This serves to update a prior timeline regarding the Trump/Flynn saga adding in elements associated with Trump’s firing today of FBI Director Comey. It’s a bit of a read, but a careful reading of it is very disturbing.
July 2012: Pursuant to Obama appointment Flynn becomes the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.
April 2014: Flynn announces retirement as Director of the DIA about a year earlier than expected. Reports indicate he was forced out due to an abusive management style.
August 2014: Flynn retires from the military. He and his son subsequently set up the Flynn Intel Group, a consulting firm providing intelligence services for business and governments.
December 2015: Flynn is paid $45,000 to speak at a gala dinner for Russia Today, an often virulently anti-American propaganda arm of the Russian government. Flynn is a guest of honor sitting at the same table as the Chief RT Editor and Putin. Afterwards, Flynn continues to make semi-regular appearances on RT as a guest commentator often favoring closer American cooperation with Russia. In 2015 Flynn also received over $11,000 in payment from a Russian cybersecurity company in 2015 that U.S. intelligence experts believe is involved Russian espionage.
February 2016: Flynn becomes an adviser to the Trump Campaign.
Late May 2016: Trump clinches enough delegates to secure the Republican nomination.
June 9, 2016: Donald Trump’s son, Donald Trump, Jr., meets with a Russian lawyer. The person who helped set up the meeting, Rob Goldstone, told Trump Jr., in an email that the Russian government wanted to provide him damaging information on Hillary Clinton to help his father’s campaign. Trump Jr., attended the meeting anyway. He originally failed to include the meeting in his security clearance disclosure form but later amended it to include the existence of the meeting. As news of the meeting began to leak, Trump Jr. originally claimed the meeting was solely about assisting Russian orphans. The next day he admitted he had been enticed to the meeting by promises of dirt on Hillary Clinton but claimed the Russian attorney had none and was really there to discuss Russian orphans. Trump Jr. would later repeatedly deny having any meeting with Russians that were set up, or represented the campaign in anyway (see below).
June 9, 2016: Later in the day after his son met with the Russian lawyer Donald Trump tweets to Hillary Clinton: “Where are your 33,000 emails that you deleted?”
July 2016: It is reported that Flynn is one of those being considered as Trump’s Vice-Presidential candidate. Flynn later confirms he submitted vetting documents to the campaign for the potential appointment.
July 2016: Carter Page travels to Russia where it is believed he had meeting with high ranking Russian officials that he did not disclose. The nature of those meetings remain under investigation by the FBI and Department of Justice.
July 18, 2016: Flynn is a keynote speaker at the Republican National Convention, delivering a fiery speech and leading a chant to “lock her up” in regards to Hillary Clinton.
July 19, 2016: Donald Trump is formally made the Republican nominee for President.
July 22, 2016: In a Florida press conference Donald Trump states: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.”
July 23, 2016: Flynn retweets an anti-semitic tweet. He later apologizes.
July 24, 2016: Donald Trump Jr. appears on CNN’s “State of the Union” and strongly attacks the “moral compass” of anyone suggesting the Russians sought to help the Trump campaign, calling such assertions “lie after lie.” He apparently did not remember his meeting just the month before set up for exactly that purpose.
September 2016: Flynn’s consulting company is hired by a company owned by the Chair of the Turkish-American Business Council, which is an arm of the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey, to do lobbying work. Flynn’s company is paid over $500,000. This makes Flynn a foreign agent but he does not register as one as required by law.
November 10, 2016: In a post-election meeting President Obama warns President-elect Trump against hiring Flynn.
November 11, 2016: Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks flatly and broadly denies any foreign contacts at all during the Trump campaign. She sweepingly stated “It never happened. There was no communication between the campaign and any foreign entity during the campaign.” This broad denial has been disproven many times over as the list of proven Trump campaign officials who met with Russians is now known to include Donald Trump Jr., Jeff Sessions, Paul Manafort, Page Carter, Roger Stone and Michael Flynn.
November 18, 2016: Ignoring Obama’s warning, Trump offers and Flynn accepts to serve as National Security Advisor in the new administration.
December 18, 2016: Kellyanne Conway appears on “Face the Nation” and flatly denies any contacts by the Trump campaign with any Russians seeking to meddle in the campaign, going so far as to declare any such claims “undermine our democracy.” [Edited to eliminate interruptions but not substantive content].
JOHN DICKERSON: Did anyone involved in the Trump campaign have any contact with Russians trying to meddle with the election?
KELLYANNE CONWAY: Absolutely not. And I discussed that with the president-elect just last night. Those conversations never happened. I hear people saying it like it’s a fact on television. That is just not only inaccurate and false, but it’s dangerous. And — and it does undermine our democracy.
