For details about computer hacking during the campaign, visit 2016 Presidential Campaign Hacking Fast Facts.
Special counsel Robert Mueller and multiple congressional committees launched investigations into allegations that there was collusion between Russian operatives and Trump associates during the presidential campaign and transition.
Who’s investigating election interference:
FBI – In July of 2016, the FBI launched a counterintelligence investigation into possible links between the Russian government and Trump campaign officials.
The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence – On January 13, 2017, the committee announced that it is conducting a probe of Russian meddling. The investigation was sparked by a declassified report from the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) that described a multifaceted effort led by Russian President Vladimir Putin to interfere with the election by releasing damaging information about Clinton to help Trump.
The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence – On January 25, 2017, the committee announced that it is investigating Russia’s active measures during the presidential campaign as well as the underlying intelligence that led to the DNI’s conclusions about Russia’s intentions. The committee was led by Devin Nunes (R-CA) and Adam Schiff (D-CA) prior to 2019. (Nunes stepped away from the probe temporarily after the Ethics Committee announced it was looking into allegations he made unauthorized disclosures of classified information. When Nunes stepped away, Mike Conaway (R-TX) took his place. Even though Nunes said that he was formally stepping away from his role leading the investigation, he continued to review classified intelligence on Russia matters and he still had sway issuing subpoenas.) On March 12, 2018, the committee announced it finished its Russia investigation.
The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism – On February 2, 2017, the subcommittee announced that it was conducting an inquiry into Russia’s efforts to influence elections in the US and abroad.
The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform – On February 16, 2017, the committee requested information about former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn’s paid speaking engagements overseas. The committee was questioning whether Flynn violated the emoluments clause of the Constitution, which bars government officials from accepting gifts from foreign governments without Congressional approval. After Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in May, the committee began looking into the circumstances surrounding the dismissal.
The Senate Judiciary Committee – On May 17, 2017, the committee called on the White House and the FBI to turn over all memos related the president’s interactions with Comey. In addition to conducting an oversight investigation of Comey’s dismissal, the committee has held hearings on the Foreign Agents Registration Act and attempts to influence the election. The committee has also interviewed Donald Trump Jr. and other witnesses behind closed doors.
Special Counsel – On May 17, 2017, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to lead an investigation into Russian interference and related matters that could result in criminal prosecutions. On March 22, 2019, the Justice Department announces that the special counsel’s office has completed its probe, after 22 months, charges against 37 defendants, seven guilty pleas and one conviction at trial. A redacted version of Mueller’s report was released on April 18, 2019.
February 2016 – Flynn, a retired general and former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), begins advising Trump on foreign policy matters, according to Reuters. Flynn became a prominent critic of the Obama administration after he was ousted from the DIA in 2014.
March 29, 2016 – Paul Manafort, a veteran GOP consultant, joins the Trump campaign as a strategist to help prepare for the Republican National Convention.
April 27, 2016 – Trump delivers his first major foreign policy speech at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington. Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak is one of the diplomats in the audience. Trump’s son-in-law and campaign adviser Jared Kushner later says he shook hands with Kislyak at the event.
June 3, 2016 – Trump Jr. receives an email from Rob Goldstone, a music publicist whose clients include Azerbaijani-Russian singer Emin Agalarov. Goldstone tells Trump Jr. that a Russian lawyer, working on behalf of the Kremlin, wants to pass along incriminating information about Clinton. He explains that Russia and its government want to support Trump by providing opposition research on Clinton. Trump Jr. indicates he is interested in seeing the information and suggests arranging a call.
June 7-8, 2016 – Goldstone sends Trump Jr. another email about setting up an in-person meeting with a “Russian government attorney” who will be flying from Moscow to New York on June 9, to talk to representatives from the Trump campaign at Trump Tower in New York. Trump loops in Manafort and Kushner.
June 9, 2016 – Manafort, Kushner and Trump Jr. meet with Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya. It is unclear what is discussed during the meeting, which was set up as a discussion of Russian-sourced opposition research on Clinton. Trump Jr. later says that Veselnitskaya did not present any valuable information during the meeting. The elder Trump did not participate, according to his legal team.
