A timeline of Mueller’s Russia investigation

A look at major moments in the special counsel's examination of possible campaign coordination and obstruction of justice so far. 

Special counsel Robert Mueller has finished investigating whether President Donald Trump and his campaign coordinated with Russia to help him win the 2016 presidential election — and also whether Trump tried to obstruct that investigation. The report has been delivered to Attorney General William Barr.

Over the past two years, the complex investigation has led to charges, guilty pleas, cooperation deals and prison sentences. The developments have dominated political headlines worldwide through the 2018 midterm elections and into the new Democratic control of the House of Representatives.

Here is a look at some of the key events and developments related to the probe.

2006: Manafort and Gates begin work for a pro-Russian political party

Paul Manafort and Rick Gates

Paul Manafort and Rick Gates begin work as consultants for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine led by former Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych. Photo credit: Getty

February 2010: Yanukovych elected president of Ukraine

Viktor Yanukovych

Viktor Yanukovych is elected president of Ukraine. Photo credit: Getty

February 2014: Yanukovych flees Ukraine

Violence flared between police and anti-government protesters in Ukraine.

After violent clashes between protesters and police, Yanukovych flees Ukraine and enters exile in Russia. The U.S. government later opens an investigation into Manafort’s foreign lobbying and political work. Photo credit: Getty

June 2015: Trump announces candidacy

Trump announces he's running for president

Donald Trump announces his candidacy for president as a Republican. Photo credit: Getty

September 2015: FBI warns DNC about Russian hackers

The FBI contacts the Democratic National Committee’s IT help desk, cautioning that at least one computer has been compromised by Russian hackers. A technician scans the system but fails to find evidence of the intrusion.

March 2016: Papadopoulos meets with associates of Russian government

Manafort joins Trump campaign as a volunteer consultant. George Papadopoulos is named one of five foreign policy advisers to the campaign and meets with people associated with the Russian government amid discussions to set up a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

April 2016: Papadopoulos meets with Russian national offering ‘dirt’ on Clinton

Hillary Clinton at Brooklyn event

Papadopoulos meets with a Russian national who he says offered “dirt” on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, including “thousands of emails. Papadopoulos emails other members of Trump campaign about the Russian offer of dirt on Clinton and the offer for Trump to meet with Putin. The Democratic National Committee becomes aware of the scope of the monthslong intrusion into its email systems by hackers who U.S. intelligence agencies later linked to the Russian government. Photo credit: Getty

May 2016: Manafort promoted

Manafort is promoted to campaign chairman and chief strategist.

June 2016: Meeting at Trump Tower with Russian lawyer

Natalia Veselnitskaya

Manafort attends a meeting at Trump Tower in Manhattan with a Russian lawyer named Natalia Veselnitskaya, who promised to provide the Trump campaign damaging information about Clinton. Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner are also in the meeting. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says his website will publish a batch of Clinton emails. Photo credit: Getty

July 2016: Trump gets GOP nomination

Trump gets GOP nomination

Trump becomes the Republican nominee for president. In a speech the following week, Trump encourages Russians to release hacked Clinton emails. The FBI opens an investigation into the Russian government’s attempt to influence the election, including whether members of Trump’s campaign are involved. Photo credit: Getty

August 2016: NYT reports that Manafort’s name is on secret list

The New York Times reports that Manafort’s name appears on a secret list of payments made by the Yanukovych regime. Manafort resigns from the Trump campaign the day after The Associated Press reports he failed to register as a foreign agent after arranging a covert lobbying campaign in the United States on behalf of the Ukrainian party.

November 2016: Trump elected president

Trump elected president

Donald Trump wins the presidential election. Photo credit: Getty

Jan. 6, 2017: Comey briefs Trump on dossier

FBI Director James Comey, who was overseeing the ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, briefs Trump on contents of unverified dossier that contains salacious allegations about him and his campaign.

