THE “DIRTY DOZEN RUSSIANS” EDITION: TRUMP-RUSSIA TIMELINE UPDATES THROUGH JULY 15, 2018

Where are the kids?

Thousands of children await reunification with their families. Meanwhile, many of those kids languish in prison-like conditions. Is this really America?

Before answering, turn to the latest facts that suggest a troubling answer to an unthinkable question: Did the person responsible for implementing the child-separation policy — the President of the United States — win through unlawful means the power he now exercises in the name of every US citizen?

Mueller’s Latest Indictment: Who’s Next?

Last week, the 18-month investment in creating and maintaining the Trump-Russia Timeline paid off again by providing context. (Next week’s update will continue that trend. When considered with surrounding events, the factual allegations in the affidavit supporting the recent criminal complaint against Russian national Maria Butina become far more significant.)

Many of the newest entries in this update come from special counsel Robert Mueller’s July 13, 2018 indictment, which reveals startling details about previous events. Some occurred more than two years ago. The Timeline provides their damning context.

The indictment brought the total number of known defendants in the Trump-Russia scandal to 35. It charges 12 Russian intelligence officers with hacking into the Hillary Clinton, DNC, and DCCC computer systems, stealing information, and disseminating the stolen material through various means, including Wikileaks (although it doesn’t disclose WikiLeaks’ identity). The indictment contains many clues that more criminal charges are coming. It also hints at the identity of those who may have the most to fear in Mueller’s next round of indictments.

That round is coming. Now that Mueller has exposed the Russian actors at the center of the Trump-Russia scandal, Americans on the other side of the transaction will be next.

And Trump knows it.

Here are four episodes for which the Trump-Russia Timeline offers context and insight.

EPISODE #1: THE ART OF A DEAL/STEAL

Background: Russians first hacked the email account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta, on Mar. 19, 2016.

— Starting in late March, Trump adviser George Papadopoulos meets in London with an intermediary — and then with a woman claiming to be Putin’s niece — who claim that Russia has thousands of stolen Clinton emails and wants to help Trump use them to win the election. (In November 2017, the intermediary — Joseph Mifsud — disappears after his role in the Trump-Russia scandal surfaces. Last week, he failed to show up for a court appearance in Italy.)

Mar. 31, 2016: Meeting with his campaign’s national security team, Trump says he wants a softer approach to Russia. Papadopoulos tells Trump that he could arrange a personal meeting between Trump and Putin.

Apr. 27, 2016: In his first major foreign policy address, Trump discusses easing relations between Russia and the US. Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak is sitting near the front of the room and attends a VIP reception.

— Apr. 29, 2016: The DNC first notices suspicious activity on its computer systems. By May, its outside team of experts determines that the hacking had come from Russia.

— June 3, 2016, Dontald Trump Jr. receives word that Russians promising “dirt” on Hillary Clinton want to meet with him. “I love it,” Don Jr. replies.

— June 7, 2016: The meeting date with the Russians is set with Don Jr., Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner attending. That evening, Trump tells the crowd celebrating his New Jersey primary victory: “I am going to give a major speech on probably Monday of next week [June 13] and we’re going to be discussing all of the things that have taken place with the Clintons.

Indictment revelation: On June 8, 2016, the Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) launches “DCLeaks.com” and starts releasing stolen DNC emails. Before long, WikiLeaks disseminates them, too.

Who’s in big trouble?

Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Jr., Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner, Trump’s national security team, and Julian Assange (WikiLeaks). The indictment doesn’t state whether the Russian hacking and dissemination operation was part of larger conspiracy with American citizens to install a president who had affirmed his warmth toward Russia. But Trump knows.

And so does Mueller.

***

EPISODE #2: “RUSSIA, IF YOU’RE LISTENING…”

— July 27, 2016: In the morning, Trump says, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

Indictment revelation: “After hours”, Russian hackers attempt to infiltrate “for the first time email accounts at a domain hosted by a third-party provider and used by Clinton’s personal office.”

Who’s in big trouble?

Trump. The indictment doesn’t disclose whether that particular Russian hack was a direct response to Trump’s earlier invitation. But Trump knows.

And so does Mueller.

***

EPISODE #3: GOP SEEKS RUSSIAN HELP

— Aug. 4, 2016: Roger Stone says that Guccifer 2.0 is not “the Russians” (spoiler alert: it is) and that WikiLeaks has devastating information on Clinton that Julian Assange will release to the public soon. Throughout August and September, Stone communicates directly with Guccifer 2.0 and discusses publicly anticipated WikiLeaks’ disclosures that will damage Clinton. Stone also boasts that, even though he left the campaign formally, he speaks regularly to Trump (which he does through the election and beyond).

