions' resignation letter
    Sessions resigns as attorney general at the request of President Trump. Trump replaces him with Matthew Whitaker. Ordinarily the deputy attorney general, in this case Rod Rosenstein, would become acting attorney general in case of a vacancy.
  • November 8
  • November 13: Jerome Corsi tells The Guardian that Mueller's team questioned him about Nigel Farage and Ted Malloch two weeks earlier.[595]
  • November 14 NBC News reports that through Assange's attorney Margaret Ratner Kunstler, the widow of William Kunstler, Randy Credico knew on August 27, 2016, that Wikileaks would release information about the Clinton campaign in the near future and texted Roger Stone that "Julian Assange has kryptonite on Hillary."[596] Credico continued to give Stone updates on the upcoming Wikileaks release of numerous emails stolen from Podesta and the Clinton campaign. The emails were released beginning on October 7, 2016.[596]
  • November 16:
    • An unrelated court filing accidentally reveals that Assange has been charged in federal court by the US government.[597][598]
    • The Daily Beast reports John P. Hannah has come under Mueller investigation scrutiny.[599]
  • November 19: In a letter with this date, a person claiming to be an associate of Papadopoulos sends Schiff's office a letter that states that Papadopoulos told Trump in December 2016 that "Greek Orthodox leaders" were "playing an important role" along with their Russian counterparts in his collaboration with Russia. The letter is taken "very seriously" by federal authorities.[600]
  • November 20:
    • Senate Minority Leader Schumer sends a letter requesting that the DoJ inspector general investigate communications between acting AG Whitaker and the White House.[601][602]
    • Trump submits his written answers to some questions posed by the Special Counsel.[603]
    • The Federal Agency of News (FAN) sues Facebook in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California for violating its free speech rights by closing its account in April. The FAN is a sister organization to the IRA that operates from the same building in St. Petersburg. The FAN claims in its filing that it has no knowledge of the IRA, even though some current FAN employees were indicted by Mueller for their work with the IRA.[279]
  • November 21: The Daily Beast reports that the House Intelligence Committee is hiring money laundering and forensic accounting experts for its planned investigations when the Democrats take over in January.[604]
  • November 24: The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee compels the founder of the American software company Six4Three to hand over a cache of internal Facebook documents the company acquired as part of a lawsuit against Facebook. The documents are related to Facebook's data-sharing practices. The committee previously requested such documents from Facebook as part of its investigation into Cambridge Analytica, but the company refused to cooperate.[605]
  • November 25: A federal judge rejects Papadopoulos's motion to postpone his prison sentence pending an appeal in a related case challenging Mueller's authority. On September 7, Papadopoulos was sentenced to 14 days in prison, set to start November 26.[606]
  • November 26:
    • Jerome Corsi, associate of Roger Stone, reveals that Mueller's team offered him a plea deal. Corsi says he rejected the deal and would rather go to prison than admit he willfully lied to investigators.[607]
    • Mueller's team alleges Manafort broke his cooperation agreement by repeatedly lying to investigators after the deal was signed. Manafort denies lying intentionally, but both parties agree he should be sentenced immediately.[608]
    • Papadopoulos begins his prison sentence in Wisconsin.[609]
  • November 27:
    • The Guardian reports that sources claim Manafort met with Assange in March 2016, when he was a key part of the Trump campaign, in addition to meetings in 2013 and 2015. The meeting allegedly took place at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, months before WikiLeaks released Democratic emails stolen by Russian intelligence officers.[610] Manafort denies the report.[611]
    • Corsi releases a draft plea agreement showing Stone tasked him in the summer of 2016 with finding out what damaging information WikiLeaks had on Clinton.[570]
    • The New York Times reports that Manafort's lawyer repeatedly briefed Trump's lawyers on Manafort's discussions with Mueller's team after he agreed to cooperate.[611]
  • November 28: The Daily Beast reports Erickson recently hired a lawyer after scrambling to raise funds for his expected legal costs.[612]
  • November 29:
    Criminal Information document filed with Michael Cohen's November 29 plea agreement
    • Cohen pleads guilty in SDNY to lying to Congress about a Moscow real estate deal involving Trump. The case was brought by Mueller's investigators directly, unlike the August case in which Cohen pleaded guilty in the same court.[613] In the criminal information document filed with the plea agreement, Trump is identified as "Individual 1",[614] Felix Sater as "Individual 2",[614] and Dmitry Peskov as "Russian Official 1".[615]
    • BuzzFeed News reports that in 2016 the Trump Organization planned to give Putin the $50 million penthouse in the proposed Trump Tower Moscow.[616]
    • Trump admits for the first time that he was pursuing a business deal in Moscow during the presidential campaign. He repeatedly denied any such dealings since announcing his candidacy.[617][618]
    • The Maryland State Board of Elections releases a report detailing the United States Department of Homeland Security's investigation into the integrity of the state's election systems. The investigation was triggered by the July 13 revelation that ByteGrid, Maryland's election systems supplier, was purchased by a Russian oligarch without the state being informed of the change in ownership. No evidence of malicious activity was found, but the state changed providers anyway as a precautionary measure.[619][620]