Jan. 13, 2017: Senate launches probe

Comey testifies to Senate committee

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence launches an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign and possible links between Russia and political campaigns. Photo credit: Getty

Jan. 20, 2017: Trump’s inauguration

Trump's inauguration

Trump is inaugurated as 45th president of the United States. Photo credit: Getty

Jan. 25, 2017: House announces its investigation

The House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence announces its own investigation.

Jan. 27, 2017: Papadopoulos interviewed by FBI

Papadopoulos is interviewed by the FBI about his contacts with Russians.

May 2017: Comey out, Mueller in

Protests after Trump fires Comey

Trump fires Comey. Former FBI Director Robert Mueller is appointed as special counsel to take over the probe. Photo credit: Getty

June 2017: Manafort files paperwork with DOJ

Manafort files paperwork with the Justice Department retroactively disclosing under the Foreign Agents Registration Act that his firm received more than $17 million working for the government of Ukraine between 2012 and 2014. The Washington Post reports that Mueller is investigating Trump for obstruction of justice.

July 2017: FBI conducts raid at Manafort’s home

Manafort's apartment raided

FBI agents conduct a raid at former Trump campaign chairman Manafort’s home in Alexandria, Virginia. Papadopoulos is arrested by the FBI at Dulles International Airport. Photo credit: Getty

August 2017: Mueller impanels grand jury

Mueller impanels a criminal grand jury in Washington, D.C.

October 2017: Papadopoulos pleads guilty

Papadopoulos at sentencing

Papadopoulos pleads guilty to making false statements to the FBI, as part of apparent agreement to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation. Mueller files 12-count criminal indictments against Manafort and Gates. Photo credit: Getty

Oct. 30, 2017: Manafort, Gates charged

Manafort arrested

Manafort and Gates plead not guilty after their arrest on charges related to conspiracy against the United States and other felonies. The charges are the first from the special counsel investigating possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia. Photo credit: Getty

Dec. 1, 2017: Flynn pleads guilty

Michael Flynn pleads guilty

Michael Flynn, the retired general who vigorously campaigned at Trump’s side and then served as his first national security adviser, pleads guilty to lying to the FBI about reaching out to the Russians on Trump’s behalf and says members of the president’s inner circle were intimately involved with — and at times directing — his contacts. He agrees to cooperate with the special counsel’s office. Photo credit: Getty

Feb. 20, 2018: Prominent attorney pleads guilty

Alex van der Zwaan charged

Mueller charges a prominent attorney with lying to authorities about his work with two of Trump’s former campaign aides. Alex van der Zwaan, 33, a Dutch national, pleads guilty in federal court to charges that he lied to investigators about his conversations with Gates. Photo credit: Getty

Feb. 23, 2018: Gates pleads guilty

Gates pleads guilty to federal conspiracy and false-statements charges. With his cooperation, Gates gives Mueller a witness willing to provide information on Manafort’s finances and political consulting work in Ukraine — and someone who had access at the highest levels of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

April 3, 2018: First punishment handed down

Alex van der Zwaan sentenced

Alex van der Zwaan is sentenced to 30 days in prison in the first punishment handed down in the investigation. He was also ordered to pay a $20,000 fine. Photo credit: Getty

July 13, 2018: 12 Russian officers charged with hacking

A Mueller indictment charges 12 Russian military intelligence officers with hacking into the Clinton presidential campaign and the Democratic Party and releasing tens of thousands of private communications in a sweeping conspiracy by the Kremlin to meddle in the 2016 election. The indictment represents Mueller’s first charges against Russian government officials.

July 16, 2018: Trump meets with Putin

Trump meets with Putin

Trump meets with Putin in Helsinki, Finland. Trump says Putin made an “incredible offer” to help American investigators in their prosecution of the 12 Russian intelligence officers. Photo credit: Getty

Aug. 21, 2018: Manafort found guilty

Manafort guilty

Manafort is found guilty of eight financial crimes in the first trial victory of the special counsel investigation into the president’s associates. A judge declares a mistrial on 10 other counts the jury could not agree on. Photo credit: Getty

Sept. 14, 2018: Manafort agrees to cooperate

Manafort agrees to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation as he pleads guilty to federal crimes and avoids a second trial that could have exposed him to more time in prison. Manafort pleaded guilty to two charges of conspiracy in relation to his lobbying work with pro-Russian groups in Ukraine.