Conway’s broad denial is now known to be false because of Trump Jr.’s June 9, 2016 meeting with Russians set up with the promise of damaging information on Hillary Clinton to be provided because the Russian government wanted to help his father’s campaign.
December 28 2016: As rumors of sanctions swirled, Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak contacted Flynn and they discussed Russian sanctions under a Trump administration. Flynn later denied the conversation even happened. Then he denied it discussed sanctions. Both were lies, the call was recorded because Kislyak, being a Russian spy, was under United States surveillance.
December 29 2016: In response to Russian hacking of the DNC, and other meddling in the U.S. election, Obama imposes sanctions on Russia that included expelling 35 Russian diplomats. A Russian response is expected. That day Flynn has at least five more calls with Sergey Kislyak aimed at muting the expected Russian retaliation. Once again, Flynn later denied the conversations even happened. Then he denied they discussed sanctions. Both were lies, the calls were recorded because Kislyak, being a Russian spy, was under United States surveillance. These calls arguably violated the Logan Act.
December 30, 2016: Putin announces (surprisingly at the time) that there will be no Russian retaliation for the U.S. sanctions.
December 31, 2016: Trump casts doubt on the Russia hacking story accepted by U.S. intelligence stating “it could be somebody else.” Over the next week Trump continues to cast aspersions at U.S. intelligence conclusions regarding the Russia hacking at one point stating in a Tweet that it might have been done by a 14 year old.
January 11, 2017: Trump is directly asked in a press conference the following question. “Can you stand here today, once and for all, and say that no one connected to you or your campaign had any contact with Russia leading up to or during the presidential campaign?” Trump directly answers “no.” We now know this denial was false because Trump’s son would later admit he met with Russians on June 9, 2016 in a meeting where he was enticed to go by promises of dirt from the Russian government on Hillary Clinton.
January 12, 2017: The Washington Post breaks the story of the late December phone calls between Flynn and Kislyak.
January 13, 2017: Trump tells the Wall Street Journal he is open to lifting the sanctions against Russia. Sean Spicer is asked about the WaPo article and says there was but one call between Flynn and Kislyak, on the 28th of December, that was merely an exchange of Christmas greetings and logistical coordination for an upcoming call with President-elect Trump.
January 15, 2017: Vice President-elect Mike Pence appears on Face the Nation to strongly deny that sanctions had ever been discussed, in what Pence claimed was the one and only one call between Trump and Kislyak:
MIKE PENCE: I talked to General Flynn about that conversation and actually was initiated on Christmas Day he had sent a text to the Russian ambassador to express not only Christmas wishes but sympathy for the loss of life in the airplane crash that took place. It was strictly coincidental that they had a conversation. They did not discuss anything having to do with the United States’ decision to expel diplomats or impose censure against Russia.
JOHN DICKERSON: So did they ever have a conversation about sanctions ever on those days or any other day?
MIKE PENCE: They did not have a discussion contemporaneous with U.S. actions on —
JOHN DICKERSON: But what about after —
MIKE PENCE: — my conversation with General Flynn. Well, look. General Flynn has been in touch with diplomatic leaders, security leaders in some 30 countries. That’s exactly what the incoming national security advisor —
JOHN DICKERSON: Absolutely.
MIKE PENCE: — should do. But what I can confirm, having spoken to him about it, is that those conversations that happened to occur around the time that the United States took action to expel diplomats had nothing whatsoever to do with those sanctions.
JOHN DICKERSON: But that still leaves open the possibility that there might have been other conversations about the sanctions.
MIKE PENCE: I don’t believe there were more conversations.
JOHN DICKERSON: Okay. Okay. Okay. Let’s move on. Okay. Got it —
MIKE PENCE: I can confirm those elements were not a part of that discussion.
January 20, 2017: Trump is sworn in as President.
January 22, 2017: Wall Street Journal reports Flynn is under investigation by counterintelligence officials for his communication with Russian officials.
January 24, 2017: Flynn is interviewed by the FBI. If he told the FBI the same story he previously told the Vice President, and the same story he publicly said two weeks later on February 8, then Flynn committed a felony, see e.g. 18 U.S.C. 1001.
January 26, 2017: Acting Attorney General Sally Yates gives a “forceful warning” to the White House Counsel that Flynn lied about his conversations with Russians, that he did discuss the embargo with them, and that Flynn was a significant security risk because the Russians could use those lies to blackmail him. Yates told the administration this information was being provided so appropriate action could be taken. She tells White House Counsel that two days earlier Flynn was interviewed by the FBI regarding this. White House Counsel asks how the interview went, and she declines to answer (but connect the dots).
January 27, 2017: White House Counsel meets with Yates again claiming to be perplexed why DOJ would care about members of the executive branch lying to each other. Yates again emphasizes that Flynn is a security risk. White House Counsel asks to review evidence against Flynn at DOJ. Yates says she will check to see if that can be done.
