1986: Trump sits next to Russian Ambassador Yuri Dubinin at a luncheon hosted by Leonard Lauder, the oldest son of Estée Lauder who managed the sprawling cosmetic business at the time. Following a discussion about Trump Tower’s glitz and gleam, Trump revealed — in 1987’s Art of the Deal — “one thing led to another, and now I’m talking about building a large luxury hotel across the street from the Kremlin.”
1987: Trump invites Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev to visit Trump tower in New York. This meeting never comes to fruition.
1996: Trump applied for his trademark in Russia. Discussing ambitions for a Trump hotel in 2007, he declared, “We will be in Moscow at some point.”
August 1998: Russia defaults on its debt and its stock market collapses. As the value of the ruble plummets, Russian millionaires scramble to get money out of their country and into New York City, where real estate provides a safe haven for overseas investors.
October 1998: Demolition of a vacant office building near the United Nations headquarters is making way for Trump World Tower. Donald Trump begins selling units in the skyscraper, which is scheduled to open in 2001 and becomes a prominent depository of Russian money. By 2004, one-third of the units sold on the 76th through 83rd floors of Trump World Tower involve people or limited liability companies connected to Russia or neighboring states.
2002: Russian-born Felix H. Sater, connected to organized crime and Russian Mafia and his company, Bayrock Group — a Trump Tower tenant — begin working with Trump on a series of real estate development deals, one of which becomes the Trump SoHo.
Efforts to sell Russians apartments in Trump World Tower, Trump’s West Side condominiums, and Trump’s building on Columbus Circle expand with presentations in Moscow involving Sotheby’s International Realty and a Russian realty firm. In addition to buying units in Trump World Tower, Russians and Russian-Americans flood into another Trump-backed project in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida. In South Florida alone, members of the Russian elite invest more than $98 million in seven Trump-branded luxury towers.
2005: In a sworn deposition in 2008, Sater testifies that Trump gave Bayrock Group an exclusive deal to develop a project in Russia.
Paul Manafort proposes that Trump undertake a consulting assignment for one of President Vladimir Putin’s billionaire oligarchs. Manafort suggests a strategy for influencing politics, business dealings and news coverage inside the United States, Europe and former Soviet republics to benefit Putin’s government.
2006 | Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, who has close ties to Putin, becomes Manafort's client. He invests in Manafort's Cayman Islands fund, which bought assets primarily in Ukraine. (Later in court, Deripaska accuses Manafort and Rick Gates of defrauding him out of $19 million.) Read more
2006: Manafort reportedly signs a $10 million annual contract with Deripaska to secretly advance the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to the Associated Press. He also proposed a strategy to undermine anti-Russian opposition in former Soviet republics. Before the March 2017 story, Manafort and the Trump administration had said Manafort never worked for Russian interests. Manafort and Deripaska denied that any work was done on behalf of Putin or the Russian government, and the AP account has not been confirmed.
Oct. 15: In an interview with Larry King, Trump says: “Look at Putin — what he’s doing with Russia — I mean, you know, what’s going on over there. I mean this guy has done — whether you like him or don’t like him — he’s doing a great job.”
November: Paul Manafort’s firm receives a $455,000 wire transfer from Ukraine Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych’s Party of Regions. Manafort had been hired to improve the image of Putin-backed Yanukovych, who was portraying himself falsely as an anti-corruption reformer seeking to move Ukraine closer to the West. “The West has not been willing to move beyond the Cold War mentality and to see this man and the outreach that he has extended,” Manafort says about Yanukovych at the time. Ukraine’s richest man — a billionaire industrialist — had introduced Manafort to Yanukovych.
July 2008: As the Florida real estate market began to crash, Trump sells a Florida residence to a Russian oligarch for $95 million, believed to be the biggest single-family home sale in US history. The Russian oligarch never lived in the house and, since then, it has been demolished. Three years earlier, Trump had bought the home at auction for $41 million.
September 2008: Donald Trump Jr. tells a reporter of the Trump Organization: “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets… we see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”
Oct. 14, 2009: Paul Manafort’s firm receives a $750,000 wire transfer from Viktor Yanukovych’s Party of Regions. The Russian-leaning Yanukovych was running for president and, in February 2010, he won.
April 8: Three Russians whom the FBI later accused of spying on the United States discuss efforts to recruit American businessman Carter Page. According to The Washington Post, “[T]he government’s application for the surveillance order targeting Page included a lengthy declaration that laid out investigators’ basis for believing that Page was an agent of the Russian government and knowingly engaged in clandestine intelligence activities on behalf of Moscow, officials said.”