June 12, 2016 – During an interview on British television, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says that the website has obtained and will publish a batch of Clinton emails.
June 14, 2016 – The Washington Post reports hackers working for the Russian government accessed the DNC’s computer system, stealing oppositional research on Trump and viewing staffers’ emails and chat exchanges. The Kremlin, however, denies that the government was linked to the hack, and a US official tells CNN that investigators have not yet concluded that the cyberattack was directed by the Russian government.
June 15, 2016 – 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. In response, a blogger called Guccifer 2.0 claims that he alone conducted the hack, not the Russians. 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 Clinton’s email scandal.
June 20, 2016 – Trump fires campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who had worked with the team for more than a year. As campaign chairman, Manafort is now the top official overseeing Trump’s White House run.
July 22, 2016 – Days before the Democratic National Convention, WikiLeaks publishes nearly 20,000 emails hacked from the DNC server. The documents include notes in which DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz insults staffers from the Bernie Sanders campaign and messages that suggest the organization was favoring Clinton rather than remaining neutral. Wasserman Schultz resigns in the aftermath of the leak.
July 25, 2016 – The FBI announces it has launched an investigation into the DNC hack. Although the statement doesn’t indicate that the agency has a particular suspect or suspects in mind, US officials tell CNN they think the cyberattack is linked to Russia.
July 27, 2016 – During a press conference, Trump talks about Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state and calls on hackers to find deleted emails. “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” says Trump. On or about that same day, hackers target email accounts used by individuals in Clinton’s personal office for the first time, according to an indictment filed in 2018 by the special counsel’s office.
August 14, 2016 – The New York Times publishes a report that $12.7 million in illegal cash payments to Manafort were listed in a secret ledger linked to former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who resigned amid street protests. Manafort had worked as an adviser to Yanukovych and his associates dating back at least a decade.
August 19, 2016 – Manafort resigns as Trump’s campaign chairman.
October 6, 2016 – DCLeaks, a self-described collective of “hacktivists” seeking to expose the influence of special interests on elected officials, publishes a batch of documents stolen from Clinton ally Capricia Marshall. DCLeaks is later identified as a front for Russian military intelligence.
October 7, 2016 – The Department of Homeland Security and the Office of National Intelligence on Election Security issue a statement declaring that the intelligence community is “confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of emails from US persons and institutions.” According to the statement, document releases on websites WikiLeaks and DC Leaks mirror the methods and motivations of past Russian-directed cyberattacks.
December 1, 2016 – Kushner and Flynn meet with Kislyak at Trump Tower. Kushner later describes the encounter as a quick introduction, pushing back on a Washington Post report that the three talked about establishing backchannel communication with the Russians.
December 13, 2016 – Kushner meets Russian banker Sergey Gorkov at Trump Tower. Gorkov is the chairman of Vnesheconombank (VEB), a bank that was sanctioned by the United States after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.
January 6, 2017 – The Office of the Director of National Intelligence releases a declassified version of its classified report on Russian meddling. According to the report, hackers did not breach voting machines or computers that tallied election results but Russians meddled in other ways. Putin ordered a multifaceted influence campaign that included spreading pro-Trump propaganda online and hacking the DNC and Podesta. Bracing for a possible Clinton win, Russian bloggers were prepared to promote a hashtag #DemocracyRIP on election night. Paid social media users, aka “trolls,” shared stories about Clinton controversies to create a cloud of scandal around her campaign.
January 10, 2017 – CNN reports that intelligence officials briefed Trump on a dossier that contains allegations about his campaign’s ties to Russia as well as salacious rumors about him. The author of the dossier is a former British spy who was hired by a research firm that had been funded by both political parties to conduct opposition research on Trump.
February 9, 2017 – The Washington Post reports that Flynn discussed sanctions with Kislyak during the presidential transition. Vice President Mike Pence and other Trump administration officials said in January that Flynn did not talk about policy when he spoke to the ambassador.
February 13, 2017 – Flynn resigns. In his resignation letter, he explains that, “because of the fast pace of events, I inadvertently briefed the Vice President-elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian ambassador.”