  • November 30:
    • The prosecution announces at Manafort's preliminary sentencing hearing in Washington, D.C., that it is considering more charges against Manafort and may retry him on the charges the jury was unable to agree on in his trial.[621][622]
    • The Central Bank of Russia announces Torshin has retired from his position as Deputy Governor.[623]

December[edit]

Michael Flynn – sentencing memorandum
Michael Flynn – addendum to sentencing memorandum
  • Manafort continues interactions with Kilimnik up until this month. Manafort later lied under oath about his interactions.[624][625]
  • December 4: In a sentencing memorandum, the Mueller investigation says Michael Flynn "deserves credit for accepting responsibility in a timely fashion and substantially assisting the government" and should receive little or no jail time.[626]
Sentencing memorandum for Michael Cohen filed by federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York (SDNY).
  • December 6: Mother Jones reports that the Trump campaign and the NRA both used National Media Research, Planning and Placement (NMRPP) to buy political ads in 2016, often with the same NMRPP employee buying ads for both Trump and the NRA for the same dates, television stations, and television shows. Former Federal Election Commission chair Ann Ravel tells Mother Jones, "I don’t think I’ve ever seen a situation where illegal coordination seems more obvious. It is so blatant that it doesn’t even seem sloppy. Everyone involved probably just thinks there aren’t going to be any consequences." [627]
  • December 7:
    • Mueller files a sentencing memorandum for Manafort in D.C. federal court.[628]
    • Mueller and federal prosecutors from the SDNY file sentencing memoranda for Cohen in Manhattan federal court.[629] The SDNY memorandum effectively accuses Trump of defrauding voters.[630] In the memorandum, Trump is identified as "Individual-1",[631] Karen McDougal as "Woman-1",[631] Stephanie Clifford as "Woman-2",[631] the Trump Organization as "Company",[632] the National Enquirer as "Magazine-1",[632] Pecker as "Chairman-1",[632] and American Media, Inc. as "Corporation-1".[632] In one of the filings, Cohen spoke of a Russian "trusted person" in the Russian Federation who could offer the Trump campaign "political synergy" and "synergy on a government level."[633]
    • Comey testifies for seven hours before the House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform committees behind closed doors. He tells the committees that in 2016 the FBI opened investigations into four Americans to determine if they were involved in the Russian election interference. He says some of the four were associated with the Trump campaign, but that Trump himself is not among them.[634]
    • WikiLeaks, the Trump campaign, Kushner, Papadopoulos, and Stone file motions to dismiss the April 2018 DNC lawsuit against them. WikiLeaks argues the suit should be dismissed because it did not participate in hacking the DNC, and its publication of the DNC's material is protected by the First amendment. The Trump campaign argues the suit should be dismissed because it seeks to "explain away [the DNC] candidate’s defeat in the 2016 presidential election" and fails to show the campaign "aided and abetted Russia." Kushner's filing argues the suit should be dismissed because he had no prior knowledge of the Trump Tower meeting. Papadopoulos and Stone's filings cast their roles as innocuous. None of the filings contest the events the DNC laid out in its suit.[635]
    • The Campaign Legal Center and Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence file a joint complaint with the Federal Election Commission alleging the NRA and the Trump campaign illegally coordinated ad buys in 2016.[636]
Transcript of Comey testimony before the House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform committees
  • December 8: The House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform committees release the transcript of the prior day's Comey testimony.[634]
  • December 10: Corsi files a $350 million lawsuit against Mueller, the Justice Department, the FBI, the CIA, and the NSA for allegedly illegally searching Corsi's phone and text messages without a warrant or probable cause.[637]
  • December 11:
    • The sentencing hearing in the Manafort case in D.C. begins, and is then postponed until January.[638]
    • CNN reports that Butina agreed to plead guilty to spying and is now cooperating with the prosecutor.[639]
  • December 12:
    • Former Trump attorney Cohen is sentenced to three years in prison.[640]
    • Federal prosecutors from SDNY unseal a non-prosecution agreement entered into on September 20 with American Media, Inc., that gives the company immunity from prosecution in exchange for its help in investigating a payment it made to McDougal at the direction of Trump.[565]
    • New York Attorney General-elect Letitia James tells NBC News that she plans to investigate Trump, his family, and associates. Her investigations will include potentially illegal real estate dealings, the June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting, government subsidies received by Trump, potential emoluments clause violations through his businesses, and the Trump Foundation. Her ability to investigate may hinge upon the passage of a bill by the State of New York that would allow her to bring prosecutions under New York law for acts that are pardoned under federal law.[641]
    • Reuters reports that Putin is unclear about why Butina was arrested. He said, "She risks 15 years in jail. For what? I asked all the heads of our intelligence services what is going on. Nobody knows anything about her."[642]
    • Cohen's lawyer Lanny Davis tells Bloomberg that Trump and the White House knew in advance that Cohen was going to lie to Congress and did nothing to dissuade him from doing so.[643]
Maria Butina statement of the offense.
