The president’s misleading statements on Trump Tower Moscow: A timeline

“Well I told you, General Flynn obviously was dealing [with Russia]. So that’s one person. But he was dealing, as he should have been. . . . Russia is a ruse. I have nothing to do with Russia. Haven’t made a phone call to Russia in years. Don’t speak to people from Russia. I have nothing to do with Russia. To the best of my knowledge, no person that I deal with does.”

— President Trump, in a news conference, on Feb. 16, 2017

 

Trump announced he was running for president in June 2015. He spent the next several months on the campaign trail in advance of the Iowa caucuses in February 2016.

At the same time, Cohen was working toward a deal that would license Trump’s name to a skyscraper in Moscow. According to court documents, Cohen updated Trump and Trump’s family on the project more than three times between September 2015 and June 2016, but it is not clear exactly when these briefings took place. The timeline below outlines how the campaign and the Moscow project intersected.

.. According to The Washington Post, “an unidentified investor planned to build the project and, under a licensing agreement, put Trump’s name on it.” Sater believed that, with Trump’s publicity from the campaign, it would be perfect timing. He began to contact former contacts in Russia and put together a licensing deal for the Moscow project fairly quickly.

Oct. 28: Trump personally signed the letter of intent for the Moscow project. This was the same day as the third Republican debate.

.. Jan. 14-16, 2016: Cohen emailed Dmitry Peskov, a top aide and spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, to enlist his help “to secure land and permits,” according to documents submitted to Congress.

.. Jan. 20: Cohen heard back from Peskov’s office and spoke with his assistant for 20 minutes. During that call, according to court documents, Cohen outlined the Moscow project and asked for assistance to move it forward. Cohen initially told Congress that he had never heard back from Peskov. Peskov corroborated this false claim in August 2017when he said he had received an email but “left it unanswered.” (After Cohen’s new admission, Peskov displayed the emails to reporters and confirmed that Russian officials contacted Cohen by phone.)

.. “Michael had a lengthy substantive conversation with the personal assistant to a Kremlin official following his outreach in January 2016, engaged in additional communications concerning the project as late as June 2016, and kept [Trump] apprised of these communications,” according to a sentencing memorandum filed by Cohen’s team.

On Feb. 1, Trump finishes second in the Iowa caucuses.

.. Spring 2016: “[Cohen] and [Trump] also discussed possible travel to Russia in the summer of 2016, and Michael took steps to clear dates for such travel,” according to the memorandum filed by Cohen’s team. Cohen also discussed this “potential business travel to Russia” with a senior campaign officialaccording to court documents.

.. On May 3, Trump becomes the presumptive nominee for the Republican Party after Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Trump’s remaining challengers, withdraw from the contest.

.. May 4-6: Cohen and Sater discuss the possibility of a trip to Russia that would include Trump. They debate whether it would be better for him to visit before or after the Republican National Convention in July. On May 5, Sater relays a message that a Russian official would like to invite Cohen to the “Davos of Russia” in June where he would be introduced to Putin and/or Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. Cohen agrees to the trip. According to the sentencing memorandum filed by Cohen’s team, he continued to update Trump through June.

.. May 21: Then-advisers Carter Page and George Papadopoulos suggest to the campaign that Trump travel to Russia. Papadopoulos forwards a May 4 email exchange to newly minted campaign chairman Paul Manafort, saying, “Russia has been eager to meet Mr. Trump for quite some time and have been reaching out to me to discuss.” Manafort then forwards this email to his deputy, Rick Gates, writing, “We need someone to communicate that DT is not doing these trips.” Gates agreed and passed the exchange along to “the person responding to all mail of non-importance,” aiming to avoid a response from a senior official.

.. June 3: Rob Goldstone, a music publicist, emails Donald Trump Jr., offering “very high level and sensitive information” that could “incriminate Hillary” and is part of “Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” Goldstone represents Emin Agalarov, whose father is a major real estate developer close to Putin. Agalarov asks Goldstone to pass this along for his father, who was offered the information by the “Crown prosecutor of Russia.” Trump Jr. promptly responds: “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”

June 7: Trump promises a “major speech about Hillary Clinton’s crimes.”

June 9: Trump Jr., Manafort and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner meet with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and others at Trump Tower. At least eight people attend this meeting, including two other Russian associates. Since the meeting was first reported, reports have surfaced that Veselnitskaya may have been working on behalf of the Kremlin at that time.

June 7: Trump promises a “major speech about Hillary Clinton’s crimes.”

June 9-14: Sater tried to contact Cohen to confirm his upcoming trip to Russia. Court documents say Sater sent “multiple messages” to Cohen and “included forms” for him to complete.

On June 14, The Washington Post reveals the Democratic National Committee had been hacked. The following day, the DNC and CrowdStrike, the firm hired by the DNC to investigate the hack, said, “Two separate Russian intelligence-affiliated adversaries present in the DNC network in May 2016.”

June 14: Cohen met Sater in the lobby of Trump Tower to inform him that he would not “be traveling at [that] time.” Cohen had initially agreed to a trip to St. Petersburg in June.

June 15: Trump releases a statement: “We believe it was the DNC that did the ‘hacking’ as a way to distract from the many issues facing their deeply flawed candidate and failed party leader. Too bad the DNC doesn’t hack Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 missing emails.”

On July 21, Trump officially becomes the Republican nominee for president. The next day, WikiLeaks releases nearly 20,000 DNC emails obtained through Russian hacking operations. U.S. officials have said Russian intelligence used intermediaries to give the email cache to WikiLeaks.