Oct. 10, 2018: California man sentenced to prison

Richard Pinedo, a California man who pleaded guilty in February 2018 to unwittingly helping the Russian election disruption efforts by trading in stolen identifications and bank account numbers, is sentenced to 6 months in prison.

Nov. 6, 2018: Democrats retake the House

Nancy Pelosi

Democrats retake the House of Representatives in midterm elections, gaining control of key investigatory committes. Photo credit: Getty

Nov. 7, 2018: Sessions resigns

Jeff Sessions

Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigns as the country’s chief law enforcement officer at Trump’s request. Sessions announced his plan to resign in a letter to the White House, the day after the midterm election. Trump announces in a tweet that Sessions’ chief of staff Matt Whitaker would become the new acting attorney general with authority to oversee the remainder of Mueller’s investigation. Photo credit: Getty

Nov. 16, 2018: Trump cooperates with the investigation

Trump says he has finished his answers to questions posed by Mueller. He says four days later that he has provided them to the special counsel, the first time he has directly cooperated.

Nov. 23, 2018: Corsi reportedly in plea talks with Mueller’s team

Jerome Corsi, a conservative writer and associate of Trump confidant Roger Stone, tells The Associated Press that he is in plea talks with Mueller’s team. Mueller’s team questioned Corsi as part of an investigation into Stone’s connections with WikiLeaks.

Nov. 26, 2018: Mueller accuses Manafort of violating plea agreement

Mueller accuses Manafort of violating his plea agreement by repeatedly lying to federal investigators, an extraordinary allegation that could expose him to a lengthier prison sentence and potentially more criminal charges. Papadopoulos begins serving his 2-week prison sentence after a judge rejects his last-minute bid to remain free.Corsi tells The Associated Press that he is rejecting a plea offer in Mueller’s investigation.

Nov. 29, 2018: Cohen confesses

Michael Cohen confesses

Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal lawyer, confesses in an unexpected guilty plea that he lied to Congress in 2017 out of “loyalty” to Trump about a project his company tried to develop in Moscow in 2016 as he ran for president. Cohen says he falsely claimed that talks about the project ended in January 2016, when they in fact continued until that June. Photo credit: Getty

Dec. 3, 2018: Trump weighs in on Cohen

Trump tweets about Cohen

Trump calls for a “full and complete” sentence for Cohen. Photo credit: Twitter

Dec. 4, 2018: Prosecutors speak out on Flynn’s cooperation

Prosecutors say Flynn provided so much information to the investigation that he shouldn’t do any prison time.

Dec. 7, 2018: Court filings reveal contact between Trump associates, Russian intermediaries

Federal prosecutors urge a “substantial” prison term for Cohen. Court filings from New York prosecutors and Mueller’s office reveal for the first time contacts between Trump associates and Russian intermediaries, with Cohen described as being in touch with a Russian offering “political synergy” as far back as 2015. In describing how Manafort breached a plea agreement, Mueller says Manafort told “multiple discernible lies” to prosecutors about his contacts with the Trump administration and an associate with alleged ties to Russian intelligence. Papadopolous is released from jail after serving a two-week sentence.

Dec. 12, 2018: Cohen sentenced to prison

Michael Cohen sentenced

Cohen is sentenced to 3 years in prison in federal court in Manhattan for crimes that included efforts to hide the president’s Russia business dealings and alleged extramarital affairs with a porn star and a model. U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III’s sentence dashed Cohen’s bid to avoid prison by aiding federal prosecutors and Mueller. Cohen accused Trump of directing hush-money payments to the two women that violated election laws. Cohen also pleaded guilty to tax and bank fraud charges and lying to Congress.

