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Key dates in Trumpgate

Europe
14.06.2017
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Timeline in probe of Russian election meddling, Trump campaign
Questions about contacts with Russian officials have led to the resignation of one top White House official and cast clouds over other members of President Donald Trump's administration.
GALLERY
Washington (dpa) - Key dates in the widening investigation of Russian contacts with Trump‘s campaign:

June 2016: The hacking of documents from Democratic Party organs is first reported. Leaked emails portray the left-leaning party as biased toward presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as she narrowly fends off a nomination challenge from socialist candidate Bernie Sanders.
United States President-elect Donald Trump at the clubhouse of Trump International Golf Club, in Bedminster Township, New Jersey, USA, 20 November 2016.

October 7, 2016: US security agencies say they are "confident" that the highest levels of the Russian government "directed" hacking of political organizations "to interfere with the US election process."

November 8, 2016: Trump, a political novice, scores an unexpected victory in the presidential election.

November 17, 2016: Trump names retired Army general Michael Flynn to become White House national security advisor. The former Defence Intelligence Agency chief was a top foreign policy adviser in Trump‘s campaign.

November 18, 2016:
Trump names Jeff Sessions, the first US senator to support his right-wing populist presidential bid, to be attorney general, requiring Senate confirmation.

December 29, 2016: President Barack Obama expels 35 Russian diplomats and orders sanctions on Russian intelligence services over what Washington alleges were Moscow‘s "cyber operations aimed at the US election." The Russian government rejects the allegations and calls the sanctions "groundless and illegal."

December 29, 2016: Flynn telephones with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Later leaks from routine FBI wiretapping of Kislyak reportedly show they discussed lifting Obama‘s sanctions on Moscow.

January 20: Trump inaugurated as 45th US president.

Late January: Acting attorney general Sally Yates, according to her later congressional testimony, informs White House lawyers that Flynn is at risk of Russian blackmail, because he had misled vice president-elect Mike Pence and others about his talks with Kislyak.

February 13: Flynn resigns as national security advisor. He admits to "inadvertently" giving "incomplete information" about his communication with the Russian ambassador.

March 2: Sessions disqualifies himself from Justice Department decisions on investigations related to 2016 presidential election campaigns. He admits to failing to reveal his own meetings with Kislyak during the campaign.

May 9: Trump sacks FBI chief James Comey, later saying he planned for months to fire the "showboat" director. Congressional Democrats accuse White House of trying to impede FBI investigations of Russian election meddling and connections to Trump‘s campaign.

May 10: Trump holds Oval Office meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Kislyak, discussing issues including the Syrian conflict. Trump reportedly tells the Russians he was relieved to be rid of Comey.

May 12: Trump tweets that Comey "better hope that there are no ‘tapes‘ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!"

May 16: A memo written by Comey after a February meeting with Trump is leaked to the New York Times. It documents that the president asked the FBI director about ending the investigation of Flynn. Comey later admits that as a private citizen, he leaked the document through a friend, in the hope of prompting the Justice Department to name a special counsel to independently take over the probe.

May 17: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, acting in place of the recused Sessions, names Robert Mueller, Comey‘s predecessor as FBI chief, as a special prosecutor to lead the investigation of Russian involvement in the presidential election.

June 5: White House says it will not exert president‘s "executive privilege" to prevent Comey from testifying to the Senate Intelligence Committee.

June 8: Comey‘s alleges that Trump asked him to drop the Flynn probe, solicited a pledge of personal loyalty and lied about the reasons for his sacking. "It‘s my judgement that I was fired because of the Russia investigation," he tells the Senate committee. Asked about Trump‘s suggestion that there could be recordings of Oval Office talks, Comey replies: "Lordy, I hope there are tapes."

Trump‘s personal lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, says Comey confirmed that the president himself was not under investigation, and claims that Comey‘s testimony showed Trump "never sought to impede the investigation" into Russian interference.

June 9: Trump tweets, "WOW, Comey is a leaker!" He claims "total and complete vindication" from Comey while alleging that the testimony contains "many false statements and lies." Trump later refuses to say if White House recordings exist but tells reporters he is "100 per cent" willing to testify under oath. He repeats his mantra that the Russia investigation is "just an excuse" by Democrats for losing the election.

June 13: Attorney General Sessions tells the Senate panel that the suggestion he was aware of "any collusion with the Russian government to hurt this country ... or to undermine the integrity of our democratic process, is an appalling and detestable lie." He says he has "no knowledge of any such conversations by anyone connected to the Trump campaign."

 

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