The interaction of President Donald Trump, his former personal attorney Michael Cohen and the businessman with whom Cohen was working on a deal stretches back more than a decade. Here’s a timeline of the deal that led to Cohen’s most recent admissions of criminal guilt.
2002 to 2011: Bayrock Group, among whose principals is Russia-born developer Felix Sater, partners with the Trump Organization on a number of projects. Bayrock’s reported contacts are Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump. (Cohen joined the Trump Organization in 2007.)
June 16, 2015: Trump announces his candidacy for the presidency.
Sept. 2015: Sater sets up a meeting with Cohen in Manhattan to discuss a possible deal in Moscow.
Oct. 12, 2015: Sater informs Cohen over e-mail that his associates would be meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and a deputy on Oct. 14 and that VTB Bank would fund the project. VTB was and is subject to sanctions by the U.S. government.
Oct. 13, 2015: Sater sends Cohen a letter of intent to move forward on a deal in Moscow.
Oct. 28, 2015: Trump reportedly signs the letter of intent.
Nov. 3, 2015: Sater e-mails Cohen. “Buddy our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it,” he writes. “I will get all of Putins team to buy in on this, I will manage this process.”
Dec. 30, 2015: Cohen, angry at the slow pace of progress, e-mails Sater. “One month plus since the signing of the [letter of intent] that I wasted my time on,” he writes. “I put the others all on hold and still, despite every conversation with you, nothing. … Not you or anyone you know will embarrass me in front of Mr. T when he asks me what is happening.”
Dec. 31, 2015: Sater informs Cohen that the new funder will be GenBank, itself subject to sanctions shortly before. He indicates that meetings in Moscow will include Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s press secretary. Cohen responds unfavorably about how things were proceeding. “We’re done. Enough. I told you last week that you thinking you are running point on this is inaccurate. You are putting my job in jeopardy and making me look incompetent,” he wrote.
Jan. 14, 2016: Cohen e-mails Peskov to ask for help with the Moscow project.
Jan. 20, 2016: Cohen and Peskov’s assistant speak on the phone about the project and the assistant says she will follow up with other contacts in Russia.
Jan. 21, 2016: Sater e-mails Cohen asking him to call. The message says, “It’s about Putin they called today.”
Jan. 25, 2016: Cohen receives a letter from a Russian businessman inviting him to come to Moscow for a working visit.
Jan. 26, 2016: Sater asks Cohen to take a call from the person coordinating the deal in Moscow, who Sater later testifies was a former Russian intelligence official. Cohen says he will.
February to June 2016: Cohen continues to discuss a possible Moscow deal with Trump on occasion. He also “briefed family members of [Trump] within the Company about the project,” according to Mueller’s team.
May 5, 2016: Sater e-mails Cohen to extend an invitation from Peskov to attend an event in St. Petersburg from June 16 to 19. The invitation includes a possible meeting with either Putin or Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
May 6, 2016: Cohen says the St. Petersburg dates would work.
June 14, 2016: Sater and Cohen meet in the lobby of Trump Tower, and Cohen says he won’t attend the event after all.
June 2016: Cohen and Sater have final conversations about the proposed project.
Jan. 9, 2017: BuzzFeed publishes a dossier of reports alleging collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian actors.
Jan. 13, 2017: The Senate Intelligence Committee announces an investigation into interference and possible coordination.
Jan. 25, 2017: The House Intelligence Committee announces an investigation.
Aug. 28, 2017: Cohen’s legal team sends a two-page statement to the House and Senate committees making false claims about the termination of the Moscow project.