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

CRUISING PAST THE 1,000-ENTRY MARK: TRUMP-RUSSIA TIMELINE UPDATE THROUGH MARCH 5, 2018

This week’s update brings the total number of Trump-Russia Timeline entries to almost 1,000. When I created the Timeline in February 2017, there were 25. The hits keep coming, and the best is yet to come.

For a while, it appeared that Brad Parscale’s appointment as the manager of Trump’s 2020 campaign would be last week’s biggest addition to the Trump-Russia Timeline. But then Hope Hicks resigned the day after testifying that she told “white lies” for Trump, who berated her for such candor.

So much has already happened this week that it’s easy for forget those bombshells. That would be a mistake.

Brad Parscale

Around 2011, Parscale had begun creating web designs for Trump family businesses. In early 2015, he was working alone from his home in San Antonio when he received a message: Donald Trump was planning to run for president and needed a website. Parscale offered to do the job for $1,500.

Eventually, he became the Trump campaign’s digital director. Facebook and Twitter embedded their employees in his organization, and by the end of 2016, the campaign had paid Parscale’s firm more than $90 million.

Where does Parscale fit in the broader Trump-Russia scandal? Here’s a little context:

June 2015: According to special counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment of 13 Russian nationals and 3 Russian entities behind one prong of the election interference project, Russia’s exploitation of Facebook, Twitter, and other social media begins.

June 16, 2015: Trump announces his candidacy. Within a month, he is boasting about his relationship with Putin’s oligarchs, praises the Russian dictator, and makes clear that he thinks the US should soften its position on Russian sanctions.

June 9, 2016: Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort meet with Russians promising “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. Six weeks earlier, other Russians had told George Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, that they possessed Clinton’s stolen emails.

September 2016: Wikileaks contacts Donald Trump Jr. who, in turn, tells Parscale, Steve Bannon, and Jared Kushner about it. Meanwhile, Trump confidant Roger Stone claims repeatedly to be in communication with Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. (Go to the Timeline and click on Stone’s name.) Through the election, Trump himself praises publicly WikiLeaks’ disclosures — all of which target Clinton.

January 2017: After the election, Parscale, Rick Gates, and other former Trump aides form a large, pro-Trump non-profit organization: “America First Policies.”

July 2017: After receiving a request to appear before the House Intelligence Committee, Parscale issues a statement saying that he is “unaware of any Russian involvement in the digital and data operations of the 2016 Trump presidential campaign.”

Meanwhile, Facebook still denies that it has any evidence of Russian political ad purchases on its platform. In September, it finally begins to come clean.

Jan. 5, 2018: Parscale tweets:

Kushner and Eric? And now Parscale is managing the 2020 Trump campaign. Friends taking care of friends.

Hope Hicks

Hicks stole Parscale’s spotlight: She admitted to telling “white lies” for Trump and resigned the next day. Go to the Trump-Russia Timeline, and click on her name. Here’s a sample of what’s there:

July 2016; Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page informs Hicks about his trip to Russia.

September 2016: Hicks receives an email from Don Jr. about his contact with WikiLeaks.

November 2016: Hicks denies that there were any contacts between Russia and the Trump campaign.

March 2017; Hicks issues a statement trying to explain away Jared Kushner’s secret meeting with a Russian banker in December 2016.

May 2017: Hicks is a member of Trump’s core group as he decides to fire FBI Director James Comey and then initially lies about his reasons for doing so.

July 2017: As Trump participates in crafting Don Jr.’s misleading statement about the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russians promising “dirt” on Clinton, Hicks is there.

Hicks seems to know more than where some bodies are buried. She may have held a shovel that helped put them there.

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

APRIL 2015: Trump and Torshin at NRA Convention

EARLY 2015: Trump Campaign Retains Parscale

APRIL 26, 2016: Papadopoulos Learns That Russians Have ‘Dirt’ on Hillary Clinton and Can Help Disseminate It (revision of previous entry)

OCT. 13, 2016: The Atlantic: Stone and WikiLeaks Communicate Directly

OCT. 30, 2016: WSJ: Internal FBI Feud Over Clinton Investigation

NOV. 8, 2016: Election Day Troubles (revision of previous entry)

NOV. 9, 2016: WikiLeaks Sends Message to Stone

NOV. 10, 2016: Zuckerberg Rejects “Crazy Idea” that Facebook Affected Election

JAN. 5, 2017: Intelligence Chiefs Brief Obama on Trump and Russia

MARCH 2017: Kushner Companies Gets Big Loans; SEC Drops Inquiry

OCT. 27, 2017: US Attorney Dana Boente Resigns; Later Gets New FBI Job (revision of previous entry)

FEB. 27, 2018: Trump Tweets

FEB. 27, 2018: Parscale Named Trump’s 2020 Campaign Manager

FEB. 27, 2018: Hicks Admits to “White Lies”; House Intelligence Committee Gets “Bannon’ed”

FEB. 27, 2018: Trump Dragging Feet on Disrupting Russian Interference Efforts

FEB. 27, 2018: Kushner Suffers Security Clearance Downgrade and Other Woes

FEB. 27-28, 2018: Trump Attacks Sessions Again; Sessions Counterpunches

FEB. 27-28, 2018: Mueller Eyes Trump’s Russian Connections and Hicks’ Denials

FEB. 28, 2018: Manafort Trial Date Set

FEB. 28, 2018: Hicks Announces Resignation

MARCH 3, 2018: Mueller Investigating UAE Election Influence

MARCH 4, 2018: Putin: Russia Will Never Allow US to Extradite Accused Russians

MARCH 5, 2018: Trump Tweets Another Lie About Russia Investigation

 