  • December 13:
    • Butina pleads guilty in a D.C. federal court to trying to infiltrate the U.S. conservative movement as an agent for the Kremlin. She admits to working with Erickson to forge bonds with NRA officials and conservative leaders while under the direction of Torshin. In her plea agreement, prosecutors agreed to drop a charge of failing to register as a foreign agent in exchange for cooperation. In the statement of the offense, Erickson is identified as "U.S. Person 1", Torshin as the "Russian Official", the Republican Party as "Political Party #1", and the NRA as the "Gun Rights Organization".[644]
    • The Wall Street Journal and NBC News report that Trump, Cohen, and Pecker met in August 2015 and agreed that Pecker would seek out and suppress any negative stories about Trump.[645]
    • The Wall Street Journal reports that the Manhattan U.S. attorney's office has started investigating the Trump inaugural committee for misspending money, or, possibly selling access to the incoming Trump administration to get policy concessions or influence Trump administration positions.[646]
    • Trump denies directing Cohen to break the law in a tweet, and tells Fox News the charges against Cohen were cooked up to "embarrass" him.[647][648]
  • December 14:
    • An entire floor of the federal courthouse in Washington, D.C., is sealed off for a closed-door hearing involving an unidentified foreign government-owned company challenging a subpoena for Mueller's grand jury.[649][650]
    • Cohen tells George Stephanopoulos in an ABC News interview that Trump knew it was wrong to pay McDougal and Clifford.[651]
    • Federal prosecutors file a motion asking a judge for permission to move Butina to and from the Alexandria City Jail for interviews and, potentially, to testify before a grand jury. Intended to be under seal, the motion is briefly posted to the court website before being removed.[652]
Indictment of Bijan Kian and Kamil Ekim Alptekin unsealed on December 17, 2018.
The IRA, Social Media and Political Polarization in the United States, 2012-2018
The Tactics & Tropes of the Internet Research Agency
  • December 17
    • Federal prosecutors unseal an indictment against Bijan Kian and Kamil Ekim Alptekin, charging them both with conspiracy and acting as unregistered agents of a foreign government. Alptekin is also charged with making false statements. Kian is Flynn's business partner in Flynn Intel Group, and Alptekin hired the Group on behalf of the Turkish government to influence opinion in the U.S. and facilitate the extradition of Fethullah Gülen.[653] In the indictment, Flynn is identified as "Person A",[653] Flynn Intel Group as "Company A",[653] Inovo BV as "Company "B",[654] Gülen as "Turkish citizen",[653] President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as "Senior Turkish Leader #1",[653] Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım as "Senior Turkish Leader #2",[655] and, in no particular order, Energy Minister Berat Albayrak and Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu as "Turkish Minister #1" and "Turkish Minister #2".[656] Reports indicate there are strong hints Flynn was a contributing cooperator.[657]
    • Mueller's team releases the FBI notes on the interview with Flynn on January 24, 2017.[658]
    • The Senate Intelligence Committee releases two reports it commissioned on the social media activities of the IRA: "The Tactics & Tropes of the Internet Research Agency" and "The IRA, Social Media and Political Polarization in the United States, 2012-2018".[659]
D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling: the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act does not protect a company owned by a foreign country from a grand jury subpoena.