February 17, 2017 – Members of the Senate Intelligence Committee meet with Comey in a closed-door session. Committee member Marco Rubio says in a tweet that the Senate will conduct a bipartisan investigation into alleged meddling by Putin.
March 1, 2017 – The Washington Post reports that US Attorney General Jeff Sessions met with Kislyak at least twice in 2016. During Sessions’ Senate confirmation hearing, he said under oath that he had no communications with Russians.
March 2, 2017 – Sessions holds a press conference to announce that he is recusing himself from investigations into the Trump presidential campaign.
May 3, 2017 – At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Comey says he believes the Russian government is continuing to meddle in US politics.
May 9, 2017 – Trump fires Comey, citing a memo by Rosenstein that criticized Comey’s handling of the Clinton email investigation.
June 8, 2017- Comey testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee, describing his interactions with Trump dating back to a security briefing with Trump on January 6, 2017. In a statement that Comey released before the hearing, he says Trump asked him to affirm his loyalty during a private dinner. Comey also describes a private conversation with Trump during which the president told him “I hope you can let this go,” referring to the FBI’s investigation into Flynn.
June 13, 2017 – Sessions says that the claim he colluded with Russians is a “detestable lie” during a hearing before the Senate intelligence committee. He declines to answer questions about private conversations he had with Trump regarding the firing of Comey and says he does not remember if he had an informal conversation with Kislyak during the reception at the Mayflower Hotel in April 2016.
June 14, 2017 – The Washington Post reports that Mueller is investigating Trump for obstruction of justice. In response to the report, Trump tweets, “They made up a phony collusion with the Russians story, found zero proof, so now they go for obstruction of justice on the phony story. Nice.”
July 8-July 11, 2017 – The New York Times publishes a series of stories detailing the June 2016 meeting between Trump Jr., Kushner, Manafort, Veselnitskaya and other associates. The meeting first came to light when Kushner filed a revised version of his security clearance application in June 2017. He omitted the meeting on previous versions of the form. When news of the meeting first breaks, Trump Jr. issues a statement explaining that the primary topic of discussion was resuming an adoption program for Russian children. Trump Jr. also says that he did not know the name of the individual he was slated to meet. Further New York Times reporting reveals, however, a chain of emails in which Trump Jr. is promised damaging information about Clinton from Russian government sources, a revelation that contradicts his initial statement. Minutes before the New York Times publishes its story about the misleading statement, Trump Jr. tweets images of the email exchange obtained by the newspaper. The tweets are coupled with a statement in which Trump Jr. says the meeting was short and uneventful, as Veselnitskaya failed to deliver opposition research as promised.
July 21, 2017 – The Washington Post reports that Sessions discussed campaign matters with Kislyak during their meetings, contrary to the attorney general’s testimony that the encounters were not related to the presidential race. The story is based on interviews with unnamed current and former officials who discussed intelligence intercepts. A Justice Department spokeswoman says that she will not comment on a story based on anonymous sources and an uncorroborated intelligence intercept.
July 24-25, 2017 – Kushner issues an 11-page statement in which he denies colluding with Russia during the presidential campaign and transition. He denies reading the email chain from Trump Jr. that set up the June 9, 2016, meeting at Trump Tower. Kushner claims he arrived late to the meeting and he left early, texting his assistant a request to call his cellphone and give him an excuse to walk out. After issuing the statement, Kushner testifies before two congressional committees behind closed doors.
August 1, 2017 – White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders acknowledges that Trump “weighed in” on his son’s statement, “as any father would,” but denies that the president dictated it.
September 1, 2017 – The New York Times reports that Mueller has obtained an early draft of the president’s letter informing Comey that he was being fired. Trump reportedly dictated his criticisms of Comey to Senior Adviser Stephen Miller, who drafted the letter during a long weekend at the president’s New Jersey golf resort. The original version of the letter was distributed to top officials including Pence and White House counsel Don McGahn. According to the New York Times, revisions were made after McGahn suggested a number of cuts, expressing concern about references to private meetings between Trump and Comey.