 

THE “RICK GATES/NRA EDITION”: TRUMP-RUSSIA TIMELINE UPDATE THROUGH FEB. 26, 2018

Two major news stories intersected, but most of the media missed the collision. The Parkland High School shooting brought new scrutiny to the NRA’s position on assault weapons. And Rick Gates’ guilty plea agreement with special counsel Robert Mueller led many pundits to focus on how Gates’ cooperation could bolster the case against former Trump campaign manager, Paul Manafort. The Trump-Russia Timeline reveals a connection between the seemingly separate stories about the NRA and Gates. That connection could become key.

Start with Gates

Certainly, Rick Gates’ plea creates pressure on Manafort to flip and, presumably, testify against Trump. But Gates’ testimony alone could also worsen the legal jeopardy facing Trump (and Jared Kushner and Don Jr.). When it comes to Trump, Gates might know as much as Manafort, and perhaps more.

Go to the Trump-Russia Timeline, click on Rick Gates, and you’ll find more details about the following entries:

2006: Gates joins Manafort’s consulting firm and begins a decade-long relationship as his confidant.

March 2016: Manafort joins the Trump campaign. Gates goes with him and remains Manafort’s right-hand man.

A month ago, I urged a watchful eye on the FBI’s interest in whether Russians funneled campaign contributions to Trump through the NRA. Accepting campaign contributions from a foreign adversary is illegal. How might Gates fill out that picture? Here’s a start:

May 19-22, 2016: Trump, Don Jr. and Torshin at the NRA. Gates is copied (along with Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort) on emails communicating the request of a top Putin ally — Alexander Torshin, deputy governor of Russia’s central bank — to meet with Trump at the NRA’s annual convention in Nashville. Torshin has to settle for dinner with Don Jr.

Now go to the Timeline, click simultaneously on both Rick Gates and Alexander Torshin. and draw your own conclusions from uncontested facts.

There Could Be Much More

But Gates alone may have more to say about a lot of other Trump-Russia things. Returning to Gates’ entries on the Timeline:

May 21, 2016: Papadopoulos Pushes Russia Meeting. Manafort forwards to Gates an email that he received from George Papadopoulos, who is pushing the Russians’ request for a direct meeting between Putin and Trump.

Timeline entries for June 9, 2016 (“Don Jr., Manafort, Kushner Meet With Russian Lawyer”) and July 14, 2016 (“Trump Campaign Successfully Changes GOP Platform on Ukraine”) do not yet show up as involving Gates. But his proximity to Manafort makes them candidates for future inclusion. Meanwhile, Gates does appear in these entries:

Aug. 19, 2016: Manafort Resigns From Trump Campaign; Gates Remains. After Manafort leaves the campaign amid controversy over increasing media attention to his exploits with Ukraine’s pro-Putin president, Gates moves over to the Republican National Committee and remains in Trump’s inner circle.

Jan. 20, 2017: Gates Remains in Trump Orbit. After the election, Gates becomes a consultant to the presidential transition, including the inauguration committee. After the inauguration, Gates and the Trump campaign’s digital director, Brad Parscale, help raise $25 million for a new pro-Trump group, “America First Policies.”

In short, Gates has a continuity of experience with Trump that Manafort doesn’t. As a cooperating witness for Mueller, Gates could be especially potent.

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

MARCH 19, 2013: Manafort Has Dinner with Rohrabacher

DECEMBER 2016: Suspicious Bank Loans to Manafort

SEPTEMBER 2012: US Law Firm Completes Report on Ukrainian Trial

SEPTEMBER 2016: FBI Has Open “Sub-Inquiries” On Individuals with Trump Campaign Links

SEPTEMBER 2016: Skadden Attorney Communicates With Gates and “Person A”

OCT. 21, 2016: FBI Seeks FISA Warrant on Carter Page (revision of previous entry)

OCTOBER 2017: Trump’s Bodyguard Gets RNC Job

FEB. 1, 2018: Gates Lies to Mueller

FEB. 2, 2018: Mueller Issues Criminal Information Against Rick Gates

FEB. 7, 2018: US Forces Attacked in Syria; Russian Oligarch Involved

FEB. 14, 2018: Lawyer Connected to Manafort and Gates Agrees to Guilty Plea Guilty

FEB. 16, 2018: Mueller’s DC Grand Jury Issues Superseding Indictment Against Manafort

FEB. 18, 2018: Former Russian Troll Farm Employee Arrested

FEB. 19, 2018: Mueller Looking at Kushner’s Finances

FEB. 19, 2018: Trump Blames Obama for Russian Meddling

FEB. 20, 2018: Trump Tweet-storm About Russia and Obama Continues

FEB. 21, 2018: Trump Tweets

FEB. 22, 2018: Trump Tweets As NRA Takes Heat

FEB. 22, 2018: New Charges Against Manafort and Gates

FEB. 23, 2018: Gates Pleads Guilty; Manafort Professes Innocence

FEB. 24, 2018: Democratic Rebuttal To Nunes Memo Released

FEB. 24, 2018: Trump Lies About Democratic Response to Nunes Memo

FEB. 26, 2018: GOP House Leaders Refuse to Investigate Trump Finances