A timeline of what Trump was saying about Russia at key moments in the Manafort saga.

What Trump Was Saying About Russia at Key Moments in the Manafort Saga: a Timeline

What Trump Was Saying About Russia at Key Moments in the Manafort Saga: a Timeline

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Nov. 2 2017 3:44 PM

What Trump Was Saying About Russia at Key Moments in the Manafort Saga

The full timeline.

USA-ELECTION/
In retrospect, some of these may be pretty telling.

Rick Wilking

At the same time that members of the Trump campaign were allegedly in contact with representatives of the Russian government, as detailed in part in this week’s indictments of Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, and George Papadopoulos, Donald Trump himself was quite vocal about Russia. Some of these public statements might be useful to investigators. The following is a timeline of key moments in the investigation and how they overlap with what Trump was saying publicly, privately, and on Twitter at the time.

FEBRUARY–APRIL 2016

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Mid-February
Paul Manafort, a veteran political consultant with ties to pro-Russian Ukrainian politicians, meets with longtime Trump friend Thomas J. Barrack at the Montage hotel in Beverly Hills, California, reportedly to discuss joining the campaign.

Feb. 17

What Trump was saying: “I have no relationship with [Putin] other than he called me a genius,” Trump says at a rally.

Feb. 28

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What Trump was saying: Trump says at a campaign rally that Putin has been “very nice” to him.

Feb. 29
Manafort writes a series of memos pitching himself to join the campaign. Trump reportedly asks for a one-on-one meeting with him.

March
Sometime in March, Manafort gets a $3.2 million bank loan, which he allegedly acquired through fraudulent representations according to the special counsel’s investigation. According to a report later released by the office of the director of national intelligence: “The General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) probably began cyber operations aimed at the US election by March 2016.”

March 14
George Papadopoulos, who had recently joined the campaign as an unpaid foreign policy adviser, meets a London professor while traveling in Italy who says he has connections to Russia.

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March 19
Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta apparently falls for a Russian email phishing scam. It’s later revealed that his emails have been hacked by the Russians.

March 21

What Trump was saying: At the Old Post Office Building, Trump again says “Putin says very nice things about me.” At this point in the timeline, Trump starts consistently repeating talking points about NATO’s uselessness, many of them new. He tells CNN that “we’re taking care of, as an example, the Ukraine,” and says “if you use Ukraine as an example, and that’s a great example, the countries surrounding Ukraine, they don’t seem to care about it as much as we do.” He tells the Washington Post roughly the same thing in an editorial board interview where he also lists Papadopoulos as part of his foreign policy team and describes him as “an excellent guy.”

March 24
Papadopoulos meets with the professor in London as well as a Russian national who’s introduced as a niece of Vladimir Putin. He emails his campaign supervisor, former Trump national co-chairman Sam Clovis, to tell him about the meeting. Clovis responds “Great work.” According to the Washington Post, Clovis responds to a proposal for a meeting between Trump and Putin this way: “We thought we probably should not go forward with any meeting with the Russians until we have had occasion to sit with our NATO allies.”

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March 26

What Trump was saying: “I think NATO is obsolete,” Trump tells the New York Times editorial board. Trump describes this as a new stance that he hadn’t discussed before “because until recently I’ve been an entrepreneur, I’ve been a very successful entrepreneur as opposed to a politician.”

When NATO was formed many decades ago we were a different country. There was a different threat. Soviet Union was, the Soviet Union, not Russia, which was much bigger than Russia, as you know. And, it was certainly much more powerful than even today’s Russia. …. And one of the things that I hated seeing is Ukraine. Now I’m all for Ukraine, I have friends that live in Ukraine, but it didn’t seem to me, when the Ukrainian problem arose, you know, not so long ago, and we were, and Russia was getting very confrontational, it didn’t seem to me like anyone else cared other than us. And we are the least affected by what happens with Ukraine because we’re the farthest away. …. It doesn’t seem fair and it doesn’t seem logical.