.. July 21-27: In several television appearances, tweets and a news conference, Trump and his campaign officials deny any connections to Russia, despite previous and ongoing meetings and communications.

  • July 24: “Are there any ties between Mr. Trump, you or your campaign and Putin and his regime?” George Stephanopoulos asked Manafort on ABC News’s “This Week.”“No, there are not,” Manafort says. “It’s absurd, and there’s no basis to it.”
  • July 24: In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Jake Tapper asked Trump Jr. about the suggestion that Russians had hacked the DNC network to help Trump and hurt Clinton. Trump Jr. calls the claims “lies.”
  • July 25: Trump responds: “The new joke in town is that Russia leaked the disastrous DNC e-mails, which should never have been written (stupid), because Putin likes me.”
  • July 26: Trump tweeted For the record, I have ZERO investments in Russia.
  • July 27: Trump said, “What do I have to do with Russia? You know the closest I came to Russia, I bought a house a number of years ago in Palm Beach.”

.. Sater told BuzzFeed that after Trump’s July 26 tweet, he knew the deal was off.

Oct. 9: During the second debate with Clinton, Trump says: “I know about Russia, but I know nothing about the inner workings of Russia. I don’t deal there. I have no businesses there. I have no loans from Russia.”

Oct. 26: During a campaign rally in Kinston, N.C., Trump declares: “First of all, I don’t know Putin, have no business whatsoever with Russia, have nothing to do with Russia.”

.. Jan. 11, 2017: Trump tweets: “Russia has never tried to use leverage over me. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA – NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!” In a news conference that day, Trump says: “I tweeted out that I have no dealings with Russia. I have no deals that could happen in Russia because we’ve stayed away. And I have no loans with Russia.”

May 11: In an interview with Lester Holt of NBC News, Trump says: “I am not involved in Russia. No loans. No nothing.

Aug. 27: The Washington Post reports for the first time that when Trump was running for president, his company pursued a plan to develop a massive Trump Tower in Moscow.

.. Nov. 29, 2018: After the announcement of Cohen’s guilty plea, Trump tells reporters: “He’s lying about a project that everybody knew about. I mean, we were very open with it. … This deal was a very public deal. Everybody knows about this deal. I wasn’t trying to hide anything.”

That’s false because it was not disclosed until The Washington Post report in August 2017, almost one year after the election.

.. Dec. 2: Reporters from the Associated Press asked Trump about his relationship with Sater. Trump said, “Felix Sater, boy, I have to even think about it. I’m not familiar with him.”

Comments:

M Bovary

Of all the lies this man tells, this is a whopper and so easily disproved. Sater had an office in Trump tower and traveled with Trump on his private jet to various meetings.

Trump thinks the rest of the world is stupid.

.. 8767dghy

Trump was born with every economic advantage in the world and could have chosen to have a multitude of honest careers. He, however, made the deliberate choice to earn his living by conning and frauding *marks*.  This fact speaks volumes about type of person he is.
..  So Tired of Winning

Trump may have not been aware that, after being convicted of money laundering, Sater became an FBI informant. I doubt Sater stopped being FBI informant as soon as he got involved with Trump tower in Moscow. Sater could have been the primary source of the scoop on Trump and Cohen that led to the raid on Cohen’s office last spring.
.. msmcdougal

From the date he announced thru 6/14/16, he was actively pursuing his Russian project behind the scenes, and at the same time he was going unusually easy on Putin.  As a result of the 6/15/16 WP article, he decided he had to stop actively pursuing the project while he
1. made sure he won the nomination; and
2. saw if he was going to win the election.
He never told Russia he was no longer interested; in essence, he put it on pause.  In the meantime, he had the platform softened and continued to talk nicey nice about Putin, no doubt because he felt if he lost the election he would get back to this project.  At the same time, he minimized his connection with Russia, using terms like, “I have no deals with Russia,” technically true but in reality totally misleading.  He also, through his underlings like Flynn, made sure Putin knew that he was a friend if he got elected and he accepted Russia’s help in getting him elected. He was compromised, not necessarily by what Putin had on him, but what he wanted to try to do in Washington or Moscow.  He owed this disclosure to the American voters both during the primaries and in the general.  He is a traitor.
.. exlrrp
He is indeed a traitor and proved it when he begged Russia to hack Hillary’s emails. The most treasonous quote in American history:
“Russia…..if your listening……I hope you can find Hillary’s emails….that will be next….”
And guess what? The hacking of her emails started THAT day!!. Now how did traitor trump know it was coming if the Russians  didnt tell him, directly or indirectly?
.. msmcdougal
My take is that at the June 6, 2016 trump Tower meeting, the framework of
  • how Russia could help,
  • how that help would come and
  • how the communication of asking for and getting that help would work was laid out. 

The actual info trump had hoped for and had hinted at did not come then, but it was not the nothingburger that liars trump, Junior, Manafort, and Jared said it was.  And before we forget, Cohen has already said trump was told in advance about that meeting.

.. KTA-France
His whole presidency is about trying to build his “brand” and leverage the position of president, with future real estate deals. Who knows what his sons are doing, what they are promising now as we speak. The Russia deal is just the most obvious of projects/deals he tried to push forward while using his leverage in the WH. Who really knows what else is out there? This has been his whole life… the way he did business. Why would he change now?
.. Graybeardscientist
As Obama said of Trump to them (as per my imperfect memory, referring to flyover state citizens):

“For years he’s been ignoring you as he flies over your heads in his gold plated jet.  What makes you think he’s going to start caring about you now?”

.. LifeInBananaRepublic
You missed Kushner’s proposal to Sergey Kislyak to set up a secret and secure back channel to Russia in the Russian embassy.