Untwisting the Strands: GOP Attempts to Undermine the Mueller Investigation
This page provides a quick, easy-to-navigate series of events that, taken together, outlines the attempts to place roadblocks in the path of the Mueller investigation by the White House, Congressional Republicans, and right-wing media outlets.
June 30, 2016: Fox News Pundit Says Putin Has to Release Clinton Emails
Referring to a Daily Caller story headlined, "State Department Won't Release Clinton Foundation Emails for 27 Months," Fox News pundit Monica Crowley posts on Twitter, "I guess Putin is going to have to do it." Learn more.
February 14, 2017: WikiLeaks Says "Destabilization Campaign" by Press, Dems, "Spies" Forced Flynn Resignation
WikiLeaks posts a tweet blaming a "destabilization campaign" by Democrats, "spies," and the US media for the resignation of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. The organization presents no evidence of its claims. Learn more.
February 14, 2017: Right-Wing Media Ignores Russia Connections, Focuses on Washington Leaks
Piggybacking on Donald Trump's tweets about illicit leaks from Washington about the issue of his administration's collusion with Russia, right-wing media outlets double down with outraged editorials and news stories filled with conspiracy theories and false "facts." Learn more.
February 15, 2017: NRA Says Trump-Russia Investigation Due to "Obama Loyalists" Determined to "Destroy America From the Inside"
The National Rifle Association's "news" program, NRATV, says the investigation into the Trump-Russia connections come from what it calls a "concerted effort with Obama loyalists" aiming to "undermine the president every step of the way" and "destroy America from the inside." Host Grant Stinchfield presents no evidence of his incendiary claims. Learn more.
February 15-27, 2017: Spicer Gets CIA Director, Senate Intelligence Chair to Dispute Reports of Trump Campaign Aides' Contacts with Russian Intelligence Officials
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer gets CIA Director Mike Pompeo and Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) to discredit a New York Times article claiming that Trump campaign aides had multiple contacts with Russian intelligence officials. Burr is the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Learn more.
February 24, 2017: White House Recruits Congressmen, Intelligence Community Members to Counterattack Media Stories of Trump-Russia Connections
The White House has enlisted senior members of Congress and the intelligence committee to defend the administration, and attack the media, in an effort to counter media reports about Trump and his colleagues' ties to Russia, according to the Washington Post. Learn more.
February 24, 2017: White House Bans News Outlets Reporting on Russia-Trump Connections from Press Events
The White House is banning several news outlets from press functions. Fortune's David Z. Morris writes: "The barred outlets have uniformly been key players in investigating ties between the Trump administration and Russian leadership, or in framing the issue as dire for the administration's legitimacy." Learn more.
February 26, 2017: House Intel Chair Calls Investigation into Trump-Russia Connections "McCarthyism"
House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) says the idea of an independent investigation into Trump campaign aides' connections to Russia "is almost like McCarthyism." He says the House of Representatives will not engage in a "witch hunt," and claims, "[A]t this point, there's nothing there." Nunes was a top member of the Trump transition team. Learn more.
February 26, 2017: NBC Host: When Russia-Trump News Breaks, Trump Attacks News Media
NBC host Chuck Todd says on the Sunday news talk show "Meet the Press" that when news stories break concerning Trump and his officials' ties to Russia, "press bashing, which is always part of the president's arsenal, seems to escalate." Learn more.
March 2, 2017: Nunes Implies Committee Will Investigate Reporters for Asking Questions
Devin Nunes (R-CA), the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, threatens reporters with some kind of "investigation" during a discussion of FBI phone records. Nunes is briefing the press on the FBI's cooperation with his committee, which is attempting to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election. He implies that reporters who ask too many questions about the FBI's investigation of the Trump-Russia allegations will find themselves under investigation. Learn more.
March 3, 2017: Trump Calls for Investigation into Democrat's "Ties" to Putin
Donald Trump exhorts Congress to open an investigation into Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) for having undisclosed ties to Russia. On Twitter, Trump posts: "We should start an immediate investigation into [Schumer] and his ties to Russia and Putin. A total hypocrite!" Trump's "proof:" a 2003 photo of Schumer and Putin standing together smiling and eating doughnuts. Schumer responds: "Happily talk re: my contact w Mr. Putin & his associates, took place in '03 in full view of press & public under oath. Would you & your team?" Learn more.
March 4, 2017: Trump Baselessly Accuses Obama of "Wire Tapping" Him During Campaign
Donald Trump launches an early-morning Twitter tirade accusing former President Barack Obama of wiretapping him during the presidential campaign. Trump offers no evidence whatsoever of his claims, which CNN labels a spate of "wild accusations." It becomes clear that the groundless accusations is Trump's attempt to deflect attention away from the Trump-Russia scandal. Learn more.
March 7-9, 2017: Fox News, Limbaugh, Others Promote False Conspiracy Theory that CIA, Not Russia, Hacked DNC
A thoroughly false and groundless conspiracy theory alleging that the CIA, and not Russia, hacked the DNC makes it to Fox News within 48 hours of its appearance online. Fox News host Sean Hannity proclaims the theory on his weeknight show. Learn more.
March 11, 2017: US Attorney Bharara Fired
US Attorney Preet Bharara of the Southern District of New York, perhaps the most prominent US Attorney position in the US, is abruptly fired after refusing to resign. In November, Bharara had been promised by Donald Trump that he would remain in the position, even as Attorney General Jeff Sessions has fired almost all of the other US Attorneys across the nation. Bharara's firing derails a key investigation into some of Trump's Russian financial cronies. Learn more.
March 21, 2017: Nunes Has Clandestine Meeting at White House to See Information about Trump's Wiretapping Claims
House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) has a clandestine meeting at the White House to obtain information about Donald Trump's specious wiretapping claims. He will soon present them as "evidence" of the claims, while failing to reveal that the "evidence" comes from the White House. Learn more.
March 22, 2017: House Intelligence Chair Says Trump, Others May Have Been "Incidentally" Surveilled by US Intelligence
House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes (R-CA), a former member of the Trump transition team, tells the press that Trump or some of his closest colleagues may have been "incidentally" surveilled by American intelligence agencies spying on foreign nationals. He claims that some of those surveilled may have been "unmasked" by Obama-era officials, with the implication that the identities were revealed as part of some kind of political retribution. Nunes has no evidence of his claims. Learn more.
March 22, 2017: Ryan Admits Speaking to Nunes Before White House Visit, Says Nunes Did Not See Actual Intelligence Documents
House Speaker Paul Ryan admits to speaking with House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) before Nunes's late-night visit to the White House, and admits that Nunes did not actually read any classified information before claiming that Obama officials had illicitly surveilled and "unmasked" Trump campaign members. Ryan also claims that Nunes met with a "whistleblower," another lie: Ryan met with White House officials tasked with providing him information. Learn more.
