THE “FIGHTING BACK” EDITION: TRUMP-RUSSIA TIMELINE UPDATE THROUGH APRIL 16, 2018

Trump calls it “fighting back.” His lawyers should be telling him it fits neatly into the narrative that Trump is obstructing justice.

As this week’s Trump-Russia Timeline update depicts, Trump and the GOP — with Fox News as their reliable delivery vehicle — are orchestrating a public relations assault on Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and former FBI Director James Comey. As Trump and his defenders flood the airwaves with chaos and confusion, it’s worth remembering the line that Gen. George S. Patton wrote in 1944 and legendary football coach Vince Lombardi repeated twenty years later: “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.”

Comey’s new book is a vivid reminder to a tired nation that he is a central witness against Trump in any obstruction of justice case that special counsel Robert Mueller might bring. Trump’s aggressive turn toward Rosenstein sure looks like a prelude to firing the deputy attorney general who supervises Mueller’s investigation. That would allow Trump to install a lackey who could limit or terminate the probe.

These are perilous times for American democracy and the rule of law.

Here are the latest Trump-Russia Timeline updates:

SEPTEMBER 11, 2015: Ukrainian Billionaire Contributes $150,000 to Trump Foundation

JULY 27, 2016: Stone Says Russians Leaking Hacked Clinton Emails

OCT. 7, 2016: Intelligence Community Publishes Statement on Russian Interference

JAN. 11, 2017: Trump To Comey: “Golden Shower” Claim Cannot Be True

MARCH 22, 2017: Trump Asks Senior Intelligence Officials to Get Comey to Back Off

MARCH 30, 2017: Nunes’ Sources Are Members of the Trump Administration

MARCH 30, 2017: Trump Asks Comey to ‘Lift the Cloud’ of the Russia Investigation

AUG. 30, 2017: Cohen Rebuts ‘Steele Dossier’ and REPLACED with: AUG. 14, 2017: Cohen’s Attorney Rebuts ‘Steele Dossier’

SHORTLY AFTER DEC. 5, 2017: Trump Considers Firing Mueller, Again

APRIL 9, 2018: FBI Raids Michael Cohen

APRIL 9, 2018: Trump Lashes Out After FBI Raid on Cohen

APRIL 10, 2018: Trump Tweets About Cohen Raid and the Russia Investigation 

APRIL 10, 2018: Zuckerberg Testifies Before Congress

APRIL 10, 2018: Trump Believes He Can Fire Mueller

APRIL 10, 2018: NRA Shuts Down Wyden

APRIL 11, 2018: Trump Tweets About $150,000 Payment to His Foundation

APRIL 11, 2018: Trump Tweets: “No Obstruction, (Other Than I Fight Back)”

APRIL 11, 2018: Trump Tweets About Mueller and Rosenstein Conflicts

APRIL 11, 2018: Senators Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Protect Mueller; Fate Uncertain

APRIL 11-12, 2018: White House Approves GOP Attack on Comey and Rosenstein

APRIL 12, 2018: Trump Won’t Sit for Mueller Interview

APRIL 12, 2018: Trump Tweets About Mueller

APRIL 13, 2018: Trump Tweets About Comey

APRIL 13, 2018: DOJ Inspector General Issues Report on McCabe; Trump Issues Bizarre Tweet

APRIL 13, 2018: Trump Calls Cohen, Pardons Libby

APRIL 13, 2018: Nunes, Gowdy & Goodlatte Demand Comey’s Memos from Rosenstein

APRIL 15, 2018: Trump Tweets About Comey, Mueller, and Clinton

APRIL 16, 2018: Trump Tweets About Clinton, Comey, and McCabe

APRIL 16, 2018: Cohen-Watnick Joins DOJ

THE “SUBJECT OF INVESTIGATION” EDITION: TRUMP-RUSSIA TIMELINE UPDATES THROUGH APRIL 9, 2018

Under Justice Department guidelines, “A ‘subject’ of an investigation is a person whose conduct is within the scope of the grand jury’s investigation.” Donald Trump, the president of the United States, is formally the subject of a criminal investigation into unlawful foreign influence in the 2016 presidential election that he won.

Let that sink in.

