Home / National News / Papadopoulos documents offer new insight on DNC email hacking timeline


(WASHINGTON) — Further details about the interaction between different political operatives and Russian officials during the 2016 election have added more context to the timeline of the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee email hacking scandal and how it unfolded at the time.

The court documents released relating to the arrest and subsequent guilty plea of former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos have shed new light on the role of Russian trolls meddling in the election.

Here is how it unfolded:

June 2015

Russian hackers are believed to have first accessed the network of the Democratic National Committee in June 2015, according to CNN.

Early 2016

According to the affidavit, Papadopoulos told FBI agents that in the early part of 2016, one of his foreign contacts (labeled “The Professor” in court documents) “actually told me that the Russians had emails of Clinton.” The affidavit goes on to say that Papadopoulos said he learned that before joining the Trump campaign, which would have been before early March 2016. He also told investigators that he never told anyone on the Trump campaign about the “dirt” that his contact claimed to have on Clinton, the affidavit states.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta received an email saying his Gmail account had been hacked that was, in fact, a phishing email. A member of the Clinton technical team misidentified it as a legitimate email and Podesta reportedly proceeded to change his password using the link in the phishing email.

Friday, March 24, 2016

Papadopoulos tried repeatedly to arrange a meeting between Trump campaign officials and Russian officials. The first known email from Papadopoulos to a campaign official talking about such a meeting was sent on March 24, according to the affidavit in Papadopoulos’s case. In the email, he recounts what he learned during a lunch with one of three foreign contacts.

“The topic of the lunch was to arrange a meeting between us and the Russian leadership to discuss U.S.-Russia ties under President Trump. They are keen to host us in a ‘neutral’ city, or directly in Moscow. They said the leadership, including Putin, is ready to meet with us and Mr. Trump should there be interest. Waiting for everyone’s thoughts on moving forward with this very important issue,” Papadopoulos wrote in an email to Trump campaign officials.

Papadopoulos continued talking to Russian and campaign contacts about a possible meeting through August.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Donald Trump Jr. received an email, which he later released on Twitter, from music producer and acquaintance Rob Goldstone saying that Russian officials had “offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary [Clinton] and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.” Trump Jr. responded that “if it’s what you say I love it.” A meeting was arranged for June 9.

Monday, June 7, 2016

Then-candidate Donald Trump teased “a major speech” the following week in which he was “going to be discussing all of the things that have taken place with the Clintons.” The Clinton-focused speech never happened.

Wednesday, June 9, 2016

Trump Jr. brought Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort with him to the meeting arranged by Goldstone with a Russian attorney, later identified as Natalia Veselnitskaya, whom Trump Jr. believed had the damaging information about Clinton and several others. Trump Jr. and Kushner said later in 2017 that they did not receive any such information at that meeting.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016 The Washington Post reported that Russian hackers had broken into the DNC’s computer network, citing committee officials and security experts.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Manafort wrote an email offering to give private briefings to Oleg Deripaska, a Russian aluminum magnate whom Manafort had worked for in the past and who had close ties to the Kremlin. The email was first reported by The Washington Post on Sept. 20, 2016.

Friday, July 22, 2016

WikiLeaks published the first in a series of hacked emails taken from the DNC.

It released a statement on Twitter reading, “Today, Friday 22 July 2016 at 10:30am EDT, WikiLeaks releases 19,252 emails and 8,034 attachments from the top of the US Democratic National Committee — part one of our new Hillary Leaks series.”

“The leaks come from the accounts of seven key figures in the DNC,” including communications director Luis Miranda (10,770 emails), national finance director Jordon Kaplan (3,797 emails), finance chief of staff Scott Comer and others. The newly released emails cover the period from January 2015 through May 25, 2016.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned from her position as DNC chair amid email revelations that party officials were trying to undermine the candidacy of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.

Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook told ABC News’ This Week that their researchers (Crowdstrike) believe Russians are responsible for the attack.

Monday, July 25, 2016

The FBI announced it’s investigating the hack.

“The FBI is investigating a cyber intrusion involving the DNC and are working to determine the nature and scope of the matter,” a statement from the FBI read.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

In a news conference at his golf club in Doral, Florida, Trump told reporters that if Russia is behind the DNC hack, the country most likely accessed Clinton’s deleted emails from her tenure as secretary of state.

“By the way, if they hacked, they probably have her 33,000 emails. I hope they do,” Trump said. “They probably have her 33,000 emails that she lost and deleted.”

He then said, directly facing the cameras: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.”

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Trump, in an interview with Fox News’ Fox & Friends, clarified that “of course” he was being “sarcastic” with his comments about Russia hacking into Clinton’s deleted emails.

Monday, Aug. 8, 2016

At an event for the South West Broward Republican Organization, sometimes-Trump adviser Roger Stone said that he had undisclosed access to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, according to The Tampa Bay Times.

“I actually have communicated with Assange. I believe the next tranche of his documents pertain to the Clinton Foundation, but there’s no telling what the October surprise may be,” he said.

Sunday, Aug. 21, 2016

Stone posted a cryptic tweet, which was widely reported at the time but his account has since been taken down.

“Trust me, it will soon the Podesta’s time in the barrel. #CrookedHillary,” the tweet read.

More than a year later, Stone testified on Capitol Hill and made a statement about this tweet.

“Note, that my tweet of August 21, 2016, makes no mention, whatsoever, of Mr. Podesta’s email, but does accurately predict that the Podesta brothers’ business activities in Russia with the oligarchs around [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, their uranium deal, their bank deal, and their Gazprom deal, would come under public scrutiny,” Stone said in the statement on Sept. 26, 2017.

Friday, Oct. 7, 2016

Beginning on Oct. 7, WikiLeaks published the first in a series of 50,000 emails belonging to Podesta.

That came the same day that a statement was released on behalf of the entire U.S. intelligence community saying that they were “confident that the Russian government directed the recent compromises of emails from U.S. persons and institutions, including from U.S. political organizations.”

It was also the same day that a tape was released from a 2005 Access Hollywood appearance wherein Trump made lewd remarks about women and allegedly groping women.

Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016

During the second presidential debate, Trump questioned whether Russia is behind the hacks and suggests “maybe there is no hacking.”

“I notice anytime anything wrong happens, they like to say ‘The Russians!’ She doesn’t know if it’s the Russians doing the hacking,” Trump said of Clinton. “Maybe there is no hacking. But they always blame Russia and the reason they blame Russia is because they think they are trying to tarnish me with Russia.”

Monday, Nov. 7, 2016

WikiLeaks released a second batch of thousands of DNC emails.

Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016

Election Day. Trump won.

Jan. 6, 2017

A report was declassified detailing Russian hacking activity and why intelligence officials believe Moscow and its supporters attempted to put their stamp on the political process.

The report, which came after an investigation ordered by then-President Barack Obama, specified that there is no indication that Russian actors directly interfered with vote counts but it did indicate that there were a number of other ways that the country got involved in the contest between Trump and Clinton.

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