  • December 18:
    • Bijan pleads not guilty in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia. A spokesperson for Alptekin tells the court that he denies any wrongdoing.[660]
    • Michael Flynn's sentencing is delayed for 90 days as Judge Emmet Sullivan accuses Flynn of possible treason and states that he "sold out his country.".[661]
    • The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals upholds the grand jury subpoena that was argued over in a December 14 closed-door hearing that drew the attention of the press because security cleared the entire floor of the courthouse during the proceedings. The court rules that the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act does not immunize a corporation owned by a foreign country even if the subpoena violates that country's laws.[662][663][650]
    • After acting attorney general Whitaker consults Justice Department ethics officials multiple times, the officials tell a group of Whitaker's advisers that he should recuse himself from the Mueller investigation.[664]
  • December 19:
    • In a Moscow news briefing, Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova says that Butina was coerced into making a false confession: "Butina confirmed that she had done a deal with U.S. investigators and confessed to being a foreign agent. Having created unbearable conditions for her and threatening her with a long jail sentence, she was literally forced to sign up to absolutely ridiculous charges."[665]
    • US District Judge Ursula Ungaro dismisses Aleksej Gubarev's February 2017 defamation lawsuit against BuzzFeed News. Gubarev claimed Buzzfeed News defamed him by publishing unproven statements about him in the Steele dossier. Ungaro rules that the BuzzFeed News article was "true and fair" because it reproduced the entire dossier without commentary. Gubarev's lawyers announce they plan to appeal the ruling.[666]
    • D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine sues Facebook over its involvement with Cambridge Analytica.[667]
    • The Wall Street Journal reports that sworn depositions by Trump show that he has extensive knowledge of campaign finance laws. The knowledge demonstrated in the depositions contradicts Trump's assertions that any campaign finance violations he may have committed during 2015–16 were due to his own ignorance.[668]
    • The U.S. Treasury Department informs Congress that it is going to remove sanctions from three companies (En+ Group, Rusal, and EuroSibEnergo [ru]) controlled by Deripaska in 30 days because he reduced his ownership stake below 50 percent in each.[669] The Treasury also announces new sanctions on 15 Russian intelligence officers for election interference in the U.S. and elsewhere, as well as the nerve agent attack in the U.K.[670]
    • Whitaker's advisers recommend that he not recuse himself from the Mueller investigation, contradicting the advice they received from Justice Department ethics officials the day before.[664]
    • Incoming House Oversight committee chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) issues 51 letters to the heads of various government agencies and White House and Trump Organization officials seeking documents on a series of congressional investigations, with a deadline of January 11.[671]
  • December 20:
    • The House Intelligence Committee votes unanimously to release the official transcript of Stone's testimony before the committee to Mueller's team.[672]
    • Senate Intelligence committee staffer James Wolfe is sentenced to two months in prison for lying to the FBI about leaking classified information on the Russia probe to the press.[673]
  • December 21: CNN reports that Trump told Whitaker that prosecutors at SDNY are out of line and asked Whitaker why he isn't doing more to rein them in.[674]
  • December 22: The unnamed foreign state owned company involved in the December 18 D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling appeals the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.[675]
  • December 24: U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts temporarily freezes accruing fines against a foreign state owned corporation that was subpoenaed by the Mueller probe. The court ordered Mueller to respond by December 31.[676]
  • December 27
    • McClatchy DC reports that Cohen's cellphone communicated with cell towers in the Prague area in late summer 2016, lending credence to allegations in the Steele dossier. They also report that an Eastern European intelligence agency overheard a Russian conversation in late August/early September that included remarks saying Cohen was in Prague. Cohen denies the story, but McClatchy insists the information came from four independent sources.[677]
    • Eric Dubelier, a lawyer defending Concord Management and Consulting,[678] who earlier asked the court to lift the prohibition from sharing discovery information with his client in Russia, files a motion to prevent Mueller from providing classified information to the judge that justifies the restriction. Mueller has provided Dubelier with 4 million pages from email and social media accounts belonging to Russian trolls, and asserts that sharing 3.2 million of those pages with Dubelier's clients in Russia would compromise intelligence gathering techniques.[679]
    • Mueller's team asks U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon to postpone the scheduled January 3, 2019, hearing for the December 10 lawsuit Corsi filed against Mueller, the FBI, and other government agencies because of the government shutdown. Judge Leon refuses.[680]
Letter from the House Judiciary Committee majority to the Senate majority leader, acting attorney general, and the Department of Justice inspector general on the status of their investigation into the FBI's 2016 Russia investigation.
  • December 28: GOP-led House Judiciary Committee releases final report on early Russia probe, condemning the FBI for being "unfair" and demanding a second special counsel to investigate the investigators.[681]

2019[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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