19 June, 2012
To avoid the rape charges against him, Julian Assange applies for asylum with Ecuador, whose president, Rafael Correa, he’d interviewed for his show on Russian state-owned RT. He repairs to the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
Edward Snowden begins work as a contractor for Booz Allen, based in Hawaii. He takes the job to steal files from the NSA headquarters there.
Using the pseudonym Carlos Danger, disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner sends lewd photos of himself to a 22-year-old Formspring user, later revealed as Sydney Leathers.
Michael Flynn, then director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, travels to Moscow, where he becomes the second DIA director to be invited into the headquarters of Russia’s military intelligence directorate, known as the GRU, although he will later boast that he was the first. “‘Flynn thought he developed some rapport with the GRU chief,’ a former senior U.S. military official said.”
Russian hacker Yevgeniy Aleksandrovich Nikulin hacks into “accessed computers belonging to LinkedIn, Dropbox and Formspring,” obtaining information from the computers and causing “damage to computers belonging to a LinkedIn employee and to Formspring by transmitting a program, information, code, or command.” Too, Nikulin “used the credentials of LinkedIn and Formspring employees in connection with the computer intrusions” and “engaged in a conspiracy with unnamed co-conspirators to traffic stolen Formspring user credentials,” per the US DOJ.
4 April, 2013
Colonel Alexander Kazalupov, the Cuba bureau chief of the FSB (Russian intelligence), flies to Quito to meet with agents of SENAIN, the Ecuadorian intelligence agency, most likely about Snowden.
5 April, 2013
Snowden writes his only legal email to the NSA, asking about Executive Orders.
Snowden steals tranche of classified documents from NSA.
Snowden travels to Hong Kong, where he hands stolen data to Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras.
8 May, 2013
Formspring shuts down.
4 June, 2013
The stolen NSA documents are published.
9 June, 2013
Snowden reveals his identity as NSA whistleblower.
18 June, 2013
Trump announces, via Twitter, that Miss Universe will be held in Moscow. “Do you think Putin will be going to The Miss Universe Pageant,” he tweets. “[I]f so, will he become my new best friend?”
Trump claims to have a relationship with Putin, in an interview with NBC. “I do have a relationship and I can tell you that he’s very interested in what we’re doing here today.”
21 June, 2013
The United States formally charges Snowden with espionage.
22 June, 2013
The United States revokes Snowden‘s passport. Assange arranges Ecuadorian travel papers so that Snowden can fly to Moscow.
23 June, 2013
Snowden flies to Moscow, spends 40 days trapped at the airport.
23 July, 2013
Anthony Weiner‘s Carlos Danger “sexting” scandal becomes public.
1 August, 2013
Snowden is granted asylum in Russia.
28 August, 2013
Anthony Weiner’s wife, longtime Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, announces that the two have separated.
9 November, 2013
Trump is in Moscow for the Miss Universe beauty pageant.
18 March, 2014
Russia annexes the Crimea.
The US imposes economic sanctions on Russia as a consequence of its invasion of Ukraine.
10 October 2014
Sanctions scuttle a deal between Russia and Exxon that would have netted Putin an estimated $500 billion. While CEO of Exxon, Rex Tillerson signs a deal with Russia to drill in the Arctic; for this, he receives the Order of Friendship by Vladimir Putin. The Arctic project is scuttled on October 10, 2014, after the sanctions imposed on Russia by the U.S. government. At the time, Exxon has discovered a new field with an estimated 750 million barrels of oil.
“Cozy Bear” or “APT 29,” hackers working at the behest of the main security service of the Russian government (FSB), successfully hack the servers of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), stealing the party’s opposition research on Donald Trump.
The FBI notifies the DNC that they have been hacked, but offers no specifics.
Disgraced former general Michael Flynn gives a talk at a gala for RT, the Russian state-owned network, and is paid by the Kremlin. He sits next to Putin at the dinner, at the same table with Green Party candidate Jill Stein.
The DNC hires the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike to help secure its servers.
The hackers “Fancy Bear,” or “APT 28” — working at the behest of the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence service — target the DNC as well as Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, including the e-mail account of campaign chairman John Podesta.
21 March, 2016
In an interview with the Washington Post, Donald Trump lists among his foreign policy team “Carter Page, PhD.” Speculation is that Page was recommended by Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions. Notably, Trump does not list Michael Flynn among his advisers.
