Published documents on the US presidential election probe
The US Department of Justice released a review of the hearings and emails of those involved in Special Prosecutor Robert Mahler’s investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, following a court ruling over a dispute with CNN and with ” Buzzlid News “.
As reported by Reuters, the 500-page documents include talks with Rick Gates, the former vice president for President Donald Trump’s election campaign, and Steve Bannon, a former presidential adviser.
The documents include an e-mail correspondence between Banon and Jared Kouchner, a senior Trump adviser and son-in-law, as well as a “proposal to receive” and analyze e-mail from a former secretary of state and later a presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton.
Citing the Freedom of Information Act, requested that it be given access to all documents related to the investigation of former FBI Director Mahler.
Here’s a look at investigations into Russian meddling during the 2016 presidential race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.For details about computer hacking during the campaign, visit 2016 Presidential Campaign Hacking Fast Facts.Special counsel Robert Mueller and multiple congressional committees launched Russia-related investigations in 2017.
Select congressional and federal investigations:
FBI – In July of 2016, the FBI launched a counterintelligence investigation into possible links between the Russian government and Trump campaign officials.
The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence – On January 13, 2017, the committee announced that it was conducting a probe of Russian meddling. This investigation and others were sparked by a declassified report from the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) that described a multifaceted effort led by Russian President Vladimir Putin to interfere with the election by releasing damaging information about Clinton to help Trump.
The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence- On January 25, 2017, the committee announced that it is investigating Russia’s active measures during the presidential campaign as well as the underlying intelligence that led to the DNI’s conclusions about Russia’s intentions. The committee was led by Devin Nunes (R-CA) and Adam Schiff (D-CA) prior to 2019. (Nunes stepped away from the probe temporarily after the Ethics Committee announced it was looking into allegations he made unauthorized disclosures of classified information.
When Nunes stepped away, Mike Conaway (R-TX) took his place. Even though Nunes said that he was formally stepping away from his role leading the investigation, he continued to review classified intelligence on Russia matters and he still had sway issuing subpoenas.)The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform – On March 22, 2017, the committee requested information about former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn’s paid speaking engagements overseas. After Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, the committee began looking into the circumstances surrounding the dismissal.The Senate Judiciary Committee -On May 17, 2017, the committee called on the White House and the FBI to turn over all memos related the president’s interactions with Comey.
In addition to conducting an oversight investigation of Comey’s dismissal, the committee has held hearings on the Foreign Agents Registration Act and attempts to influence the election. The committee also interviewed Donald Trump Jr. and other witnesses behind closed doors.
Special Counsel – On May 17, 2017, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to lead an investigation into Russian interference and related matters that could result in criminal prosecutions. On March 22, 2019, the Justice Department announced the special counsel’s office completed its probe, after 22 months, charges against 37 defendants, seven guilty pleas and one conviction at trial.
A redacted version of Mueller’s report was released on April 18, 2019
April 12, 2015 –Clinton officially launches her presidential campaign.June 16, 2015 – Trump launches his campaign.
February 2016 – Flynn, a retired general and former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), begins advising Trump on foreign policy matters, according to Reuters. Flynn became a prominent critic of the Obama administration after he was ousted from the DIA in 2014.
March 29, 2016 – Paul Manafort, a veteran GOP consultant, joins the Trump campaign as a strategist to help prepare for the Republican National Convention.
April 27, 2016 –Trump delivers his first major foreign policy speech at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington. Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak is one of the diplomats in the audience. Trump’s son-in-law and campaign adviser Jared Kushner later says he shook hands with Kislyak at the event.
May 19, 2016 –Manafort is promoted to chief strategist and campaign chairman.
June 3, 2016 – Trump Jr. receives an email from Rob Goldstone, a music publicist whose clients include Azerbaijani-Russian singer Emin Agalarov. Goldstone tells Trump Jr. that a Russian lawyer, working on behalf of the Kremlin, wants to pass along incriminating information about Clinton. He explains that Russia and its government want to support Trump by providing opposition research on Clinton. Trump Jr. indicates he is interested in seeing the information and suggests arranging a call.
