General Flynn Says He Can't Remember His Recent Conversation With Top Russian Official Over Alleged Quid Pro Quo For Relieving U.S. Sanctions
The timeline of Trump's ties with Russia lines up with allegations of conspiracy and misconduct
- President Donald Trump and several associates continue to draw intense scrutiny for their ties to the Russian government.
- A dossier of unverified claims alleges serious conspiracy and misconduct in the final months of the 2016 presidential campaign. The White House has dismissed the dossier as fiction, and most of the claims remain unverified. The timeline of major events, however, lines up.
- The document includes one particularly explosive allegation — that the Trump campaign agreed to minimize US opposition to Russia's incursions into Ukraine in exchange for the Kremlin releasing negative information about Trump's opponent, Hillary Clinton. The timing of events supporting this allegation also lines up.
The timeline of claims made in an unsubstantiated dossier presented by top US intelligence officials to President Donald Trump and senior lawmakers last month has increased scrutiny of events that unfolded in the final months of the Trump campaign.
The dossier alleges serious misconduct and conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia's government. The White House has dismissed the dossier as fiction, and some of the facts and assertions it includes have indeed been proven wrong.
Other allegations in the dossier, however, are still being investigated. According to a recent CNN report, moreover, US intelligence officials have now corroborated some of the dossier's material. And this corroboration has reportedly led US intelligence officials to regard other information in the dossier as more credible.
Importantly, the timeline of known events fits with some of the more serious alleged Trump-Russia misconduct described in the dossier. And questions about these events have not been fully answered, including the sudden distancing of Trump associates from the campaign and administration as the events and Russia ties became public.
The dossier's allegations of Trump-Russia ties and conspiracy
The dossier was compiled by veteran British spy Christopher Steele, who was hired to investigate Trump's ties to Russia by the Washington, DC-based opposition research firm Fusion GPS. Steele developed a network of sources while working on the Moscow desk of UK intelligence agency MI6.
Steele, citing these sources heavily, wrote a series of memos detailing alleged coordination between the Kremlin and Trump's campaign team. Fusion then compiled the information into a 35-page dossier that has been circulated among lawmakers, journalists, and the US intelligence community since last year. The dossier was published in January by BuzzFeed.
Fusion was initially hired by anti-Trump Republicans to conduct opposition research on Trump in late 2015, and Democrats took over funding for the project after the Republicans pulled out. Fusion's cofounder, Glenn Simpson, a former investigative reporter for the Wall Street Journal, continued the project with Steele even after Democrats pulled funding when Trump won the election.
Trump and his inner circle have condemned the dossier as "fake and fictitious."
But US investigators, who have opened investigations into several members of Trump's inner circle and their ties to Russia over the past year, say they have been able to corroborate some of the details in the dossier by intercepting some of the conversations between some senior Russian officials and other Russians, CNN reported on Friday.
That has given the investigators "greater confidence" in the credibility of the some aspects of the memos, CNN's sources said.
Events that unfolded in the final months of the election — especially as they related to key players linked to and within Trump's inner circle — are illuminated by some of the allegations contained in the dossier. Four of these players and their role in these events warrant closer examination.
(Skye Gould/Business Insider)
Paul Manafort: A language change on Ukraine, and a resignation
An American consultant named Paul Manafort, who was mentioned throughout Steele's dossier, served as Donald Trump's campaign manager until August 2016. He is said to have close ties to Ukraine and Russia.
What the dossier says
The dossier alleges that the Trump campaign made a secret deal with Russia in which Trump "agreed to sideline" the issue of Russian intervention in Ukraine. In return, the document claims, Russia promised to feed the emails it stole from prominent Democrats' inboxes to WikiLeaks to damage Hillary Clinton's candidacy.