March 23, 2017: Nunes Does Not Know if Trump Actually Surveilled
A spokesperson for House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) admits that Nunes is unsure if the US intelligence community ever actually collected communications from Donald Trump or members of his campaign and/or transition team. Nor does Nunes know if the actual names of Trump or his colleagues were revealed in those documents. Nunes continues to hold to his false "unmasking" claims even after admitting he knows nothing about any such actions. Learn more.
March 23, 2017: Nunes Will Not Share Sources, Information with Committee Partner
House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) tells reporters he has no intention of telling the committee's ranking Democrat, Adam Schiff (D-CA), who his sources are for his uncorroborated allegation that the US intelligence community collected incidental information on Donald Trump and/or his transition team. Learn more.
March 24, 2017: House Intelligence Chair Issues "Apology" for Unsupported Claims that US Spied on Trump
House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) apologizes for the way he leaked groundless information about US intelligence surveillance of Donald Trump and his colleagues to the press. Committee Democrats say Nunes has crippled the ability of the committee to run a fair and unbiased investigation into the Trump-Russia allegations. Learn more.
March 24, 2017: Right-Wing Media Uses Nunes Claims to Proclaim Trump "Vindicated"
The impact of House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes's claims that Donald Trump and/or his associates were "incidentally" recorded as part of a US intelligence surveillance operation against foreign nationals has led multiple right-wing media sources to falsely proclaim that Nunes's claims prove Trump's groundless accusations that President Obama wiretapped him during the presidential campaign. Learn more.
March 27, 2017: Press Issues First Reports that Nunes Clandestinely Visited White House before Press Conference
News outlets report that House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) met with at least one source on the "White House grounds" before holding his press conference where he said a US intelligence operation gathered "incidental" information about Donald Trump and/or his associates. Learn more.
March 27, 2017: Nunes Cancels All Committee Meetings, Hearings
House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) abruptly cancels all committee meetings for the week, and cancels the pair of scheduled open hearings. In one of those hearings, former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates would have testified about communications between former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and Russian ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak. Other testimony would have come from former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former CIA Director John Brennan. Learn more.
March 27, 2017: Trump Attempts to Divert Attention from Trump-Russia Inquiry by Recycling Debunked Clinton Accusations
Donald Trump, in what appears to be yet another attempt to deflect media and citizen attention from the Trump-Russia scandal and the parallel scandal involving his specious claims that then-President Obama wiretapped him, issues a poorly composed post on Twitter asking about a long-debunked claim that Hillary Clinton, while Secretary of State, approved a deal that allowed American uranium to be sold to Russia. The false allegations about the "Uranium One" deal will resurface later in the year, as Republicans attempt to discredit and derail the Mueller investigation. Learn more.
March 28, 2017: Nunes Says He "Will Never Reveal" Sources for Surveillance Claim
House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) says he will never share the sources behind his claim that the Obama administration surveilled Donald Trump and/or his associates, even with the other members of his committee. The White House sources will soon be revealed. Learn more.
March 28-29, 2017: Nunes, White House Orchestrating Halt to Committee Investigation
Multiple media sources are concluding that House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) is colluding with the White House to halt and possibly terminate his committee's investigation into Russian election sabotage. Learn more.
March 30, 2017: Three White House Officials Identified as Nunes Sources for Surveillance Reports
The media identifies three White House officials as the sources for the intelligence information House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) used to claim, falsely, that Donald Trump and his associates were incidentally surveilled during an intelligence operation focused on foreign nationals. The officials are National Security Council lawyer Eliot Cohen-Watnick, White House lawyer Michael Ellis, and Cohen-Watnick's supervisor, John Eisenberg. Both Nunes and Cohen-Watnick served on Trump's transition team. Learn more.
April 2, 2017: Schiff Views Documents, Asks Why Such White House and Congressional Subterfuge
Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA), the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, discusses the intelligence documents clandestinely viewed by committee chair Devin Nunes (R-CA). Schiff has finally been able to view them after Nunes repeatedly claimed he would never let anyone see them, and confirms that he viewed the identical reports Nunes saw. Schiff wants to know how the White House could confirm those were the exact documents Nunes saw if the White House, as it has claimed, does not know what Nunes was shown. He also wants to know that, if these particular documents came up in "the ordinary course of business," then why was there so much lying and subterfuge surrounding them? Learn more.
April 3-4, 2017: Conspiracy Blogger, White House Allege Former Obama National Security Advisor Ordered "Unmasking" of Surveilled Trump Associates
Two anonymous White House officials tell a reporter that former National Security Advisor Susan Rice requested the identities of US citizens named in raw intelligence reports on multiple occasions that relate to the Trump campaign and transition. This practice is sometimes called "unmasking." If this indeed happened, the names were never made public. The story is a lie; it comes from right-wing blogger Mike Cernovich, who succeeded in popularizing the "Pizzagate" story that slandered Hillary Clinton and campaign manager John Podesta with false charges of child trafficking. Learn more.
April 4, 2017: Intel Committee Member Says White House "Selectively" Released Intel Info, Behaved in "Duplicitous" Manner
After reviewing the documents that House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) has been refusing to allow his committee to see, ranking member Adam Schiff (D-CA) says in a statement that the reports he saw were "selectively and surreptitiously" provided to Nunes by the White House. Learn more.
April 6, 2017: Nunes Recuses Himself from Investigation, Faces Ethics Probe
House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) recuses himself from the committee's investigation into the connections between Trump and Russia. Nunes's decision is supported by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI). The same day Nunes announces his decision to step away from the investigation, the House Ethics Committee announces that Nunes is being investigated for possibly disclosing classified information. Learn more.
April 6, 2017: White House Aide, Fox News Host Say Rice Controversy Worse than Watergate
White House advisor Sebastian Gorka tells Fox News host Sean Hannity that the allegations that former White House National Security Advisor Susan Rice improperly leaked information regarding an improper surveillance operation conducted against Trump and his transition team goes far "beyond Watergate" in its importance and illegality. Learn more.
April 11, 2017: Intelligence Documents Prove Trump, Nunes Lied about Wiretapping, Unmasking Allegations
Republican and Democratic lawmakers review the classified documents shown to House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) and conclude that they do not support any of Nunes's claims about illegal surveillance or "unmasking" of Trump officials. Nor do the documents support Trump's wild claims that President Obama wiretapped him. Learn more.
April 18, 2017: Intelligence Officials: Wiretapping, Unmasking Allegations Deliberate Lies to Distract from Trump-Russia Investigation
The media reports that the White House colluded with House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) to deliberately create a fake scandal that would distract the citizenry from the Trump-Russia imbroglio that currently dominated news reports. An intelligence official says: "We are going to mobilize to find something to justify the president's tweet that he was being surveilled. They put out an all-points bulletin and said, 'We need to find something that justifies the president's crazy tweet about surveillance at Trump Tower.' And I'm telling you there is no way you get that from those transcripts, which are about as plain vanilla as can be." Learn more.