Consistent with its prior practice, special counsel Robert Mueller’s legal team isn’t talking about any of this. That leaves Trump’s team as the “leakers” behind the story about Trump’s status. And they’re trying to spin it as inconsequential because Mueller hasn’t yet designated Trump as a “target.”

Here’s the thing: Some targets don’t know they’re targets until they’re indicted. As the DOJ guidelines state, “A ‘target’ is a person as to whom the prosecutor or the grand jury has substantial evidence linking him or her to the commission of a crime and who, in the judgment of the prosecutor, is a putative defendant.” [Emphasis supplied]

Moreover, whether a sitting president can ever be indicted is the subject of scholarly debate. Until Mueller determines with reasonable certainty that Trump can be indicted, Trump can’t become a “target” — even for provable crimes.

In other words, Trump — as a “subject” — may already occupy the worst possible status he could possess in the Trump-Russia probe, namely, a criminal who is immune from prosecution until he leaves office.

Let that sink in, too.

Pruitt: Trump’s Ace-In-The-Hole

Since early March, Trump’s lawyers have known about their client’s unfortunate status. The timing now provides a context within which to evaluate Trump’s words and deeds over the past month. In particular, keep an eye on his vigorous defense of embattled EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.

Here’s why.

Trump has made no secret of his desire to restrict or terminate Mueller’s investigation. One approach he might attempt is to replace Mueller’s immediate supervisor, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Rosenstein assumed control of the Trump-Russia investigation after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself. If Sessions resigns, Trump can appoint an interim Attorney General replacement, provided that the Senate has previously confirmed that individual.

Enter Scott Pruitt. As interim Attorney General, Pruitt would become Mueller’s supervisor.

There are important qualifications. For example, if Trump fires Sessions (rather than forcing his resignation), Trump’s ability to appoint an interim successor AG becomes murkier. Likewise, Pruitt’s “political relationship” with Trump should require Pruitt to recuse himself from any investigation involving Trump. But given Pruitt’s behavior to date, it’s reasonable to assume that he would ignore ethical and legal restraints in gutting Mueller’s investigation.

Trump doesn’t care about Pruitt’s newsworthy ethical lapses or extravagant expenditures of taxpayer monies. Trump views the world through the prism of Trump-Russia. Whatever he does to survive the investigation is collateral damage of no concern to him. Scott Pruitt has demonstrated unwavering fealty to Trump, coupled with a blindness toward legal and ethical norms that apply to everyone else. For him, clipping Mueller’s wings in the service of Trump would be a pleasure.

The Week Wasn’t As Quiet As It Seemed

Two other noteworthy names in this week’s Trump-Russia Timeline Update: Roger Stone keeps moving himself from barrel to barrel; and every day, Erik Prince seems to develop new exposure to charges that he made false statements to Congressional investigators. Click on the Timeline name filter for each of them and see what pops up now.

Here’s a complete list of the new entries in this week’s Timeline Update:

REVISED: JUNE 2014: Massive Facebook Data Leak Underway; Cambridge Analytica in Contact With Russians

NEW: SUMMER 2016: Trump Adviser Goes to FBI With Claimed Access to Clinton Emails

NEW: AUG. 4, 2016: Stone Says “Devastating” WikiLeaks Coming

NEW: AUG. 4, 2016: Stone: “I dined with Julian Assange last night”

NEW: AUG. 5, 2016: Stone Tweets About Clinton’s Emails

REVISED: OCT. 2, 2016: Stone Appears to Predict More Damaging WikiLeaks

NEW: OCT. 3, 2016: Stone Tweets About Clinton and WikiLeaks

NEW: OCT. 5, 2016: Stone Tweets About Assange

NEW: AROUND JAN. 4, 2017: Erik Prince Reportedly Meets with George Nader

NEW: AUG. 2, 2017: Rosenstein Confirms Mueller’s Authority to Investigate Manafort’s Possible Collusion with Russia

NEW: EARLY MARCH 2018: Mueller Confirms Trump Is “Subject” of Probe

NEW: MARCH 9, 2018: Mueller Obtains Another Search Warrant Against Manafort

NEW: DURING THE WEEK OF APRIL 2, 2018: Mueller Questions Trump Business Associate About Foreign Deals

NEW: APRIL 2, 2018: Mueller Outlines Potential Scope of Investigation

NEW: APRIL 3, 2018: Van der Zwaan Sentenced

NEW: APRIL 4, 2018: Facebook Finds More Russian Accounts; More Cambridge Analytica Problems