22 March, 2016
The New York Times runs a story on Trump’s no-name foreign adviser team, explaining that Carter Page is “a managing partner at Global Energy Capital, who will be advising Mr. Trump on energy policy and Russia.” Another managing partner is Sergei Millian, founder of the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce, who claimed to be the exclusive broker for Trump real estate ventures in Russia. Millian is reported to be “Source E” in the Steele dossier.
30 March, 2016
Carter Page gives an interview to Bloomberg, which reports: “In Russia, Page developed relationships with executives at Gazprom, the former Soviet gas ministry that was partially privatized in the 1990s. By the time Page arrived, Putin was consolidating his grip on the country’s economy, and in 2005 the government boosted its stake so that it again owned a majority of the stock. Page says he advised Gazprom on its largest deals during this period, such as buying of a stake in the Sakhalin oil and gas field in the Sea of Okhotsk. He also helped the company court Western investors, assisting in setting up the first regular meetings with shareholders in New York and London. Before he moved back to New York in 2007, he says, many of its top officials showed up at his going-away party, at a restaurant near the Kremlin.”
Michael Flynn‘s name is bandied about as a possible “Dark Horse” choice for Trump’s VP.
CrowdStrike releases evidence of Fancy/Cozy Bear’s involvement in the DNC hacks. A shadowy figure called Guccifer 2.0 begins releasing the emails, and claims responsibility for the hacks. It is widely believed Guccifer 2.0 is an online persona and not a real person.
19 July, 2016
In his intelligence report, Christopher Steele reports on a meeting between Donald Trump foreign affairs adviser Carter Page and the head of Russian state oil company Rosneft Igor Sechin, a “Putin close associate and US-sanctioned individual”—that is, someone personally blacklisted by the U.S. government. Sechin “raised with Page the issues of future bilateral energy cooperation and prospects for an associated move to lift Ukraine-related Western sanctions against Russia.” Page reacted positively to the discussions, Steele reports. (Steele dossier, p. 9).
22 July, 2016
WikiLeaks, i.e. Julian Assange, posts 20,000 stolen DNC emails.
28 July, 2016
Donald Trump calls on Russia to help locate 30,000 Hillary Clinton emails that he believes had been deleted.
18 August, 2016
Paul Manafort resigns from chairman of the Trump campaign after the Ukrainian government’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau claimed to have found handwritten records that show $12.7 million in cash payments designated for Manafort, who was adviser to Viktor Yanukovych. The pro-Putin Yanukovych was removed from power in February of 2014, is currently in exile in Russia, and is wanted by Ukraine for high treason.
21 September, 2016
The British tabloid The Daily Mail reports that Anthony Weiner had engaged in a months-long sexting with a 15-year-old girl, and that devices owned by Weiner were seized as part of an investigation into this incident.
23 September, 2016
Writing for Politico Magazine, Julia Ioffe, a reporter with long experience covering Russia, reports that none of her sources had ever heard of Carter Page, including Bill Browder. “(“I can poll any number of people involved in energy in Russia about Carter Page and they’ll say, ‘Carter who? You mean Jimmy Carter?’” says one veteran Western investor in Russian energy.)” Her conclusion is that Page is less a legit adviser than a nebbish who wound up on a list of potential advisers by accident and sought to capitalize on the mistake.
3 October, 2016
The NYPD, acting on a tip from the FBI’s New York field office, seizes Weiner’s laptop.
5 October, 2016
The Russian hacker Nikulin is arrested in Prague. The FBI had issued a “red notice” for his apprehension and calls for his extradition to the U.S. to face charges.
7 October, 2016
The Washington Post releases the Donald Trump/Billy Bush/Access Hollywood video, in which Trump claims he can “grab” women “by the pussy.” This is widely thought to be the “October surprise” that will sink Trump’s already-faltering campaign.
18 October, 2016
In his intelligence report, Steele reveals more information about the summer rendezvous between Trump foreign affairs advisor Carter Page and Igor Sechin, a Putin ally on the US sanctions list. “[T]he Rosneft company president was so keen to lift personal and corporate [W]estern sanctions imposed on the company that he offered PAGE/TRUMP’s associates the brokerage of up to a 19 percent (privatized) stake in Rosneft in return. PAGE had expressed interest and confirmed that were TRUMP elected US president, then sanctions on Russia would be lifted.” (Steele dossier, p. 30)
26 October, 2016
Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York and a prominent Trump surrogate, boasted on TV about an October surprise coming that would mortally wound Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
28 October, 2016
FBI director James Comey sends a letter to Congress, revealing the Weiner latop and the possible re-opening of the Hillary/email investigation.