March 28
It is first reported that Paul Manafort has been hired to manage the campaign’s “delegate process.”

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What Trump was saying:

“NATO is very obsolete,” Trump tells Fox News. Trump says the organization needs to be “reconstituted.” “We’re dealing with NATO from the days of the Soviet Union, which no longer exists,” he says. In response to a question from radio host Michael Savage about Hillary Clinton, Trump immediately changes the subject to NATO. “I’ve awakened people as to NATO. And it is obsolete,” he says. “We’re spending too much money and it should be rejiggered or redone.” Savage responds: “I agree with you but let’s talk about Hillary Clinton.”

March 29

What Trump was saying: “The other thing that’s bad about NATO, we’re paying too much,” Trump tells a CNN town hall.

March 31
Trump holds a meeting of his foreign policy team that includes Papadopoulos and then-Sen. Jeff Sessions, his top adviser on national security. Papadopoulos is said to tell the group that he has connections to Putin and might be able to set up a meeting. According to a person in the room, Trump did not reject the meeting idea out of hand. Sessions, reportedly, vigorously shut the idea down. This runs contrary to sworn testimony Sessions later gave about lack of knowledge of contact between Trump surrogates and Russians. Trump tweets a photo of the meeting.

April
According to the Post, Manafort was at this time emailing Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian–Ukrainian political operative and former Manafort employee, about a figure thought to be close Putin ally Oleg Deripaska. According to court documents filed by Deripaska in the Cayman Islands, the oligarch had paid Manafort $7.5 million to manage a large investment. The document also said that $19 million Deripaska had given Manafort was unaccounted for and that he wanted the money back. From the Post’s later reporting about the emails between Manafort and Kilimnik:

In one April exchange days after Trump named Manafort as a campaign strategist, Manafort referred to his positive press and growing reputation and asked, “How do we use to get whole?”

April 2

What Trump was saying: Trump repeats the “obsolete” talking point on the trail and adds that he’d be OK with NATO breaking up.

April 7
This is the date that former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski later says Manafort takes full “operational control of the campaign.”

April 8

What Trump was saying:

April 10
Papadopoulos emails the purported Putin niece. She responds the next day that she “would be very pleased to support your initiatives between our two countries.”

April 18
The London professor introduces Papadopoulos to a connection at the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

April 22
The MFA connection emails Papadopoulos proposing a meeting with him either in London or Moscow. Papadopoulos accepts.

April 26
Papadopoulos meets with the professor, who Papadopoulos later tells the FBI mentioned meetings with high-level Russian officials in Moscow. Papadopoulos says he was told: “They [the Russians] have dirt on her”; “the Russians had emails of Clinton”; “they have thousands of emails.”

What Trump was saying: “We’re going to have a great relationship with Putin and Russia,” he says during a primary night victory speech.

April 27
Papadopoulos emails a senior policy adviser and high-ranking campaign official about setting up a potential high-level meeting with the Russians. In one email, he says he has “some interesting messages coming in from Moscow.”

What Trump was saying: In his first big foreign policy speech at Washington’s Mayflower Hotel, Trump praises Russia. “We desire to live peacefully and in friendship with Russia and China,” he says. “Russia, for instance, has also seen the horror of Islamic terrorism. I believe an easing of tensions, and improved relations with Russia from a position of strength only is possible, absolutely possible. Common sense says this cycle, this horrible cycle of hostility must end and ideally will end soon. Good for both countries.”

After the speech, Trump reportedly met Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak, at a VIP reception. Sessions was there and spoke with Kislyak, seemingly contrary to sworn testimony he gave the Senate about contacts with Russians during the campaign.

April 28

What Trump was saying: “I’m saying that I’d possibly have a good relationship [with Putin]. He’s been very nice to me,” Trump tells Bill O’Reilly. “If we can make a great deal for our country and get along with Russia that would be a tremendous thing. I would love to try it.”

