PICTURED ABOVE: Robert Mueller sits in the Oval Office in 2012 as the FBI director shortly before his term ends. Photo courtesy of Pete Souza.
Since the 2016 campaign for the presidency accusations of collusion and involvement with the Russian government have been aimed at both sides, Republican and Democratic. A month before Election Day, WikiLeaks released thousands of emails from Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta. This leak accompanied years long controversy of Clinton’s use of a private email server when she served as Secretary of State. In July of 2016 at a press conference Republican nominee Donald Trump said that “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.”
These moments, which also include a multitude of fake Facebook and Twitter accounts represent a small sampling of known and confirmed interactions that Russia had with the US election. Since reports of Russian interference first surfaced within the levels of government, the Justice Department and the FBI, then headed by James Comey, began an investigation. As Trump became president and ultimately fired Comey, his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, recused himself from any matters related to Russia on March 2, 2017.
On May 17, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller as the special counsel in charge of the Russia investigation. Mueller is a former Director of the FBI and well-respected member of law enforcement across Washington.
This timeline shows the movements of Mueller’s investigation that are currently known to the public. Much of the investigation is difficult to track due to its confidential nature.
May 17: Rosenstein appoints Mueller as the special counsel in the investigation.
June 8: Fired FBI Director James Comey testifies before the US Senate’s Intelligence Committee. Comey reveals that he has no doubt that Russia interfered with the election through hacks to the Democratic National Committee’s system and cyber intrusion into state voter files.
June 16: Throughout Mueller’s investigation, Trump has taken to Twitter multiple times to dispute reports of “Fake News” like CNN, NBC News, and the New York Times and call the Investigation into his associates’ ties with Russia a “witch hunt.” On June 16, Trump tweeted that “I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt!” The man who told him to the fire the FBI Director was Rosenstein, who oversees Mueller and has the sole right to fire him.
July 10: The New York Times reports that Donald Trump Jr. took a meeting with a Russian lawyer who claimed to have dirt on Clinton that could help that Trump campaign. It is subsequently reported that the Office of the Special Counsel took interest in investigating this meeting.
August 3: It is revealed that Mueller and his legal team has issued subpoenas through a grand jury. While Mueller has the power to investigate anything that falls under the jurisdiction of Trump’s associates relations with Russia, he requires a grand jury to issue subpoenas and indictments. The confirmation of his impaneling of a grand jury means that there is movement in possible indictments.
August 9: The Washington Post reveals that the FBI conducted a pre-dawn raid of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s home on July 26. This raid was done with a warrant granted to the FBI that did not require the agents to knock on Manafort’s door and enter with Manafort’s knowledge.
October 27: CNN first reports that the Grand Jury has filed its first indictments in the Mueller probe. These indictments were sealed, meaning that no member of the public, including those to be indicted, knew of the contents of the documents.
October 29: In a string of four tweets, Trump wrote that “Never seen such Republican ANGER & UNITY as I have concerning the lack of investigation on Clinton made Fake Dossier (now $12,000,000?),…….the Uranium to Russia deal, the 33,000 plus deleted Emails, the Comey fix and so much more. Instead they look at phony Trump/Russia,…….”collusion,” which doesn’t exist. The Dems are using this terrible (and bad for our country) Witch Hunt for evil politics, but the R’s……are now fighting back like never before. There is so much GUILT by Democrats/Clinton, and now the facts are pouring out. DO SOMETHING!”
October 30: In the early morning hours, Paul Manafort turns himself into a FBI field office with his lawyer by his side. Manafort’s associate Rick Gates was also indicted due to his connections with Manafort. The duo was charged with counts of money laundering and tax fraud. Both pleaded not guilty. At the same time, the New York Times first reports of the unsealing of another indictment. Campaign Foreign Relations Adviser George Papadopoulos pleads guilty to lying to the FBI. The indictment reveals that Papadopoulos took a plea deal with some speculating that he wore a wire from his arrest in July to his official plea in October.
Now, the Mueller investigation continues with more indictments expected soon as NBC News reported on Nov. 5 that Mueller has enough evidence to indict both former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and his son.
Katie O’Meara – News Editor