September 6, 2017 – In a blog post, Facebook announces that more than 3,000 advertisements posted on the social media network between June 2015 and May 2017 were linked to Russia. The Washington Post reports that the ads are linked to a Russian company called the Internet Research Agency. The DNI has identified the company as a Kremlin-connected organization that employs professional trolls who spread political propaganda on behalf of the Russian government. Approximately $100,000 in advertising was purchased by individuals and groups connected to about 470 inauthentic accounts. The divisive political posts included comments on gun rights, immigration, race issues and LGBT matters, according to Facebook. About one quarter of the ads were targeted specifically to run in certain areas of the country. Additionally, the ads urged users to click “like” on certain political groups, triggering a barrage of incendiary messages in their Facebook news feeds. The social network later reveals that Russia-sourced political messages were viewed by about 10 million users.
September 7, 2017 – Trump Jr. answers questions from members of the Senate Judiciary Committee behind closed doors. During the interview, he says he does not remember details of White House involvement in the crafting of his initial statement in response to the first story about the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting.
September 15, 2017 – CNN and the Wall Street Journal report that Facebook has given Mueller’s team copies of Russia-linked ads and other company records. Mueller issued a search warrant to obtain the material.
September 18, 2017 – CNN reports that the FBI has previously monitored Manafort’s communications under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The surveillance started during an FBI investigation into Manafort’s work in Ukraine and was discontinued for lack of evidence at some point in 2016. After the FBI began looking into election interference, investigators resumed collecting Manafort’s communications and continued through the early days of the Trump administration. Both rounds of surveillance receive approval from the secret court that oversees FISA warrants. After taking office, the president spoke to Manafort repeatedly until lawyers for both men told them to stop, according to CNN.
September 20, 2017 – The New York Times reports that Mueller’s team is seeking White House documents divided into 13 categories covering such areas of interest as Comey’s firing, an Oval Office meeting between Trump and Russian officials, and the crafting of Trump Jr.’s initial statement pertaining to the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting.
September 26, 2017 – Longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone appears before the House intelligence committee behind closed doors. After the session, Stone says that he declined to answer a question about his connection to Assange, claiming that he was in contact with the WikiLeaks founder via a third party he would not name. During the 2016 campaign, Stone posted several tweets with the appearance of advance knowledge that WikiLeaks was going to publish hacked emails from the Clinton campaign.
September 27, 2017 – CNN reports that a Russian Facebook ad referencing Black Lives Matter was designed to reach social media users in Baltimore and Ferguson, Missouri, two cities where race-related protests devolved into violence.
September 28, 2017 – Representatives of Twitter meet with congressional committees behind closed doors and tell investigators that the company has taken action against about 200 Russia-linked accounts. The accounts were reportedly connected to the Russian troll farm that spread divisive messages on Facebook during the 2016 campaign.
October 2, 2017 – Facebook delivers Russia-linked ads and data to Congress. Some lawmakers say they are considering releasing the ads to the public.
October 3, 2017 – CNN reports that a number of the Russia-linked Facebook ads were geographically targeted to reach residents of Michigan and Wisconsin. Trump defeated Clinton by a narrow margin in both battleground states.
October 18, 2017 – Two partners from Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that hired Steele to collect information about Trump, invoke their Fifth Amendment right not to self-incriminate during a closed-door meeting with the House intelligence committee.
October 20, 2017 – Fusion GPS submits a court filing asking a judge to stop House intelligence committee members from obtaining bank records potentially revealing the parties who financed the dossier. Nunes signed the subpoenas seeking financial records from TD Bank.
October 24, 2017 – The law firm Perkins Coie acknowledges that its clients, the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, helped finance the research provided in the dossier. It was originally financed by anti-Trump Republicans during the GOP primaries, but Democrats began funding it after Trump became the presumptive nominee in the spring of 2016.
October 30, 2017 – Manafort and Trump campaign official Rick Gates are indicted on 12 charges including conspiracy to launder money, making false statements and conspiracy against the United States. They plead not guilty. Separately, a court filing is unsealed revealing that former foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, George Papadopoulos, has pleaded guilty to making a false statement to the FBI pertaining to the Russia probe.