“While Mr. Cohen has taken steps to mitigate his criminal conduct … that does not wipe the slate clean,” said Pauley, blasting Cohen’s “greed and ambition” and the “insidious harm” he inflicted on democratic institutions. The judge also ordered a $100,000 fine and a March 6 surrender.

Cohen, in an emotional statement before the judge sentenced him, apologized to his family and denounced Trump for inspiring “blind loyalty” that led down a “path of darkness over light.” Photo credit: Getty

Dec. 18, 2018: Flynn’s sentencing delayed

A federal judge sharply rebukes Flynn and unexpectedly delays sentencing him after warning he could go to prison for lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian ambassador. Prosecutors from Mueller’s team had recommended leniency.

Dec. 20, 2018: Whitaker chose not to recuse himself from probe, AP reports

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker

A senior official tells The Associated Press that Whitaker chose not to recuse himself from the Russia investigation even though a top Justice Department ethics official advised him to step aside out of an “abundance of caution.” Photo credit: Getty

Jan. 4, 2019: Grand jury’s term extended

The chief federal judge in Washington extends the term of the grand jury used by Mueller, a sign that the probe will continue for at least several months.

Jan. 8, 2019: Filing reveals Manafort shared polling data

Paul Manafort

A defense filing inadvertently reveals that Manafort shared polling data during the 2016 presidential campaign with Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian-Ukrainian business associate accused of having ties to Russian intelligence, and prosecutors say he lied to them about it. It is the first time that prosecutors with Mueller’s office have accused Trump’s chief campaign aide of sharing election-related information with his Russian contacts. Photo credit: Getty

Jan. 9, 2019: Rosenstein expected to leave, AP reports

Rod Rosenstein

A person familiar with the plans tells The Associated Press that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is expected to leave his position soon after William Barr, Trump’s nominee for attorney general, is confirmed. Photo credit: Getty

Jan. 10, 2019: Cohen says he will testify before House committee

Cohen says he will testify publicly before the House Oversight and Reform Committee, newly led by Democrats, on Feb. 7.

Jan. 11, 2019: NYT reports FBI began investigating Trump

The New York Times reports that FBI officials began investigating whether Trump “had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests” after he fired Comey. Mueller took over the investigation, and it is unclear whether Mueller is still investigating that, The Times reported.

Jan. 12, 2019: Washington Post reports Trump concealed details of Putin talks

The Washington Post reports that Trump concealed details of his conversations with Putin, including taking the notes of an interpreter.

Jan. 15, 2019: Barr’s confirmation hearing

William Barr's confirmation hearing

Barr appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee for his confirmation hearing. He says he doesn’t believe Mueller “would be involved in a witch hunt.” Photo credit: Getty

Jan. 18, 2019: Mueller’s office responds to BuzzFeed News report

Mueller’s office issues a rare public statement disputing the accuracy of a BuzzFeed News report that said Cohen told Mueller that the president directed him to lie to Congress.

BuzzFeed, citing two unidentified law enforcement officials, reported that Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress about a Moscow real estate project and that Cohen told Mueller the president personally instructed him to lie about the timing of the deal. The report said Mueller’s investigators learned about Trump’s directive “through interviews with multiple witnesses from the Trump Organization and internal company emails, text messages, and a cache of other documents.”

 

Mueller’s office does not cite specific errors, but the special counsel’s spokesman, Peter Carr, says, “BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the special counsel’s office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s congressional testimony are not accurate.”

Jan. 23, 2019: Cohen postpones testimony to Congress

Michael Cohen postpones his testimony to Congress,”due to ongoing threats against his family from President Trump and Giuliani,” Cohen’s spokesman says.