After Mueller Becomes Special Counsel
May 17, 2017: Mueller Named as Special Counsel for Russia-Trump Investigation
Former FBI Director Robert Mueller is named as the special counsel to oversee the FBI's investigation into Russia's sabotage of the 2016 election and any possible collusion between Russia and Trump associates. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein makes the appointment, as Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from any activity regarding the investigation. Learn more.
May 18, 2017: Trump Says Special Counsel "Hurts Our Country Terribly"
Of the newly appointed special counsel, Donald Trump says: "I believe it hurts our country terribly, because it shows we're a divided, mixed-up, not-unified country. And we have very important things to be doing right now, whether it's trade deals, whether it's military, whether it's stopping nuclear – all of the things that we discussed today. And I think this shows a very divided country." Learn more.
May 18, 2017: Cabinet Member Calls Russia-Trump Investigation "Sideshow" Based on "Rumor" and "Innuendo"
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says that the entire Russia-Trump investigation, now headed by former FBI Director Robert Mueller, is based on nothing more than "rumor" and "innuendo." Ross tells a CNBC host: "There's no there, there." Learn more.
Summer 2017: Trump Pressures Senate Republicans to Drop Russia Investigation
Donald Trump repeatedly urges Senate Republicans, including Richard Burr (R-NC), the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, to stop the committee's investigation into Russia's sabotage of the 2016 presidential election and Trump's collusion with that effort. Learn more.
Summer 2017: Senate Committee Refuses to Cooperate with Mueller Investigation
Former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort testifies in a closed session before the Senate Intelligence Committee. When investigators working with special counsel Robert Mueller request a transcript of the hearing, the committee refuses the request. Learn more.
June 2017: Trump Orders Mueller Fired, Backs Down After Resignation Threat
Donald Trump orders the peremptory firing of Robert Mueller as special counsel for the Russia investigation. He backs down after Don McGahn, the White House Counsel, threatens to resign instead of carrying out the order. The media does not learn about the attempted firing until January 2018. Learn more.
June 15-19, 2017: Trump Claims Innocence of Collusion, Obstruction
In yet another Twitter rant, Donald Trump attempts to deny that the proof tying his campaign to Russia's sabotage of the presidential election, or of his own obstruction of justice, exists. In one, he writes: "They made up a phony collusion with the Russians story, found zero proof, so now they go for obstruction of justice on the phony story. Nice." He also, perhaps inadvertently, admits he is under investigation, writing: "I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt[.] Learn more.
June 25, 2017: Pro-Trump Lobbying Group Airs Ad Falsely Smearing Mueller
The pro-Trump lobbying organization Great America Alliance airs an attack ad on national television smearing Robert Mueller, who heads the investigation into the Trump-Russia allegations. The ad is narrated by Tomi Lahren, a combative, 24-year old conservative commentator who is a senior advisor to the organization. Learn more.
June 26, 2017: Trump Falsely Accuses Obama of Colluding with Russia
Donald Trump falsely accuses Barack Obama of colluding with Russia in order to affect the 2016 election in favor of Hillary Clinton. He writes: "The reason that President Obama did NOTHING about Russia after being notified by the CIA of meddling is that he expected Clinton would win … and did not want to 'rock the boat.' He didn't 'choke,' he colluded or obstructed, and it did the Dems and Crooked Hillary no good. The real story is that President Obama did NOTHING after being informed in August about Russian meddling. With 4 months looking at Russia … under a magnifying glass, they have zero 'tapes' of T[rump] people colluding. There is no collusion & no obstruction. I should be given apology!" Learn more.
June 26, 2017: Trump Falsely Accuses Mueller Investigators of Being Allied with Clinton
On his favorite news show Fox and Friends, Donald Trump falsely accuses the Mueller investigative team of being "all Hillary Clinton supporters," and adds that "some of them worked for Hillary Clinton." The Pulitzer Prize-winning PolitiFact disproves Trump's claims. Learn more.
June 26, 2017: Nunes Says He Never Recused Himself from Committee Investigation
Representative Devin Nunes (R-CA), the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, says he does not feel bound by his recent self-recusal from the committee's Russia investigation. "I can do whatever I want, I'm the chairman of the committee," he says. "I voluntarily, temporarily stepped aside from leading the investigation." Learn more.
July 2017: Mueller Investigation Member Dismissed After Team Learns of Partisan Text Exchanges
Mueller investigation team member Peter Strzok, the FBI's deputy head of counterintelligence, is dismissed from the investigation after team leaders learn that he and another member of the investigative team, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, had exchanged private text messages disparaging Donald Trump and supporting Hillary Clinton. Mueller spokesperson Peter Carr will say, "Immediately upon learning of the allegations, the special counsel's office removed Peter Strzok from the investigation." Learn more.
July 10, 2017: Trump Uses Fox Lie to Falsely Accuse Comey of Leaking Classified Information
Trump uses a false story promoted by Fox & Friends on Fox News to smear former FBI Director James Comey with the accusation that he leaked classified information by releasing a series of handwritten memos about his meetings with Trump. Learn more.
July 12, 2017: White House Falsely Claims that Democrats Colluded with Ukraine During Campaign
During a restricted press briefing in which only audio is provided to the press, White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders accuses Democrats of colluding with Ukraine for political gain. Asked about the June 2016 "Russian lawyer meeting" in which Trump campaign officials were given what was presented as compromising information about Hillary Clinton, Sanders instead accuses the Democratic National Committee of colluding with Ukrainian government officials to obtain compromising information on the Trump campaign. Learn more.
July 23, 2017: Trump Complains Republicans Not Protecting Him from Investigation
Donald Trump takes to Twitter to impugn the integrity of the Mueller investigation, and to castigate the Republicans for, in his perception, failing to protect him from the "witch hunt." He writes: "As the phony Russian Witch Hunt continues, two groups are laughing at this excuse for a lost election taking hold, Democrats and Russians! It's very sad that Republicans, even some that were carried over the line on my back, do very little to protect their President." Learn more.
July 24-25, 2017: Trump Attacks Sessions, Lies about Clinton, Ukraine, McCabe
Donald Trump continues his attacks on Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a series of angry, vituperative posts on Twitter. Among the claims: Sessions "has taken a very weak position on Hillary Clinton Crimes." Learn more.
July 26, 2017: Senate Committee to Compel Testimony from Steele Dossier Firm
In an apparent attempt to slow the progression of the Trump-Russia investigation, the Senate Judiciary Committee, under the leadership of Charles Grassley (R-IA), decides that while it is interested in testimony from foreign agents, it will not compel testimony from either former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort or Donald Trump Jr. Instead, they want to subpoena Glenn Simpson, whose firm Fusion GPS produced the Steele dossier. Learn more.