December 1, 2017 – Flynn pleads guilty to “willfully and knowingly” making “false, fictitious and fraudulent statements” to the FBI regarding discussions with Kislyak.
January 9, 2018 – Senator Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, releases the full transcript of testimony by Glenn Simpson of the research firm Fusion GPS, which produced the 2016 campaign season dossier containing allegations related to Trump’s ties to Russia.
January 23, 2018 – The Washington Post reports that Mueller is interested in interviewing Trump about the dismissals of Comey and Flynn. Also, reports emerge that Sessions was interviewed by Mueller’s team on January 17 and the special counsel’s investigators have talked to Comey as well. In separate news, CNN reports that Trump is inclined to let House Republicans release a memo that alleges the FBI abused surveillance laws in its Russia investigation.
January 29, 2018 – The House Intelligence Committee votes along party lines to publicly release a four-page classified memo produced by Nunes alleging FBI abuses in the agency’s surveillance, an aggressive move that could feed a GOP push to undercut special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and ratchets up a battle with the Justice Department. Under an obscure committee rule to make the classified memo public, which has never been invoked in the panel’s 40-plus-year history, President Trump has five days following the vote to decide whether to allow the public release to move forward or object to it.
February 5, 2018 – The House Intelligence Committee votes unanimously to release a 10-page Democratic memo rebutting GOP allegations that the FBI abused surveillance laws. President Trump has five days to block or allow its release.
February 9, 2018 – In a letter to the House Intelligence Committee, McGahn says that Trump won’t release the Democratic memo and has sent it back to the committee for changes.
February 16, 2018 – The Department of Justice announces that Mueller has indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities for allegedly meddling in the 2016 presidential election, charging them with conspiracy to defraud the United States.
February 20, 2018 – Alex van der Zwaan, a Dutch lawyer, pleads guilty to lying to Mueller’s investigators, admitting that he did not reveal his communications with Gates and a business associate in Ukraine during the 2016 presidential campaign.
February 23, 2018 – Gates pleads guilty to lying to the FBI and conspiracy. As part of his plea agreement, Gates will have to cooperate with Mueller’s team, turning over documents, speaking to investigators and possibly testifying in court as a witness.
February 24, 2018 – The House Intelligence Committee releases a Democratic memo in redacted form that seeks to undercut Republican claims of FBI surveillance abuses. The committee makes the memo public after the White House signs off following negotiations between the FBI and the committee’s top Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff of California, over what in the document should be redacted. The White House objected to releasing the memo earlier in the month, saying that sensitive material had to be removed first.
March 6, 2018 – Sources tell CNN that George Nader is cooperating with Mueller’s investigators and providing info to a grand jury. Nader, a foreign policy specialist with close ties to the United Arab Emirates, was stopped and questioned by the FBI at a Washington airport after returning from an overseas trip in January.
March 12, 2018 – Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee reach an opposite conclusion from the intelligence community they oversee, announcing that Putin was not trying to help Trump win the 2016 election. The Republicans also say they are ending their year-long investigation with a 150-page report concluding there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
March 13, 2018 – In response to House Intelligence Committee Republicans announcing they are ending the Russia investigation, Democrats on the committee release a status report covering their continuing efforts to determine whether there was collusion with Russia. The report includes a list of individuals who Democrats still want to interview.
April 3, 2018 – Van der Zwaan is sentenced to 30 days in prison for lying to investigators. The first person to be sentenced in the special counsel’s probe, Van Der Zwaan reports in May to a low security federal prison in Pennsylvania. His release is scheduled for June 4, 2018.
April 9, 2018 – The FBI raids the home, office and hotel room of Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen. He is under investigation for financial crimes including a campaign finance violation related to a pre-election hush money payment made to an adult film actress who allegedly had an affair with Trump.
May 8, 2018 – CNN reports that Mueller’s investigators questioned a Russian oligarch about hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments to Cohen.
May 16, 2018 – The Senate Judiciary Committee publishes nearly 2,000 pages of transcripts from interviews with Trump Jr. and other participants in the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting.