NEW: APRIL 4, 2018: Mueller Quizzing Oligarchs

NEW: APRIL 6, 2018: Trump Reportedly Contemplates Replacing Sessions With Besieged EPA Administrator Pruitt; Trump Tweets

NEW: APRIL 6, 2018: Treasury Dept. Sanctions Oligarchs and Putin Cronies

NEW: APRIL 7, 2018: Trump Tweets About DOJ and FBI, Again

NEW: APRIL 8, 2018: Trump Tweets About Clinton and DOJ, Again

NEW: APRIL 8, 2018: Trump Finally Criticizes Putin

THE “PUZZLED” EDITION: TRUMP-RUSSIA TIMELINE UPDATE THROUGH APRIL 2, 2018

[Note: If you’re in the neighborhood… 

On Tuesday, April 3 at 7:00 pm, I’ll be talking about the Trump-Russia Timeline at the Wilmette (IL) Public Library. Free admission and open to the public.]

Spring break, Passover, and Holy Week produced a relatively quiet period for the Trump-Russia Timeline. The line of the week goes to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). On Easter Sunday, he said, “The problem is that Russia is running wild, whatever we are doing is not working and the president for some reason has a hard time pushing back against Putin.”

“For some reason…” What could it possibly be?

Meanwhile, This Week’s Update Reveals…

— The burgeoning Cambridge Analytica scandal may reach Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) and his unsuccessful presidential bid. After Walker dropped out of the race, several of his staffers became executives for the company.

— Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort’s deputy, Rick Gates, apparently knew in August 2016 that he was dealing with a Russian who had continuing ties to Russian intelligence. (That revelation required adding a new pop-up bubble for Manafort-Gates associate Konstantin Kilimnik.)

— When Trump expelled Russian diplomats, it was more for show than for real.

— The complicit GOP-controlled Congress’ diversionary efforts to undermine the FBI and Justice Department (and thereby support Trump’s scorched-earth attack on the world’s premier law enforcement agency) continues.

— And anyone who believes that Attorney General Jeff Sessions or Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein have job security is not paying attention. In an April 2 tweet attacking the Department of Justice, Trump put quotation marks around “Justice.” Firing Sessions and/or Rosenstein and substituting a Trump puppet to supervise special counsel Robert Mueller remains Trump’s easiest path to gutting the Trump-Russia investigation.

Here’s a complete list of this week’s Trump-Russia Timeline updates:

LATE 2013: Bannon and the Beginning of Cambridge Analytica (revision of previous entry)

EARLY SUMMER 2014: Peter Thiel’s Palantir Connected to Cambridge Analytica

SEPT. 21, 2015: Walker Drops Out; Staffers Become Cambridge Analytica Execs

EARLY AUGUST 2016: Manafort Meets with Kilimnik

SEPTEMBER 2016: Skadden Attorney Communicates With Gates and “Person A” (revision of previous entry)

SOMETIME BETWEEN JUNE 16, 2017 and OCTOBER 27, 2017: Trump’s Lawyer Reportedly Raised Prospect of Pardons for Flynn and Manafort

MARCH 22, 2018: House Judiciary Committee Subpoenas Rosenstein

MAR. 26, 2018: Trump Expels Russian Diplomats, Closes Seattle Consulate, Russia Retaliates; But There’s a Catch (revision of previous entry)

MARCH 27, 2018: NRA Admits Accepting Foreign Contributions; Wyden Presses on Torshin

MARCH 27, 2018: Sens. Coons, Tillis Support Mueller

MARCH 28, 2018: Sessions Rebuffs GOP Request for Another Special Counsel, Says IG Already Investigating

APRIL 1, 2018: Graham Perplexed on Trump-Putin

APRIL 2, 2018: Trump Attacks Justice Department

THE “GUCCIFER 2.0” EDITION: TRUMP-RUSSIA TIMELINE UPDATE THROUGH MARCH 26, 2018

One of this week’s Trump-Russia nuggets was lost in Trump chaos. To be sure, Stormy Daniels is not the diversion Trump would have chosen. Nevertheless, the media aren’t talking about Guccifer 2.0, and that’s unfortunate.

