Russian Meddling in Election
The United States government announced in October 2016 that Russia had hacked the Democratic National Committee and other Democratic party operations. Hacked emails had been released publicly, some of which contained embarrassing information about the Democratic Party and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the party's presidential nominee.
Initially, U.S. intelligence agencies did not suggest the Russian hack was intended to help Trump win the election. In December 2016, however, the Central Intelligence Agency told a group of U.S. Senators that Russia had intended to help Trump win the presidency. Continued investigation revealed email accounts of some Republican congressmen, GOP non-profits, and other party organizations had been hacked, but that information had not been released.
The Washington Post quoted a senior U.S. official as saying, “It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected." Read the Washington Post article.
2014 Trump says Russian hacking is a "big problem." cnn.com 2016.03 Second Russian hacker group gains access to DNC servers. nytimes.com 2016.07.04 Putin runs stealth efforts on behalf of populist politicians who rail against the European Union and want to push away from NATO. slate.com 2016.07.25 WikiLeaks releases 20,000 hacked emails from DNC washingtonpost.com 2016.07.27 Trump invites Russia to hack Clinton's email. washingtonpost.com 2016.08.05 American spies think Trump is a Putin puppet. observer.com 2016.09.23 Officials are concerned that Trump foreign policy advisor, Carter Page, has spoken with the Kremlin about lifting economic sanctions on Russia. cnbc.com (See also 2016 Campaign, Russia, Conflicts of Interest) 2016.10.07 Department of Homeland Security releases statement on Russian interference in election expressing confidence the attack was state sponsored. dhs.gov 2016.10.16 Trump ally Roger Stone admits to having ‘back-channel’ communications with WikiLeaks' Julian Assange over the hacked DNC emails but denies providing them to him. miami.cbslocal.com 2016.11.04. Russia monitors both Russia and Clinton during visits, and backs Trump's candidacy to weaken NATO. newsweek.com 2016.11.10 Russia says it was in touch with Trump's campaign during election reuters.com 2016.12 U.S. counterintelligence agents have investigated communications that Trump’s national security adviser had with Russian officials, including late December 2016 phone calls. wsj.com (See also Russia, Trump Relationship with Russia) 2016.12.09 Intelligence agencies brief elected officials: Russia trying to help Trump win election. washingtonpost.com 2016.12.09 Trump's transition team denies foreign influence in presidential election. presidency.ucsb.edu 2016.12.11 Trump says allegations Russia meddled with U.S. election are "ridiculous." youtube.com 2016.12.12 Despite calls for expanded investigations, Republicans are content with their existing oversight of alleged Russian misdeeds and shield Trump from expanded Russia probe politico.com 2016.12.12. Senate and House leaders call for inquiry into Russian hacking of the election. nytimes.com 2016.12.15 Trump makes a false Twitter claim: “If Russia, or some other entity, was hacking, why did the White House wait so long to act? Why did they only complain after Hillary lost?” twitter.com 2016.12.16 Obama says the US will retaliate against Russia's alleged hacking "at a time and place of our own choosing." cnn.com 2016.12.18 Trump team tones down skepticism on Russia hacking. wsj.com 2016.12.30 Obama imposes sanctions on Russian diplomats after hacking. newyorker.com 2017.01.06 In the wake of the intelligence community's released report on Russian motivations for hacking the Democratic and Republican National Committees Trump announces he will order an anti-hacking plan within ninety days of taking office mobile.reuters.com (See also First 100 Days) 2017.01.06 Intelligence report on Putin's "influence campaign" released, concludes Russia conspired to help Trump win. npr.org 2017.01.06 Intelligence report: Putin led a complex cyberattack scheme to aid Trump. nytimes.com 2017.01.10 Tillerson calls intelligence findings on Russian election interference "troubling". washingtonpost.com (See also Rex Tillerson) 2017.01.11 Donald Trump concedes that Russia interfered in 2016 election, but dodges questions on Russian communications with his campaign. nytimes.com (See also Russia) 2017.01.11 Russian intelligence allegedly gathered compromising material on Trump. theguardian.com (See also Trump Relationship with Russia) 2017.01.11 Trump concedes Russia interfered with election, dodges question about whether his campaign was in touch with Russia at the same time. nytimes.com 2017.01.12 Intel chiefs informed Trump of claims of Russian efforts to compromise him. cnn.com 2017.01.12 Trump's CIA pick describes hacking of U.S. election as 'aggressive action' by Russian senior officials. cnn.com (See also Mike Pompeo) 2017.01.13 David Corn recalls speaking to the spy who wrote the Trump-Russia memos and sent them to the FBI. m.motherjones.com 2017.01.14 Trump's national security adviser, Mike Flynn, and Russia's ambassador to the U.S. have been in frequent contact in recent weeks, including on the day the Obama administration hit Moscow with sanctions in retaliation for