June 18: Trump announces that the 2013 Miss Universe beauty pageant, which he owns, will take place in Moscow. The next day, he tweets:
While preparing for the pageant, Trump says, “I have plans for the establishment of business in Russia. Now, I am in talks with several Russian companies to establish this skyscraper.”
Oct. 17: On The Late Show, David Letterman asks Trump, “Have you had any dealings with the Russians?” Trump answers, “Well I’ve done a lot of business with the Russians…” Letterman continues, “Vladmir Putin, have you ever met the guy?” Trump says, “He’s a tough guy. I met him once.”
Nov. 9: While in Moscow for his Miss Universe competition, Trump meets with Russian businessmen, including real estate developer Aras Agalarov, an ally of Russian president Vladimir Putin. Before the pageant, Trump said to MSNBC, "I do have a relationship" with Putin.
Nov. 13: When asked in an MSNBC interview in November 2013 if he had a relationship with Mr Putin, Mr Trump replied: "I do have a relationship, and I can tell you that he's very interested in what we're doing here today.
"He's probably very interested in what you and I am saying today, and I'm sure he's going to be seeing it in some form."
June 16: Trump announces he is running for president.
Sep.: An FBI agent tells the Democratic National Committee that its computer network had been hacked by a cyberespionage group associated with the Russian government. The DNC contractor who takes the call isn't sure the caller is actually an FBI agent and doesn't take the concerns very seriously. It takes another seven months for knowledge of the hacking to reach the highest levels of the DNC.
Sep. 21: Putin and Trump are on the season premiere of "60 Minutes." Although Trump would later say in a debate, "I got to know him very well because we were both on '60 Minutes.' We were stablemates," Time magazine revealed that they were interviewed in separate cities.
Sep. 29: Trump tells Bill O’Reilly: “I will tell you in terms of leadership he [Putin] is getting an ‘A,’ and our president is not doing so well.”
Dec. 10: Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who would become Trump’s national security adviser, sits at Putin’s table for the 10th anniversary gala of Russia’s state-owned television propaganda network, RT. Flynn had made a paid appearance on the network. For his December speech, he nets $33,500 of the $45,000 paid to his speakers’ bureau. For all of 2015, Flynn receives more than $65,000 from companies linked to Russia.
Dec 17: Putin says Trump is “colorful" and "talented." Trump calls the compliment an “honor.” Even as ties to Russia become a campaign issue in 2016, Trump refuses to renounce Putin: “A guy calls me a genius, and I’m going to renounce? I’m not going to renounce him.” (Putin has not publicly called Trump a genius.)
Late 2015: The British spy agency GCHQ alerts its American counterparts in Washington to suspicious interactions between members of the Trump campaign and known or suspected Russian agents. The GCHQ provides the information as part of a routine exchange of intelligence information.
February 17: As questions about Russia swirls around Trump, he changes his story: “I have no relationship with [Putin], other than he called me a genius.”
March: Trump gathers some key players for his presidential bid. After Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) endorses him for president, Trump chooses Sessions to lead his national security campaign advisory team. He also selects Carter Page, an energy industry consultant who specializes in Russia and Central Asia, as a foreign policy advisor. After becoming the presumptive Republican nominee, Trump picks Paul Manafort to spearhead delegate-rounding efforts.
A cybersecurity firm hired by the DNC posts a public notice on its website describing an attack on the political committee's computer network by two groups associated with Russian intelligence. According to the post, two Russian-backed groups called "Cozy Bear" and "Fancy Bear" tunneled into the committee's computer system. CrowdStrike says the groups "engage in extensive political and economic espionage for the benefit of the government of the Russian Federation and are believed to be closely linked to the Russian government’s powerful and highly capable intelligence services."
In response, a blogger called Guccifer 2.0 claims that he alone conducted the hack, not the Russians. As proof, he posts internal DNC memos and opposition research on Trump. Furthermore, Guccifer 2.0 claims to have passed along thousands of files to WikiLeaks. Trump offers his own theory on the origins of the attack, suggesting in a statement that the DNC hacked itself to distract from Hillary Clinton's email scandal.
July 6: Another batch of hacked DNC documents appears on the Guccifer 2.0 website.
July 7: In a lecture at the New Economic School in Moscow, Carter Page criticizes American foreign policy. He says that many of the mistakes spoiling relations between the US and Russia “originated in my own country.” Page says he had sought and received permission from the Trump campaign to make the trip.
July 14: Another batch of hacked DNC documents appear on the Guccifer 2.0 website.
