The Key Themes, Dates in addition to also Characters from the Russia Investigation

The basics

  • Russia carried out a campaign to influence the outcome of the 2016 American presidential election, denigrating Hillary Clinton in addition to also boosting Donald J. Trump, according to American intelligence agencies. President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia personally ordered This kind of.

  • The F.B.I., citing four Trump campaign aides’ ties to Russia, opened a counterintelligence investigation from the summer of 2016 to determine whether Trump associates aided Russia’s election interference.

  • Robert S. Mueller III, the former F.B.I. director, was appointed the special counsel in May 2017 to take over the investigation. The inquiry has expanded to examine whether President Trump tried to obstruct the investigation itself.

  • Nineteen people — including four Trump associates — in addition to also three companies have been indicted from the case. several have pleaded guilty; 13 are Russians accused of meddling from the election. [See a breakdown of the charges here.]

the major focuses of the investigation


Mr. Mueller is usually investigating Russia’s efforts to influence the presidential race in addition to also sow discord by spreading inflammatory messages on social media in addition to also stealing emails through Mrs. Clinton’s campaign chairman in addition to also the Democratic National Committee, which were then strategically released to undermine the Clinton campaign.


Investigators are examining what Mr. Trump’s aides in addition to also associates knew about Russia’s meddling, particularly the Discharge of thousands of stolen Democratic emails stolen, in addition to also whether any of them aided Moscow’s effort.


Mr. Mueller is usually investigating an array of the president’s actions — including the firing of the former F.B.I. director, James B. Comey — to determine whether Mr. Trump sought to impede the investigation into Russia’s actions.

Foreign Influence

Mr. Mueller is usually investigating whether Trump associates ran afoul of American lobbying or anti-corruption laws. Two aides to the Trump campaign, including its onetime chairman, were charged with financial crimes related to their work as advisers to a pro-Russia former president of Ukraine.

Key events


Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March 2014 prompted international ire, in addition to also the United States responded by imposing sanctions in addition to also taking some other steps designed to isolate Moscow on the planet stage.

Out to restore its own influence, Russia sought to undermine the United States, taking aim at its vulnerabilities — namely domestic political polarization. As early as April 2014, a friend of President Vladimir V. Putin began an operation which included setting up a troll farm to create fake social media posts in addition to also sending operatives to the United States to gather intelligence on the political process. The stated goal: “spread distrust towards the candidates in addition to also the political system in general.”

American officials have traced some other elements of Russia’s interference, notably the hacking in addition to also leaking of Democratic emails, to Russian intelligence agencies carrying out Mr. Putin’s orders.

June 16, 2015

Donald J. Trump announced his campaign for president.

March 31, 2016

As he closed in on a stunning victory from the Republican primary, Mr. Trump met in Washington with his foreign policy advisers. One, George Papadopoulos, told the group which he had connections to help arrange a meeting between Mr. Trump in addition to also Mr. Putin. Others at the meeting noted which Russia was under sanctions. Mr. Sessions, then a senator through Alabama in addition to also a top Trump campaign adviser, quickly shut down the subject in addition to also said This kind of should not be discussed again, a former campaign official has said. which conversation fits into the purview of Mr. Mueller’s investigation.

June 9, 2016

Donald Trump Jr. in addition to also top campaign officials met with Natalia V. Veselnitskaya, a Russian lawyer, at Trump Tower to discuss what an intermediary promised to be incriminating information about Mrs. Clinton. Paul Manafort, the campaign chairman, in addition to also Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, were among those also at the meeting, where Ms. Veselnitskaya complained about American sanctions on Russia. The special counsel is usually investigating.

June 14, 2016

Crowdstrike, a cybersecurity firm hired by the Democratic National Committee, announced which This kind of had expelled two Russian hacker groups — called Cozy Bear in addition to also Fancy Bear — which had penetrated the D.N.C.’s systems. The groups had gained access to thousands of emails in addition to also confidential documents. Just over a month later, WikiLeaks released nearly 20,000 hacked Democratic emails.

July 31, 2016

In light of existing ties between four campaign aides in addition to also Moscow, the F.B.I. opened its investigation into the Trump campaign’s links to Russia.

Nov. 8, 2016

Mr. Trump won the presidential election, defeating Hillary Clinton in an extraordinary upset.

Dec. 29, 2016

Then-President Barack Obama announced sanctions against Russia, citing its attempts to interfere with the presidential election. which day, Michael T. Flynn, in line to be Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, discussed the sanctions with the Russian ambassador to the United States. He later pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about the conversations, which undermined existing American policy in addition to also flouted a warning through a senior Obama administration official to stop meddling in foreign affairs before the inauguration.

Jan. 20, 2017

Mr. Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States.

Feb. 13, 2017

Mr. Flynn resigned as national security adviser following revelations which he had misled Vice President Mike Pence in addition to also some other top officials about his conversations in December with the Russian ambassador. The F.B.I. had also asked him about those calls.

Oct. 30, 2017

Mr. Manafort in addition to also Rick Gates, his business associate in addition to also the deputy campaign chairman, surrendered to the authorities in addition to also pleaded not guilty to charges including money laundering in addition to also tax fraud.

Dec 1. 2017

Mr. Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to investigators in addition to also said he had agreed to cooperate with the special counsel.

Feb. 16, 2018

Thirteen Russians in addition to also three companies were charged in a sprawling indictment. Federal prosecutors accused the Russians of stealing the identities of American citizens, posing as political activists in addition to also using the flash points of immigration, religion in addition to also race to manipulate a campaign in which those issues were already particularly divisive.

Feb. 23, 2018

Mr. Gates changed his plea to guilty, admitting which he lied to federal investigators in addition to also committed financial fraud, in addition to also began cooperating with the special counsel.

April 9, 2018

F.B.I. agents raided the hotel in addition to also office of Michael D. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer in addition to also fixer, based on a referral through the special counsel.

Who’s Who

TRUMP, Donald J., Republican candidate for president, later 45th president of the United States
Donald J. Trump Jr., his son
Jared Kushner, his son-in-law
Paul Manafort, his campaign chairman
Jeff Sessions, his campaign adviser, later attorney general
Michael T. Flynn, his first national security adviser
George Papadopoulos, a campaign adviser on foreign policy
Carter Page, a campaign adviser on foreign policy
Michael D. Cohen, his longtime lawyer in addition to also fixer

President Trump’s legal team

Donald F. McGahn II, the White House counsel
Jay Sekulow, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer
Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer
Emmet T. Flood, a White House lawyer who also represented President Bill Clinton during his impeachment
John Dowd, resigned in March 2018 as Mr. Trump’s lead lawyer from the inquiry
Ty Cobb, a White House lawyer who is usually retiring in May 2018

Department of Justice

Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general
Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel in addition to also former F.B.I. director
James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director

Further reading