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Hacks, Leaks, and Tweets: Everything We Now Know About the Attack on the 2016 Election

Mother Jones

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The drumbeat of revelations over the past several weeks has been overwhelming. So we’ve created this timeline—from the hacking of the Democratic National Committee through the aftermath of Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey—to help you follow this scandal threatening the presidency.


April 2016: The Democratic National Committee contacts the FBI about suspicious computer activity and hires cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike, which ties the hacking to Russian intelligence.

June 15: Guccifer 2.0, a persona later connected to the Russians, takes credit for the DNC hack and begins posting documents.

Mary Altaffer/AP

July 5: FBI Director James Comey announces the bureau found no evidence to support criminal charges against Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server as secretary of state. But he adds that Clinton and her staff were “extremely careless” in their handling of classified information. Donald Trump tweets, “No charges. Wow! #RiggedSystem.”

July 22: Three days before the Democratic convention, WikiLeaks publishes nearly 20,000 hacked DNC emails. Some indicate that party officials favored Clinton over Bernie Sanders, including Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who resigns as party chair. Spread in part by Twitter bots, the emails further pit Clinton and Sanders supporters against each other.

July 24: Trump’s future CIA director, Rep. Mike Pompeo, tweets, “Need further proof that the fix was in from Pres. Obama on down? BUSTED: 19,252 Emails from DNC Leaked by WikiLeaks.” (Pompeo later deletes the tweet.)

July 27: Trump calls for Russia to hack Clinton’s email: “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

Late July: The FBI begins to investigate contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia.

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Aug 8: Longtime Trump confidant and political dirty trickster Roger Stone boasts to a GOP group in Florida about WikiLeaks’ founder: “I actually have communicated with Julian Assange…There’s no telling what the October surprise may be.”

Aug 21: Stone tweets about Clinton campaign CEO John Podesta: “Trust me, it will soon be the Podesta’s time in the barrel. #CrookedHillary.”

#CrookedHillary #WikiLeaks #LockHerUp Seth Wenig/AP

Aug 27: After being briefed on classified information, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid sends a letter to Comey urging an investigation: “The prospect of individuals tied to Trump, WikiLeaks and the Russian government coordinating to influence our election raises concerns of the utmost gravity.”

Sept 9: Guccifer 2.0 communicates online with Stone about voter turnout and Democratic strategy.

Sept 15: Guccifer 2.0 posts stolen Democratic Party documents strategizing about battleground states.

Sept 26: In the first presidential debate, Trump suggests the DNC hack could be the work of China or “somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds.”

Oct 1: Stone tweets, “Wednesday @HillaryClinton is done. #Wikileaks.”

Oct 3: Stone tweets, “I have total confidence that @wikileaks and my hero Julian Assange will educate the American people soon #LockHerUp.”

Oct 7: US intelligence agencies announce they are “confident” the Russian government aimed to interfere in the election and collaborated in the DNC leaks. Later in the day, a 2005 Access Hollywood video emerges in which Trump brags about sexually assaulting women. Within an hour, WikiLeaks begins releasing several thousand emails stolen from Podesta.

Oct 10: “I love WikiLeaks!” Trump declares at a campaign rally.

Oct 11: The Obama White House announces it is considering retaliation against Russia for cyberattacks.

Oct 12: The Wall Street Journal reports the FBI suspects Russian intelligence hacked Podesta’s emails. Stone tells a Miami TV station that he has “back-channel communications” with Assange.

Oct 19: During the final debate, Clinton says Trump would be Putin’s “puppet” if elected and rebukes his call to hack her email. “You encouraged espionage against our people.”

Oct 28: Comey notifies Congress that the FBI is reopening the Clinton matter, after a criminal probe into disgraced Rep. Anthony Weiner reveals his laptop contains emails between his wife, Huma Abedin, and Clinton, her boss.

Oct 31: At a campaign rally, Trump says, “It took guts for Director Comey to make the move that he made…where they’re trying to protect her from criminal prosecution…What he did was the right thing.”

Nov 8: Trump is elected president.

Nov 15: National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers remarks about Russia and WikiLeaks, “This was a conscious effort by a nation-state to attempt to achieve a specific effect.”

Jan 4: Trump tweets, “Julian Assange said ‘a 14 year old could have hacked Podesta’—why was DNC so careless? Also said Russians did not give him the info!”