July 18-21: Multiple people related to the Trump campaign — Sessions (then a Trump adviser) and campaign advisers Carter Page, JD Gordon, and allegedly Walid Phares — meet with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak to the U.S. during the Republican National Convention (RNC).
July 22: Wikileaks publishes 20,000 emails stolen from the DNC, which reveal that some DNC staffers were working to promote Hillary Clinton at the expense of her opponent for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders. Two days later, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigns.
July 25: The FBI announces that it is investigating the DNC hacks and intelligence officials tell the White House that they believe with "high confidence" that the Russian government directed the cyberespionage.
July 26: Trump denies all relations between Russia and himself. In news conferences and tweets Trump says he “has nothing to do with Russia,” and “I don’t know who Putin is… I’ve never spoken to him.” He also tweeted,
July 27: At a press conference in Florida, Trump calls on Russia to hack Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's private emails: "I will tell you this -- Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. Let's see if that happens." Days later, Trump said he was joking.
August 8: Trump's former campaign adviser and longtime friend Roger Stone says that he has communicated with Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange. Just days before Wikileaks releases the first batch of a trove of emails stolen from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, Stone tweets, "Trust me, it will soon the Podesta's time in the barrel. #CrookedHillary."
August 14: Roger Stone tweets, “[N]ow Guccifer 2.0 — why are those exposing the truth banned?” Without explanation, Twitter reinstates the Guccifer 2.0 account. In a private message to Guccifer 2.0, Roger Stone writes, “Delighted you are reinstated. Fuck the State and their MSM lackeys.”
August 15: Guccifer 2.0 releases hacked DCCC documents on primaries in Florida.
August 16: In an interview on The Blaze, Stone says he has “communicated” with Julian Assange through a “mutual acquaintance.” He continues, “I think that Assange is going to be very influential in this election…
August 19: CNN reports that FBI and Justice Department prosecutors are conducting an investigation into possible US ties to alleged corruption of the former pro-Russian President of Ukraine, including the work of Manafort's firm. Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort resigns days after reports surface showing he was allotted $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments by a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party.
Aug. 21: Guccifer 2.0 posts hacked DCCC documents on Pennsylvania’s congressional primaries.
Sept. 8: Sessions meets with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. for a second time.
Sept. 23: Michael Isikoff of Yahoo News reports US intelligence officials are seeking to determine whether Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page had opened up private communications with senior Russian officials, including talks about the possibility of lifting economic sanctions if Trump became president.
Sept. 26: Amid accusations that he has ties to Russia, Carter Page takes a leave of absence from the Trump campaign.
Oct. 1: Six days before WikiLeaks releases emails that Russian hackers had acquired from Clinton campaign manager John Podesta’s email account, Trump’s informal adviser and surrogate Roger Stone tweets, “Wednesday@HillaryClinton is done. #Wikileaks.”
Oct. 4: Trump tweets:
Also on Oct. 4: Guccifer 2.0 posts documents hacked from the Clinton Foundation.
Oct. 7: WikiLeaks releases the first batch of emails from Clinton campaign manager John Podesta. The anti-secrecy website went on to release thousands of additional emails on a near-daily basis for the duration of the election season.
The US intelligence community publicly blames Russia for election-related email hacks. "We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia's senior-most officials could have authorized these activities," the DHS and DNI joint statement reads.
Oct. 10: Trump says he "loves" WikiLeaks during a campaign rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, just days after the first batch of hacked Podesta emails are released.
Nov. 9: After Putin announced Trump’s election victory, Russia’s Parliament erupts in applause.
Nov. 10: Russia’s deputy foreign minister admits that during the campaign, the Kremlin had continuing communications with Trump’s “immediate entourage.”
Dec. 2016: Russian ambassador Kislyak meet at Trump Tower with Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and Trump’s NSA-designate Michael Flynn.
Dec. 9: In response to a Washington Post report that the CIA had concluded Russia had intervened in the election to help Trump win, he says, “These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It’s now time to move on and ‘Make America Great Again.’ ”
Dec. 12: Trump nominates Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson to be secretary of state. Tillerson has had a long business relationship with Russia, and Putin personally awarded him the country's Order of Friendship in 2013.
Dec. 29: President Obama institutes new sanctions on 35 Russian officials and closes two Russian facilities in Maryland and New York. It's later reported that Flynn spoke to the Russian ambassador 5 times about the sanctions despite initially denying the claims.
Dec. 30: After Putin makes a surprise announcement that Russia would not retaliate for the new sanctions, Trump tweets, “Great move on delay (by V. Putin) — I always knew he was very smart.”