In January 2017, US intelligence agencies assessed with “high confidence” that Russian intelligence agencies had used the Guccifer 2.0 persona and WikiLeaks to disseminate stolen Hillary Clinton emails. Last week, we learned that Guccifer 2.0 was actually a Russian military intelligence officer.

To understand the importance of the latest Guccifer 2.0 revelation, go to the Trump-Russia Timeline and click on Roger Stone’s name. Here’s a sample of the entries that pop up:

JUNE 15, 2016: Guccifer 2.0 claims responsibility for the hack of the Democratic National Committee computer system and begins posting the stolen DNC documents online.

AUG. 5, 2016: Writing for Breitbart News, Roger Stone asserts that Guccifer 2.0 has nothing to do with Russia. A few days later, Stone boasts that he is in contact with WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange.

AUG. 12, 2016: Guccifer 2.0 posts more stolen DNC documents.

AUG. 13-15, 2016: Stone communicates directly with Guccifer 2.0.

AUG. 15, 2016: Guccifer 2.0 posts more stolen DNC documents.

As he exchanges more direct messages with Guccifer 2.0, Stone continues to declare publicly that he is communicating with Assange. As summer turns to fall, Stone also issues prescient tweets about WikiLeaks’ ongoing dissemination of stolen DNC documents, including this one on Aug. 21, 2016: “Trust me, it will soon the Podesta’s time in the barrel. #CrookedHillary.” And another on Oct 2, 2016: “Wednesday@HillaryClinton is done. #Wikileaks.”

WikiLeaks’ drip-drip-drip of DNC documents continues through the election, and so do Roger Stone’s direct communications with WikiLeaks.

BUSTED!

On JAN. 3, 2017, the CIA, FBI and NSA release their unclassified report, concluding unanimously, “Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election.” The three intelligence agencies agree that “the Russian government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible.”

The report also states that WikiLeaks had been Russia’s conduit for the effort, writing, “We assess with high confidence that Russian military intelligence (General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate or GRU) used the Guccifer 2.0 persona and DCLeaks.com to release US victim data obtained in cyber operations publicly and in exclusives to media outlets and relayed material to WikiLeaks.”

Roger Stone could not have been pleased on MARCH 22, 2018, when The Daily Beast reported how Guccifer 2.0 blew its cover to reveal the Russian behind the curtain.

Here’s a complete list of this week’s Trump-Russia Timeline updates:

JUNE 2014: Massive Facebook Data Leak Underway; Cambridge Analytica in Contact With Russians (revision of previous entry)

JULY 22, 2014: Giuliani’s Law Firm Warns Cambridge Analytica

NOV. 4, 2014: Cambridge Analytica Works on Midterm Elections, Helps Tillis Win Senate Seat

EARLY 2015: Trump Campaign Retains Parscale (revision of previous entry)

SOMETIME BEFORE JUNE 16, 2015: Lewandowski Meets with Cambridge Analytica

JUNE 2016: Kushner Takes Control of Trump Digital Effort and Hires Cambridge Analytica (revision of previous entry)

JUNE 15, 2016: Russian Hacker Leaks DNC Documents (revision of previous entry)

SEPT. 9, 2016: Papadopoulos Gets Green Light for Interfax Interview

NOV. 10, 2016: Zuckerberg Rejects “Crazy Idea” that Facebook Affected Election (revision of previous entry)

MARCH 20, 2017: Leahy and Franken Ask FBI to Investigate Sessions’ Testimony

APRIL 28, 2017: Leahy and Franken Request Briefing on Sessions Investigation

MAY 12, 2017: Leahy and Franken Ask McCabe for Status Report on Sessions Investigation

MAR. 18, 2018: Prince Hosts Fundraiser for Rohrabacher

MARCH 19, 2018: Trump Tweets “Witch Hunt”

MARCH 19, 2018: GOP Leaders See No Need to Protect Mueller

MARCH 20, 2018: Trump Congratulates Putin on Election Victory

MARCH 21, 2018: Trump Tweets About Mueller, Again

MARCH 21, 2018: Trump Tweets About Putin

MARCH 21, 2018: Sessions Responds to Reports of Perjury Investigation

MARCH 22, 2018: Dowd Resigns From Trump’s Legal Team

MARCH 22, 2018: House Intelligence Committee Votes to Release GOP Report; Trump Tweets

MARCH 22, 2018: Trump Replaces McMaster With Bolton

MARCH 25, 2018: Trump Tweets About Losing His Lawyers

MARCH 26, 2018: Trump To Expel 60 Russian Diplomats and Close Seattle Consulate

 

 

 

THE “CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA” EDITION: TRUMP-RUSSIA TIMELINE UPDATE THROUGH MARCH 20, 2018

This video is one of the many reasons Trump wants to end special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Watch it. A British public-service broadcaster conducted an undercover investigation of an important player in the Trump-Russia scandal: Cambridge Analytica.