Jan 6: The CIA, the FBI, and the NSA concur Russia tried to help Trump win via hacking operations involving Guccifer 2.0, DC Leaks, and WikiLeaks.

Jan 10: At a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, Comey declines to say whether the FBI is investigating Trump campaign ties to Russia. He notes that Russian hackers also attacked the Republican National Committee but that none of that material was released.

Jan 11: Trump acknowledges the Russians hacked the DNC: “I think it was Russia.”

Jan 14: Rep. John Lewis tells NBC’s Chuck Todd that he does not consider Trump to be “a legitimate president,” and he says he won’t attend Trump’s inauguration: “I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected. And they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.”

Jan 15: Incoming White House chief of staff Reince Priebus says Trump has confidence in the FBI director: “We have had a great relationship with him over the last several weeks. He’s extremely competent.”

Jan 20: Trump is sworn in as president.

Jan 22: At a White House event, Trump greets Comey: “Oh, there’s Jim. He’s become more famous than me.”

Andrew Harrer/CNP/ZUMA

Jan 24: The FBI interviews national security adviser Michael Flynn about his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Jan 26: Acting Attorney General Sally Yates warns the Trump White House that Flynn lied about his conversations with Kislyak and is vulnerable to blackmail by the Kremlin.

Jan 27: Trump and Comey have a one-on-one dinner at the White House, where, it is later reported, Trump asks Comey to swear his political loyalty. Comey declines.

Jan 30: Trump fires Yates after she refuses on constitutional grounds to defend his travel ban targeting seven majority-Muslim countries.

Feb 13: After the Washington Post reveals Flynn lied about his conversations with Kislyak, Flynn resigns.

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Feb 19: Following a meeting with Comey, the Senate Intelligence Committee sends letters to more than a dozen agencies, groups, and individuals asking them to preserve all communications related to Russia’s 2016 election interference.

March 2: In the wake of revelations that Attorney General Jeff Sessions failed during his confirmation hearings to disclose two conversations with Kislyak, Sessions announces, “I have now decided to recuse myself from any existing or future investigations of any matter relating in any way to the campaigns for president of the United States.”

March 4: Based on no evidence, Trump tweets, “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!”

March 7: In the wake of intense media coverage of Trump’s wiretapping claim, WikiLeaks releases more than 8,000 CIA files, code-named “Vault 7.”

March 8: Former NSA Director Michael Hayden says, “I’m now pretty close to the position that WikiLeaks is acting as…an agent of the Russian Federation.”

March 20: During a public hearing held by the House Intelligence Committee, Comey confirms the FBI is investigating possible “coordination” between the Trump campaign and Russia. He debunks Trump’s claims of surveillance by Obama: “I have no information that supports those tweets.”

March 27: “Trump Russia story is a hoax,” Trump tweets.

April 12: Asked if it’s “too late” for him to request Comey’s resignation, Trump tells Fox Business, “No, it’s not too late, but you know, I have confidence in him. We’ll see what happens. You know, it’s going to be interesting.”

April 30: Trump again casts doubts on the election attack, telling CBS News’ John Dickerson, “Could’ve been China. Could’ve been a lot of different groups.”

May 2: Trump tweets Comey is “the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton” and the “Trump/Russia story was an excuse used by the Democrats as justification for losing the election.”

May 3: Comey tells the Senate Judiciary Committee, “It makes me mildly nauseous to think that we may have had some impact on the election,” but says he reopened the Clinton probe because Abedin had forwarded “hundreds and thousands of emails, some of which contain classified information.”

First week of May: Comey seeks more resources for the Trump-Russia investigation.

May 8: Trump tweets, “The Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax, when will this taxpayer funded charade end?” Former National Intelligence Director James Clapper tells Congress that by sowing doubts, Trump “helps the Russians” damage the US political system.

May 9: The FBI corrects Comey’s testimony: Only “a small number” of Abedin emails were forwarded, few contained classified information, and none were new. The same day, Trump fires Comey via a letter delivered to FBI headquarters. Comey, in Los Angeles, learns of the news via a TV screen and initially thinks it’s a prank. Trump’s letter says he was prompted by Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who wrote a three-page memo critical of Comey’s handling of the Clinton probe. Trump’s letter also claims Comey personally absolved him on three separate occasions.

May 10: Trump unleashes a tweetstorm, including, “Comey lost the confidence of almost everyone in Washington, Republican and Democrat alike. When things calm down, they will be thanking me!”