July 27, 2017: Trump Asks Why Acting FBI Director Not Fired, Falsely Maligns Him and His Wife
The day after the FBI raids former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort's home, Donald Trump posts two angry missives on Twitter asking why the FBI's Acting Director, Andrew McCabe, hasn't been fired. Trump writes: "Why didn't A.G. Sessions replace Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, a Comey friend who was in charge of Clinton investigation but got … big dollars ($700,000) for his wife's political run from Hillary Clinton and her representatives. Drain the Swamp!" Learn more.
August 1, 2017: Republican Demands Mueller Resign Over Fox News-Sourced "Conflict of Interest"
Tea Party member Trent Franks (R-AZ), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, issues a demand that Robert Mueller resign as special counsel. Franks is echoing demands issued by Donald Trump and a variety of right-wing pundits. He claims Mueller is violation of a law prohibiting someone with a "conflict of interest" from serving as special counsel. The law includes "a personal relationship with any person substantially involved in the conduct that is the subject of the investigation or prosecution." Franks ignores a Justice Department finding that Mueller is not in violation of the law. Learn more.
August 1-23, 2017: Trump Attacks McConnell for Not Protecting Him from Russia Allegations
Donald Trump publicly and privately berates Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) over what Trump perceives as McConnell's failure to protect him from the Russia investigation, and from criticism about Trump's refusal to support US sanctions against Russia. Learn more.
August 4-23, 2017: Trump Berates Republican Senators Over Bill Protecting Mueller from Firing
Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) joins Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) in submitting a new bill requiring special counsel Robert Mueller to be reinstated if Trump arbitrarily fires him. Unsurprisingly, Trump voices his opposition to the bill loudly and sometimes crudely. After the Mueller bill is submitted, Trump calls Tillis to berate him over the bill; two days later, he has an acrimonious call with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Learn more.
August 5, 2017: House Intel Staffers Go to London to Persuade Author of Dossier to Testify
Two Republican staffers on the House Intelligence Committee flew to London in recent weeks to attempt to persuade Christopher Steele, the former MI6 agent who compiled the Steele dossier, to testify before their committee. The committee is expected to send Steele a letter "inviting" him to testify. Learn more.
August 15, 2017: Trump Accuses Obama of Not Responding to Threats of Russian Political Interference
Donald Trump adds to his false charges that former President Obama colluded with Russia to help Hillary Clinton win the 2016 election. He issues the following on Twitter: "According to report just out, President Obama knew about Russian interference 3 years ago but he didn't want to anger Russia!" Learn more.
August 24-September 6, 2017: House Republicans Subpoena FBI, DOJ Over Dossier
House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) issues unilateral subpoenas to the FBI and the Justice Department over the Steele dossier. Though the dossier has been found to be largely credible and large portions of it have been proven to be accurate, Republicans have launched a full-bore assault on its veracity. Learn more.
August 30, 2017: Republican Attempts to Cripple, Terminate Mueller Investigation
Representative Ron DeSantis (R-FL) adds an amendment to a government spending bill that would drastically cripple the federal investigation into the Trump campaign's collusion with Russia. The bill would terminate the investigation, led by former FBI director Robert Mueller, after six months, and prevent Mueller from investigating any activities that took place before June 2015. At least four amendments protecting the investigation have been introduced by Congressional Democrats. Learn more.
August 31, 2017: Trump Lawyers Arguing that Their Client Did Not Obstruct Justice
The media reports that for the past few months, Donald Trump's legal team has been meeting with investigators and lawyers for the Mueller investigation, in their attempts to demonstrate that Trump did not obstruct justice by firing former FBI Director James Comey. Learn more.
September 1, 2017: Nunes Threatens Sessions, Wray if They Fail to Obey Unilateral Subpoenas
House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) berates two top law enforcement officials – Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray – in a letter where he threatens to subject Sessions and Wray to an open hearing before his committee if they do not turn over Justice Department and FBI documents about the Steele dossier, ahd threatens both officials with contempt of Congress if they do not comply. Learn more.
September 8, 2017: GOP Allies of Trump Attempting to Derail Russia Investigation, Twist Public Perception of Steele Dossier
Instead of cooperating with the Mueller special counsel and Congressional investigations into Russia-Trump, many of Trump's Congressional allies, including House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes (R-CA), have been working to undermine and obstruct the investigations. Recently, Nunes joined in attempts by other GOP lawmakers and right-wing propaganda outlets to redirect the attention being paid to the Steele dossier, attempting to instead focus on the FBI's interactions with Steele and his dossier. Learn more.
September 11, 2017: Former FBI Agent: House Republicans May End Up Aiding Russia in Attempts to Protect Trump
In an op-ed, former FBI counterintelligence agent and current Yale Law School associate dean Asha Rangappa warns the Republican leaders of the House Intelligence Committee that in their haste to obstruct their committee's Trump-Russia investigation and provide cover for Donald Trump, they may be helping Russia as well. Learn more.
September 18, 2017: Senator Says White House Press Secretary May Be Obstructing Justice by Vilifying Comey
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) accuses White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders of possibly obstructing justice in her public attacks on the character and actions of former FBI Director James Comey. Appearing on MSNBC, Whitehouse says Huckabee Sanders's suggestion that the Justice Department "look at" any possible crimes Comey supposedly committed when he made his memos about his conversations with Donald Trump public could constitute obstruction. Learn more.
September 28, 2017: White House, DOJ Refusing to Cooperate with Congressional Investigations
The media learns that the White House and Justice Department is refusing to provide a number of requested documents for Congressional committees investigating the Trump-Russia connections. All three committees: the House Intelligence Committee and the Senate Intelligence and Judiciary Committees, have requested reams of documents related to, among other topics, Jared Kushner's security clearance and Trump's conversations with FBI Director James Comey before his ouster. Learn more.
October 4, 2017: Nunes Issues Subpoena for Fusion GPS, Firm that Funded Steele Dossier
House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) subpoenas the partners who run Fusion GPS, the research firm that produced the Steele dossier. The subpoenas demand documents and testimony in October and November. Learn more.
October 24, 2017: House Republicans Launch Baseless Investigations into Uranium, Email Issues Involving Clinton
In what appears to be an effort to distract the nation from the Mueller investigation, House Republicans announce two new investigations, one into the Obama administration's handling of a deal that gave some control of 20% of the US's uranium supply to a Russian firm, and another into how the Obama Justice Department conducted itself in its investigation of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server. The Senate Judiciary Committee's chair, Charles Grassley (R-IA), says it will also investigate the uranium deal. Learn more.