For context, go to the Trump-Russia Timeline and select these five names on the Timeline filter: Cambridge Analytica, Steve Bannon, Facebook, the Mercer Family, and Brad Parscale. Here’s a small sample of what emerges:

JUNE 2014: Steve Bannon had figured prominently in the creation of Cambridge Analytica. He even chose the firm’s name. Funding came from a $15 million investment by conservative mega-donor Robert Mercer. Thanks to the firm’s arrangement with a Russian-American academic in Great Britain, Cambridge Analytica becomes the beneficiary of Facebook’s massive data leak. Fifty million user profiles make their way to Cambridge Analytica’s voter targeting and messaging operation.

JULY 2014: An American attorney advising the firm warns that the company’s structure and activities could violate laws prohibiting foreign influence in US elections.

BEGINNING IN JUNE 2015 AND CONTINUING THROUGH AUGUST 2017150 Million Americans see social media content from a Russian-government linked troll farm. Among other media vehicles supporting Trump’s election, Russians are buying geographically-targeted political ads on Facebook.

MID-MAY 2016: Bannon introduces the Trump campaign to Cambridge Analytica. The campaign is all-ears.

JUNE 2016: Jared Kushner takes control of Trump’s digital campaign and hires Cambridge Analytica. With the assistance of embedded Facebook employees, the campaign’s digital director, Brad Parscale, takes special pride in targeting and messaging particular voters. Around the same time, Cambridge Analytica’s president asks WikiLeaks to share stolen Hillary Clinton emails so his firm can help disseminate them.

AUGUST 2016: Cambridge Analytica board member Rebekah Mercer (Robert’s daughter), tells the firm’s president to contact WikiLeaks about making the Clinton emails more searchable.

AUGUST 2016: Having verified the previously reported data leak, Facebook warns Cambridge Analytica not to use the data.

NOV. 10, 2016: Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg dismisses as “crazy” the idea that Facebook could have influenced the election outcome. But two days later, a Russian politician close to Putin claims that he colluded with Cambridge Analytica and the Trump campaign to do exactly that — tip the election in Trump’s favor.

MARCH 16, 2018: Facebook admits to the 2014-2015 data leak of private user profiles and suspends Cambridge Analytica from its platform.

Then came the bombshell.

MARCH 19-20, 2018: Channel 4, a British public-service broadcaster, airs an undercover investigation that videotapes Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix explaining the firm’s methods for manipulating elections in foreign countries, including the use of bribes and sex workers (“beautiful Ukrainian girls”) to entrap politicians.

In the video, Nix says that he has met Donald Trump “many times.” Discussing Cambridge Analytica’s role in Trump’s 2016 election victory, Nix adds, “We did all the research, all the data, all the analytics, all the targeting. We ran all the digital campaign, the television campaign, and our data informed all the strategy.”

If American democracy is worth a 20-minute investment of your time, watch the March 20, 2018 video.

Here is a complete list of entries in this week’s Trump-Russia Timeline update:

LATE 2013: Bannon and the Beginning of Cambridge Analytica

JUNE 2014: Mercers Invest in Cambridge Analytica

JUNE 2014: Massive Facebook Data Leak Underway; Cambridge Analytica in Contact With Russians

MARCH 31, 2016: Trump Meets With Foreign Policy Advisers (revision of previous entry)

SPRING 2016: Stone Reportedly Knows That WikiLeaks Has Clinton Emails

JULY 24, 2016: Pompeo Tweets and Deletes

AUGUST 2016: Facebook Lawyers Warn Cambridge Analytica

WEEK OF OCT. 17, 2016: Stone Sends Weekly Memos to Trump

JAN. 6, 2017: Trump Receives Intelligence Briefing; Meets Comey for the First Time (revision of previous entry)