Alexander Shcherbak/TASS/ZUMA

Meanwhile, at Putin’s request, Trump greets Kislyak and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the Oval Office, where a Russian state-sponsored photographer is the only media allowed in. Trump tells them Comey was “a real nut job” and that firing him took “great pressure” off Trump with regard to Russia.

May 11: Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe testifies that, contra White House statements, the Russia probe is “highly significant” and “Comey enjoyed broad support within the FBI and still does to this day.” Trump tells NBC’s Lester Holt a new version of why he fired Comey: “I decided to just do it. I said to myself, I said, ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story.'”

May 12: Trump tweets, “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”

May 15: The Post reports that Trump disclosed highly classified intelligence on ISIS to Lavrov and Kislyak during their Oval Office meeting. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker says the White House is “in a downward spiral” and “has got to do something soon to bring itself under control and in order.”

May 16: The Times reports that Comey kept detailed memos on his interactions with Trump—including when Trump pressured him at an Oval Office meeting in February to shut down the FBI investigation into Flynn. “I hope you can let this go,” Trump told Comey.

May 17: Amid rising turmoil on Capitol Hill, including talk of possible impeachment of Trump for obstruction of justice, the Senate Intelligence Committee seeks Comey’s memos and invites him to testify. Rosenstein appoints former FBI Director Robert Mueller to serve as a special counsel overseeing the continuing FBI investigation.

See our entire updated Trump-Russia timeline dating back to the 1980s.

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Hacks, Leaks, and Tweets: Everything We Now Know About the Attack on the 2016 Election

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Reuters: Jared Kushner Had Undisclosed Contact With Russian Envoy, Say Sources

Mother Jones

By Ned Parker and Jonathan Landay

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and close adviser, Jared Kushner, had at least three previously undisclosed contacts with the Russian ambassador to the United States during and after the 2016 presidential campaign, seven current and former U.S. officials told Reuters.

Those contacts included two phone calls between April and November last year, two of the sources said. By early this year, Kushner had become a focus of the FBI investigation into whether there was any collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin, said two other sources – one current and one former law enforcement official.

Kushner initially had come to the attention of FBI investigators last year as they began scrutinizing former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s connections with Russian officials, the two sources said.

While the FBI is investigating Kushner’s contacts with Russia, he is not currently a target of that investigation, the current law enforcement official said.

The new information about the two calls as well as other details uncovered by Reuters shed light on when and why Kushner first attracted FBI attention and show that his contacts with Russian envoy Sergei Kislyak were more extensive than the White House has acknowledged.

NBC News reported on Thursday that Kushner was under scrutiny by the FBI, in the first sign that the investigation, which began last July, has reached the president’s inner circle.

The FBI declined to comment, while the Russian embassy said it was policy not to comment on individual diplomatic contacts. The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

Multiple attempts to obtain comment from Kushner or his representatives were unsuccessful.

In March, the White House said that Kushner and Flynn had met Kislyak at Trump Tower in December to establish “a line of communication.” Kislyak also attended a Trump campaign speech in Washington in April 2016 that Kushner attended. The White House did not acknowledge any other contacts between Kushner and Russian officials.

BACK CHANNEL

Before the election, Kislyak’s undisclosed discussions with Kushner and Flynn focused on fighting terrorism and improving U.S.-Russian economic relations, six of the sources said. Former President Barack Obama imposed sanctions on Russia after it seized Crimea and started supporting separatists in eastern Ukraine in 2014.

After the Nov. 8 election, Kushner and Flynn also discussed with Kislyak the idea of creating a back channel between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin that could have bypassed diplomats and intelligence agencies, two of the sources said. Reuters was unable to determine how those discussions were conducted or exactly when they took place.

Reuters was first to report last week that a proposal for a back channel was discussed between Flynn and Kislyak as Trump prepared to take office. The Washington Post was first to report on Friday that Kushner participated in that conversation.

Separately, there were at least 18 undisclosed calls and emails between Trump associates and Kremlin-linked people in the seven months before the Nov. 8 presidential election, including six calls with Kislyak, sources told Reuters earlier this month. . Two people familiar with those 18 contacts said Flynn and Kushner were among the Trump associates who spoke to the ambassador by telephone. Reuters previously reported only Flynn’s involvement in those discussions.