Jan. 6: U.S. intelligence agencies release a report saying the Russian government interfered in the 2016 election and Guccifer 2.0 was a "persona" used by Russian military intelligence.
It reads: "We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump."
Jan 10: Buzzfeed publishes a 35-page dossier of unverified claims concerning Trump's ties to Russia compiled by former British intelligence official Christopher Steele. Trump denounces the dossier as "fake news" and a "political witchhunt."
During Session's Senate confirmation hearing to become attorney general, he says he "did not have communications with the Russians."
FBI Director Comey also tells a Senate panel the GOP was hacked by Russians, but the none of the stolen documents were leaked online. In his testimony, he says the hacking was "directed at state-level organizations, state-level campaigns, and the RNC, but old domains of the RNC, meaning old emails they weren't using. None of that was released."
Jan. 19: The New York Times reports that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, along with advisers Roger Stone and Carter Page, are under investigation in connection with possible links to Russia.
Jan 23: At Sean Spicer’s first press briefing, Spicer says that none of Flynn’s conversations with the Russian ambassador touched on the Dec. 29 sanctions. That got the attention of FBI Director James Comey. According to The Wall Street Journal, Comey convinced acting Attorney General Sally Yates to delay informing the White House immediately about the discrepancy between Spicer’s characterization of Flynn’s calls and US intelligence intercepts showing that the two had, in fact, discussed sanctions. Comey reportedly asked Yates to wait a bit longer so that the FBI could develop more information and speak with Flynn himself. The FBI interviews Flynn shortly thereafter.
Jan. 26: Acting Attorney General Sally Yates informs White House counsel Don McGahn that Flynn had made misleading statements about his late December conversations with the Russian ambassador. Sean Spicer later says Trump and a small group of White House advisers were “immediately informed of the situation.”
Jan. 30: Trump fires Acting Attorney General Sally Yates. According to his statement, the reason was that she had “betrayed the Department of Justice” by refusing to defend Trump’s travel ban in court.
Feb. 10: An aide close to Flynn says he cannot rule out that the adviser spoke about sanctions on the call with Kislyak. On the same day, Trump says he is unaware of reports that Flynn may have spoken about sanctions during the calls and says he will "look into that." A US official then confirms that Flynn and Kislyak did speak about sanctions, among other matters.
Feb. 13: The Washington Post breaks another story: Then-acting Attorney General Sally Yates had warned the White House in late January that Flynn had mischaracterized his December conversation with the Russian ambassador, and that it made him vulnerable to Russian blackmail. Later that evening, Flynn resigns.
Feb.14: The New York Times publishes a report alleging that Trump campaign associates had frequent contact with Russian intelligence. The report was based upon anonymous U.S. intelligence officials’ accounts of “phone records and intercepted calls.”
Feb.15: A frustrated Trump lashes out at the press, U.S. intelligence, and even Hillary Clinton over the Russia thing.
Feb. 16: Trump continues his diversionary twitter assault on the intelligence leaks that were fueling intensified scrutiny of his Russia connections. At Trump’s afternoon press conference, he says: “I own nothing in Russia. I have no loans in Russia. I don’t have any deals in Russia… Russia is fake news. Russia — this is fake news put out by the media.” Reporters ask repeatedly about anyone else involved with Trump or his campaign. “No,” Trump says. “Nobody that I know of.”
Feb. 23: CNN reports that the FBI rejected a recent White House request to publicly knock down media reports about communications between Trump's associates and Russians known to US intelligence during the 2016 campaign.
Feb. 28: The president blames Obama for the leaks: “I think he is behind it.”
March 2: Attorney General Jeff Sessions recuses himself from the federal investigation into Russia after it was revealed he met with the Russian ambassador twice during the presidential election, which he didn't disclose during his confirmation hearing.
March 4: Trump is reportedly furious that Jeff Sessions had recused himself from the Trump/Russia investigation. He unleashes a tweet-storm, claiming that President Obama had wiretapped his phones during the presidential campaign. Stunned by Trump’s outburst, White House staffers begin searching for evidence to support his false wiretap claim.
March 6: Sessions defends his answers about Russian contacts to the Senate Judiciary Committee as "correct" in a letter, as he seeks to tamp down questions after it came to light that he had met with the Russian ambassador twice last year.
March 7: WikiLeaks releases a trove of alleged CIA documents relating to the agency’s hacking tools for smartphones, computers and internet-connected devices.
