Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump
Credit: Kremlin.ru/Wikimedia Commons

As I was perusing the New York Times article on Rep. Dana Rohrabacher’s woes, I was reminded that back on June 15th, 2016, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy was captured on tape confiding with Paul Ryan, Evan McMullin, and others that he “swore to God” that Vladimir Putin was paying Rohrabacher and Donald Trump. When the recording leaked, the House leadership tried to explain it away by saying it was just an attempt at humor. But McCarthy was serious and Ryan immediately swore everyone present to secrecy.

Some of the lawmakers laughed at McCarthy’s comment. Then McCarthy quickly added: “Swear to God.”

Ryan instructed his Republican lieutenants to keep the conversation private, saying: “No leaks. . . . This is how we know we’re a real family here.”

The remarks remained secret for nearly a year.

With the daily deluge of news and the constant exposure of new damaging facts, it’s easy to forget little details like the fact that the House leadership suspected Trump and Rohrabacher of being on the Kremlin payroll. They have, however, followed up on the Rohrabacher end of things. They’ve limited his travel, and Rep. Ed Royce, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, fired Rohrabacher’s top committee aide, Paul Behrends, because of his ties to pro-Russian lobbyists.

On the other hand, they’ve done precious little about Trump.

I want to do a little something here that I think will help you visualize the moment in time when McCarthy said Trump was being paid by Putin and Paul Ryan swore everyone to secrecy. That meeting occurred on 6/15/16, but I want to extend the timeline a bit in both directions so you can see what was going on and put McCarthy’s comments into their proper context.

We’re going to be looking at a pretty consequential two-week period of time.  It’s important to know that just prior to the start of our timeline here, on May 26th, Trump finally secured the majority of the GOP delegates he needed to win the nomination. Also, you should know that on June 3rd, WikiLeaks created the torrent for their insurance file which included the DNC hack. So, we know that WikiLeaks had the material by that date, even if the public would not see it until later. Also on June 3rd, Rob Goldstone first contacted Donald Trump Jr. by email, and offered assistance from the Russian government.

In this very compressed time, we’re going to see a lot going on. You’ll probably remember most of it, but you may not have put it all together as having occurred in such a narrow window.

So, here goes, take a look:

6/7/16: At a speech in Moscow, Carter Page criticizes the United States and other Western democracies. Meets with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich.
6/7/16: Rob Goldstone reveals to Donald Trump Jr. that Russian government contact will be Natalia Veselnitskaya.
6/7/16: Donald J Trump gives speech in which he promises to give a major speech about Hillary Clinton’s crimes on June 13th.
6/8/16: First tweet posted to Russian-controlled “DCLeaks” Twitter account.
6/9/16: Natalia Veselnitskaya and her entourage meet with Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner in Trump Tower.
6/12/16: Julian Assange announces he has documents relating to Hillary Clinton that would be “enough evidence” to indict her.
6/12/16: According to Guccifer 2.0, on this day the DNC reset their network, kicking “him” out of it.
6/14/16: Washington Post reports that the DNC was hacked by Russians.
6/14/16: DNC makes public announcement that it has been hacked.
6/15/16: Guccifer 2.0 appears, contacts The Smoking Gun.
6/15/16: Crowdstrike releases a detailed statement about Russian hacking of the DNC.
6/15/16: Rep. Kevin McCarthy confides in private Capitol Hill meeting, “There’s two people I think Putin pays: [Rep. Dana] Rohrabacher and Trump.”
6/15/16: Trump’s team issues a statement claiming the DNC hacked itself!
6/16/16: WikiLeaks uploads the torrent containing the insurance file for the hacked emails and files to their website.
6/17/16: Roger Stone’s friend, radio host Randy Credico (possibly Stone’s liaison to Julian Assange), tweets “Assange to drop coup de gras hammer on career criminal clinton!”
6/17/16: The United States expels two Russian diplomats in retaliation for an attack on an American diplomat in Moscow.
6/17/16: WikiLeaks publicly releases their insurance file for their hacked material, but the actual files are still not publicly accessible.
6/19/16: George Papadopolous offers to make “off the record” trip to Russia
6/20/16: Date of first Christopher Steele memo in dossier, asserting Kremlin had been helping Trump for at least 5 years.
6/20/16: Guccifer 2.0 first appears on Twitter, restates that the “DNC’s servers hacked by a lone hacker” and releases the DNC’s opposition research on Trump.
6/21/16: Guccifer 2.0 interview with Vice News published. Outed as NOT Romanian.
6/21/16: Guccifer 2.0 posts documents stolen from the DNC on Clinton’s vulnerabilities as well as potential responses to lines of attack.
6/22/16: WikiLeaks publishes the first in a series of hacked emails taken from the DNC.

There’s a lot to digest there. And this is just a little something I put together and is not supposed to be comprehensive. It looks like a billowing five-alarm fire to me.


How does it look to you?

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at ProgressPond.com