Donald Trump Jr. arrives at Trump Tower in New York, on Nov. 17. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
This story has been updated.
A report from the New York Times on Monday evening indicated that Donald Trump Jr. had been informed in an email before a June 9 meeting of last year that the person with whom he was meeting could offer negative information about Hillary Clinton that came from the Russian government. That, alone, is significant.
It has also been used as the jumping-off point for a number of broader theories of how the Trump campaign might have colluded with the Russian government. For example: Did that meeting precipitate Donald Trump’s tweet about Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails? Well, no, almost certainly not.
Below, a timeline of the events leading up to that meeting and some of the theories that are floating around it.
The Miss Universe pageant, at this point part of the Trump Organization, is held in Moscow. The event’s location was secured thanks to licensing fees of nearly $20 million paid by a Moscow real estate development firm called the Crocus Group.
Its president is a man named Aras Agalarov. Shortly after the pageant, Trump tweets his enthusiasm about working with Agalarov on a real estate development.
@AgalarovAras I had a great weekend with you and your family. You have done a FANTASTIC job. TRUMP TOWER-MOSCOW is next. EMIN was WOW!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 11, 2013
Agalarov’s son, Emin, is a vice president of Crocus Group — and a pop singer.
Later that month, a new video is released by Emin Agalarov, starring Donald Trump.
Emin Agalarov’s publicist in the United States is a man named Rob Goldstone.
Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she served as secretary of state is made public. Clinton reveals that she turned over work-related emails to the government for the purposes of maintaining records but that personal emails on the server were deleted. Some 31,000 emails fell into that latter category, screened by a team of attorneys.
Hackers believed to be linked to the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) gain access to the network of the Democratic National Committee.
March 19, 2016
John Podesta, chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, is emailed a link asking that he change his password. This is believed to be the way that hackers gained access to Podesta’s email account.
Hackers believed to be linked to Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) also gain access to the DNC network.
Trump tweets about Clinton’s deleted emails.
Wow, 30,000 e-mails were deleted by Crooked Hillary Clinton. She said they had to do with a wedding reception. Liar! How can she run?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 17, 2016
An Associated Press report indicates that Donald Trump has secured enough unpledged Republican delegates to assure that he will be nominated candidate for the presidency.
During a speech in San Jose a few days before the California primary, Trump again refers to the emails deleted from Hillary Clinton’s private server.
“By the way, Hillary Clinton is missing 30,000 emails,” he says. “They’ve been deleted. 30,000. 30,000.”
Trump was discussing a New York Times story about his relationships with women. He noted that one of the women critical of him in that story had previously praised him over email — which he still had in his possession.
Trump wins the primaries in California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota, giving him the delegates to officially clinch the Republican nomination.
During his victory speech that night, Trump promises more dirt on Clinton.
I am going to give a major speech on probably Monday of next week and we’re going to be discussing all of the things that have taken place with the Clintons. I think you’re going to find it very informative and very, very interesting.
The following Monday was June 13.
Before June 9
At some point — it’s not yet clear precisely when — Goldstone emails Donald Trump Jr. to set up a meeting with a Russian lawyer named Natalia Veselnitskaya. That email reportedly indicated that Veselnitskaya had information damaging to Hillary Clinton — information which was unearthed by the Russian government. The email was apparently sent by Goldstone at the behest of Emin Agalarov.
Veselnitskaya’s work broadly focused on overturning sanctions levied by the U.S. government against Russian citizens in response to human rights violations. At some point, she’d drawn the attention of federal investigators, a senior law enforcement official told the Times. In an interview with NBC News on Tuesday, she denied any connection to the Russian government.
A meeting is set up for June 9. Trump Jr. invites Paul Manafort, chairman of his father’s campaign, and his brother-in-law Jared Kushner to attend.
June 9, 10:53 a.m.
Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican Party, enters Trump Tower. He’s there as the Trump campaign launches its effort to fundraise for the general election.
Spotted: Reince Priebus walking into Trump Tower
— Jonathan Lemire (@JonLemire) June 9, 2016
That effort includes a lunch meeting that Manafort attends.
Trump attacks Hillary Clinton on Twitter.
Obama just endorsed Crooked Hillary. He wants four more years of Obama—but nobody else does!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 9, 2016
Ron Goldstone checks in to Trump Tower on Facebook. “Preparing for meeting,” he writes.
Goldstone checks in at Trump Tower again, though this time he accidentally selects Trump Tower Indonesia.
The meeting takes place, lasting about half an hour. The precise timing isn’t clear. In attendance are Trump Jr., Manafort, Kushner, Veselnitskaya and Goldstone.
According to Trump Jr., Veselnitskaya offered no useful information about the Clinton campaign.
“Her statements were vague, ambiguous, and made no sense. No details or supporting information was provided or even offered. It quickly became clear that she had no meaningful information,” he said in a statement to the Times. When Veselnitskaya turned the subject to sanctions, Trump Jr. says he told her that his “father was not an elected official, but rather a private citizen, and that her comments and concerns were better addressed if and when he held public office.”
In an interview with NBC, Veselnitskaya said that Kushner only stayed for the first seven to 10 minutes and didn’t return. She also said that Manafort was looking at his phone the whole time.
Trump responds to Hillary Clinton’s insult by mentioning the deleted emails.
How long did it take your staff of 823 people to think that up–and where are your 33,000 emails that you deleted? https://t.co/gECLNtQizQ
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 9, 2016
Omar Mateen murders 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.
Trump gives a speech in New Hampshire focused on national security. Later in the month, he again promises a speech targeting Clinton directly.
A person calling himself “Guccifer 2.0″ releases a DNC opposition file on Trump, stolen from the Democratic Party’s network. It’s the first of a flood of leaks that would come over the next few months.
The FBI begins a counterintelligence operation focused on Russia’s attempts to meddle in the 2016 election.
Powered by WPeMatico