March 16: Flynn was paid more than $33,750 by Russia's state-run broadcaster RT TV-Russia for a speech in Moscow in December 2015, Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, says. The US intelligence community has long assessed RT to be a propaganda tool of the Kremlin, writing in its January report on Russian interference in the US election that the organization had participated in disinformation campaigns aimed at the US.
March 19: The Senate Intelligence Committee has asked Trump adviser Roger Stone to preserve any records he might have that could be related to the panel's investigation into Russian actions targeting the US election, Stone confirms to CNN.
March 20: FBI Director James Comey confirms publicly for the first time that the FBI is investigating Russian interference in the election and, as part of that investigation, the FBI is probing "the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia's efforts." His bombshell came at a hearing of the House Intelligence Committee, where he also said the FBI will also determine "whether any crimes were committed." With respect to Trump’s wiretapping claims, Comey says, “I have no information that supports those tweets.”
March 30: Michael Flynn offers to testify on Russia-Trump ties in front of the FBI, House, and Senate in exchange for immunity.
March 31: The Senate Intelligence Committee turns down Flynn’s bid for immunity
April 5: In an interview with The New York Times, Trump says, “The Russia story is a total hoax.”
April 6: Devin Nunes steps down as leader of the House Intelligence Committee’s Russia probe. Three GOP senators have taken over the investigation, and the House Ethics Committee announced an inquiry into Nunes’ behavior and possible collusion with the White House. The report states: Nunes may have made unauthorized disclosures of classified information, in violation of House Rules, law, regulations, or other standards of conduct.”
April 6: The New York Times reports that Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, failed to report meetings with Russian officials during the presidential campaign and transition on his application for a government security clearance. Kushner's attorney called the omissions an error.
April 11: The Post reports that the FBI obtained a secret court order in 2016 to monitor Page's communications. A FISA court judge determined there was probable cause to believe Page was acting as a foreign agent, in this case Russia. Officials said the court renewed the warrant more than once. Page is the only American known to have had his communications directly targeted with a FISA warrant as part of the Russia probe. He has denied any wrongdoing
April 12: The Associated Press confirms that newly obtained financial records show Paul Manafort’s firm had received two wire transfers — one in 2007 and another in 2009 — corresponding to two of the 22 entries next to Manafort’s name in Ukraine’s Party of Regions Black Ledger. Manafort’s spokesman says Manafort intended to register retroactively with the US Justice Department as a foreign agent for the work he had done on behalf of political interests in Ukraine through 2014.
April 28: The chair and vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee send letters to several former Trump campaign advisers, including Carter Page, Mike Flynn, Paul Manafort and Roger Stone. Among other requests, the letters ask for a “list of all meetings between you and any Russian official or representative of Russian business interests which took place between June 16, 2015 and Jan. 20, 2017.” The letters also request information about any such meetings of which they are aware, as well as all documents relating to Trump campaign communications with Russian officials or business representatives. The committee also seeks information about any financial and real estate transactions related to Russia from June 15, 2015 through Trump’s inauguration.
May 2: On the eve of FBI Director James Comey’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Trump tweets:
May 8: Sally Yates tells the Senate Judiciary Committee that she spoke with White House Counsel three times to express her concern about Flynn’s vulnerability to Russian blackmail (and his lies about his discussions with the Russian ambassador).
May 9: Trump fires FBI Director James Comey. Officially, the White House states that Trump did so upon Department of Justice recommendation (from AG Jeff Sessions and Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein) due to Comey’s handling of the Clinton email probe. However, both Trump’s tantrums and Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders strongly indicate (though Sanders denies as much) that Comey was fired because Trump kept raging over the FBI.’s Russia investigation. The stunning decision sparked fears that the investigation might be upended now that Trump himself can handpick a new supervisor.
May 10: Trump meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the White House. Lavrov's official photographer, who also works for the Russian news agency Tass, took photos of the foreign minister, Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and Trump smiling and shaking hands in the Oval Office.
A day after Trump fires Comey, The Washington Post reports that the former FBI director sought more money and resources for the Russia investigation.
For the first time in the Senate's Russia investigation, the Senate Intelligence Committee subpoenas documents related to the Russia investigation from Flynn after he declines to hand them over.
May 11: Trump has said he was thinking of “this Russia thing” when he decided James Comey’s fate – contradicting the White House rationale that he fired the FBI director for mishandling the Clinton email investigation.
Comey had been leading an investigation into possible collusion between Trump advisers and Russian officials when he was dismissed by the president. Defending that decision in an interview on NBC News on Thursday, Trump said: “And, in fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said: ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story, it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should’ve won.’”