Chris Hayden of the Center for American progress sent out a list of what looks to be possible collusion points between the Trump campaign and the Russian government after the FBI Director James Comey said they were investigating whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia.
Was there collusion between “individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government”? Here is what we know:
- April 2016: Paul Manafort discusses an “array of subjects related to the presidential campaign, including the hacking of the DNC’s emails” with Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian-Ukrainian political operative with ties to Russian intelligence.
- June 15, 2016: NBC confirms the DNC has been hacked by “Russian government cyber operations.” Hours later, Trump issues a statement deflecting blame from Russia and claiming, “it was the DNC that did the ‘hacking.’”
- July 7, 2016: Carter Page allegedly meets with Putin confidants Igor Sechin and Igor Divykin in Moscow, according to U.S. officials. Corey Lewandowski personally approved Page’s travel and during his post-election trip to Moscow, Page says he met with an “executive from Rosneft.”
- July 11-15, 2016: Trump campaign successfully lobbies RNC to drop anti-Russia language in the party platform. A Republican delegate involved in the platform later confirms Trump’s campaign played a “direct role in softening the party’s support for Ukraine at a time of heightened tensions with Russia.”
- July 20, 2016: Carter Page, JD Gordon, Michael Flynn, and Jeff Sessions meet with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at the Republican National Convention.
- Putin spokesman: “[Kislyak] was talking about what is going on in the United States so we have a better understanding in Moscow.”
- Russian Deputy Foreign Minister: “There were contacts. We are doing this and have been doing this during the election campaign. Obviously, we know most of the people from [Trump’s] entourage.”
- July 22, 2016: Two days later, WikiLeaks publishes the first batch of hacked emails from the DNC.
- July 26, 2017: U.S. intel says with “high confidence” that Russia is behind hack of DNC emails.
- July 27, 2016: One day later, Trump publicly encourages Russia to interfere in the election on his behalf and hack Clinton email accounts.
- August 8, 2016: Roger Stone admits for the first time that he was in contact with Julian Assange. He later admits to having direct conversations with the Kremlin-hacking alias Guccifer 2.0.
- Sean Spicer today: Trump and Stone “have talked from time to time but I don’t think recently.”
- August 12, 2016: Guccifer 2.0 releases personal information about Democratic candidates. Hours later, Guccier 2.0 tweets a thank you to Stone.
- August 21, 2016: Stone predicts the Podesta email hack – two months before WikiLeaks begins publishing the emails in October.
- August 24, 2016: Assange says WikiLeaks will not be releasing info on Trump.
- October 7, 2016: Less than two hours after the Access Hollywood video is posted, WikiLeaks releases the first batch of Podesta emails.
- October 11, 2016: Donald Trump Jr. speaks at a dinner in Paris on U.S.-Russia cooperation in Syria. The event was organized by a pro-Russian think tank, which pays Trump Jr. at least $50,000 to attend.
- December 2016: While the Obama Administration is considering sanctions against the Russian government, Flynn and Jared Kushner hold a private meeting with Kislyak at Trump Tower.
- December 29, 2016: The U.S. announces sanctions on Russia in retaliation for election interference the same day Flynn reportedly holds at least five calls with Kislyak.
- December 30, 2016: Putin shocks foreign policy experts by announcing he won’t retaliate against President Obama only hours after the Russian foreign minister recommended doing so. Instead, Putin say Russia will “plan our further steps to restore Russian-US relations based on the policies of the Trump Administration.” Several hours later, Trump tweets: “Great move on delay (by V. Putin) – I always knew he was very smart!”
Looking for collusion in all the wrong places, perhaps. Because some of this occurred in plain sight. It wasn’t all super secretive.
The actual events tell a story, and that story is not anti-collusion. That story is not coincidence. The story is connection. That doesn’t mean we don’t need a smoking gun; we do.
But the story isn’t lying.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.