Jan. 25, 2019: FBI arrests Roger Stone

Roger Stone

Roger Stone, a longtime Trump adviser, is arrested by the FBI in a predawn raid at his Florida home on several criminal charges stemming from Mueller’s investigation. Stone is charged in a seven-count indictment with witness tampering, obstruction and false statements about his interactions related to the release by WikiLeaks of hacked emails during the 2016 presidential election. Some of those false statements were made to the House intelligence committee, according to the indictment. Stone had said for months that he was prepared to be charged, though he denied any wrongdoing. Photo credit: Getty

Jan. 28, 2019: The investigation is ‘close to being completed’

Whitaker speaks

Whitaker says of Mueller’s probe, “The investigation is, I think, close to being completed,” at an unrelated news conference. He says he has been “fully briefed,” but does not elaborate or give any timetable. Photo credit: Getty

Feb. 5, 2019: Trump’s State of the Union

Trump State of the Union

In his State of the Union address, Trump takes aim at Mueller’s Russia probe and a series of other investigations House Democrats have promised, labeling them “ridiculous partisan investigations.” Photo credit: Getty

Feb. 8, 2019: National Enquirer secretly assisted Trump’s campaign 

THe National Enquirer

Two people tell The Associated Press that federal prosecutors are looking into the National Enquirer’s handling of a story about Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ extramarital affair to see if the tabloid’s publisher violated a cooperation agreement with prosecutors. The tabloid acknowledged secretly assisting Trump’s White House campaign by paying $150,000 to Playboy centerfold Karen McDougal for the rights to her story about an alleged affair with Trump. The company then buried the story until after the 2016 election. Cohen pleaded guilty to charges that included helping to broker that transaction. Photo credit: Getty

Feb. 11, 2019: Cohen delays testimony

Cohen again delays his testimony.

Feb. 13, 2019: Judge rules Manafort intentionally lied

A district judge rules that Manafort intentionally lied to investigators and a federal grand jury in the Mueller investigation. The four-page ruling hurts Manafort’s chance of receiving a reduced sentence. The ruling was largely a rejection of Manafort’s attorneys’ argument that he hadn’t intentionally misled investigators about his interactions with Kilimnik but rather forgot some details until his memory was refreshed.

Feb. 14, 2019: Barr sworn in as attorney general

Barr is sworn in for his second stint as the nation’s attorney general, taking the helm of the Justice Department and overseeing Mueller’s investigation. The Senate voted 54-45 to confirm Barr, who also served as attorney general from 1991 to 1993 during President George H.W. Bush’s administration. Barr had promised to be as transparent as possible but said he takes seriously the Justice Department regulations that dictate Mueller’s report should be treated as confidential. “I don’t know what, at the end of the day, what will be releasable. I don’t know what Bob Mueller is writing,” Barr said at the hearing.

Feb. 17, 2019: A ‘crime may have been committed,’ ex-FBI official says 

Andrew McCabe

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe says in an interview that a “crime may have been committed” when Trump fired Comey and tried to publicly undermine an investigation into his campaign’s ties to Russia. McCabe also says in the interview with “60 Minutes” that the FBI had good reason to open a counterintelligence investigation into whether Trump was in league with Russia, and therefore a possible national security threat, following the May 2017 firing of Comey. Photo credit: Getty

Feb. 22, 2019: NY prosecutors pursue case, Bloomberg reports

Bloomberg News reports that New York prosecutors have put together a criminal case against Manafort that they could file quickly if he receives a presidential pardon. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. is said to be ready to file an array of tax and other charges against Manafort, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Feb. 23, 2019: Mueller’s office weighs in on Manafort crimes

In a sentencing memo, Mueller’s office says Manafort committed crimes that cut to “the heart of the criminal justice system” and over the years deceived everyone from bookkeepers and banks to federal prosecutors and his own lawyers. Prosecutors do not yet take a position on how much prison time he should serve or whether to stack the punishment on top of a separate sentence he will soon receive in a Virginia prosecution. “For over a decade, Manafort repeatedly and brazenly violated the law,” prosecutors wrote. “His crimes continued up through the time he was first indicted in October 2017 and remarkably went unabated even after indictment.”

March 7, 2019: Manafort sentenced to 47 months

Manafort is sentenced to nearly 4 years in prison for tax and bank fraud related to his work advising Ukrainian politicians, a break from sentencing guidelines that called for a 20-year prison term. The sentence caps the only jury trial after indictments from Mueller’s investigation.