January 27, 2017: The day after Sally Yates first warned White House Counsel about Flynn Trump requests and has dinner with FBI Director Comey. During the dinner Trump demands a pledge of loyalty from Comey. Comey refuses but does promise to be honest with him. Trump will later fire Comey.
January 30, 2017: Yates has third conversation with White House Counsel regarding Flynn, advising him he can look at the evidence the DOJ has and inviting him to come over to look at it. He apparently never does. That night Trump fires Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, supposedly for refusing to defend his travel ban.
February 8, 2017: When questioned by the media, Flynn twice directly denies having any conversations regarding sanctions with Russian officials.
February 9, 2017: WaPo reports intelligence sources confirm Flynn discussed sanctions with the Russians. A Flynn spokesman now says that while Flynn “had no recollection of discussing sanctions, he couldn’t be certain that the topic never came up.”
February 10, 2017: Trump says he is unaware of any reports that Flynn discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador. White House officials declare that Flynn has Trump’s full confidence.
February 13, 2017: In an MSNBC interview, Kellyanne Conway twice emphatically declares that “General Flynn does enjoy the full confidence of the president.” A few hours later Trump requests Flynn’s resignation and gets it. The NY Times reports there are separate investigations into the payments to Flynn associated with the Russian Times gala speech.
February 14, 2017 [UPDATE]: Per a May 16 NY Times Report Trump meets with Comey and asks Comey to drop the investigation related to Flynn saying “I hope you can let this go.” The Times says Comey wrote a memo memorializing the conversation shortly after the meeting as “part of a paper trail Mr. Comey created documenting what he perceived as the president’s improper efforts to influence a continuing investigation.”
February 15, 2017: Trump describes Flynn as “a wonderful man” who was “treated very, very unfairly” by the “fake media.”
March 2, 2017: Attorney General Jeff Sessions recuses himself any decisions related to investigation of the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with Russia to interfere in our election.
March 7, 2017: Flynn files a request to retroactively be identified as a foreign agent.
March 9, 2017: Sean Spicer denies Trump knew Flynn acted as a foreign agent before hiring him (note: Obama’s warning to Trump prior to Trump’s hiring him discussed above). VP Mike Pence says the revelations are “an affirmation of the president’s decision to ask General Flynn to resign.”
March 20, 2017: FBI Director Comey testifies before Congress that the FBI is investigating possible collusion between the Trump Campaign and Russia in regards to Russian interference in the United States elections. When Senator Stalwell asks whether FBI review of Trump’s tax returns would be relevant to the investigation, Comey refuses to answer.
March 2017: Donald Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., tells the NY Times that he never met with Russians as a representative of the Trump campaign. Trump Jr. told the Times:
“Did I meet with people that were Russian? I’m sure, I’m sure I did. But none that were set up. None that I can think of at the moment. And certainly none that I was representing the campaign in any way, shape or form.”
This statement was a lie. As discussed above Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer in June. The meeting was set up in advance, and Trump Jr. was told in advance the meeting was to pass on information from the Russian government damaging to Hillary Clinton because the Russian government wanted to help his father’s campaign. When further asked if he had any discussions related to American policy Trump Jr. said “A hundred percent no.” That statement was also false. Even accepting his account of the meeting as completely true, Trump Jr. now says they discussed American policy issues that complicated Russian adoptions.
March 30, 2017: WSJ reports that Flynn has offered to testify in exchange for immunity.
March 31, 2017: Trump again defends Flynn in a tweet describing the investigations as a “witch hunt” against Flynn. The tweet also supports Flynn’s request for immunity even though with regards to the Hillary Clinton investigation Trump suggested immunity was only sought by guilty people.
April 27, 2017: The Pentagon announces an investigation into whether Flynn improperly accepted money from foreign governments without the required approval.
April 28, 2017: Attorney General Sessions specifically extends his recusal to the investigation of Flynn.
May 3, 2017: FBI Director Comey again testifies before Congress that the FBI is investigating possible collusion between the Trump Campaign and Russia in regards to Russian interference in the United States elections and that nothing has changed. When Senator Franken asks if Trump’s tax returns would be material to the investigation, Comey responds “that’s not something Senator that I’m going to answer.”
May 8, 2017: Yates testifies to Congress disclosing for first time that Flynn was interviewed by the FBI on January 24th. She also states she cannot comment how that interview went but at the time Flynn was lying to the Vice-President, Sean Spicer and to the American public about the matter. If he told those same lies to the FBI he committed a felony. Just after Yates’ testimony Trump goes on a four tweet rampage. Trump’s tweets, among other things declares “the Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax.” That would be the story the FBI Director had twice told Congress was under an active FBI investigation, the second time less than a week before.