MAY 2016

May 4
Papadopoulos receives this email from his Russian MFA connection: “I have just talked to my colleagues from the MFA. The[y] are open for cooperation. One of the options is to make a meeting for you at the North America Desk, if you are in Moscow.” He forwards it to an official, who is reportedly Corey Lewandowski.

May 5
Papadopoulos talks to Clovis over the phone and, afterward, forwards him the email. Clovis reportedly responds to the email: “There are legal issues we need to mitigate, meeting with foreign officials as a private citizen.” Conversations between Papadopoulos and his various Russian intermediaries continue the following week.

What Trump was saying: Fox News’ Bret Baier asks Trump if he’s ever spoken with Putin, and the candidate is coy. “I don’t want to comment because, let’s assume I did. Perhaps it was personal. You know, I don’t want to hurt his confidence. But I know Russia well. I had a major event in Russia two or three years ago—Miss Universe contest—which is a big, incredible event, and incredible success. I got to meet a lot of people. And you know what? They want to be friendly with the United States. Wouldn’t it be nice if we actually got [along] with somebody?”

While discussing ISIS, Trump says: “If Russia wants to help us—when they were dropping bombs on ISIS and I heard different people like Lindsey Graham getting upset that Russia is involved, I said ‘why, is it wrong.’ I mean whoever wants to get involved we should get them involved.”

May 19–20
Manafort is promoted to campaign chairman and chief strategist.

What Trump was saying:

May 21
Papadopoulos forwards the May 4 “cooperation” email, along with another request to set up a meeting between the Russians and Trump, to an official who the Post reports to be Manafort. The newly minted campaign chairman eventually forwards the email to his deputy, Rick Gates, stating: “We need someone to communicate that DT is not doing these trips. It should be someone low level in the campaign so as not to send any signal.”

May 22

What Trump was saying:

JUNE 2016

June 3
Rob Goldstone emails Donald Trump Jr., a political adviser to his father, offering “very high level and sensitive information” that would “incriminate Hillary” as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” Trump Jr. responds: “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.” Trump Jr. eventually sets up a meeting that includes Manafort and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.

What Trump was saying: Wouldn’t it be nice if we actually got along with Russia? Wouldn’t that be good?” the candidate says at an event in California. He also ridicules those who would have him “disavow” Putin’s compliment of Trump.

June 6
Trump Jr. has a phone call with Azerbaijani–Russian singer and businessman Emin Agalarov, apparently to discuss the upcoming meeting with a Russian lawyer.

What Trump was saying:

June 7
Trump Jr. sets up the meeting and tells the Russian contingent that it is to include Manafort.

What Trump was saying: “I am going to give a major speech on probably Monday of next week, and we’re going to be discussing all of the things that have taken place with the Clintons,” Trump says during a primary night victory speech. “I think you’re going to find it very informative and very, very interesting. I wonder if the press will want to attend, who knows.

June 9
Trump Jr., Kushner, and Manafort attend the meeting. Trump Jr. later says no useful information was offered.

What Trump was saying:

At around the time the speech was supposed to have wrapped up, Trump sends this message:

June 13

What Trump was saying: After the Orlando nightclub attack, Trump gives his speech but says he’s shifting the theme from Clinton’s corruption to terrorism.

June 14
The New York Times reports for the first time that the Democratic National Committee’s computer server had been hacked a year earlier by government-sponsored Russian hackers who gained access to email files.

June 15
Hacker Guccifer 2.0 posts some of the content from the stolen emails online.

What Trump was saying: “Too bad the D.N.C. doesn’t hack Crooked Hillary’s 33,000 missing emails,” the candidate says in a statement.

June 19
After further conversations with his intermediaries, Papadopoulos offers the campaign to himself take an “off the record” trip to Moscow if Trump can’t make it.

June 20
Lewandowski is fired and Manafort is placed firmly in charge.

JULY 2016

July 7
Manafort reportedly offered through an intermediary over email to “accommodate” a “private briefing”—presumably with Manafort or another campaign figure—to Deripaska.

