Trump’s tweets immediately preceding FBI Director James Comey’s congressional testimony brought to mind one of the articles of impeachment against President Richard Nixon: “[I]nterfering or endeavouring to interfere with the conduct of investigations by the Department of Justice of the United States, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the office of Watergate Special Prosecution Force, and Congressional Committees;….” (Article 1, #4)
Here are my newest additions to the Bill Moyers & Company Timeline:
- Sometime in 2014: Golf writer and co-author of Arnold Palmer’s memoir James Dodson is playing golf with Donald and Eric Trump at Trump National Charlotte in North Carolina. In an interview airing May 5, 2017 on Boston’s public radio station, Dodson describes the episode, beginning with a question he asks Donald Trump before the round: “‘What are you using to pay for these courses?’ And he just sort of tossed off that he had access to $100 million. So when I got in the cart with Eric, as we were setting off, I said, ‘Eric, who’s funding? I know no banks — because of the recession, the Great Recession — have touched a golf course. You know, no one’s funding any kind of golf construction. It’s dead in the water the last four or five years.’ And this is what he said. He said, ‘Well, we don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia.’ I said, ‘Really?’ And he said, ‘Oh, yeah. We’ve got some guys that really, really love golf, and they’re really invested in our programs. We just go there all the time. Now that was three years ago, so it was pretty interesting.” On May 7, 2017, Eric Trump calls Dodson’s claim “categorically untrue” and “complete garbage.”
- July 19, 2016: Bloomberg reports that over the past year, Trump’s debt load has almost doubled from $350 million to $630 million.
- Nov. 18, 2016: Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sends Trump transition team chair (and Vice President-elect) Mike Pence a letter expressing concerns about NSA-designate Mike Flynn’s conflicts of interest. Specifically, Cummings worries about Flynn’s work for an entity affiliated with the government of Turkey, as well as a paid trip to Moscow in December 2015 during which Flynn was “highly critical of the United States.”
- Late November 2016: In a meeting that includes senior Trump transition national security team members, national security adviser-designate Mike Flynn reveals that he has scheduled a conversation with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. In attendance is Marshall Billingslea, a member of the team who had been a senior Pentagon official for President George W. Bush. He warns Flynn that any such communications carry risks because U.S. intelligence agencies are almost certainly monitoring Kislyak’s conversations. After the meeting, Billingsea asks national security officials in the Obama White House for a copy of the classified CIA profile of Kislyak.
- April 28, 2017: The chair and vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee send letters to several former Trump campaign advisers, including Carter Page, Mike Flynn, Paul Manafort, and Roger Stone. Among other requests, the letters ask for a “list of all meetings between you and any Russian official or representative of Russian business interests which took place between June 16, 2015 and January 20, 2017.” The letters also request information about any such meetings of which they are aware, as well as all documents relating to Trump campaign communications with Russian officials or business representatives. The Committee also seeks information about any financial and real estate transactions related to Russia from June 15, 2015 through Trump’s inauguration.
- May 2, 2017: On the eve of FBI Director James Comey’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Trump tweets: “FBI Director Comey was the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton in that he gave her a free pass for many bad deeds! The phony… Trump/Russia story was an excuse used by the Democrats as justification for losing the election. Perhaps Trump just ran a great campaign?”
- May 3, 2017: In response to Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who asks FBI Director Comey about Trump’s April 29, 2017 interview in which he said that the hacking of the DNC “could’ve been China, could’ve been a lot of different groups,” Comey answers, “The intelligence community with high confidence concluded it was Russia.” [Added May 9, 2017]
- May 5, 2017: The chair and vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee issue a joint statement, saying: “Three days ago, Carter Page told Fox News he was cooperating with the Committee’s investigation into Russian activities surrounding the 2016 Election. Today we have learned that may not be the case.” The statement expresses the hope that Page “will live up to his publicly-expressed cooperation with our effort.”