THE TRUMP/RUSSIA TIMELINE: APRIL 17 UPDATE

Paul Manafort and Carter Page dominate this week’s set of updates to my Timeline for Moyers & Company. To see how the latest pieces fit, take a few minutes to review the entire Timeline. The growing challenge for the country is to prevent Trump’s ongoing military adventures from diverting attention from his deepening Russia election problems. The use of force against another nation is the ultimate distraction. And distraction from a topic it finds unpleasant is what Team Trump does best.

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  • April 8, 2013: Three Russians whom the FBI later accused of spying on the United States discuss efforts to recruit American businessman Carter Page. According to The Washington Post, “[T]he government’s application for the surveillance order targeting Page included a lengthy declaration that laid out investigators’ basis for believing that Page was an agent of the Russian government and knowingly engaged in clandestine intelligence activities on behalf of Moscow.” [Added April 17, 2017]

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  • Late 2015: The British spy agency GCHQ alerts its American counterparts in Washington to suspicious interactions between members of the Trump campaign and known or suspected Russian agents. The GCHQ provides the information as part of a routine exchange of intelligence information. [Added April 17, 2017]

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  • Also on Aug. 5, 2016: Carter Page’s ongoing public criticism of U.S. sanctions against Russia over its actions in Ukraine and his praise for Putin generate increasing attention and concern. In response, Trump campaign spokesman Hope Hicks describes Page as an “informal policy adviser” who “does not speak for Mr. Trump or the campaign.” Later that month, after the FBI believed that Page was no longer part of the Trump campaign, it obtains a Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act (“FISA”) warrant to monitor his communications. The initial 90-day warrant is reissued more than once. [Added April 17, 2017]

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  • Also on Aug. 17, 2016: The Associated Press reports that in 2012 Paul Manafort had secretly routed more than $2 million from Ukraine President Yanukovych’s governing pro-Russia governing party to two U.S. lobbying firms working to influence American policy toward Ukraine. [Added April 17, 2017]

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  • Also on Sept. 23, 2016: Michael Isikoff of Yahoo News reports that U.S. intelligence officials are seeking to determine whether Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page had opened up private communications with senior Russian officials, including talks about the possibility of lifting economic sanctions if Trump became president. [Added April 17, 2017]

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  • Also on Dec. 9, 2016: Paul Manafort tells CBS News that he is not active in the Trump transition. Asked if he was talking to President-elect Trump, Manafort says, “I don’t really want to talk about who I’m speaking to, but I’m aware of what’s going on.” Interviewers also question him about the appearance of his name among the handwritten entries in the Ukraine Party of Regions’ Black Ledger from 2007 to 2012 (purporting to show more than $12 million in dollar payments to him). Manafort responds that the ledger was fabricated. [Added April 17, 2017]

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  • April 12, 2017: The Associated Press confirms that newly obtained financial records show Paul Manafort’s firm had received two wire transfers – one in 2007 and another in 2009 – corresponding to two of the 22 entries next to Manafort’s name in Ukraine’s Party of Regions Black Ledger. Manafort’s spokesman says that Manafort intended to register retroactively with the U.S. Justice Department as a foreign agent for the work he had done on behalf of political interests in Ukraine through 2014. [Added April 17, 2017]
  • April 13, 2017: Former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page tells ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that he wouldn’t reveal who brought him into the Trump campaign. Page also says that he doesn’t recall discussing the subject of easing Russian sanctions in conversations with Russian officials during his July 2016 trip to Moscow. “We’ll see what comes out in this FISA transcript,” Page says, referring to surveillance collected after the FBI obtained a secret court order to monitor him under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. “Something may have come up in a conversation… I have no recollection.” And later he continues, “Someone may have brought it up. I have no recollection. And if it was, it was not something I was offering or that someone was asking for.” Page says that from the time of his departure as an adviser to the Trump campaign through Inauguration Day, he maintained “light contact” with some campaign members. [Added April 17, 2017]

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