Also July 7
Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page gives a speech in Moscow. Yahoo News later reports that, during his trip, Page allegedly met with Putin ally and former Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin.

July 8

What Trump was saying:

July 18
The Washington Post reports that the Trump campaign had allegedly worked behind the scenes at the Republican National Convention to remove language from the party platform about arming the Ukrainian government to fight Russian-backed separatists.

July 20
Sessions and Page each reportedly spoke with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at a luncheon during the RNC in Cleveland.

What Trump was saying: During an interview with the New York Times, Trump says that support of NATO allies in the face of Russian aggression would be conditional.

July 22
On the eve of the Democratic National Convention, WikiLeaks publishes 20,000 hacked DNC emails.

July 24
Donald Trump Jr., who had been previously been offered help by the Russians and enthusiastically embraced the possibility, calls it a “disgusting” lie for Clinton’s campaign to suggest that the Russians might be trying to help his father’s campaign. “It’s so phony,” he says. “I can’t think of bigger lies. But that exactly goes to show you what the DNC and what the Clinton camp will do. They will lie and do anything to win.”

July 25

What Trump was saying:

July 27
Manafort denies any connections to the Russian government and says it’s “absurd” to suggest they might be working to help Trump. This last statement was contradicted by emails he had received from Trump Jr. and Papadopoulos.

What Trump was saying: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” the candidate says in a press conference. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.” At the same news conference, he says: “I never met Putin. I don’t know who Putin is. He said one nice thing about me. He said I’m a genius. I said thank you very much to the newspaper and that was the end of it. I never met Putin.” He added that he would rather have a “friendly Russia” under a Trump administration. At a rally later in Scranton, Pennsylvania, he says “wouldn’t it be a great thing if we could get along with Russia.” He also tells a local Miami CBS affiliate: “I have nothing to do with Russia, nothing to do, I never met Putin, I have nothing to do with Russia whatsoever.”

July 29
According to the Post, Kilimnik tells Manafort he had spoken with the person “who gave you the biggest black caviar jar several years ago.” The Post reported that investigators believed this was another reference to Deripaska. Kilimnik and Manfort agree to meet in New York.

July 31

What Trump was saying: Trump tells ABC that Putin, who had already invaded the Crimea, was “not going into Ukraine.”

AUGUST 2016

Aug. 1

What Trump was saying:

Aug. 2
Manafort and Kilimnik meet at the Grand Havana Club in New York to discuss “caviar.”

Aug. 14
The New York Times reports that a secret handwritten ledger “show $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments designated for Mr. Manafort from [former president Viktor F.] Yanukovych’s pro-Russian political party from 2007 to 2012.”

A campaign official, apparently Clovis, writes to Papadopoulos about the Russia trip saying: “I would encourage you” to make the trip “if it is feasible.” However, the trip does not happen.

Aug. 15

What Trump was saying: Trump says he no longer views NATO as obsolete, citing the creation of a new division focused on terrorism.

Aug. 16:
According to special counsel Robert Mueller’s eventual indictment, Gates allegedly communicates false talking points to a company that he and Manafort had allegedly worked with, on behalf of Yanukovych’s party, instructing them to downplay that work.

Aug. 17
The Associated Press reports that Manafort and Gates used two companies to mask their work on behalf of Yanukovych’s party. The Times of London also reports that Manafort received more than $12 million for his work.

Aug. 19
Manafort resigns from the Trump campaign, and Steve Bannon is named the campaign’s chief executive.

What Trump was saying:

OCTOBER 2016

Oct. 5

What Trump was saying: “I don’t love, I don’t hate,” Trump says about Putin at a rally. “We’ll see how it works. We’ll see. Maybe we’ll have a good relationship. Maybe we’ll have a horrible relationship. Maybe we’ll have a relationship right in the middle.”

Oct. 8
On the same day as the release of a tape in which Trump bragged about sexual assault, the Obama administration formally accused Russia of the DNC hack. Within hours, WikiLeaks releases emails hacked from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.