Six of the sources said there were multiple contacts between Kushner and Kislyak but declined to give details beyond the two phone calls between April and November and the post-election conversation about setting up a back channel. It is also not clear whether Kushner engaged with Kislyak on his own or with other Trump aides.

HOW KUSHNER CAME UNDER SCRUTINY

FBI scrutiny of Kushner began when intelligence reports of Flynn’s contacts with Russians included mentions of U.S. citizens, whose names were redacted because of U.S. privacy laws. This prompted investigators to ask U.S. intelligence agencies to reveal the names of the Americans, the current U.S. law enforcement official said.

Kushner’s was one of the names that was revealed, the official said, prompting a closer look at the president’s son-in-law’s dealings with Kislyak and other Russians.

FBI investigators are examining whether Russians suggested to Kushner or other Trump aides that relaxing economic sanctions would allow Russian banks to offer financing to people with ties to Trump, said the current U.S. law enforcement official.

The head of Russian state-owned Vnesheconombank, Sergei Nikolaevich Gorkov, a trained intelligence officer whom Putin appointed, met Kushner at Trump Tower in December. The bank is under U.S. sanctions and was implicated in a 2015 espionage case in which one of its New York executives pleaded guilty to spying and was jailed.

The bank said in a statement in March that it had met with Kushner along with other representatives of U.S. banks and business as part of preparing a new corporate strategy.

Officials familiar with intelligence on contacts between the Russians and Trump advisers said that so far they have not seen evidence of any wrongdoing or collusion between the Trump camp and the Kremlin. Moreover, they said, nothing found so far indicates that Trump authorized, or was even aware of, the contacts.

There may not have been anything improper about the contacts, the current law enforcement official stressed.

Kushner offered in March to be interviewed by the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is also investigating Russia’s attempts to interfere in last year’s election.

The contacts between Trump campaign associates and Russian officials during the presidential campaign coincided with what U.S. intelligence agencies concluded was a Kremlin effort through computer hacking, fake news and propaganda to boost Trump’s chances of winning the White House and damage his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

(Reporting by Ned Parker and Jonathan Landay; Additional reporting by John Walcott, Warren Strobel and Phil Stewart in Washington; Editing by Kevin Krolicki and Ross Colvin)

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Reuters: Jared Kushner Had Undisclosed Contact With Russian Envoy, Say Sources

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The Washington Post Just Published an Explosive Report About Jared Kushner and Russia

Mother Jones

Shoes continue to drop in the investigation into the Trump campaign’s possible connections to Russia. Yesterday, speculation that the FBI was looking into the Trump family was confirmed by reports that Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior advisor, is under scrutiny. More details are emerging about the investigation.

Enter the Washington Post:

Jared Kushner and Russia’s ambassador to Washington discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Trump’s transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities in an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring, according to U.S. officials briefed on intelligence reports.

Ambassador Sergei Kislyak reported to his superiors in Moscow that Kushner, then President-elect Trump’s son-in-law and confidant, made the proposal during a meeting on Dec. 1 or 2 at Trump Tower, according to intercepts of Russian communications that were reviewed by U.S. officials. Kislyak said Kushner suggested using Russian diplomatic facilities in the United States for the communications.

The meeting also was attended by Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser.

This story hasn’t been confirmed by other publications, so take it with the weight of a single report based on anonymous sources, but having said that: Yikes.

Go read the whole thing.

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The Washington Post Just Published an Explosive Report About Jared Kushner and Russia

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The Mystery Behind the Half-Million Dollars Michael Flynn Received as a Foreign Agent

Mother Jones

It is hard to keep track of all the Michael Flynn scandals. The former national security adviser for President Donald Trump—who lasted only 22 days in the job—is at the center of various investigations. He has drawn scrutiny for his contacts with the Russian government (and for lying about those contacts), for his pocketing of $45,000 from Kremlin-backed RT (and his failure to disclose the payment), for his lobbying for Turkish interests (and his failure to disclose that as well), and for attending a meeting with Turkish officials during which a plan reportedly was discussed for abducting a US-based foe of that country’s president. But one Flynn mystery has received little attention: What was the original source of the $530,000 he was paid last summer and fall—when he was Trump’s top national security aide—to be an agent for Turkish interests?

In March, Flynn, who weeks earlier had been fired from the White House job for lying about his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, retroactively filed with the Justice Department as a foreign agent. (It’s illegal to lobby for foreign interests and not register with the Justice Department, and Flynn is reportedly under investigation for not registering at the time he did this work.) Flynn’s retroactive disclosure noted that he had been hired in August 2016 by Inovo BV, a Dutch consulting company run by Ekim Alptekin, the chairman of the Turkey-US Business Council.