October 28, 2017: White House Falsely Claims that Clinton Spokesperson "Damn Glad" to Have Colluded with Russia
In a series of posts on Twitter, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders makes the false claim that the Clinton campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 election, calling the evidence "indisputable." Sanders presents no evidence of her claim. Observers speculate that Sanders is trying to distract the media and the citizenry from the news of the upcoming indictments in the Mueller investigation, which were announced the day before her Twitter posts. Learn more.
October 29, 2017: Trump Unleashes Angry, Unhinged Twitter Rant in Anticipation of Indictments
On the eve of the first indictments to be handed down as a result of the Mueller investigation, Donald Trump unleashes a firestorm of lies, venom, confusion and outright insanity on Twitter. Senior Daily Kos writer "Hunter" calls the rant "a public meltdown" and calls Trump "a racist, sexist, incompetent habitual liar with ties to organized crime … who is quite obviously suffering the symptoms of dementia [and] absolutely boiling over with rage." Learn more.
October 29, 2017: Author Refutes Trump Attempts to Rewrite History of Trump-Russia Investigation
In a series of Twitter posts, author Brian Klass, who wrote The Despot's Apprentice: Donald Trump's Attack Upon Democracy, summaries and then refutes the series of false and contradictory talking points advanced by Donald Trump, his staff, and his supporters in the right-wing media that are designed to distract and recast the Trump-Russia investigation, in light of the upcoming indictments that were announced a day or so before. Learn more.
October 30, 2017: Trump Responds to Indicted Colleagues with Lies, Demands to Prosecute Clinton
In a pair of angry Twitter posts, Donald Trump responds to the arrests of former campaign officials Paul Manafort and Rick Gates thusly: "Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign. But why aren't Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus????? … Also, there is NO COLLUSION!" Trump is lying on multiple fronts. Learn more.
October 30, 2017: Senate Republicans Refuse to Consider Legislation to Protect Mueller from Firing
Senate Republicans are dismissing calls from Democrats to pass legislation protecting the Mueller investigation in the wake of the indictments of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, and the news of the guilty plea from former Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos. Many Democrats feel that Donald Trump will abuse his presidential authority and force the firing of Robert Mueller. Learn more.
October 30, 2017: Congressional Republicans Plan Smear Campaign against Mueller
Congressional Republicans, attempting to foment a counterattack against the Mueller investigation after the two indictments of former campaign officials Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, and the news of the guilty plea and cooperation of former foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos, are planning to raise questions about Mueller's independence, and his supposed reliance on the Steele dossier, which they falsely describe as a Democratic concoction. This may be in conjuction with House and Senate Republicans' efforts to distract attention from the Mueller investigation by launching two groundless investigations into Hillary Clinton. Learn more.
October 30, 2017: Fox News Host Says Mueller Indictments Unsealed to Distract Viewers from His Lies about Clinton, Mueller
Fox News talk show host Sean Hannity says that the indictments against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates were unsealed today for a very simple reason: to draw attention away from his show, and the farrago of lies and unfounded allegations he has been unleashing against Hillary Clinton. "Don't think this is a coincidence," he orders his viewers. Learn more.
October 31, 2017: Former Trump Advisor Dismisses Papadopoulos as the Campaign's "Coffee Boy"
Former Trump campaign advisor Michael Caputo, as part of the administration's attempts to distance themselves from the indicted campaign officials and the former campaign advisor who is cooperating with the FBI, calls former campaign advisor George Papadopoulos, the foreign policy analyst who is now cooperating with the Mueller investigation of Trump-Russia, "the coffee boy" for the campaign. Learn more.
November 2-3, 2017: On Twitter and Radio, Trump Repeatedly Calls for FBI, DOJ Investigation of Clinton and Democrats
In a series of tweets that begins before 6 am, Donald Trump calls repeatedly for the FBI and Justice to investigate Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party. Apparently his motivation is to try to distract from the attention being focused on the Trump-Russia investigation. Learn more.
November 7, 2017: Tea Party Republicans Demand Mueller Resignation, Clinton Special Counsel
Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) gives a tirade on the floor of the House demanding that Robert Mueller either resign from the investigation he heads or be fired over what Gaetz calls his "indisputable conflicts of interest." Gaetz says: "We are at risk of a coup d'etat in this country if we allow an unaccountable person with no oversight to undermine the duly-elected President of the United States. That is precisely what is happening right now with the indisputable conflicts of interest that are present with Mr. Mueller and others at the Department of Justice." Learn more.
November 11, 2017: Trump Says "People Will Die" if Investigation Doesn't End
In what seems to be an implicit death threat, Donald Trump warns that if the Trump-Russia investigation doesn't stop, "people will die." Trump meets with Vladimir Putin in an unscheduled sidebar to his Asia-Pacific tour centering around the APEC Summit in Danang, and tells the press after speaking with Putin that Putin is "insulted" by the investigation and that if the investigation doesn't end, "people will die," presumably at Putin's behest. Learn more.
December 1, 2017: Hannity, Fox Begins Attacking Mueller Investigation
After the announcement that former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn pled guilty to lying to the FBI and is cooperating with the Mueller investigation, Fox News host Sean Hannity, among the loudest of that network's coterie of Trump defenders, signals that he and the network are preparing to launch an all-out media assault on Mueller and his investigation, as well as to try to paint Flynn as a liar whose possible testimony will be unreliable. Learn more.
December 2, 2017 and After: Republicans, White House Call for End to Mueller Investigation in Light of Text Exchanges
White House officials, Republican lawmakers and right-wing pundits call for an immediate end to the Mueller investigation after the press reveals that an investigator, senior FBI official Peter Strzok, was dismissed from the investigation in July after investigation officials learned he had exchanged private, politically partisan text messages with another investigative team member, who had left the investigation weeks before. Learn more.
December 3, 2017: Trump Slanders FBI, Former and Current Officials Defend Bureau
Multiple current and former members of the FBI and Justice Department fire back after Trump issues a Twitter post disparaging the FBI. Trump writes: "After years of Comey, with the phony and dishonest Clinton investigation (and more), running the FBI, its reputation is in Tatters [sic] – worst in History! But fear not, we will bring it back to greatness." He retweets another post urging FBI Director Christopher Wray to "clean house" at the bureau, and slanders the bureau, saying it displays a bias towards Hillary Clinton. Learn more.
December 4, 2017: Trump Lawyer Says President Cannot Obstruct Justice
Trump chief lawyer John Dowd advances the novel and specious theory that Donald Trump can't be charged with obstruction of justice because a sitting president cannot commit such an offense. Dowd writes that the "President cannot obstruct justice because he is the chief law enforcement officer under [the Constitution's Article II] and has every right to express his view of any case." Dowd is, of course, wrong. Learn more.