June 7-8, 2016 – Goldstone sends Trump Jr. another email about setting up an in-person meeting with a “Russian government attorney” who will be flying from Moscow to New York on June 9, to talk to representatives from the Trump campaign at Trump Tower in New York. Trump loops in Manafort and Kushner.
June 9, 2016 – Manafort, Kushner and Trump Jr. meet with Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya. It is unclear what is discussed during the meeting, which was set up as a discussion of Russian-sourced opposition research on Clinton. Trump Jr. later says that Veselnitskaya did not present any valuable information during the meeting. The elder Trump did not participate, according to his legal team
June 12, 2016 – During an interview on British television, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says that the website has obtained and will publish a batch of Clinton emails
.June 14, 2016 – The Washington Post reports hackers working for the Russian government accessed the DNC’s computer system, stealing oppositional research on Trump and viewing staffers’ emails and chat exchanges. The Kremlin, however, denies that the government was linked to the hack, and a US official tells CNN that investigators have not yet concluded that the cyberattack was directed by the Russian government.
June 15, 2016 –A cybersecurity firm hired by the DNC posts a public notice on its website describing an attack on the political committee’s computer network by two groups associated with Russian intelligence. According to the post, two Russian-backed groups called “Cozy Bear” and “Fancy Bear” tunneled into the committee’s computer system. In response, a blogger called Guccifer 2.0 claims that he alone conducted the hack, not the Russians. Furthermore, Guccifer 2.0 claims to have passed along thousands of files to WikiLeaks. Trump offers his own theory on the origins of the attack: suggesting in a statement that the DNC hacked itself to distract from Clinton’s email scandal
June 20, 2016 –Trump fires campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who had worked with the team for more than a year. As campaign chairman, Manafort is now the top official overseeing Trump’s White House run.
July 22, 2016 –Days before the Democratic National Convention, WikiLeaks publishes nearly 20,000 emails hacked from the DNC server. The documents include notes in which DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz insults staffers from the Bernie Sanders campaign and messages that suggest the organization was favoring Clinton rather than remaining neutral. Wasserman Schultz resigns in the aftermath of the leak.
July 25, 2016 – The FBI announces it has launched an investigation into the DNC hack. Although the statement doesn’t indicate that the agency has a particular suspect or suspects in mind, US officials tell CNN they think the cyberattack is linked to Russia.
July 27, 2016 – During a press conference, Trump talks about Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state and calls on hackers to find deleted emails. “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” says Trump. On or about that same day, hackers target email accounts used by individuals in Clinton’s personal office for the first time, according to an indictment filed in 2018 by the special counsel’s office.
August 14, 2016 –The New York Times publishes a report that $12.7 million in illegal cash payments to Manafort were listed in a secret ledger linked to former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who resigned amid street protests. Manafort had worked as an adviser to Yanukovych and his associates dating back at least a decade.
August 19, 2016 – Manafort resigns as Trump’s campaign chairman.
October-November 2016 –Over the course of a month, WikiLeaks publishes more than 58,000 messages hacked from the account of John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman.
October 6, 2016 – DCLeaks, a self-described collective of “hacktivists” seeking to expose the influence of special interests on elected officials, publishes a batch of documents stolen from Clinton ally Capricia Marshall. DCLeaks is later identified as a front for Russian military intelligence.
October 7, 2016 – The Department of Homeland Security and the Office of National Intelligence on Election Security issue a statement declaring that the intelligence community is “confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of emails from US persons and institutions.” According to the statement, document releases on websites WikiLeaks and DC Leaks mirror the methods and motivations of past Russian-directed cyberattacks.
December 1, 2016 –Kushner and Flynn meet with Kislyak at Trump Tower. Kushner later describes the encounter as a quick introduction, pushing back on a Washington Post report that the three talked about establishing backchannel communication with the Russians.
December 13, 2016 –Kushner meets Russian banker Sergey Gorkov at Trump Tower. Gorkov is the chairman of Vnesheconombank (VEB), a bank that was sanctioned by the United States after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014
January 11, 2019 – The New York Times reports that shortly after Trump fired Comey, the FBI opened an investigation into whether Trump “had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests,” citing former law enforcement officials and others the paper said were familiar with the probe. A source familiar with the matter corroborated the information in speaking to CNN.
