June 12, 2016 -
During an interview on British television, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange
says that the website has obtained and will publish a batch of Clinton emails.
June 14, 2016 - The Washington Post reports
hackers working for the Russian government accessed the DNC's computer system, stealing oppositional research on Donald Trump and viewing staffers' emails and chat exchanges. The Kremlin, however, denies that the government was linked to the hack, and a US official tells CNN that investigators have not yet concluded that the cyberattack was directed by the Russian government.
June 15, 2016 - A cybersecurity firm hired by the DNC posts a public notice on its website describing an attack on the political committee's computer network by two groups associated with Russian intelligence.
According to the post, two Russian-backed groups called "Cozy Bear" and "Fancy Bear" tunneled into the committee's computer system. In response, a blogger called Guccifer 2.0 claims that he alone conducted the hack, not the Russians.
As proof, he posts internal DNC memos and opposition research on Trump. Furthermore, Guccifer 2.0 claims to have passed along thousands of files to WikiLeaks.
Trump offers his own theory on the origins of the attack:
suggesting in a statement that the DNC hacked itself to distract from Clinton's email scandal.
July 22, 2016 - Days before the Democratic National Convention, WikiLeaks publishes nearly 20,000 emails hacked from the DNC server.
The documents include notes in which DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz insults staffers from the Bernie Sanders
campaign and messages that suggest the organization was favoring Clinton rather than remaining neutral. Wasserman Schultz resigns in the aftermath of the leak.
July 25, 2016 - The FBI announces it has launched an investigation into the DNC hack.
Although the statement doesn't indicate that the agency has a particular suspect or suspects in mind, US officials tell CNN they think the cyberattack is linked to Russia.
August 12, 2016 - Hackers publish cell phone numbers and personal email addresses
for Nancy Pelosi
and other members of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
September 1, 2016 - During an interview with Bloomberg News, President Vladimir Putin
says that he and the Russian government have no ties to the hackers. He says that the identity of the culprit or culprits is not as important as the content of the leaks, and ultimately the hackers revealed important information for voters.
September 22, 2016 -
Democrats Dianne Feinstein and Adam Schiff, ranking members of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees, issue a joint statement
declaring that based on information they received during congressional briefings, they believe that Russian intelligence agencies are carrying out a plan to interfere with the election. They call on Putin to order a halt to the activities.
September 26, 2016 - During a presidential debate with Clinton, Trump questions whether the DNC cyberattack was carried out by a state-sponsored group or a lone hacker.
"It could be Russia, but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds."
October 6, 2016 - DCLeaks, a self-described collective of "hacktivists" seeking to expose the influence of special interests on elected officials, publishes a batch of documents stolen from Clinton ally Capricia Marshall. DCLeaks is later identified as a front for Russian military intelligence.
December 11, 2016 - Sources tell CNN that although US intelligence agencies share the belief that Russia played a role in the computer hacks, there is disagreement between the CIA and the FBI about the intent of the meddling.
While the CIA assessment shows that the Russians may have sought to damage Clinton and help Trump, the FBI has yet to find proof that the attacks were orchestrated to elect the Republican candidate, according to unnamed officials. Furthermore, some sources say the hackers also infiltrated the Republican National Committee's computers.
December 12, 2016 - CNN reports that Russian hackers accessed computer accounts of Republican lawmakers and GOP organizations.
A source with knowledge of the investigation says that even though hackers breached the GOP computers, they opted not to release documents en masse.
December 13, 2016 - The New York Times publishes a detailed account of the DNC's delayed response to initial warnings in September of 2015 that its network had been infiltrated by hackers.
The report outlines how phishing emails and communication failures led to a sweeping cyberattack. The story also lays out evidence that Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks were linked to Russia. A second article in the Times chronicles the hacking of Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, housed in the same building as the DNC.
According to the report, Guccifer 2.0 stole tens of thousands of documents and offered them to reporters in districts where Democratic candidates were engaged in competitive races for House seats.
December 29, 2016 - President Obama issues an executive order with sanctions against Russia.
The order names six Russian individuals who allegedly took part in the presidential campaign hacking. Additionally, 35 Russian diplomats are ordered to leave the US within 72 hours.
January 3, 2017 -
Julian Assange of WikiLeaks says that the Russian government did not provide him with the hacked DNC emails during an interview with Sean Hannity on the Fox News Channel.
January 3-4, 2017 -
In a series of tweets, Trump questions the US intelligence community's claims that the Russian government interfered with the election.
He alleges that intelligence officials have delayed a scheduled meeting with him but sources tell CNN that there has been no change to the schedule. Trump also cites Assange's interview to back his assertion that a rogue hacker, not the Russian government, may have meddled in the election.
January 5-6, 2017 -
Intelligence officials meet separately with Obama and Trump to present the results of their probe into cyber espionage during the presidential campaign. After the president and the president-elect are briefed, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence releases a declassified version of its classified report on Russian meddling
. According to the report, hackers did not breach voting machines or computers that tallied election results but Russians meddled in other ways.
Putin ordered a multifaceted influence campaign that included spreading pro-Trump propaganda online and hacking the DNC and Podesta. Bracing for a possible Clinton win, Russian bloggers were prepared to promote a hashtag #DemocracyRIP on election night. Paid social media users, aka "trolls," shared stories about Clinton controversies to create a cloud of scandal around her campaign.
January 6-7, 2017 - Trump issues a statement after his meeting with intelligence officials.
In the statement, he acknowledges that the Russian government may have been linked to the DNC hacking
but declares that cyberattacks did not impact the outcome of the election because voting machines were not breached. In a series of tweets, he repeats that hacking did not affect election results and says that he wants to improve relations with Russia.
March 10, 2017 - In an interview with the Washington Times,
Trump ally Roger Stone says that he had limited interactions via Twitter with Guccifer 2.0 during the campaign. He says the exchanges were "completely innocuous." The following day, the New York Times publishes its own interview with Stone,
in which he says that his communication with Guccifer 2.0 took place after the DNC hack, proving there was no collusion with the Trump campaign to arrange the cyber attack.
June 5, 2017 -
An investigative website, the Intercept posts a report
that the Russian government coordinated a spear-phishing attack on computers at an American voting machine company and compromised at least one email account. The article is based on an NSA memo that was leaked to the Intercept. Hours after the story is published, the source of the leak is identified
as a government contractor named Reality Leigh Winner, 25. She is charged with transmitting classified information.
July 30, 2017 - Putin announces that 755 employees at US diplomatic missions in Russia will be ousted from their posts in response to sanctions.
September 6, 2017 - In a blog post,
Facebook announces that more than 3,000 advertisements posted on the social network between June 2015 and May 2017 were linked to Russia. The Washington Post reports that the ads came from a Russian company called the Internet Research Agency.
September 22, 2017 - The DHS notifies select states that hackers targeted their election infrastructure before the vote on November 8, 2016.
Although vote-counting systems were not impacted, computer networks containing voter info may have been scanned by Russian hackers. Some states reported attempts to infiltrate their computer systems.
July 13, 2018 - The Justice Department announces indictments against 12 members of the Russian intelligence agency, GRU,
as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's
ongoing investigation. The indictment accuses the Russians of engaging in a "sustained effort" to hack emails and computer networks associated with the Democratic party during the 2016 presidential campaign.