JAN. 11, 2017: Prince Meets With Putin Associate in the Seychelles (revision of previous entry)

NOV. 14, 2017: Sessions Says That He Has Not Lied About Trump Campaign Contacts With Russia (revision of previous entry)

MARCH 5, 2018: Prostitute Claims to Have Audio Recordings (revision of previous entry)

MARCH 12, 2018: Sater Is Still an FBI Source

MARCH 12, 2018: GOP Leader Announces End of House Intelligence Committee Investigation

MARCH 12, 2018: Trump Embraces GOP House Intel Committee Report

MARCH 12-13, 2018: Theresa May Blasts Putin; Tillerson Agrees; Trump Fires Tillerson

MARCH 13, 2018: Democrats Rebut GOP House Intelligence Committee Report; Republicans Backtrack

MARCH 14, 2018: Theresa May Expels 23 Russians; Putin Counters

MARCH 15, 2018: Mueller Has Subpoenaed Trump Organization

MARCH 15, 2018: Russia Has Hacked Into Critical US Infrastructure

MARCH 15, 2018: Trump Imposes New Russian Sanctions

MARCH 15, 2018: GOP Senators Ask for Another Special Counsel

MARCH 16, 2018: Sater Hits Interview Circuit

MARCH 16, 2018: Facebook Suspends Cambridge Analytica Over Data Leak

MARCH 16, 2018: Sessions Fires McCabe; Trump Tweets

MARCH 16, 2018: McCabe Has Memos; Responds to Firing

MARCH 17, 2018: Dowd Says Rosenstein Should End Mueller Probe

MARCH 17, 2018: Trump Tweets About Russia Investigation, McCabe, Comey, and Mueller

MARCH 18, 2018: Trump Tweets About Russia, McCabe, Comey, and Mueller Continue

MARCH 19, 2018: GOP Mostly Silent on Trump Attacks on Mueller; Graham: “The Beginning of the End”

MARCH 19-20: Cambridge Analytica Exposé Airs on British TV

THE “ERIK PRINCE” EDITION: TRUMP-RUSSIA TIMELINE UPDATE THROUGH MARCH 11, 2018

Trump fires Rex Tillerson; members of a complicit GOP Congress lead another whitewash of Trump’s Russia problems; Pennsylvania voters in a deep red district repudiate the Republican candidate in a special election; and students nationally show their elders how to speak truth to power. This week, the events through Wednesday alone make last week seem like a distant memory. But it’s worth remembering one that received little media attention.

Way back then, a botched porn-star payoff, former Trump aide Sam Nunberg’s cable news circus act, typical Trump-style hype over North Korea, and a vile rally in Pennsylvania swamped cable news networks. But last week’s most important and underreported story involved Erik Prince. He may find himself among Trump’s many aides and allies who have been caught lying about their contacts with Russia.

In this week’s update of the Trump-Russia Timeline, Prince earns a Timeline name filter and this descriptive “pop-up” bubble:

Erik Prince is the founder of the Blackwater private security firm (now known as Academi). He is also a $250,000 donor to the Trump campaign and the brother of Trump’s Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. In 1990, Prince worked as an intern for Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA). In January 2017, he reportedly met in the Seychelles with Kirill Dmitriev and representatives of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.

Now Go To The Timeline

For Prince, the key date is Jan. 11, 2017 How and why did he meet with Kirill Dmitriev on a remote sovereign archipelago in the Indian Ocean? Increasingly, the answer appears to be “backchannel.”

DEC. 1, 2016: Jared Kushner secretly suggests to the Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak the creation of a backchannel through which the Trump administration and the Kremlin can communicate directly and privately without US intelligence monitoring the conversations. To Kislyak’s astonishment, Kushner proposes using the Russian embassy as a venue.

DEC. 15, 2016: Steve Bannon, Mike Flynn, and Jared Kushner meet secretly in New York with the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, who broke diplomatic protocol by failing to inform President Obama’s State Department about his visit.

JAN. 11, 2017: Erik Prince meets with Dmitriev in the Seychelles. According to later reporting by The Washington Post, Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan had arranged the meeting.