Oct. 9

What Trump was saying: At the presidential debate, Trump says: “I don’t know Putin. I think it would be great if we got along with Russia because we could fight ISIS together, as an example. But I don’t know Putin.”

NOVEMBER–DECEMBER 2016

Nov. 8
Donald Trump is elected president.

Nov. 23
Through their attorney, Manafort and Gates send federal investigators an allegedly false Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) submission related to their work on behalf of Yanukovych’s pro-Russian political party. Filing a false statement is a crime and these charges are later included in the Mueller indictment.

What Trump was saying: In a question-and-answer session with the political staff of the New York Times, the president-elect discusses Russia: “I think—I would love to be able to get along with Russia and I think they’d like to be able to get along with us. It’s in our mutual interest.”

Dec. 28

What Trump was saying: “I think we ought to get on with our lives,” the president-elect says about the prospect of impending sanctions by the Obama administration over Russian interference in the election.

Dec. 29
Obama announces sanctions. Trump adviser Michael Flynn speaks with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak over the phone and reportedly discusses the new measures.

Dec. 30

In Russia: Vladimir Putin announces there will be no immediate retaliation for the sanctions.

What Trump was saying:

JANUARY 2017

Jan. 3
In an interview with Sean Hannity, WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange says Russia was not his source.

What Trump was saying:

Jan. 4
Michael Flynn tells the Trump transition team that he’s under investigation for unreported lobbying work he did during the campaign.

What Trump was saying:

Jan. 5
NBC reports details of the intelligence briefing about Russia Obama received and Trump was set to receive. It included the news that “intelligence picked up senior Russian officials celebrating Donald Trump’s win.”

What Trump was saying:

Jan. 6
Trump is given the intelligence briefing at Trump Tower by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, FBI Director James Comey, and CIA Director John Brennan. Comey later testifies that he personally took Trump aside to tell him about some of the more personal accusations in a dossier financed by Trump political opponents that contains allegations against him personally and his campaign. Comey says he reassured the president that this material was not what the FBI was currently after. A declassified report is also released by Clapper accusing Russia of beginning its “cyber operations aimed at the US election by March 2016.”

What Trump was saying:

“[T]here was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election including the fact that there was no tampering whatsoever with voting machines,” Trump says in a statement. Trump discusses Russia in an interview with the New York Times: “China, relatively recently, hacked 20 million government names,” he said, referring to the breach of computers at the Office of Personnel Management in late 2014 and early 2015. “How come nobody even talks about that? This is a political witch hunt.”

Jan. 10
BuzzFeed publishes the Steele dossier, which contains allegations of connections between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Jan. 11

What Trump was saying: In a news conference, Trump acknowledges for the first time that Russia was behind the election hacks: “[Putin] should not be doing it. He won’t be doing it. Russia will have much greater respect for our country when I am leading it than when other people have led it.” He added: “Do you honestly believe Hillary would be tougher on Putin than me?”

Jan. 13

What Trump was saying:

Jan. 24
Michael Flynn, who had been named national security adviser, is interviewed by the FBI and reportedly lies about his December conversation, repeating statements he had made publicly and that had been repeated by Vice President Mike Pence.

Jan. 26
Acting Attorney General Sally Yates warns the White House that Flynn’s public lies could lead him vulnerable to Russian blackmail.

Jan. 27
Papadopoulos is interviewed by the FBI. He later pleads guilty to lying to investigators during the meeting about his work on behalf of the campaign and connection to Russians.

James Comey is invited to the White House for a private dinner that he says he had believed was going to be attended by other guests. Comey, in contemporaneous notes and sworn testimony before Congress, says the president asked for his “loyalty” during this dinner. Trump later denies this.

Jan. 28–29
Trump has his first official phone call with Vladimir Putin as president.

What Trump was saying:

Jan. 30
Acting AG Yates is fired, ostensibly over her refusal to defend in court the first Muslim ban. The travel ban is later blocked by a series of federal courts.