election-related hacking. apnews.com 2017.01.15 Buried in the unverified dossier provided to the FBI is an allegation that Trump agreed to sideline the issue of Russian intervention in the Ukraine during his campaign after Russian promised to feed stolen DNC emails to WikiLeaks. businessinsider.com (See also 2016 Campaign, Ukraine) 2017.01.15 Face the Nation transcript Jan. 15, 2017: Pence denies interactions between Flynn and Russian Ambassador. cbsnews.com (See also Mike Pence, Michael Flynn, Russia) 2017.01.18 FBI, 5 other agencies probe possible secret Kremlin financial aid to Trump. mcclatchydc.com 2017.01.19 American law enforcement and intelligence agencies are examining intercepted communications and financial transactions as part of a broad investigation into possible links between Russian officials and Trump associates, including his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort. nytimes.com (See also Russia) 2017.01.21 Trump and his press secretary falsely accuse press of underestimating the size of inauguration crowds and inventing a rift between him and intelligence agencies over Russian election meddling. nytimes.com (See also False Statements, Feuds) 2017.01.27 Igor Sechin allegedly offered former Donald Trump ally Carter Page the brokerage of a 19% stake in Rosneft in exchange for the lifting of US sanctions. businessinsider.com (See also First 100 Days, Russia, Conflicts of Interest) 2017.01.27 Two Russian intelligence officers who worked on cyberoperations and a Russian computer security expert have been arrested and charged with treason for providing information to the United States mobile.nytimes.com (See also Russia, Trump Relationship with Russia, Corruption, 2016 Election) 2017.02.01 Russia is conducting a counterintelligence raid -- arresting four men once trusted with Russian government secrets about hacking operations after suspected leaks to U.S. intelligence. money.cnn.com (See also First 100 Days, Russia, Technology) 2017.02.01 Senate confirms oil industry executive and friend of Russia Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State in 56-to-43 vote. washingtonpost.com (See also Rex Tillerson, Russia, Department of State) 2017.02.02 Donald Trump lifts sanctions on Russia's Federal Security Service, an intelligence organization implicated in meddling with the 2016 election. usatoday.com (See also First 100 Days, Russia) 2017.02.02 The U.S. Treasury Department on Thursday adjusted sanctions on Russian intelligence agency FSB, making limited exceptions to the measures put in place by former President Barack Obama over accusations of cyber attacks on the election. reuters.com (See also First 100 Days, Department of the Treasury, Russia) 2017.02.03 Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden is hell-bent on getting out the truth about Trump and Russia. m.motherjones.com (See also Russia, 2016 Campaign) 2017.02.04 Officials with knowledge say the FBI rejected recent White House requests to publicly knock down media reports about communications between Trump's associates and Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign. cnn.com (See also First 100 Days, FBI) 2017.02.05 Pelosi urges the FBI to probe Trump's finances and personal ties for evidence of possible Russian blackmail. politico.com (See also First 100 Days, Russia, Mike Pence) 2017.02.07 House Administration Committee votes to terminate the one federal agency charged with upgrading our voting systems, and helping to protect our elections and voting machines from hacking brennancenter.org (See also Assaults on Government) 2017.02.09 National security adviser Flynn discusses election-related sanctions with Russian ambassador before Trump takes office, contradicting White House assertions and potentially breaking the law. washingtonpost.com (See also First 100 Days, Michael Flynn, Russia) 2017.02.14 Phone records and intercepted calls show Trump campaign aides had repeated contact with Russian intelligence. nytimes.com (See also Trump Relationship with Russia, Russia, First 100 Days, 2016 Election) 2017.02.15 Democrats are ratcheting up their calls for an independent investigation into communications between Trump’s associates and Russian intelligence agents — but Republicans show no sign of acquiescing. politico.com (See also First 100 Days, Russia) 2017.02.15 Former Trump adviser Roger Stone, named as one of four individuals under FBI observation over alleged contacts with Russian intelligence, calls for investigation of alleged Russia links. theguardian.com (See also FBI, Russia) 2017.02.15 House Oversight Chairman Chaffetz asks Department of Justice inspector general to investigate leaks about Flynn rather than communications between Flynn, the Trump team, and Russia. politico.com (See also Department of Justice, Michael Flynn) 2017.02.15 Senator Lindsay Graham says if it is true that Trump campaign caides had regular contact with Russian Intelligence officials it warrants a select committe to investigate. thehill.com (See also First 100 Days, Russia) 2017.02.16 All nine Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats call on Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from any Justice Department invesitgations into Trump-Russia communications and Russian interference in the 2016 election. feinstein.senate.gov (See