NOV. 30, 2017: Erik Prince tells the House Intelligence Committee that his January 11 meeting with Dmitriev was happenstance. Prince says that he had traveled to the Seychelles “to meet with some potential customers from the UAE for the logistics business” of which he is chairman. “After the meeting,” he continues, “they mentioned a guy I should meet who was also in town to see them, a Kirill Dmitriev from Russia, who ran some sort of hedge fund.” Prince says he then met Dmitriev in the hotel bar, and they chatted about a variety of topics for “a maximum of 30 minutes.” The next day, he repeated the story on MSNBC.

However, according to subsequent reporting by The Wall Street Journal, George Nader had attended Prince’s meeting in the Seychelles with the Emirati delegation. Prince hadn’t mentioned him to House investigators, and now Nader has a different version of what happened.

George Who?

JAN. 17, 2018: En route to a Mar-a-Lago celebration of Trump’s first year in office, federal agents detain Nader and greet him with a search warrant, a grand jury subpoena, and many questions. Nader agrees to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

MARCH 6, 2018: The Washington PostThe New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal report that Mueller has evidence of backchannel discussions in the Seychelles prior to Trump’s inauguration. Apparently, Nader’s finger points directly at Erik Prince.

According to The New York Times, “[George] Nader represented the crown prince [Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan] in the three-way conversation in the Seychelles, at a hotel overlooking in the Indian Ocean, in the days before Mr. Trump took office. At the meeting, Emirati officials believed Mr. Prince was speaking for the Trump transition team, and a Russian fund manager, Kirill Dmitriev, represented Mr. [Vladimir] Putin, according to several people familiar with the meeting….”

If Nader is telling the truth, Prince faces exposure for lying to Congress.

MARCH 8, 2018: Completing the loop, Prince has agreed to hold a fundraiser for Russia’s favorite US congressman, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA).

Both Mike Flynn and George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying about their secret dealings with Russia. Will Erik Prince follow in their footsteps? Members of Team Trump keep insisting that they have nothing to hide. Yet one-by-one, they keep getting caught in prevarications about the same subject: the Trump Team’s communications with Russia before Trump became president.

And if you’re wondering whether an incoming president-elect’s attempt to establish a backchannel for communications with a foreign adversary are illegal, the answer is yes. So is lying about it to federal investigators. The larger question is why Trump wanted one.

Here’s a complete list of this week’s Timeline updates:

NOV. 8-10, 2013: The Miss Universe Pageant in Moscow

JANUARY 2015: Goldstone and Emin Agalarov Meet Trump in NYC

NOVEMBER 20, 2016: Trump Considers Romney for Secretary of State: Russians Resist

DEC. 13, 2016: Trump Rejects Romney; Nominates Tillerson—a ‘Gift’ for Putin (revision of previous entry)

DEC. 15, 2016: Bannon, Flynn and Kushner Meet Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi; Nader Nearby (revision of previous entry)

JAN. 11, 2017: Prince Meets With Putin Associate in the Seychelles (revision of previous entry)

NOV. 30, 2017: Mueller Interviews McGahn

NOV. 30, 2017: Prince Testifies Before House Intelligence Committee

DEC. 1, 2017: Prince Reiterates His Story on the Seychelles Meeting: “That Was That”

JAN. 17, 2018: Adviser to Crown Prince Detained at Dulles

FEB. 27, 2018: Hicks Admits to “White Lies”; Says Emails Hacked; House Intelligence Committee Gets “Bannon’ed” (revision of previous entry)

MARCH 1, 2018: Trump Cyber Nominee Says Russians Don’t Expect US Response to Attacks

MARCH 5, 2018: Former Trump Aide Threatens to Defy Mueller, But Doesn’t

MARCH 5, 2018: Prostitute Claims to Have Audio Recordings

MARCH 5, 2018: Wyden Follow Up With NRA

MARCH 6, 2018: Coats Says US Lacks Coherent Strategy to Address Russian Interference

MARCH 6, 2018: Trump Equivocates on Russian Meddling

MARCH 6, 2018: GOP Congressmen Call for Special Prosecutor

MARCH 6, 2018: Mueller Has Evidence of Backchannel Discussions in the Seychelles

MARCH 8, 2018: Trump Talking to Witnesses

MARCH 8, 2018: Manafort Trial Date Set in VA Case

MARCH 8, 2018: Prince to Host Fundraiser for Rohrabacher

MARCH 11, 2018: Trump Tweets After NYT Report on Legal Team