January 25, 2019 – Stone is arrested and indicted on seven counts: one count of obstruction of an official proceeding, five counts of false statements and one count of witness tampering. After he makes an initial appearance at a federal courthouse in Florida, he tells a crowd assembled outside that he has been falsely accused and he believes the charges are politically motivated. He says he will not testify against Trump. Protestors in the crowd chant, “Lock him up.”
February 13, 2019 – After federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson finds that Manafort “intentionally” lied to Mueller’s office and “made multiple false statements to the FBI, the special counsel and the grand jury concerning matters that were material to the Russia investigation,” she voids his plea deal.
February 14, 2019 – The Senate confirms William Barr as the new attorney general.
February 19, 2019 – Former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe tells CNN’s Anderson Cooper he feels its possible Trump could be a Russian asset. “I think it’s possible,” McCabe says. “I think that’s why we started our investigation and I’m really anxious to see where Mueller concludes that.”
February 21, 2019 – Jackson restricts Stone’s ability to speak publicly about his case after he publishes an Instagram post with what appears to be the crosshairs of a gun drawn behind her head.
February 26-28, 2019 – Cohen testifies before three congressional committees: the Senate Intelligence Committee, the House Oversight Committee and the House Intelligence Committee. The two intelligence sessions are behind closed doors but the oversight hearing is televised. In prepared remarks, Cohen describes Trump as a “racist,” a “conman” and a “cheat.” He provides the committee with a copy of a personal check from Trump, dated August 2017, a partial reimbursement for Cohen’s purported hush money payment to an adult film actress claiming she had an affair with the mogul. Two Republicans accuse Cohen of perjury and later make a criminal referral to the Justice Department, calling for an investigation into allegedly false statements.
March 7, 2019 – Manafort is sentenced to 47 months in prison for financial fraud convictions stemming from Mueller’s investigation, though the crimes did not relate directly to Manafort’s work as Trump’s 2016 campaign chairman.
March 13, 2019 –Manafort is sentenced to an additional 43 months in prison related to conspiracy and obstruction charges.
March 22, 2019 –Mueller ends his investigation and delivers his report to Attorney General William Barr. A senior Justice Department official tells CNN that there will be no further indictments.
March 24, 2019 – Barr releases a letter summarizing the principal conclusions from Mueller’s investigation. According to Barr’s four-page letter, the evidence was not sufficient to establish that members Trump’s campaign tacitly engaged in a criminal conspiracy with the Russian government to interfere with the election. Barr explains that Mueller did not reach a conclusion on whether the president committed a criminal obstruction of justice offense. While Mueller declined to prosecute Trump, the report “does not exonerate” the president, according to Barr. Ultimately, the attorney general and Rosenstein made a determination that the evidence was not sufficient to charge the president with obstruction, Barr writes.
March 25, 2019 –Mueller writes a letter to Barr in response to the attorney general’s summary of the special counsel’s report. The letter contains an introduction and executive summaries marked with redactions for public release.
March 27, 2019 –Mueller writes a second letter to Barr. In the note, Mueller asks the attorney general to release the special counsel team’s redacted summaries of the report’s findings. “The summary letter the Department sent to Congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March 24 did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this Office’s work and conclusions,” Mueller writes in the letter, which is later released to the public.
March 31, 2019 –Barr sends another letter to Congress, declaring that his March 24 letter was being inaccurately characterized by the media as a “summary” of Mueller’s report. “My letter was not, and did not purport to be, an exhaustive recounting of the Special Counsel’s investigation or report,” Barr writes.
April 10, 2019 –During a congressional hearing, Barr says he plans to look into the origins of the FBI’s counterintelligence probe, declaring he suspects that spying on the campaign had occurred. Barr does not provide evidence to support the allegation. A source familiar with Barr’s thinking later tells CNN the attorney general used the word “spy” as a general term for intelligence gathering.
April 18, 2019 – A redacted version of Mueller’s report is released. The first part of the 448-page document details the evidence gathered by Mueller’s team on potential conspiracy crimes and explains their decisions not to charge individuals associated with the campaign. The second part of the report outlines ten episodes involving possible obstruction of justice by the president. According to the report, Mueller’s decision not to charge Trump was rooted in Justice Department guidelines prohibiting the indictment of a sitting president. Mueller writes that he would have cleared Trump if the evidence warranted exoneration.”If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state,” Mueller writes. “Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment.”