May 17, 2018 – Sources tell CNN that Manafort’s former son-in-law, Jeffrey Yohai, has reached a plea agreement with the US Attorney’s office in Los Angeles. Yohai was under investigation for running an alleged real estate Ponzi scheme. The plea deal requires him to cooperate with other federal prosecutors, which may include members of Mueller’s team.
May 18, 2018 – The New York Times and the Washington Post publish stories about an FBI source who met with at least two Trump campaign advisers to obtain info about their possible ties to Russia. The next day, Trump calls on the Justice Department to provide Congress with information about the source.
May 19, 2018 – The New York Times reports that Trump Jr. met in August 2016 at Trump Tower with an Israeli social media specialist and Nader, who was serving as an representative for two princes from Gulf nations. By law, foreign nationals are barred from contributing to American political campaigns. A lawyer for Trump Jr. tells CNN that there was nothing untoward about the gathering, as the visitors simply pitched marketing and social media strategies. Trump himself later tweets in his own defense: “The Witch Hunt finds no Collusion with Russia – so now they’re looking at the rest of the World. Oh’ (sic) great!”
May 21, 2018 – After a meeting at the White House, top officials from the DOJ, FBI and DNI agree to share classified info with lawmakers who have been questioning the use of an informant in the election meddling investigation. Additionally, the DOJ inspector general’s office will expand its ongoing probe to include scrutiny of the informant’s activities.
June 4, 2018 – The special counsel’s office accuses Manafort of contacting potential witnesses and attempting to convince them to lie for him in court. Witness tampering violates his bail terms and could sway a judge to send him to jail pending trial.
June 17, 2018 – The Washington Post reports that Stone met with a Russian offering damaging information about Clinton in May 2016. The Russian, who called himself Henry Greenberg, wanted $2 million for the info and Stone declined to pay. Greenberg was also in contact with former Trump campaign communications official Michael Caputo. Stone and Caputo did not tell Congressional investigators about Greenberg when they testified on Capitol Hill.
June 28, 2018 – The White House announces that Trump and Putin will meet in Helsinki on July 16, 2018, to discuss relations between the two countries and “a range of national security issues.”
July 3, 2018 – The Senate Intelligence Committee releases a report concluding that the intelligence community’s January 2017 assessment of election meddling was accurate. According to the summary, the intelligence agencies were correct in their finding that the goal of the election interference was to help Trump rather than simply create confusion.
July 12, 2018 – During an all-day hearing on Capitol Hill, FBI agent Peter Strzok is accused by House Republicans of bias because he made derogatory remarks about Trump in text messages to an FBI lawyer with whom he was having an affair. Strzok was removed from Mueller’s team during the summer of 2017 after an internal review revealed the texts.
July 13, 2018 – The Justice Department announces indictments against 12 members of the Russian intelligence agency, GRU, as part of Mueller’s ongoing investigation. The indictment accuses the Russians of engaging in a “sustained effort” to hack emails and computer networks associated with the Democratic party during the 2016 presidential campaign.
August 13, 2018 – Strzok is fired by the FBI.
August 21, 2018 – Manafort is convicted on eight out of 18 counts after his trial in Virginia. The jury returns guilty verdicts on five counts of tax fraud, one charge of hiding foreign bank accounts and two counts of bank fraud. A mistrial is declared for the other ten counts. In New York, Cohen pleads guilty to eight counts including tax fraud, making false statements to obtain a loan and campaign finance violations. During a court appearance, Cohen says that he made illegal payments “in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office.”
August 31, 2018 – Lobbyist W. Samuel Patten pleads guilty to acting as an unregistered foreign lobbyist. He admits to lying to the Senate Intelligence Committee and funneling a Ukrainian oligarch’s money to Trump’s Presidential Inaugural Committee. This is the first time the Justice Department has publicly charged a person for helping a foreigner secretly funnel money into a Trump political event. Under his deal with prosecutors, Patten is charged only with one criminal count. He faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the felony charge.
September 6, 2018 – Papadopoulos is sentenced to two weeks in prison for lying to investigators about his contact with individuals tied to Russia during the 2016 campaign. Papadopolous will also have 12 months of supervised release, and must serve 200 hours of community service within about a year and pay a fine.