FEBRUARY 2017

Feb. 6

What Trump was saying: When Bill O’Reilly calls Putin a killer during an interview, Trump defends his Russian counterpart. “There are a lot of killers,” the president says. “Do you think our country is so innocent?”

Feb. 10
Gates and Manafort submit another allegedly false FARA form.

Feb. 12
Carter Page issues a memo denying he was in regular contact with Russian officials.

Feb. 13
Michael Flynn resigns amidst reporting about his lies to Pence.

Feb. 14
ABC News reports that Trump associates were under investigation in the lead-up to the election for Russian contacts.

According to Comey’s contemporaneous notes and sworn testimony, Trump clears the Oval Office to have a private conversation with Comey and encourages Comey to drop the Flynn investigation. Trump later denies all of this.

Feb. 15

What Trump was saying: “From intelligence, papers are being leaked, things are being leaked,” Trump says at a White House news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “It’s a criminal action, criminal act, and it’s been going on for a long time before me, but now it’s really going on. And people are trying to cover up for a terrible loss that the Democrats had under Hillary Clinton.” Trump blames the leaks for Flynn’s departure: “[Flynn has] been treated very, very unfairly by the media,” undercut by “documents and papers that were illegally—I’d stress that, illegally—leaked.”

Feb. 16
Papadopoulos is interviewed again by the FBI.

What Trump was saying: “And I can tell you, speaking for myself, I own nothing in Russia. I have no loans in Russia. I don’t have any deals in Russia. President Putin called me up very nicely to congratulate me on the win of the election,” Trump says during a news conference. “I would love to be able to get along with Russia. Now, you’ve had a lot of presidents that haven’t taken that tack. Look where we are now. Look where we are now. So, if I can—now, I love to negotiate things, I do it really well, and all that stuff. But—but it’s possible I won’t be able to get along with Putin.”

Feb. 17
Papadopoulos deactivates his Facebook account, which has information about his interactions with alleged Russian intermediaries.

Feb. 23
Papadopoulos stops using his old cellphone and starts using a new number.

Reporting that Manafort’s daughter had her phone hacked suggests he faced blackmail threats.

CNN reports that the FBI refused to fulfill requests from the White House to deny reporting about the investigation.

Feb. 24

What Trump was saying:

MARCH 2017

March 2
Jeff Sessions recuses himself from the Russia investigation after contacts with Russians during the campaign emerge, which seem to contradict sworn Senate testimony. James Comey later testifies: “He was very close to and inevitably going to recuse himself for a variety of reasons. We also were aware of facts [in mid-February] that I can’t discuss in an open setting that would make his continued engagement in a Russia-related investigation problematic.”

What Trump was saying:

March 20
James Comey testifies before Congress, confirming that the FBI was investigating possible links between the Trump campaign and Russia.

What Trump was saying:

March 22
The Associated Press reports that Manafort was allegedly paid millions of dollars by Oleg Deripaska to promote Vladimir Putin’s interests in the United States.

According to a later Washington Post report that senior officials refused to deny under oath, President Donald Trump cleared the Oval Office and asked Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats and CIA Director Mike Pompeo to intervene with Comey to get him to back off of his investigation of Flynn. He allegedly followed this up with a phone call making a similar request. CNN later reports: “The FBI has information that indicates associates of President Donald Trump communicated with suspected Russian operatives to possibly coordinate the release of information damaging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign.”

March 23

What Trump was saying:

March 30
It is reported that Flynn is seeking immunity.

March 31

What Trump was saying:

MAY 2017

May 3
Comey testifies before Congress that it made him “mildly nauseous” to think his actions in discussing the Clinton email investigation during the election might have swayed the race. He does not knock down reports that the FBI is investigating the Trump campaign or state that Trump is not personally under investigation.

May 4–7
Over the long weekend, Trump reportedly decides to fire Comey. According to the New York Times, Stephen Miller drafts a letter of Trump’s reasons for the firing.

What Trump was saying:

May 8
Comey asks for funds to continue the investigation. Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Sally Yates testify before Congress.