April 19, 2019 – House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler issues a subpoena for a full, unredacted version of the Mueller report.
May 1, 2019 – Barr is questioned about his handling of the report during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. The attorney general explains his reasoning for declining to pursue an obstruction of justice charge against Trump. “I didn’t exonerate,” Barr says. “I said that we did not believe that there was sufficient evidence to establish an obstruction offense which is the job of the Justice Department.”
May 2, 2019 – Barr declines to participate in a previously scheduled House Judiciary Committee hearing on the Mueller report. The attorney general skips the appearance amid a dispute with Democrats over their decision to have staff attorneys question him rather than members of Congress.
May 13, 2019 – Barr taps US Attorney John Durham of Connecticut to investigate the beginnings of the Russian meddling investigation for possible misconduct by FBI officials and intelligence officers.
May 29, 2019 – Mueller delivers a public statement, declaring that charging the president with a criminal offense was not a constitutional option. He says the special counsel’s office is closing and he is returning to private life. Mueller says he hopes his public statement and his written report are sufficient. “It’s important the office’s written work speaks for itself,” Mueller says. “The report is my testimony.”
July 24, 2019 – Mueller testifies before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees, answering questions about the content of his report. Mueller says he did not make a decision on whether the indict Trump because of Justice Department guidance that bars prosecutors from indicting a sitting president. Mueller defends not subpoenaing the President because of the prolonged process to fight over it. But asked if anyone tried to stop it, Mueller makes clear they could have subpoenaed if they wanted to.
July 25, 2019 – The Senate Intelligence Committee releases the first installment of its report, entitled “Russian Active Measures Campaigns and Interference in the 2016 Election: Volume 1: Russian Efforts Against Election Infrastructure.”
July 25, 2019 – Trump speaks with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky via phone. He asks Zelensky to work with Giuliani and Barr on an investigation into the roots of the Russian meddling probe and the possibility that Ukraine may have played a role. Trump also asks Zelensky to look into former Vice President Joe Biden, whose son served on the board of a Ukrainian energy company called Burisma Holdings. Giuliani has suggested that Biden, Trump’s possible opponent in the 2020 election, tried to protect his son by pressing Ukraine to fire a prosecutor who was investigating Burisma. Undermining Giuliani’s claim is a report from Bloomberg that says the Burisma investigation was “dormant” when Biden pressured Ukraine to oust the prosecutor.
August 2, 2019 – According to newly released figures from the Justice Department, the Mueller investigation cost a total of almost $32 million through the course of the probe.
August 12, 2019 – A whistleblower files a complaint pertaining to Trump’s conduct on the July 25 call with Zelensky and the White House’s alleged effort to conceal the transcript.
August 29, 2019 – The Justice Department’s inspector general releases a report on Comey, criticizing the former FBI director for violating agency policies when he leaked memos to a friend and suggested they should be shared with the media. The inspector general provided his findings to the Justice Department for a possible criminal charge but prosecutors declined to bring the case.
September 12, 2019 – In a party-line vote, the House Judiciary Committee approves a resolution defining the rules of the panel’s investigation, which could lead to the drafting of articles of impeachment. The committee will investigate an array of issues related to the Mueller probe, hush money payments and pardon offers.
September 17, 2019 –Lewandowski testifies before the House Judiciary Committee. He says that he may have made inaccurate statements to the media about Trump’s request to him to deliver a message to Sessions about reversing his recusal from the Russia investigation. “I have no obligation to be honest with the media,” Lewandowski says, stressing that he has always spoken truthfully under oath.
September 24, 2019 – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announces the beginning of an impeachment inquiry related to the whistleblower complaint.
October 8, 2019 – The Senate Intelligence Committee releases the second volume of its report on election interference. The report is critical of the FBI for using a contractor to monitor foreign influence operations. “The apparently outsourced nature of this work is troubling; it suggests FBI either lacked resources or viewed work in this vein as not warranting more institutionalized consideration.”