December 4, 2017: Trump Defends Flynn, Slanders Clinton
Donald Trump tries to defend former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who recently pled guilty to lying to the FBI. Trump says in part: "I feel badly for General Flynn. I feel very badly. He's led a very strong life and I feel very badly … I will say this, Hillary Clinton lied many times to the FBI. Nothing happened to her. Flynn lied and they destroyed his life. … Hillary Clinton on 4 July weekend went to the FBI, not under oath … it was the most incredible thing anyone has ever seen – lied many times, nothing happened to her. Flynn lied, and it's like … it ruined his life. It's very unfair." Trump, of course, is slandering Clinton. Learn more.
December 6, 2017: Drive to Discredit, Vilify Mueller Investigation Expands in Congress
Charles Grassley (R-IA), the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and other leading Republicans are either opening or calling for investigations into a myriad of subjects, all apparently designed to discredit the Mueller investigation. Reporter Steven Dennis posts: "Grassley is investigating reports of pro-Clinton and anti-Trump bias in the FBI and is demanding answers and docs from [FBI Director Christopher] Wray re: Strzok." Learn more.
December 6, 2017: Republican Committee Chair Refuses to Investigate Flynn Sanctions Claims
House Oversight Committee chair Trey Gowdy (R-SC) refuses to have his committee investigate explosive claims made by a whistleblower that allege former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn told a company he used to work for that the US sanctions against Russia would be "ripped up" by the Trump administration. Flynn made this prediction during Trump's January 20, 2017 inaugural address. Learn more.
December 7, 2017: Fox Host, Guest Compares FBI to KGB, Call Bureau "America's Secret Police"
On Sean Hannity's nightly Fox News show, legal commentator Gregg Jarrett says that the Mueller investigation "has been using the FBI as a political weapon. And the FBI has become America's secret police. … Secret surveillance, wiretapping, intimidation, harassment and threats. It's like the old KGB that comes for you in the dark of the night banging through your door." Hannity responds, "This is not hyperbole you are using here." Learn more.
December 10, 2017: Fox News "Judge" Calls for FBI, Justice Department "Purge," Wholesale Arrests Without Due Process
December 10, 2017: Fox News "Judge" Jeanine Pirro calls for the wholesale arrests and imprisonment of an untold number of FBI and Justice Department officials, without due process, as part of what she calls a "cleansing" of the entire federal law enforcement branch. She is irate over the Mueller investigation. Learn more.
December 11, 2017: Watergate Journalist Accuses Fox News of "Abetting" White House "Cover-Up"
Journalist Carl Bernstein tells CNN that Fox News is actively colluding with and abetting the White House in the orchestrated propaganda campaign to delegitimize and derail the Mueller investigation. CNN host Brian Stelter plays a series of Fox clips, including accusations of witch hunts, massive corruption throughout the FBI and Justice Department, and an unhinged rant by "Judge" Jeanine Pirro that called for frogmarching everyone out of the FBI and Justice Department in shackles. After that series of clips, Bernstein accuses Fox News of "abetting a cover-up." Learn more.
December 12, 2017: Tea Party Representative Tells Trump Mueller Investigation "Infected with Bias"
Freshman Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL), a member of the far-right "tea party" wing of the GOP, says he personally warned Donald Trump that the Mueller investigation is "infected with bias" against Trump. Gaetz is known for slinging wild allegations against the Mueller probe, and has previously claimed that Mueller wants to perpetuate a "coup d'etat" against Trump. Learn more.
December 12, 2017: CNN Analyzes Propaganda Attacks on Mueller Investigation
CNN's Brian Stetler writes an analysis of the campaign by Fox News, other right-wing media outlets, Congressional Republicans, and Donald Trump to whip up an anti-FBI, anti-Mueller investigation frenzy among American conservatives, Stelter writes: "The right-wing commentary and President Trump's criticism of the FBI are part of a vicious circle. The TV hosts encourage Trump, then Trump supplies sound bites for their shows, and then the hosts are even more emboldened." Learn more.
December 17, 2017: White House Advisor, Fox News Host Accuse Mueller of Leading Coup d'Etat
White House advisor Kellyanne Conway goes on Fox News to state, falsely, that the FBI's investigation into the Trump campaign's collusion with Russia was biased against Trump well before the election. The Mueller investigation absorbed the FBI investigation, thereby giving Conway and Fox host Jesse Watters an opportunity to claim the same bias exists in that investigation. Watters goes so far as to suggest the Mueller probe constitutes an anti-Trump "coup." Learn more.
December 18, 2017: House Republicans Demand Investigation into Intel Committee "Leaks"
Three House Republicans send a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) demanding an investigation of what they call "leaks" from the House Intelligence Committee in relation to that body's investigation of the Trump-Russia scandal. The letter is sent after details of Donald Trump Jr's interview with the panel were reported in the press. Learn more.
December 19, 2017: House Intel Committee Issued Only One Subpoena in Russia Investigation – Against Dossier Firm
Court documents submitted by Fusion GPS, the firm that commissioned the Steele dossier, confirms that the only subpoena issued in 11 months of "investigation" into the Russia-Trump collusion scandal by the House Intelligence Committee was to the bank used by Fusion GPS. The committee has refused to issue subpoenas to dozens of people and entities who could shed light on the coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence assets. Instead, its only subpoena is designed to attack the credibility of the dossier, which contains hard evidence of the criminal connections between Donald Trump and Russian financiers and government officials. Learn more.
December 19, 2017: Republicans Attack McCabe, Mueller, FBI and DOJ in House Hearings
FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe faces hostile questioning from Republicans during a closed-door hearing held by the House Intelligence Committee. The McCabe hearing is purportedly part of the committee's investigation into the Trump-Russia scandal, but McCabe has in recent weeks become a favorite target of the right, including Donald Trump. Learn more.
December 19, 2017: Fox Guest Says FBI Possibly Planned to Assassinate Trump
Even Fox News host Harris Faulkner finds a tipping point in the anti-FBI, anti-Mueller hysteria his network is whipping up, when he objects after a guest says that the FBI planned on assassinating Donald Trump if he won the presidency. Learn more.
December 20, 2017: Nunes Leads House Republican Cabal in Compiling Partisan "Report" to Discredit Mueller, Dossier
For weeks, a group of House Republicans have conducted a stealthy "investigation" into what they call corruption and improprieties among top officials at the FBI and Justice Department, perhaps even constituting criminal activity. They say the DOJ and FBI mishandled information from the Steele dossier, which contains explosive evidence of Donald Trump's financial and political connections to Russia. Republicans are desperate to discredit the dossier. Learn more.
