Russian dollars flowing into Trump’s pocket, Roger Stone’s “time in the barrel,” and FBI Director James Comey’s confirmation that he’s investigating connections between the Trump campaign and Russia during the U.S. presidential campaign highlight the newest entries to the Trump/Russia Timeline. On March 20, 2017, I added the following items to the complete Moyers & Company Timeline.
- August 1998: Russia defaulted on its debt and its stock market collapsed. As the value of the ruble plummeted, Russian millionaires scrambled to get money out of their country and into New York City, where real estate provided a safe haven for overseas investors. [Added March 20, 2017]
- October 1998: Demolition of a vacant office building near the United Nations Headquarters was making way for Trump World Tower. Donald Trump began selling units in the skyscraper, which was scheduled to open in 2001 and became a prominent depository of Russian money. By 2004, one-third of the units sold on the 67th through 83rd floors of Trump World Tower involved people or limited liability companies connected to Russia or neighboring states. Assisting Trump’s sales effort was Ukranian immigrant Semyon “Sam” Kislin, who issued mortgages to buyers of multimillion-dollar Trump World Tower apartments. In the late 1970s, Kislin had co-owned an appliance store with Russian immigrant Tamir Sapir and they had sold 200 television sets to Donald Trump on credit. By the early 1990s, Kislin had become a wealthy commodities trader and campaign fundraiser for Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who in 1996 appointed him to the New York City Economic Development Corporation. Meanwhile, Sapir had made a fortune as a New York City real estate developer. [Added March 20, 2017]
- Also in 2002: Efforts to sell Russians apartments in Trump World Tower, Trump’s West Side condominiums, and Trump’s building on Columbus Circle expanded with presentations in Moscow involving Sotheby’s International Realty and a Russian realty firm. [Added March 20, 2017] In addition to buying units in Trump World Tower, Russians and Russian-Americans flooded into another Trump-backed project in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida. In South Florida alone, members of the Russian elite invested more than $98 million in seven Trump-branded luxury towers. [Added March 20, 2017]
- Dec. 10, 2015: Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, who would become Trump’s national security adviser, sat at Putin’s table for the 10th anniversary gala of Russia’s state-owned television propaganda network, RT. Flynn had made a paid appearance on the network. For his December speech, he netted $33,500 of the $45,000 paid to his speakers’ bureau. For all of 2015, Flynn received more than $65,000 from companies linked to Russia. [Added March 20, 2017]
- July 7, 2016: In a lecture at the New Economic School in Moscow, Carter Page criticized American foreign policy. He said that many of the mistakes spoiling relations between the U.S. and Russia “originated in my own country.” Page said he had sought and received permission from the Trump campaign to make the trip. [Added March 20, 2017]
- Also on Feb. 17, 2017: The Senate Intelligence Committee sent Roger Stone a letter asking him to preserve any records he had in connection with the Committee’s inquiry into Russia’s interference with the U.S. election. [Added March 20, 2017]
- March 12, 2017: John McCain told CNN’s Jake Tapper that former Trump adviser and surrogate Roger Stone “obviously” needed to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee concerning his communications with Guccifer 2.0. McCain said that Stone should also explain fully his prior involvement with former business partner Paul Manafort in matters relating to Ukraine’s pro-Putin former president. [Added March 20, 2017]
- March 13, 2017: Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr said that Roger Stone’s communications with Guccifer 2.0 were part of the Committee’s ongoing investigation and that Stone could be called to testify. [Added March 20, 2017]
- March 15, 2017: Riding in a car near Pompano Beach, Florida, Roger Stone was sitting in the front passenger seat when another car broadsided it, shifted gears, backed up, and sped away. In January, Stone had claimed that he was poisoned in late 2016 with polonium, a radioactive material manufactured in a nuclear reactor and used to kill former KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko in 2006. Litvinenko had defected to Britain and become an outspoken critic of Putin. As he lay in a hospital bed, he said that Putin had been responsible for his impending death. On January 21, 2016, retired British High Court Judge Sir Robert Owen concluded a House of Commons inquiry and issued a 328-page report finding that Litvinenko’s accusation was probably correct. [Added March 20, 2017]
- Also on March 15, 2017: The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes, said that the Committee had no evidence to support Trump’s March 4 wiretapping claim. “I don’t think there was an actual tap of Trump Tower,” Nunes said. “Are you going to take the tweets literally? If you are, clearly the president is wrong.” [Added March 20, 2017]
- March 16, 2017: Senate Intelligence Committee leaders issued a joint statement rebutting Trump’s unfounded assertion that President Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower: “Based on the information available to us, we see no indications that Trump Tower was the subject of surveillance by any element of the United States government either before or after Election Day 2016.” [Added March 20, 2017]
- March 17, 2017: Roger Stone said he had just received via email the Senate Intelligence Committee’s February 17 letter asking him to preserve his records relating to Russian election interference. Quoted in The New York Times, Stone said, “I had never heard allegations that Guccifer 2.0 was a Russian asset until now, and am not certain it’s correct.” He said that his 16 interactions with Guccifer 2.0, which included public Twitter posts and private messages, were all part of “exchanges,” not “separate contacts.” [Added March 20, 2017]
- March 20, 2017: On the morning of FBI Director James Comey’s testimony before Congress on its investigations into Russian election interference, Trump tweeted: “The Democrats made up and pushed the Russian story as an excuse for running a terrible campaign. Big advantage in Electoral College & lost!” Hours later, Comey testified that the FBI was investigating Russian interference with election, including “the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts.” With respect to Trump’s wiretapping claims, Comey said, “I have no information that supports these tweets.”
Continue to compile, excellent stuff.