September 14, 2018 – Manafort agrees to cooperate with Mueller’s team and pleads guilty to conspiracy charges in lieu of going on trial a second time. If he fulfills his agreement to cooperate, prosecutors will drop other charges including money laundering and bank fraud.
November 7, 2018 – Sessions is fired. Trump appoints Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general.
November 20, 2018 – Trump submits written responses to questions from the special counsel.
November 23, 2018 – Jerome Corsi, an associate of Stone and a conspiracy theorist, tells the Washington Post that he is in plea negotiations with Mueller’s team. The talks collapse three days later and Corsi shares a draft copy of the plea agreement with CNN, as well as other news outlets. He is being investigated as a possible intermediary between Stone and WikiLeaks.
November 26, 2018 – In a court filing, prosecutors allege that Manafort violated his plea agreement and committed further crimes by lying to the FBI. Defense attorneys argue that they do not agree with the special counsel’s portrayal of their client. Both sides recommend that the case proceed to the sentencing phase. In Wisconsin, Papadapolous reports to federal prison, beginning his 14-day sentence for lying to investigators.
November 27, 2018 – Giuliani tells the New York Times that one of Manafort’s attorneys, Kevin Downing shared information with members of Trump’s legal team after the plea agreement was signed in September.
November 29, 2018 – Cohen pleads guilty to lying to Congress and signs an agreement to cooperate with Mueller’s team. In court filings, prosecutors say Cohen misled lawmakers when he was questioned about a proposal for a Trump-branded tower in Moscow. Cohen talked with Trump about the project during the presidential campaign and negotiations continued through June 2016, just before the Republican National Convention, according to prosecutors. Giuliani tells CNN that there is “no contradiction” between Cohen’s timeline and the president’s written answers to questions from Mueller. Later in the day, Buzzfeed reports Cohen told a press secretary at the Kremlin that the Moscow tower project included a $50 million penthouse for Putin.
December 7, 2018 – Court filings released by Mueller and federal prosecutors relating to Cohen and Manafort detail the alleged lies both men told both publicly and to the special counsel’s investigators. For the first time, prosecutors endorse Cohen’s statements that Trump himself directed Cohen to make payments designed to silence women who claimed affairs with Trump. Separately, Manafort is alleged to have lied after agreeing to cooperate with prosecutors, including his “contact with administration officials.” Despite the revelations in the filings, Trump tweets after their release, “Totally clears the President. Thank you!”
January 11, 2019 – The New York Times reports that shortly after Trump fired Comey, the FBI opened an investigation into whether Trump “had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests,” citing former law enforcement officials and others the paper said were familiar with the probe. A source familiar with the matter corroborated the information in speaking to CNN.
January 25, 2019 – Stone is arrested and indicted on seven counts: one count of obstruction of an official proceeding, five counts of false statements and one count of witness tampering. After he makes an initial appearance at a federal courthouse in Florida, he tells a crowd assembled outside that he has been falsely accused and he believes the charges are politically motivated. He says he will not testify against Trump. Protestors in the crowd chant, “Lock him up.”
February 13, 2019 – After Federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson finds that Manafort “intentionally” lied to Mueller’s office and “made multiple false statements to the FBI, the special counsel and the grand jury concerning matters that were material to the Russia investigation,’ she voids his plea deal.
February 19, 2019 – Former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe tells CNN’s Anderson Cooper he feels its possible Trump could be a Russian asset. “I think it’s possible,” McCabe says. “I think that’s why we started our investigation and I’m really anxious to see where Mueller concludes that.”
February 21, 2019 – Jackson restricts Stone’s ability to speak publicly about his case after he publishes an Instagram post with what appears to be the crosshairs of a gun drawn behind her head.