The paperwork Flynn filed with the government is confusing. Some of the records note that his company, the Flynn Intel Group, was hired to compile opposition research on Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric living in Pennsylvania whom the Turkish government claims helped orchestrate an unsuccessful coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last summer, and to prepare material on Gulen—presumably derogatory material—that could be publicly disseminated. But an attachment to the filing, citing an American law firm representing Alptekin, says that “Inovo represented a private sector company in Israel that sought to export natural gas to Turkey, and it was for support of its consulting work for this client that Inovo engaged Flynn Intel Group, specifically to understand the tumultuous political climate at the time between the United States and Turkey so that Inovo could advise its client regarding its business opportunities and investment in Turkey.” In March, Alptekin told one reporter that he had hired Flynn “principally to produce geopolitical analysis on Turkey and the region” for a “regional energy company that is considering an investment in Turkey.”

It’s unclear why there are conflicting accounts about Flynn’s work for Inovo and Alptekin. And though Alptekin has asserted that his firm had no official or financial connections to the Turkish government, Flynn’s retroactive registration—his company shut down in November—stated, “Flynn Intel Group’s work for Inovo could be construed to have principally benefitted the Republic of Turkey.” It was through his contract with Inovo that Flynn ended up in a September 19 meeting set up by Alptekin at the Essex House hotel in New York City with Turkish government officials, where reportedly the participants considered kidnapping Gulen. (A Flynn spokesman insisted Flynn had not discussed any illegal actions, and Alptekin has denied there was any talk of abducting Gulen at this gathering.)

Much is hazy about Flynn’s work for Alptekin, including, most notably, the source of the funding for the project. According to Flynn’s disclosure filing, Alptekin’s Inovo made three payments to him from September 9 to November 14 totaling $530,000. None of the money came from Turkey, according to Alptekin’s American attorneys. In an interview with a Dutch newspaper in April, Alptekin said the funds for the Flynn project came from a loan from his wife and payments from Ratio Oil Exploration, an Israeli natural gas company.

Here’s where the story gets curious. An Israeli news station in March contacted Ratio Oil Exploration, and the firm said it had no relationship with Alptekin.

A day after disclosing that news, the Israeli station reported that Alptekin had told it, “I have never stated, confirmed, or denied that I acted for Ratio Oil.”

Yet weeks later, Alptekin was telling the Dutch newspaper that some of the money for Flynn had indeed come from Ratio Oil Exploration. Was Ratio Oil part of the Flynn deal? It would seem not, given that the company denied any connection to Alptekin. For his part, Alptekin had initially been dodgy about its possible involvement before stating that Ratio Oil had helped to finance the Flynn project. (Ratio Oil did not respond to a request for comment.)

As for his wife, Nigar Alptekin, she is an Azerbaijani fashion model who once was in a Turkish pop group with two other models that was called Adrenalin. Neither Nigar Alptekin (also known as Nigar Talibova or Nigar Talibzade) nor the music group have a prominent online presence. A music video from the group posted on YouTube in 2012 had only been viewed 4,387 times as of Thursday. Nigar Alptekin’s Twitter feed has 155 followers.

Ekim Alptekin this week was in Washington for the 36th Annual Conference on US-Turkey Relations. When a reporter for Mother Jones, looking to ask about the source of the money and his wife’s role, approached Alptekin, he declined to be interviewed. Alptekin did not respond to multiple email requests for comment. And a lawyer for Flynn also did not respond to a request for comment.

It’s possible that Alptekin used money from a fashion model and an Israeli energy company to pay for Flynn’s secret lobbying for Turkish interests. But confirming the source of these funds could well be on the to-do list of FBI investigators working the Flynn case, a list that seems to be rather long.

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The Mystery Behind the Half-Million Dollars Michael Flynn Received as a Foreign Agent

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Jared Kushner Is Reportedly Under FBI Scrutiny for Meetings With Russians

Mother Jones

Jared Kusher, the husband of President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka and one of the president’s top advisers in the White House, is “now a focus in the FBI’s Russia investigation,” according to a Washington Post report published Thursday evening. And NBC News reported, “Investigators believe Kushner has significant information relevant to their inquiry, officials said. That does not mean they suspect him of a crime or intend to charge him.”