December 21, 2017: Sessions Orders DOJ to Question FBI About Uranium One Investigation
Attorney General Jeff Sessions complies with the wishes of far-right Republicans and pundits, and orders the Justice Department to begin an investigation of the FBI's long-concluded probe into the 2010 Uranium One deal, which said lawmakers and pundits falsely claim is at the end of a trail of corruption that leads back to Bill and Hillary Clinton – and Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the real target of the probe. Learn more.
December 21, 2017: Three House Republicans Coordinating Anti-Mueller, Anti-FBI Attacks with White House?
Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH), a member of the far right "tea party" caucus in the House GOP, says he and two other House Republicans have spoken repeatedly with White House officials about the Mueller investigation, leading to speculation that Jordan and his colleagues may be coordinating their anti-Mueller and anti-FBI rhetoric with the White House. Learn more.
December 21-24, 2017: FBI Top Lawyer Reassigned, Part of FBI "Purge"?
The FBI's highest placed lawyer, James Baker, has been reassigned by new FBI Director Christopher Wray, the press learns. Baker is one of several holdovers from the tenure of fired FBI Director James Comey. Wray insists he is not attempting to politicize the bureau to suit the needs of the White House. Learn more.
December 21, 2017: GOP Senator Says FBI, DOJ Officials Should be Investigated for Anti-Trump Collusion
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) suggests on Twitter that Obama-era FBI and Justice Department officials should be investigated if they are thought to have "colluded to prevent the election of" Donald Trump. He writes: "Time to investigate high ranking Obama government officials who might have colluded to prevent the election of [Donald Trump]! This could be WORSE than Watergate!” Learn more.
December 21, 2017: Dems: Republicans Working with Fox News to Discredit Mueller
Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA) speaks for a group of Democrats who join to express their support for the Mueller investigation. In a brief statement, Waters says in part, "There is an organized effort by Republicans, in concert with Fox News, to spin a false narrative and conjure up outrageous scenarios to accuse special counsel Mueller of being biased." Learn more.
December 22, 2017: House Intel Dems: Majority Leadership Trying to Impede, Prematurely End Investigation
Longtime Trump assistant Rhona Graff meets behind closed doors with staffers from the House Intelligence Committee in New York. Committee Democrats say that the interview, conducted by a small number of staffers instead of in open session with the entire committee, shows that the committee is trying to shut down its Trump-Russia investigation prematurely. A similar meeting is scheduled with former Trump business associate Felix Sater. Ranking member Adam Schiff (D-CA) says: "I'm increasingly concerned that the majority's heeding the president's call to shut us down. The majority has scheduled interviews with witnesses next week who are out of state, when we are voting and the members won't be able to participate. These are key witnesses, and they're willing to come here to Washington, so there's no reason to do this." Learn more.
December 23, 2017: McCabe to Take Early Retirement from FBI
Andrew McCabe, who has become a lightning rod for criticism of the FBI from Congressional Republicans and Donald Trump, says he will retire early next year. He will stay on until he becomes eligible for his full pension sometime in early March. Trump and Congressional Republicans have hounded McCabe with groundless accusations of bias against Trump; Senate Judiciary Committee chair Charles Grassley (R-IA) recently told reporters he wants McCabe out of the FBI, saying McCabe "ought to go for reasons of being involved in some of the things that took place in the previous administration. We want to make sure that there's not undue political influence within the FBI – the [Justice] Department and the FBI." Learn more.
December 26, 2017: Trump Attacks FBI, Dossier, Clinton in Post-Christmas Twitter Rant
The morning after Christmas, Donald Trump takes to Twitter to spray venom at the FBI, the Steele dossier, and Hillary Clinton. Learn more.
December 26, 2017: Russian Propaganda Efforts Focus on Undermining Mueller Investigation
Former CIA Director Michael Morell and former House Intelligence Committee chair Michael Rogers (R-MI) write a joint op-ed for the Washington Post warning that Russia is using propaganda delivered via social media to undermine the Mueller investigation. The op-ed reads in part: "There is a perception among the media and general public that Russia ended its social media operations following last year's election and that we need worry only about future elections. But that perception is wrong. Russia's information operations in the United States continued after the election, and they continue to this day." Learn more.
December 26, 2017: House Republican Calls for Purge of DOJ, FBI Officials, Says They Are Part of "Deep State"
Representative Francis Rooney (R-FL) tells MSNBC host Hallie Jackson that the FBI needs to be purged, starting with Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who has announced his upcoming retirement. Rooney says many senior FBI officials such as McCabe are part of the so-called "deep state." Rooney gives no evidence of his accusations. Learn more.
December 31, 2017: Nunes Draws Criticism from Democrats, Some Republicans for Bogus "Investigation" into Mueller Probe, FBI
Devin Nunes (R-CA), the chair of the House Intelligence Committee who recused himself from involvement with the committee's Trump-Russia investigation only to renege on that recusal soon after, is alarming Democrats and a few Republicans with his scorched-earth attacks on the Mueller investigation and the nation's law enforcement apparatus in his attempts to protect the Trump administration. Learn more.
Muller Continued, 2018
January 3, 2018: Fusion GPS Founders Accuse Congressional Republicans of Engaging in "Fake Investigations"
In a scathing op-ed for the New York Times, Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch, the two journalists who founded the consulting firm Fusion GPS, lambasts the Congressional Republican push to derail the Mueller investigation by, among other things, accusing their firm of wrongdoing in the production of the Steele dossier. "In the year since the publication of the so-called Steele dossier – the collection of intelligence reports we commissioned about Donald Trump's ties to Russia – the president has repeatedly attacked us on Twitter. His allies in Congress have dug through our bank records and sought to tarnish our firm to punish us for highlighting his links to Russia. Conservative news outlets and even our former employer, the Wall Street Journal, have spun a succession of mendacious conspiracy theories about our motives and backers. We are happy to correct the record. In fact, we already have." Learn more.
January 4, 2018: Trump Had Lawyer, Other Officials Attempt to Persuade Sessions Not to Recuse Himself, Sessions Asked Priebus for Dirt on Comey
The New York Times learns that in or just before March 2016, Donald Trump instructed White House Counsel Don McGahn and other, unnamed White House officials to stop Attorney General Jeff Sessions from recusing himself from further participation in the DOJ's Trump-Russia investigation. McGahn agreed and attempted, unsuccessfully, to persuade Sessions not to recuse himself. When Trump learned of McGahn's failure, he began shouting in anger in front of numerous officials, saying he needed Sessions to protect him. Learn more.
January 4, 2018: Two House Tea Partiers Produce Farrago of Lies, Groundless Accusations Against FBI, DOJ, Dossier
Two of the most hardline extremists in the House Republican Caucus, Mark Meadows (R-NC) and Jim Jordan (R-OH), write an op-ed for the conservative Washington Examiner that declares the Trump-Russia investigations nothing but "manufactured hysteria," the Trump administration an unvarnished success, and the FBI and Justice Department irreparably corrupt. Meadows and Jordan call for the removal of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the launching of new investigations into the FBI and DOJ. Almost everything Meadows and Jordan write is demonstrably false. Learn more.
