Trump and Russia: A timeline on communications – The Hill
Former CIA Director John Brennan testified this week that he was concerned over intelligence he saw showing contacts between President Trumpâs campaign and Moscow.Â
After the election, Trump aides said there had been no communication between Trumpâs campaign and any foreign elements, including Russia.
But the story has shifted since then â most notably with the news of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynnâs conversations with Russiaâs ambassador to the United States.Â
Flynn is now being subpoenaed for information from the House and Senate. Separately, the Department of Justice has named a special counsel, former FBI Director Robert Mueller, to investigate the Russia issue.Â
Hereâs a look at what Trump officials have said since November on contacts between the campaign and Russia.Â
November 11, 2016Â
Press aide Hope Hicks tells theÂ Associated PressÂ that there was âno communicationâ between the Trump campaign and any foreign entityâincluding Russia.Â
âIt never happened,â Hicks tells the AP. âThere was no communication between the campaign and any foreign entity during the campaign.âÂ
January 10, 2017Â Â
Attorney General nominee Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsTrump and Russia: A timeline on communications Hispanic Dems demand meeting with Sessions Justice Department to seek Supreme Court review in Trump travel ban case MORE testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee that he is unaware of any Trump campaign affiliates communicating with the Russian government during the campaign, and that he himself had no such communications.
âIâm not aware of any of those activities,â SessionsÂ saysÂ in response to questioning from Sen. Al FrankenAl FrankenTrump and Russia: A timeline on communications Overnight Energy: Trump energy nominees face Congress | OPEC to extend production cuts Senate gears up for fight on Trump’s 0B Saudi Arabia arms sale MORE (D-Minn.). âI have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians.â
January 11, 2017Â
Donald TrumpDonald TrumpMSNBC president Phil Griffin signs multi-year contract: report Trump and Russia: A timeline on communications Federal judge drops lawsuit against Clinton over Benghazi MORE writes onÂ Twitter,Â âRussia has never tried to use leverage over me. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA â NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!âÂ
January 15, 2017Â
Vice President-elect Mike PenceMike (Michael) Richard PenceTrump and Russia: A timeline on communications Trump tries to patch things up with Comey in latest ‘Simpsons’ short Pence will attend Indy 500 race MORE tells CBSâs âFace the Nationâ that Michael Flynn did not discuss sanctions with Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak.Â
âIt was strictly coincidental that they had a conversation,â Pence says of the December conversation between Flynn and Kislyak. âThey did not discuss anything having to do with the United Statesâ decision to expel diplomats or impose censure against Russia.âÂ
Pence also tells âFace the Nationâ host John Dickerson that no adviser or member of the campaign had contact with Russians who were trying to influence the election.Â
February 13, 2017Â
Flynn resigns as national security adviser,Â admittingÂ to âinadvertentlyâ providing Pence and others âincomplete informationâ regarding his phone calls with the Russian ambassador in his letter of resignation.
The Washington PostÂ reportedÂ days earlier that Flynn had discussed sanctions with Kislyak and may have discussed the possibility of lifting them.
February 14, 2017Â
White House press secretary Sean Spicer tells reporters at aÂ press briefingÂ that Trump stands by his assertion that no member of the campaign, including Flynn, had contacts with Russia before the election.Â
âThereâs nothing that would conclude me that anything different has changed with respect to that time period,â Spicer says.
February 16, 2017Â
Trump says during aÂ news conferenceÂ that he has nothing to do with Russia, calling the reports about campaign associatesâ ties to Moscow a âruse.â
âI have nothing to do with Russia,â Trump says. âTo the best of my knowledge no person that I deal with does.â
Trump acknowledges that Flynn did have contacts with the Russian ambassador â but describes it as routine contact with foreign officials, saying Flynn was âdoing his job.âÂ
February 19, 2017Â
White House chief of staff Reince Priebus denies that members or associates of the campaign had contacts with Russian officials involved in the effort to influence the election and says his assertions are backed up by members of the intelligence community.Â
âThe New York Times put out an article with no direct sources that said that the Trump campaign had constant contacts with Russian spies, basically, you know, some treasonous type of accusations,â Priebus tells Chris Wallace on âFox NewsÂ Sunday.â
âWe have now all kinds of people looking into this.Â I can assure you and I have been approved to say this â that the top levels of the intelligence community have assured me that that story is not only inaccurate, but itâs grossly overstated and it was wrong.Â And thereâs nothing to it.âÂ
Priebus also flatly denies any âcollusionâ between Trump affiliates and Moscow.Â
March 1, 2017Â Â
The Justice DepartmentÂ confirmsÂ to the Washington Post that Sessions spoke twice to Kislyak before the 2016 presidential election, once in July and once during a September meeting in his Senate office.Â
Department officials say Sessions met with the Russian ambassador in his capacity as a senator and member of the Armed Services Committee. Â
March 20, 2017Â
FBI Director James Comey confirms in publicÂ testimonyÂ before the House Intelligence Committee that the bureau is investigating Russian election interference, and any linkes between Moscow and Trumpâs campaign.
The same day, Spicer says at aÂ press briefingÂ that Trump stands by his comments that he has no knowledge of any contacts between his campaign associates and Russia during the election â though he notes that Trump is aware of Flynnâs contacts with Kislyak. Spicer says that the White House is not aware of any contacts between former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and Russian operatives.
Spicer also stresses that former Obama intelligence officials have said there isÂ
âno evidence of a Trump Russia collusion.âÂ
May 8, 2017Â
Former acting attorney general Sally Yates says duringÂ testimonyÂ before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee that she had warned the White House that Flynn and Kislyak had discussed sanctions immediately after realizing that Flynn had misled Pence about that fact.
Flynnâs communications with Kislyak had been picked up in routine surveillance of the Russian ambassador, she says.
âOur concern was that you have a very sensitive position like the national security adviser and you donât want that person to be in a position where the Russians have leverage over them,â Yates says.
Yates alsoÂ disputesÂ the White Houseâs characterization of Flynnâs behavior as routine.Â
May 23, 2017Â Â
Former CIA director John Brennan confirms that he viewed intelligence showing people involved in Trumpâs campaign had interacted with Russian officials and that the contacts âconcernedâ him.
He refuses to identify the individuals or speak to their level of involvement in the campaign, and says he is unsure whether the contacts amounted to âcollusion.âÂ
âI encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign,â Brennan says.Â
May 25, 2017Â
The Justice DepartmentÂ tellsÂ CNN that Sessions did not disclose his meetings with Kislyak on his application for a security clearance, despite a requirement to name contacts with a foreign government or its representatives in the previous seven years.