February 26-28, 2019 – Cohen testifies before three congressional committees: the Senate Intelligence Committee, the House Oversight Committee and the House Intelligence Committee. The two intelligence sessions are behind closed doors but the oversight hearing is televised. In prepared remarks, Cohen describes Trump as a “racist,” a “conman” and a “cheat.” He provides the committee with a copy of a personal check from Trump, dated August 2017, a partial reimbursement for Cohen’s purported hush money payment to an adult film actress claiming she had an affair with the mogul. Two Republicans accuse Cohen of perjury and later make a criminal referral to the Justice Department, calling for an investigation into allegedly false statements.
March 7, 2019 – Manafort is sentenced to 47 months in prison for financial fraud convictions stemming from Mueller’s investigation, though the crimes did not relate directly to Manafort’s work as Trump’s 2016 campaign chairman.
March 22, 2019 – Mueller ends his investigation and delivers his report to Attorney General William Barr. A senior Justice Department official tells CNN that there will be no further indictments.
March 24, 2019 – Barr releases a letter summarizing the principal conclusions from Mueller’s investigation. According to Barr’s four-page letter, the evidence was not sufficient to establish that members Trump’s campaign tacitly engaged in a criminal conspiracy with the Russian government to interfere with the election. Barr explains that Mueller did not reach a conclusion on whether the president committed a criminal obstruction of justice offense. While Mueller declined to prosecute Trump, the report “does not exonerate” the president, according to Barr. Ultimately, the attorney general and Rosenstein made a determination that the evidence was not sufficient to charge the president with obstruction, Barr writes.
March 25, 2019 – Mueller writes a letter to Barr in response to the attorney general’s summary of the special counsel’s report. The letter contains an introduction and executive summaries marked with redactions for public release.
March 27, 2019 – Mueller writes a second letter to Barr. In the note, Mueller asks the attorney general to release the special counsel team’s redacted summaries of the report’s findings. “The summary letter the Department sent to Congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March 24 did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this Office’s work and conclusions,” Mueller writes in the letter, which is later released to the public.
March 31, 2019 – Barr sends another letter to Congress, declaring that his March 24 letter was being inaccurately characterized by the media as a “summary” of Mueller’s report. “My letter was not, and did not purport to be, an exhaustive recounting of the Special Counsel’s investigation or report,” Barr writes.
April 10, 2019 – During a congressional hearing, Barr says he plans to look into the origins of the FBI’s counterintelligence probe, declaring he suspects that spying on the campaign had occurred. Barr does not provide evidence to support the allegation. A source familiar with Barr’s thinking later tells CNN the attorney general used the word “spy” as a general term for intelligence gathering.
April 18, 2019 – A redacted version of Mueller’s report is released. The first part of the 448-page document details the evidence gathered by Mueller’s team on potential conspiracy crimes and explains their decisions not to charge individuals associated with the campaign. The second part of the report outlines ten episodes involving possible obstruction of justice by the president. According to the report, Mueller’s decision not to charge Trump was rooted in Justice Department guidelines prohibiting the indictment of a sitting president. Mueller writes that he would have cleared Trump if the evidence warranted exoneration.”If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state,” Mueller writes. “Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment.”
May 1, 2019 – Barr is questioned about his handling of the report during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. The attorney general explains his reasoning for declining to pursue an obstruction of justice charge against Trump. “I didn’t exonerate,” Barr says. “I said that we did not believe that there was sufficient evidence to establish an obstruction offense which is the job of the Justice Department.”
May 2, 2019 – Barr declines to participate in a previously scheduled House Judiciary Committee hearing on the Mueller report. The attorney general skips the appearance amid a dispute with Democrats over their decision to have staff attorneys question him rather than members of Congress.
May 29, 2019 – Mueller delivers a public statement, declaring that charging the president with a criminal offense was not a constitutional option. He says the special counsel’s office is closing and he is returning to private life. Mueller says he hopes his public statement and his written report are sufficient. “It’s important the office’s written work speaks for itself,” Mueller says. “The report is my testimony.”
July 24, 2019 – Mueller testifies before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees, answering questions about the content of his report. Mueller says he did not make a decision on whether the indict Trump because of Justice Department guidance that bars prosecutors from indicting a sitting president. Mueller defends not subpoenaing the President because of the prolonged process to fight over it. But asked if anyone tried to stop it, Mueller makes clear they could have subpoenaed if they wanted to.