I’m really trying to finish Part 3 of my essay “Trump so Far”, but as I was going through the transcript from Trump’s press conference on 16 Feb 2017, I got distracted by trying to understand the scandal with Flynn.
The following is my recreation of the timeline compiled from the NY Times, the Washington Post, Vox, NBC, and Mother Jones.
Dec 2015 Mr. Flynn, then retired from the Army, attended a dinner to celebrate the 10th anniversary of RT, a Russian state-backed English-language news channel that disseminates Russian views on global affairs. He sat at a table with President Vladimir V. Putin, spoke beforehand and subsequently appeared on RT as a commentator. Flynn was paid to give a speech at this dinner.
Jan 2016 – Nov 2016 Flynn hobnobbed with Kislyak during the campaign. Flynn-Kislyak conversations “were part of a series of contacts between Flynn and Kislyak that began before the November 8 election and continued during the transition.” Kislyak said that he had been in contact with Flynn since before the election, but declined to answer questions about the subjects they discussed. Flynn’s pre-election interactions with Kislyak occurred while Moscow was attacking American democracy with its secret operation to subvert the election via hacking and leaking (and more) to boost Trump’s prospects.
June 2016 News breaks that the Democratic National Committee had been cyber-penetrated, private cyber experts immediately concluded that Russian intelligence was the culprit.
17 Aug 2016 As the GOP presidential nominee, began receiving briefings from the US intelligence committee.
18 Nov 2016 Trump names Flynn to be his National Security Advisor.
29 Dec 2016 Flynn calls Kislyak (This is the same day that President Obama slaps sanctions on Russia for interfering in US elections) Flynn told Kislyak that Trump would be rolling back Russian sanctions. The two speak on multiple occasions on this day.
30 Dec 2016 — Putin says he won’t retaliate for the sanctions and invites children from the U.S. embassy to a Christmas party. Trump then praises Putin in a tweet.
Sometime in Jan 2017 — The FBI reviews intercepts and finds the Flynn-Kislyak conversation. The matter gets folded into the FBI’s ongoing probe into Russian election-related hacking and related issues.
11 Jan 2017 Trump denies members of his staff had contact with Russia before the election, during the campaign.
12 Jan 2017 Washington Post reports on the 29 Dec telephone conversation between Flynn and Kislyak.
13 Jan 2017 Trump spokesman Sean Spicer says Flynn did not discuss sanctions with the ambassador and the purpose of the call was to schedule a time for Trump and Putin to speak post-inauguration.
?? Jan 2017 US Intelligence provides transcripts of the conversations between Flynn and Kislyak showing that they did indeed talk about sanctions.
14 or 15 Jan 2017 Flynn tells Pence that he did not talk to Kislyak about sanctions. (Pence said that he spoke to Flynn ‘directly’ before the interview on Face the Nation).
15 Jan 2017 Face the Nation Pence declared that the Trump campaign had no interactions with Moscow.
19 Jan 2017 Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, CIA Director John Brennan and Acting Attorney General Sally Yates — discuss the situation and want to warn the Trump team that Flynn has misled Spicer and Pence. FBI Director James Comey vetoes that, saying it will compromise his ongoing investigation.
20 or 21 Jan 2017 FBI questions Flynn about his contacts with the Russians.
23 Jan 2017 At Spicer’s first White House press briefing, he says that Flynn assured him the night before that the Flynn-Kislyak call did not involve sanctions.
26 Jan 2017 Acting Attorney General Sally Yates informs Trump that Flynn had misrepresented the calls and was therefore vulnerable to Russian blackmail evidence that Trump’s senior campaign adviser on national security was in regular contact with Putin’s man in Washington.
8 Feb 2017 Flynn tells the Washington Post that he did not discuss sanctions with Russia.
9 Feb 2017 Washington Post reports that Flynn did discuss sanctions with Kislyak.
10 Feb 2017 A spokesperson for Flynn tells NBC News that Flynn “can’t be 100 percent sure,” but doesn’t remember talking sanctions. Trump denies knowledge of the reports that Flynn and the Russian talked sanctions. “I don’t know about it. I haven’t seen it. What report is that?” he tells reporters. Also that day, Flynn speaks by phone to Pence, reportedly to apologize to him.
Daniel Cashman, EAMP, MS (AOM), NCCAOM Dipl. Acupuncture