January 4, 2018: DOJ Reopens Clinton Email Investigation
At the behest of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Justice Department officials are "looking into" Hillary Clinton's private email server yet again. Many observers believe the re-examination is an attempt to distract the media from the ongoing Trump-Russia investigation. Apparently, the DOJ officials who have reopened the probe want to find "new details" about how Clinton and her State Department aides handled classified information. Learn more.
January 4, 2018: Justice Department Opens Investigation into Clinton Foundation
The Justice Department opens an investigation into the Clinton Foundation, to determine whether that organization conducted "pay-to-play" politics or other illegal activities during Hillary Clinton's term as Secretary of State. FBI agents in Little Rock, Arkansas are spearheading the investigation. Reporting from the next day says that the investigation was "quietly re-opened" several months ago. Democrats say Republicans are using this and other Clinton investigations to divert attention from the Mueller investigation. Learn more.
January 5, 2018: Senate Targets Steele for Criminal Investigation
Senate Judiciary Committee chair Charles Grassley (R-IA) and committee member Lindsey Graham (R-SC) announce the first Congressional criminal referral in the Trump-Russia investigation – against one of the first people to try to expose it. The two tell the Justice Department that Christopher Steele, the well-respected former MI6 agent who compiled the Steele dossier, lied to federal authorities about his contacts with reporters about the dossier. They urge the DOJ to open an investigation. Learn more.
January 9, 2018: Senate Democrat Releases Fusion GPS Co-Founder's Transcript
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), unilaterally releases the full transcript of Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson's unclassified testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Feinstein is the ranking member of that committee. Committee Democrats say they have lost patience with chair Charles Grassley's (R-IA) repeated promises to release the transcript, but failing to do so in favor of making misleading statements to the press about what the transcript says. Learn more.
January 10, 2018: Trump Berates Feinstein for Releasing Transcript, Demands GOP "Take Control" of Mueller Investigation
Donald Trump berates Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) in an early-morning Twitter attack for releasing the unclassified Glenn Simpson testimony given to the Judiciary Committee in August. Trump then demands that Republicans "take control" of the multi-pronged investigations into his collusion with Russia. Charles Grassley (R-IA), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, says he isn't sure what Trump means. Learn more.
January 11, 2018: Trump: Texts Critical of Him Constitute Treason
In a potentially dangerous statement, Donald Trump tells the Wall Street Journal that the text messages exchanged by former Mueller investigative team members Peter Strzok and Lisa Page constitute treason. Strzok was dismissed from the investigation after senior officials learned of his private text exchanges. Page, who was at the time having an extramarital affair with Strzok, had already left the investigation. Experts have verified that the text exchanges are protected under the First Amendment and do not constitute treason. Learn more.
January 16-17, 2018: Bannon Asserts Groundless Claim of Executive Privilege in House Hearing on White House Orders
Ousted White House chief strategist Steve Bannon refuses to cooperate with House Intelligence Committee questioners, citing "executive privilege" even though the White House has not asserted such a privilege. In the closed-door hearing, Bannon does reveal that, through his lawyer William Burck, he was asked before the hearing by White House lawyer Uttam Dhillon to assert executive privilege as a reason for refusing to answering questions from the committee. Burck, accompanying his client to the session, is in constant communication with the White House, presumably Dhillon, during the hearing, and passes instructions to Bannon from the White House as to when to answer and when to refuse. The committee issues a subpoena to compel Bannon's testimony and presents it to Burck during the hearing. Learn more.
January 18, 2018: FBI Investigating Whether NRA Took Russian Money to Fund Trump Campaign
The media learns that the FBI is investigating whether Alexander Torshin, a former Russian senator and the deputy governor of Russia's central bank as well as being a close associate of Vladimir Putin, illegally channeled money to the National Rifle Association (NRA) to help Donald Trump win the presidential election. Torshin also has close ties with the NRA, and is a lifetime member who has attended several of its annual conventions. Learn more.
January 19, 2018: Nunes Memo Claims Improper FISA Warrant Targeted Page
A memo authored by House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) and his staff accuses the FBI and Justice Department of improper behavior in obtaining a FISA warrant to surveill a former Trump campaign advisor, Carter Page. Republican lawmakers immediately begin calling for the memo's release, while committee Democrats say the memo is full of misinformation and is intended to deflect from the Mueller investigation. Learn more.
January 23-25, 2018: Text Exchanges about a "Secret Society" Excite Republicans
Some Republican lawmakers, after combing through text messages sent by former Mueller investigative team members Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, announce that they've discovered evidence of a vast, nebulous conspiracy based on the wording of a few texts. Ron Johnson (R-WI), the chair of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, and Trey Gowdy (R-SC), the chair of the House Oversight Committee, say references to a "secret society" in the texts are sinister and must be fully investigated. Johnson calls the exchanges "jaw-dropping." Learn more.
January 24, 2018: Justice Department Says Releasing Nunes Memo Would Be "Extraordinarily Reckless"
The Justice Department warns the House Intelligence Committee's chair, Devin Nunes (R-CA), that it would be "extraordinarily reckless" of the committee's Republicans to release a memo that uses classified information to attack the FBI, DOJ and Russia investigation. Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd reminds Nunes that as yet, he has refused to allow the FBI to see the memo, writing: "We do not understand why the committee would possibly seek to disclose classified and law enforcement sensitive information without first consulting with the relevant members of the intelligence community." Learn more.
January 31, 2018: FBI Blasts Trump for Considering Release of Nunes Memo
The FBI issues a statement directed at Donald Trump citing its "grave concerns" with inaccuracies and omissions in the Nunes memo, which Trump has said he will allow to be issued regardless of any concerns about its validity or its inclusion of classified information by the FBI or the Justice Department. Learn more.
February 2, 2018: Nunes Memo Released, Does Not Prove Anything Claimed
House Republicans release the controversial and long-anticipated Nunes memo after Donald Trump gave his final approval. The memo claimed to prove that the FBI and DOJ abused their powers to obtain an October 2016 FISA warrant against former Trump campaign advisor Carter Page. The memo proves virtually nothing that was claimed. Learn more.
February 4, 2018: #ReleaseTheMemo Hashtag Dominated Twitter Due to Russian Bots, Fanatical Trump Supporters Gaming System
Information warfare expert Molly McKew, who advised Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili's government from 2009-13 and former Moldovan Prime Minister Vlad Filat in 2014-15, writes a detailed analysis about how Russian "bots" combined with deep-dyed Trump fans to push the #ReleaseTheMemo hashtag to the top of Twitter and Facebook. The article is bolstered by research from the social media intelligence group New Media Frontier. Learn more.