May 9, 2017: Trump fires the FBI Director, Comey, who is investigating Trump. Trump’s termination letter claims Comey told him three times that he was not under investigation. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is involved in firing the man heading the Russia investigation despite recusing himself from decisions related to that investigation. Sessions will also be primarily responsible for finding a replacement to lead the investigation that he has supposedly recused himself from participating in. CNN Reports federal prosecutors have issued grand jury subpoenas to associates of Flynn.
May 10, 2017: Whitehouse spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders states Comey was fired because the FBI had lost confidence in him claiming “countless” members had so advised the Whitehouse.
May 10, 2017 [UPDATE]: In a meeting a group of Russians Trump states that he fired Comey because “he was crazy, a real nut job.” He also tells the Russians “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.” This representation (reported on May 19th) of the conversation reportedly comes from the White House’s own document summarizing the conversation. Sean Spicer, and others in the White House do not immediately deny it and seem to affirm it.
May 11, 2017: New Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe in sworn testimony before the Senate contradicts the Whitehouse claim of widespread disenchantment with Comey within the FBI. McCabe stating “I hold Director Comey in the absolute highest regard. I have the highest respect for his considerable abilities and his integrity” and asserting that Comey enjoyed “broad support within the FBI and still does to this day” so “the vast majority of FBI employees enjoyed a deep, positive connection to Director Comey.”
May 11, 2017: Trump contradicts repeated statements from his staff and Vice President Pence on the reasons and process behind firing Comey that Trump fired Comey based on recommendations from his Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General rooted in Comey’s handling of the Clinton investigation. In an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt Trump stated he decided to fire Comey before receiving those recommendations and cited the “Russia thing” as a reason for firing Comey.
I was going to fire Comey knowing there was no good time to do it. 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.
This is the second statement from Trump suggesting he fired Comey to stop the Russia investigation, a reason that suggests obstruction of justice.
May 12, 2017: Trump tweets “James Comey better hope that there are no “tapes” of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!” The tweets sets of a firestorm of questions of whether such tapes exist, which Trump refuses to answer for six weeks. The tweet leads to Comey leaking contents of his meetings with Trump where Trump sought a loyalty oath and for Comey to drop the Flynn investigation.
May 16, 2017: The NY Times reports that on the day after Flynn was fired Trump met with Comey and asks Comey to drop the investigation related to Flynn saying “I hope you can let this go.” The Times says Comey wrote a memo memorializing the conversation shortly after the meeting as “part of a paper trail Mr. Comey created documenting what he perceived as the president’s improper efforts to influence a continuing investigation” and that he shared the memo with close associates in the FBI. The Times reports it has not seen the memo but that a Comey associate read parts of it to their reporter.
May 17, 2017: The Department of Justice announces that former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been appointed as a Special Prosecutor to investigate “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump.” The next day Trump describes this appointment, made by his own Deputy Attorney General, as the “greatest witch hunt in history.”
June 8, 2017: Comey again testifies to Congress. He testifies that in a January 27 meeting the President excused others from the room (to include the Vice President and Head of the DOJ) and demanded a pledge of loyalty to him. Comey testified he dodged making that pledge. Comey also testifies that in a February 14 meeting Trump asked him to drop the Flynn investigation. Comey describes being so uncomfortable with the President’s conversations, and so uncertain as to the President’s honesty, that he began keeping contemporaneous meetings of their conversations. Comey acknowledges providing the contents of one of those memos to a friend to leak to the press. Comey confirms that he did tell Trump that he personally was not a target of the investigation, though members of his campaign clearly were.
July 8, 2016: NY Times reports that Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer known for opposing the Magnitsky Act which blacklists Russian human rights abusers. Putin countered by banning adoptions of Russian children by Americans. The meeting was not previously disclosed. Trump Jr., responded by claiming the meeting was all about the adoption issue.
July 9, 2017: Trump Jr. admits that before the meeting he was told it was to discuss negative information the Russians wanted to pass on about Hillary Clinton. He claims they did not actually have such information, but wanted to talk about adoptions instead. He describes the meeting being “set up” by others even though he previously denied any meetings with any Russians that had been set up or that had anything to do with the campaign. Trump Jr. admits to being interested in getting negative information about Clinton from the Russians, but says he didn’t actually get any.
July 10, 2017: The NY Times Reports Trump Jr. received an email from the person setting up the meeting stating the purpose of the meeting was to get material as part of a Russian government effort to aid his father’s candidacy, by damaging Hillary Clinton.
July 11, 2017: Trump Jr. tweets what he claims is a complete record of the emails setting up the meeting. Even though the move was clearly aimed at preempting an identical release by the NY Times, the contents are shocking. They show that before the DNC hack of Clinton emails were widely known (though it had happened) that Russians seeking to help the Trump campaign. One email said: “This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”
EDIT AND NOTE: I shall continue to update this timeline as events unfold. Check back for the latest.