What Trump was saying:

May 9
Comey is fired. The justification is that he mishandled the announcement of the Clinton email investigation. This is later contradicted by Trump in a national interview in which he specifically attributes the decision to the Russia investigation.

May 10
Trump meets with top Russian officials in the oval office. He reportedly tells them: “I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job. … I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off …. I’m not under investigation.” Trump also gives the Russians classified intelligence that reportedly unmasks an Israeli spy. (Russia is an ally of Israel’s rival, Iran.)

May 11

What Trump was saying:

May 15
Reports of Trump’s intelligence leak break.

May 16
Reports of the substance of Trump’s meetings with Comey as documented by contemporaneous memos break.

What Trump was saying:

May 17
Robert Mueller is appointed special counsel by the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who took over the Russia investigation after Sessions’ recusal.

What Trump was saying:

The New York Times later reported that, according to current and former administration officials and others briefed on the matter, Trump became infuriated with Sessions, berated him in an Oval Office meeting, accused him of “disloyalty,” unleashed a string of insults at him, and told Sessions he should resign. When the attorney general tendered a resignation letter, reportedly Trump did not accept it on the advice of senior officials.

May 18

What Trump was saying:

JULY-AUGUST 2017

July 7
Trump has two meetings with Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, one disclosed one that lasts more than two hours and one initially undisclosed one that lasts an additional hour.

What Trump was saying:

July 8
The Trump Jr. meeting story breaks. Trump Jr. puts out a misleading statement about the meeting’s purpose. It’s later reported that Trump allegedly dictated the statement himself on Air Force One.

July 9
The New York Times reports that Trump Jr. was promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton in the meeting, contrary to his initial description. Trump Jr. revises the description.

What Trump was saying:

July 10
The Times reports that the emails Trump Jr. received included an explicit offer for help on behalf of the Russians.

What Trump was saying (or retweeting):

July 11
After the Times acquires the emails and requests comment, Trump Jr. tweets them out himself.

What Trump was saying:

July 12

What Trump was saying (or retweeting): On Air Force One he describes his 39-year-old son as “a good boy.”

July 24
Trump son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner testifies before Congress about campaign contacts with foreign persons and other issues related to the investigation.

What Trump was saying:

July 25
Manafort testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee and turns over notes on the Trump Jr. meeting.

What Trump was saying:

July 26
Manafort’s home in Virginia is searched by the FBI in a pre-dawn raid.

What Trump was saying:

July 27
Papadopoulos is arrested at Dulles International Airport in Virginia.

What Trump was saying:

August
According to court documents filed by Manafort’s legal team, Manafort was made aware he was going to be indicted.

Aug. 14
Citing more than a half-dozen current and former officials, Politico publishes a report saying that as early as 2014, “the Kremlin was building a disinformation arm that could be used to interfere in Western democracies.”

The report, according to an official familiar with it, included a quote from the Russian source telling U.S. officials in Moscow, ”You have no idea how extensive these networks are in Europe ... and in the U.S., Russia has penetrated media organizations, lobbying firms, political parties, governments and militaries in all of these places.”

Aug. 15

What Trump was saying:

Aug. 24
Former DNI James Clapper questions Trump’s fitness for office following his response to the Charlottesville white supremacist rallies.

What Trump was saying:

SEPTEMBER–OCTOBER 2017

Sept. 19
CNN reports that Manafort was wiretapped.

Oct. 5
Papadopoulos admits to lying to investigators about his interactions with Russian intermediaries on behalf of the campaign and pleads guilty to charges stemming from these interviews.

Oct. 30
Papadopoulos’ statement of the offense is unsealed. The indictments against Manafort and Gates are made public. They are charged with a series of offenses related to unregistered lobbying work they did on behalf of Yanukovych’s pro-Russian political party before joining Trump’s campaign. The charges include the alleged laundering of millions of dollars in payments from the party, and the indictment describes tax evasion.

What Trump was saying:

Oct. 31

What Trump was saying:

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