Kushner’s December meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and the head of a Russian bank from Moscow are being looked at by investigators probing Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election and examining possible ties between Trump associates and Russia, according to the Post. Former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort have also been under scrutiny for their contacts with Russians or pro-Russian Ukrainian politicians.

From the Post:

In early December, Kushner met in New York with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, and he later sent a deputy to meet with Kislyak again. Flynn was also present at the early December meeting, and later that month, Flynn held a call with Kislyak to discuss U.S.-imposed sanctions against Russia. Flynn initially mischaracterized the conversation even to the vice president — which ultimately prompted his ouster from the White House.

Kushner also met in December with Sergey Gorkov, the head of Vnesheconombank, which has been the subject of U.S. sanctions following Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its support of separatists in eastern Ukraine.

In addition to the December meetings, a former senior intelligence official said FBI agents had been looking closely at earlier exchanges between Trump associates and the Russians dating back to the spring of 2016, including one at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington. Kushner and Kislyak — along with close Trump adviser and current Attorney General Jeff Sessions — were present at an April 2016 event at the Mayflower where then-candidate Trump promised in a speech to seek better relations with Russia. It is unclear whether Kushner and Kislyak interacted there.

As reported by the New York Times in April, Kushner failed to disclose several meetings with Russian officials, an omission Kushner’s lawyers have characterized as a mistake. Jamie Gorelick, one of Kushner’s attorneys and a former deputy attorney general during the Clinton administration, told the Post Thursday that Kushner volunteered to share information about his contacts with the Russians with investigators.

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Jared Kushner Is Reportedly Under FBI Scrutiny for Meetings With Russians

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Mr. Ivanka Trump Now Under Investigation

Mother Jones

We now know for sure who the person “close to Trump” is:

Investigators are focusing on a series of meetings held by Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and an influential White House adviser, as part of their probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and related matters, according to people familiar with the investigation.

So the Russia investigation now has at least three targets: Manafort, Flynn, and Kushner. That seems like a lot. But maybe it’s all just a big coincidence.

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Mr. Ivanka Trump Now Under Investigation

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Look at the Difference in Trump and Obama’s Notes for Israel’s Holocaust Memorial

Mother Jones

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Before leaving Israel’s Holocaust museum Yad Vashem Tuesday morning, President Donald Trump continued the tradition of US leaders who have visited the memorial before him, including former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, by writing a message in the Book of Remembrance.

“It is a great honor to be here with my friends!” Trump’s signature read. “So amazing and will never forget!”

The president’s note quickly attracted criticism for its strangely upbeat tone, with many mocking the message for appearing out of step with the memorial’s somber setting, especially when compared with former president Barack Obama’s 2008 message when he was still a senator.

The note on Tuesday is the latest in a series of awkward moments for Trump during his first overseas trip as president. The day before, while addressing reporters at a press conference alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump appeared to inadvertently confirm that Israel was the source that provided the intelligence he shared with high-ranking Russian officials in the Oval Office last week.

Trump’s unusually lighthearted Book of Remembrance message is only the most recent example of tone deafness coming from the administration regarding the Holocaust. In February, the administration sparked by the ire of Jewish groups when it released a statement commemorating International Holocaust Remembrance Day that failed to mention the word Jews. White House press secretary also once called Nazi concentration camps “Holocaust centers” while positively comparing Adolf Hitler to Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad.

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Look at the Difference in Trump and Obama’s Notes for Israel’s Holocaust Memorial

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Ex-CIA Chief: There Was Intel About Trump Campaign-Russia Contacts That FBI Needed to Probe

Mother Jones

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Former CIA director John Brennan testified on Monday that he grew alarmed last summer about efforts by the Russian government to “suborn”—perhaps unwittingly—members of the Trump campaign, and that his concerns formed the basis for the FBI’s probe into possible collusion between Trump officials and the Kremlin. His remarks came during a hearing of the House intelligence committee, which is investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, including potential coordination with the president’s campaign.

When Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) pressed Brennan on whether he had seen any evidence of collusion, Brennan replied: “I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and US persons involved in the Trump campaign that.” He added, “I don’t know whether or not such collusion…existed…but I know that there was a sufficient basis of information and intelligence that required further investigation by the bureau to determine whether or not US persons were actively conspiring, colluding with Russian officials.”