— Aug. 12, 2016: Florida GOP consultant Aaron Nevins reaches out to Guccifer 2.0, who had invited journalists to send questions via Twitter direct messages relating to information that Guccifer 2.0 had hacked from the DNC and the DCCC.

Indictment revelation: On August 15, 2016, a congressional candidate asks Guccifer 2.0 for documents that the Russians had stolen from the DNC and the DCCC.  

— Aug. 22, 2016: Responding to Nevins’ Aug. 12 request, Guccifer 2.0 uploads almost 2.5 gigabytes of stolen documents — including the Democratic Party’s get-out-the-vote strategy for Florida — to Nevins’ Dropbox. Guccifer 2.0 then sends Roger Stone a link to Nevins’ blog. Nevins continues posting hacked documents through the end of August, culminating in the Sept. 8, 2016, release of the DCCC’s “Democrats Turnout Model” for Florida.

Who’s in big trouble?

Stone, Nevins, Assange (WikiLeaks), and the unnamed congressional candidate who asked Guccifer 2.0 for hacked documents. The indictment doesn’t reveal candidate’s identity. But that person knows who he or she is.

And so does Mueller.

***

EPISODE #4: THEFT OF THE DEMOCRATS’ ANALYTICS

A political party’s voter “analytics” are among any campaign’s most valuable tools. For an opponent who acquires them, it’s the equivalent of obtaining an adversary’s strategic plan for winning a war. Mueller’s indictment charges that in September 2016, the Russian hackers gathered “test applications relating to DNC’s analytics”, which they copied and moved to cloud-based accounts. The indictment doesn’t reveal what happened to the information thereafter or how it was used during the final two months of the campaign.

But those who benefited from the theft do.

And so does Mueller.

Who could be in big trouble? 

Anyone who knew that the campaign was using the DNC’s analytics to help Trump win the election. That could include Jared Kushner (who oversaw Trump’s digital operation), Brad Parscale (Trump’s digital campaign director), and Trump himself.

More is Coming

One more thing: Last week, Trump’s former national security Michael Flynn appeared in court and confirmed that he is still cooperating with Mueller. But the facts underlying the latest indictment of Russian intelligence officers didn’t come from Flynn. He’s supplying different information about wrongdoing by US citizens.

Mueller started with the Russian side of the transaction. Coming soon: The US side of a story that will live in infamy.

Here’s a complete list of the latest updates to the Trump-Russia Timeline:

JUNE 8, 2016: Russian Hackers Launch DCLeaks.com

JULY 27, 2016: Trump Exhorts Russia to Hack Clinton’s Email Server; Russians Attempt New Hack of Clinton Accounts (revision of pf previous entry) 

AUG. 15, 2016: Congressional Candidate Requests Stolen DNC/DCCC Emails from Guccifer 2.0

JULY 9, 2017: Trump Tweets About His Conversations with Putin

MAR. 20, 2018: Trump Congratulates Putin on Election Victory  (revision of pf previous entry) 

JULY 7, 2018: Sen. Johnson: Questions Russian Sanctions and Significance of Russia’s Election Interference

JULY 9, 2018: Trump Lies About NATO Costs

JULY 10, 2018: Flynn Still Cooperating With Mueller

JULY 10, 2018: Trump Continues Assault on NATO; Remains Soft on Putin

JULY 10, 2018: Trump Tweets About Strzok and Page

JULY 10, 2018: Britain Fines Facebook over Cambridge Analytica Scandal

JULY 10, 2018: Page Refuses to Appear Before House Committees

JULY 11, 2018: Misfud is Still Missing

JULY 11-12, 2018: Trump Attacks NATO Allies With Lies, Backs Off, Then Renews Assault

JULY 11, 2018: Trump Tweets About Strzok and Page

JULY 12, 2018: Strzok Testifies before House Committees

JULY 12, 2018: Trump Overrules Intelligence and Law Enforcement Advice; Orders Release of Investigative Files to Congress

JULY 12, 2018: Trump Blasts Theresa May in London

JULY 13, 2018: Trump Says He Supports May

JULY 13, 2018: Rosenstein Announces New Mueller Indictment

JULY 13, 2018: Coats Says Russian Cyberattack Warning Lights ‘Blinking Red’

JULY 13, 2018: House GOP Preparing New Push to Impeach Rosenstein

JULY 14, 2018: In Wake of Mueller Indictment, Trump Tweets About Obama and ‘Deep State’ 

JULY 15, 2018: En Route to Meeting with Putin, Trump Tweets ‘Witch Hunt’; Russia Agrees

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