March 13, 2019: Manafort sentenced in separate case

Manafort attorney Kevin Downing

Manafort is sentenced to an additional 3 1/2 years in prison on conspiracy charges related to his foreign lobbying work and witness tampering. He is also indicted on mortgage fraud, conspiracy and other state charges in New York that could put him outside the president’s power to pardon. Photo credit: Getty

March 14, 2019: House votes to make Mueller report public

The House votes unanimously for a resolution calling for any final report in Mueller’s investigation to be made public, a symbolic action designed to pressure Barr into releasing as much information as possible when the probe is concluded. The Democratic-backed resolution passes 420-0.

March 22, 2019: Mueller delivers report to attorney general

Mueller turned over his long-awaited final report on the Russia investigation to Attorney General William Barr, and officially concluded his probe of Russian election interference and possible coordination with Trump associates, according to the Justice Department. The still confidential report will now be reviewed by Barr, who has said he will write his own account communicating Mueller’s findings to Congress and the American public. Barr said he could release his account to Congress as soon as this weekend.

March 24, 2019: Barr writes letter summarizing report

William Barr

Mueller found that Trump and his campaign did not coordinate with Russia during his campaign and the report also resulted in no obstruction-of-justice charges against him, Barr writes in a four-page summary to Congress. Those conclusions to the two most significant issues in the investigation were delivered by Barr in a letter that he and Rosenstein wrote.

“The Special Counsel’s investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election,” Barr’s letter said.

But Mueller reached no decision on whether Trump obstructed the investigation, Barr wrote, quoting Mueller’s submission saying that “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.” Barr wrote that he and Rosenstein decided that the evidence that Mueller had gathered about the president’s actions “is not sufficient to establish that the president committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.” Photo credit: Getty

March 25, 2019: Democrats demand release

House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan) and other top Democrats set a deadline of April 2 for the release of the full Mueller report. The deadline is later missed, and the committee approves giving Nadler permission to issue subpoenas for the report on April 3.

March 29, 2019: Barr sets expectations

Barr says a redacted version of Mueller’s report will be sent to Congress by mid-April and will not be shared with the White House beforehand.

April 10, 2019: Dispute deepens

Barr tells Congress he thinks “spying did occur” against Trump’s presidential campaign, suggesting the origins of the Russia investigation may have been mishandled in remarks that aligned him with the president. In an interview with The Associated Press, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) says, “I don’t trust Barr, I trust Mueller.”

April 11, 2019: Assange arrested

Assange arrested

Assange is arrested, accused of conspiring in 2010 to release classified information through WikiLeaks. The charges are not in relation to any role Assange may have had in the release of stolen Democratic emails leading up to the 2016 presidential election, part of Mueller’s investigation. Photo credit: Getty

April 12, 2019: Ex-Obama counsel indicted

Former Obama White House counsel Greg Craig is indicted on charges of making false statements and concealing information in a federal foreign lobbying investigation that intersected with the Mueller probe.

April 15, 2019: Justice sets deadline

The Justice Department announces that it expects to release the redacted version of Mueller’s report on April 18. The redacted report would be sent to Congress and also made available to the public.

April 18, 2019: Mueller’s report released

Mueller’s report is released, revealing Trump’s efforts to seize control of the Russia probe and force the special counsel’s removal. The 10 episodes scrutinized by Mueller include Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey, the president’s directive to subordinates to have Mueller fired and efforts to encourage witnesses not to cooperate. The report is two volumes and 448 pages long including attachments. At a news conference before the report’s release, Barr says “no material has been redacted based on executive privilege” and “I have no objection to Bob Mueller personally testifying” to Congress. Barr says he and Rosenstein disagreed with some of Mueller’s “legal theories” pertaining to obstruction of justice, but that didn’t influence their decision that Trump didn’t commit a crime. Nadler writes to Mueller that he wants the former special counsel to testify by May 23. Trump says, “This should never happen to another president again, this hoax.”

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