Later in the hearing, Gowdy continued to push Brennan about whether he had seen “evidence of collusion, coordination, conspiracy between Donald Trump and Russia state actors.” Brennan said he could answer that query more fully in a subsequent closed hearing, but noted that the intelligence regarding Russian contacts and the Trump campaign “raised concerns in my mind about whether or not those individuals were cooperating with the Russians—either in a witting or unwitting fashion—and that served as the basis for the FBI investigation to determine whether such collusion, cooperation occurred.”

Brennan, who stepped down when Trump took office and took the unusual step of criticizing an incoming president, explained it was not the CIA’s job to make a judgment about whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia but to supply the FBI with the evidence it had gathered to investigate the case.

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Ex-CIA Chief: There Was Intel About Trump Campaign-Russia Contacts That FBI Needed to Probe

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FBI Russia Probe Is Targeting "Someone Close to the President"

Mother Jones

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Oh come on:

President Trump told Russian officials in the Oval Office this month that firing the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, had relieved “great pressure” on him, according to a document summarizing the meeting.

“I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job,” Mr. Trump said, according to the document, which was read to The New York Times by an American official. “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”

….The White House document that contained Mr. Trump’s comments was based on notes taken from inside the Oval Office and has been circulated as the official account of the meeting. One official read quotations to The Times, and a second official confirmed the broad outlines of the discussion. Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, did not dispute the account.

That’s from the New York Times, and it’s what Trump told the Russian ambassador and foreign minister the day after he fired Comey. Of course, Trump probably didn’t realize that the Russians were already keenly familiar with Comey since the FBI is America’s primary counterintelligence agency—that is, the agency that tracks down Russian spies. So they know perfectly well he’s not crazy and not a nut job. I’ll bet they also knew perfectly well that firing Comey was only going to increase the pressure on Trump over Russia. That’s because they aren’t idiots.

The Washington Post reports on just what this increased pressure is turning into:

The law enforcement investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign has identified a current White House official as a significant person of interest, showing that the probe is reaching into the highest levels of government, according to people familiar with the matter.

The senior White House adviser under scrutiny by investigators is someone close to the president, according to these people, who would not further identify the official.

Stay tuned.

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FBI Russia Probe Is Targeting "Someone Close to the President"

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Yet More Shoes Drop in the Flynn Scandal

Mother Jones

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Another hour, another Trump scandal. I can’t keep up. Here’s the latest timeline on Mike Flynn. The three items in italics are new:

August 9: Flynn is hired by the Turkey-U.S. Business Council for $600,000 to help repair Turkey’s image in the US. However, Flynn chooses not to register as a foreign agent on the pretext that he’s just lobbying for a business group that has nothing to do with the Turkish government.

November 18: Trump names Flynn as his National Security Advisor.

November 30: The Justice Department opens an investigation into Flynn’s lobbying activities. Flynn keeps this news to himself for over a month.

December: Flynn has repeated contacts with various Russian officials but doesn’t tell anybody.

January 4: Flynn tells the incoming White House counsel that he is under investigation. Nothing happens.

January 10: In a meeting with Susan Rice, Flynn puts the kibosh on an Obama plan to use Kurdish help to take the ISIS-occupied town of Raqqa—something that his erstwhile client Turkey is opposed to. McClatchy reports: “Members of Congress, musing about the tangle of legal difficulties Flynn faces, cite that exchange with Rice as perhaps the most serious: acting on behalf of a foreign nation — from which he had received considerable cash — when making a military decision. Some members of Congress, in private conversations, have even used the word “treason” to describe Flynn’s intervention, though experts doubt that his actions qualify.” Still nothing happens.

January 26: Acting attorney general Sally Yates warns the White House that Flynn has lied about his contacts with Russian officials, which may have compromised him. Still nothing happens.

February 9: The Washington Post reveals Flynn’s lies about his Russian contacts. Everything is now public.

February 13: Finally something happens. Trump fires Flynn.

February 14: Trump meets with FBI director James Comey and asks him to kill the investigation into Flynn.

March-April: Comey continues the investigation.

May 9: Trump fires Comey.

The new news here is that Trump knew about the FBI investigation far earlier than anyone has reported before. By the time Sally Yates alerted the White House to Flynn’s lying, they had already been warned off Flynn by President Obama and they’d known about the FBI investigation for three weeks. Nonetheless, they did nothing until it all became public.

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Yet More Shoes Drop in the Flynn Scandal

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