also Department of Justice, Jeff Sessions, First 100 Days) 2017.02.16 Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats request that Attorney General Jeff Sessions recuse himself from any investigations into communications between Trump team's and Russia, and that the White House counsel, Department of Justice and FBI preserve materials relevant to those contacts. theguardian.com (See also First 100 Days, Michael Flynn, Jeff Sessions) 2017.02.16 Trump uses press conference to declare his administration is a "fine-tuned machine," attack media, and dismiss claims of connections with Russia in a 75-minute, freewheeling defense of his chaotic first weeks in office. theguardian.com (See also Attempts to Discredit Media, First 100 Days) 2017.02.17 Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) is first House Republican to sign the Protecting Our Democracy Act, a bill creating an independent committee to investigate Russia and the 2016 election. thehill.com 2017.02.18 U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation is pursuing at least three separate probes relating to alleged Russian hacking of the U.S. presidential elections, trying to identify the people behind the DNC hack and those who call themselves "Guccifer 2," and pursuing leads from informants and foreign communications intercepts, according to five current and former officials with direct knowledge of the subject. reuters.com (See also First 100 Days, FBI) 2017.02.19 Amid scrutiny of Trump’s ties to Russia, his personal lawyer delivered a back-channel, sealed plan to lift sanctions to Micheal Flynn. nytimes.com (See also First 100 Days) 2017.02.20 The alleged Russian ties that forced Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign manager, to resign in August 2016 are at the center of investigations into links between Moscow and the Trump team. wsj.com (See also First 100 Days) 2017.02.22 Russian officials contradict Trump's claim that his campaign team had no contact with Russia by admitting they had been in contact with members of his staff. independent.co.uk (See also First 100 Days, Trump, Russia, Assaults on Facts, False Statements) 2017.02.22 Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) wants former national security adviser Michael Flynn to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. politico.com (See also Michael Flynn) 2017.02.23 Hacked phone texts appear to show that Paul Manafort was blackmailed over relations with pro-Russian Uknranians while serving as Trump's campaign chair in the summer of 2016. politico.com (See also Corruption, 2016 Campaign, First 100 Days) 2017.02.24 Recent news report indicates White House official asked F.B.I. to rebut an article detailing contacts between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russian intelligence officials, and in response,Trump attacks the F.B.I. as a dangerously porous agency, charging that leaks of classified information from within its ranks were putting the country at risk—and calls for an immediate hunt for the leakers. nytimes.com (See also First 100 Days, FBI) 2017.02.24 Republican Rep. Darrell Issa says a special prosecutor needs to lead an investigation into the alleged ties between Trump’s campaign and Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s regime. sandiegouniontribune.com (See also First 100 Days) 2017.02.24 Republican Rep. Issa asserts need for special prosecutor, independent of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, to investigate Russian meddling in Trump’s election. washingtonpost.com (See also Russia, Trump Relationship with Russia, Corruption) 2017.02.24 Trump's chief of staff Reince Priebus is accused of violating protocols that protect pending investigations from political interference when he reached out to FBI to knock down stories about contacts between the Trump team and Russia. theguardian.com (See also Reince Priebus, First 100 Days, FBI) 2017.02.24 White House confirms conversation between Reince Priebus, FBI Director James Comey, and deputy director Andrew McCabe about pushing back against reports on Trump associates and Russia, that appears to violate Justice Department rules. theguardian.com (See also First 100 Days, Reince Priebus, FBI) 2017.02.28 FBI found British spy who wrote dossier about Trump being compromised by Russians credible enough to consider paying him. washingtonpost.com (See also Trump Relationship with Russia) 2017.02.28 The former British spy who authored a controversial dossier alleging ties between Trump and Russia reached an agreement with the FBI a few weeks before the election for the bureau to continue his work. washingtonpost.com 2017.03.01 Justice Department officials say Attorney General Jeff Sessions, charged with leading investigation into Russian interference in U.S. election, lied under oath about contact with Russian ambassador in 2016 while he was part of Trump's campaign team. washingtonpost.com (See also Jeff Sessions, Corruption, Department of Justice) 2017.03.02 White House confirms that Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and now a senior adviser, also participated in the meeting at Trump Tower with Mr. Flynn and Sergey I. Kislyak, the Russian ambassador, in December. nytimes.com (See also First 100 Days, Jared Kushner, Russia, Michael Flynn) 2017.03.03 A growing