31 October, 2016
The New York Times runs a story with the headline “Investigating Donald Trump, FBI Sees No Clear Link to Russia.” The story is misleading.
4 November, 2016
Giuliani says that his friends at the FBI told him about the October surprise.
8 November, 2016
Donald Trump wins the election.
7 December, 2016
Putin and Igor Sechin, head of Russian oil giant Rosneft, announce a plan to privatize 19.5% of the company. The price is 10.2 billion euros. The brokerage commission of the sale is, conservatively, a hundred million euros.
8 December, 2017
Carter Page meets with Rosneft senior executives in Moscow.
12 December, 2017
Carter Page gives a controversial lecture in Moscow. Ivan Nechepurenko, a correspondent for the New York Times, tweets: “U.S. government might have deliberately orchestrated cyberattacks to make it look as though they were coming from Russia, Carter Page says.”
Ex-Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson is nominated to be Secretary of State.
29 December 2016
President Obama imposes still more sanctions against Russia, as retribution for its attempts to undermine the US election. Michael Flynn, a Trump surrogate who will be named national security adviser, continues his on-going conversations conversations with the Russian ambassador. Flynn denies sanctions were ever discussed, as does Vice President-Elect Mike Pence.
30 December 2017
Putin responds by trolling Obama on social media, and inviting the families of American diplomats to his holiday party. He says he will delay any further response. Trump tweets his approval: “Great move on delay (by V. Putin) – I always knew he was very smart!”
10 January, 2017
After a CNN report alludes to the Steele report, Buzzfeed publishes the Steele dossier in its entirety.
11 January, 2017
Trump says that the Steele dossier is “all fake news . . . It’s phony stuff. It didn’t happen.” The media focuses almost entirely on the “golden shower” detail. Spokesman Sean Spicer says of Carter Page, who is mentioned by name in the dossier: “Carter Page is an individual who[m] the president-elect does not know and was put on notice months ago by the campaign.”
13 January, 2017
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Trump suggests that Russian sanctions could be lifted if Russia proves an ally.
20 January, 2017
Donald Trump is inaugurated president of the United States. The New York Times reports that the FBI, CIA, National Security Agency and the Treasury Department are investigating possible links between Russian officials and Trump campaign associates, namely Paul Manafort, Carter Page, Michael Flynn, and Roger Stone, a longtime Trump adviser.
The New York Times‘ public editor explains the inaccuracies and bad reporting in the October 31 article “Investigating Donald Trump, FBI Sees No Clear Link to Russia.” The Times knew more than it was willing to print.
25 January, 2017
Reuters reports that a month after the Rosneft deal, it is still not clear who exactly purchased the 19.5% stake in the Russian state oil company.
27 January, 2017
In advance of the planned called between President Trump and President Putin, which the latter announced on Russian TV, Kellyanne Conway confirms that the lifting of the Russian sanctions is a possibility. “All of that is under consideration,” she says.
Meanwhile, Business Insider reports that “the privatization deal was funded by Gazprombank, whose parent company is the state-owned Russian energy giant Gazprom.”
28 January, 2017
President Trump and President Putin speak on the phone for the first time. Neither mention that sanctions are explicitly discussed, although the subject is hinted at.
1 February, 2017
Russian troops begin to shell eastern Ukraine, escalating the Crimea conflict. Trump makes no comment on this.
2 February, 2017
Trump begins to lift sanctions on Russia, starting with the FSB/intelligence service—the very arm of the Russian government thought to have perpetrated the election hacks.
9 February 2017
The Washington Post reports that nine (nine!) current and former US officials claim that Michael Flynn did, in fact, discuss sanctions with the Russian ambassador in a series of conversations in November and December.
10 February, 2017
News outlets report that the Steele dossier is “gaining credibility with law enforcement.”
11 February, 2017
Putin floats the idea of returning Edward Snowden to the US to “curry favor” with Trump.
13 February, 2017
After the revelation that he’d “misled” the president and vice president in the nature of his pre-inauguration talks with the Russian ambassador, Mike Flynn resigns as national security adviser. No one in the US defends him, but his ouster is marked by impassioned defenses from Russian lawmakers.