list of contacts between the Trump administration and Russia is drawing increasing scrutiny; Trump calls it a “total witch hunt.” nytimes.com (See also Trump Relationship with Russia, Russia, First 100 Days) 2017.03.04 Before leaving for Mar-A-Lago for the weekend, Trump summons senior staff to the Oval Office and goes "ballistic" over Sessions's decision to recuse himself from portions of any investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign election, and then, after the meeting, leaves Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus behind in D.C. abcnews.go.com (See also First 100 Days, Jeff Sessions, Reince Priebus, Steve Bannon) 2017.03.04 Trump makes unfounded claim about Obama wiretapping Trump Tower. wired.com (See also First 100 Days) 2017.03.05 Trump demands congressional inquiry into his unsubstantiated claim that Obama had his phones tapped to investigate Russia’s meddling in the election. nytimes.com (See also Unpresidential Behavior, Assaults on Facts) 2017.03.07 Politico reports that Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski approved foreign policy adviser Carter Page’s now-infamous trip to Moscow last summer. politico.com (See also Carter Page, Corey Lewandowski) 2017.03.15 FBI Director James Comey briefs leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee and agrees to testify publicly regarding Russian meddling in the presidential election. secure.politico.com (See also FBI, Department of Justice) 2017.03.15 Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) says he expects FBI Director James Comey to announce the FBI is investigating possible ties between Russia and Donald Trump's presidential campaign, transition and administration. thehill.com (See also FBI) 2017.03.20 A CNN review finds that Trump adviser Roger Stone repeatedly claimed to know of forthcoming WikiLeaks dumps during the 2016 election campaign. cnn.com (See also 2016 Campaign) 2017.03.20 As House Intelligence Committee investigates possible Trump campaign collusion with Russia, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer claims Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort—who's been paid millions by Russia—played a "limited role" in the campaign. cnn.com (See also Assaults on Facts, Russia, Sean Spicer) 2017.03.20 The FBI director confirms that the agency is investigating whether members of Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election. nytimes.com (See also First 100 Days) 2017.03.20 The FBI is investigating whether far-right news sites Breitbart and Infowars played any role last year in a Russian cyber operation that boosted fictional, pro-Trump news. mcclatchydc.com (See also Steve Bannon) 2017.03.22 FBI reviewing information that indicates Trump associates communicated with suspected Russian operatives, possibly to coordinate the release of information damaging to Hillary Clinton during election. cnn.com (See also Trump Relationship with Russia, Russia, Corruption, 2016 Election) 2017.03.22 Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, secretly worked to benefit Russia in U.S. relations, contradicting Trump's claim Manafort had never worked for official Russian government interests. startribune.com (See also Paul Manafort, Russia, Assaults on Facts) 2017.03.28 The Trump administration tries to block former acting attorney general Sally Yates from testifying in the investigation of links between Russian officials and the Trump campaign. washingtonpost.com (See also Trump Relationship with Russia, First 100 Days) 2017.03.30 Former national security adviser Mike Flynn offers to testify in the investigation of the Trump campaign's potential ties to Russia in exchange for immunity. wsj.com (See also Trump Relationship with Russia, First 100 Days, Michael Flynn) 2017.03.30 Officials say the White House helped give intelligence reports to the congressman whose committee is supposed to be conducting an independent investigation of Russia's role in the U.S. presidential election. nytimes.com (See also Trump Relationship with Russia, First 100 Days) 2017.03.30 Senate intelligence committee hears from experts on tactics Russians are believed to have used to meddle in the 2016 election. apnews.com (See also First 100 Days) 2017.04.06 Former government officials say the CIA had evidence last summer that Russia was working to help get Trump elected. nytimes.com 2017.04.06 The chair of the committee leading a congressional investigation of Russian interference in last year's presidential election steps aside. apnews.com (See also Trump Relationship with Russia)
After leaked emails from Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee were printed in the mainstream U.S. media and elsewhere, Trump invited Russian hackers to continue searching for deleted email. This is an unprecedented invitation for a foreign government to interfere in the United States political process. After 17 U.S. intelligence agencies agreed that the Russian government had sponsored hacking, Trump called the conclusion "ridiculous," an unusual repudiation of reports from intelligence agencies. He also falsely claimed that the Obama administration brought up the concern about foreign meddling in a U.S. election after Clinton's loss. He softened his tone somewhat after Republican leaders pressed for an official inquiry.
From his invitation to Russian hackers to search for Clinton's emails to his rejection of intelligence from multiple agencies and false claim that the concern was raised only after he won the election, Trump has demonstrated disregard for political norms and factual accuracy. He has sided with a foreign government over the conclusions of multiple intelligence agencies in the United States and elsewhere.
Meanwhile, Russia has admitted being in touch with Trump's allies during the campaign, making its intent clear despite Trump's denials.
From The New York Times
“There shouldn’t be any doubt in anybody’s mind,” Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency and commander of United States Cyber Command, said at a postelection conference. “This was not something that was done casually, this was not something that was done by chance, this was not a target that was selected purely arbitrarily,” he said. “This was a conscious effort by a nation-state to attempt to achieve a specific effect.”
Trump's relationship with Vladimir Putin following the state-sanctioned cyberattack is "baffling to anyone with a functioning brainstem," according to Van Jones. Source: CNN.
From The New Yorker: The Russian economy has been crippled by 2013 sanctions, giving Putin a reason to engage in a propaganda campaign against the United States and deny the presidency to Hillary Clinton.
From The Weeklings, Greg Olear: DAH, DONALD: RUSSIAN BLOOD MONEY AND THE FBI’S CASE AGAINST TRUMP (2017.01.24)
THIS IS AN ATTEMPT to assemble the pieces in the Trump/Russia jigsaw puzzle, to reveal the Big Picture.
My conclusions were heavily influenced by Louise Mensch‘s eye-opening January 17 essay, “Dear Mr. Putin, Let’s Play Chess.” Other sources include Seth Abramson’s “The Domestic Conspiracy That Gave Trump the Election is in Plain Sight,” which ran on the Huffington Post on the same day, and “A Brief History of the First Russo-American Cyber War,” by War Is Boring’s Bryan E. Frydenborg. The Steele dossier, the “Golden Shower” series of intelligence reports written by Christopher Steele in 2016 and subsequently released by Buzzfeed, was also a useful resource. I have exhaustively fact-checked assertions, linking to a wide range of news sources from across the political spectrum, from the Washington Post to Reuters to Breitbart.
The dramatis personae—the pile of puzzle pieces, if you will—is generally well known to most observers: Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, James Comey, Rudy Giuliani, Anthony Weiner, Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Blackwater founder Erik Prince, Trump attorney Michael Cohen, “ratfucker” Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, Russian moles in the NSA and the FBI’s New York field office, and an obscure Russian hacker named Yvegeny Nikulin.
This is how the pieces fit together. This is how they connect. This is what it means.
(Skipped text here)
In short, it’s about the money. Which makes sense, given Trump’s disgustingly obvious greed. The Russian oligarchs are laundering money all over creation, and Trump, with his opaque taxes and billion-dollar losses and cash business concerns, is somehow complicit in the scheme. Campaign finance, one imagines, is just the tip of the iceberg.
If he’s shown to be in debt to the Russians and the Chinese, Trump can explain that away. Fake news, he will say. So what. I won, people don’t care. Same with the Russian prostitutes. You can’t shame a man incapable of feeling shame. What is Trump afraid of? Prison. That would be the ultimate downfall for Donald Trump. The loss of his position, his social standing, his fortune, his golden throne, his access to beautiful women willing and otherwise. His Twitter account.
There is no “alternative fact” that can spin the very real possibility that Donald J. Trump will die in federal prison, alone.