Mike Flynn, Donald Trump and Russia – a timeline of the controversy

From Flynn leading chants of ‘lock her up’ during the campaign to submitting his resignation

April 2014

Mike Flynn announces his resignation from the Defence Intelligence Agency, a year ahead of schedule, after reportedly clashing with senior management about his chaotic management style and hardline views on Islamist extremism. Flynn had been appointed by president Barack Obama to lead the agency in 2012.

Summer 2015

Flynn is invited to meet presidential hopeful Donald Trump.

December 2015

Flynn is pictured attending a Russian state media dinner, sitting two seats away from Russian president Vladimir Putin. He appears regularly as an analyst on US-Russia relations on Russian state TV station RT.

Spring 2016

Flynn emerges as a supporter of Trump, leading “lock her up” chants at Trump campaign rallies.


November 18th, 2016

President-elect Trump nominates Flynn as his national security adviser.

December 29th, 2016 

Obama announces sanctions against Russia and expels 35 Russian diplomats from the Unites States after US intelligence services found that Russia ordered cyber-attacks on the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign.

The same day, Flynn speaks by phone to the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergei Kislyak. The disputed contents of that phone call will in the end lead to his resignation.

December 30th, 2016

To the surprise of many in the intelligence community, Putin says he will not impose retaliatory sanctions on the US and invites the children of US diplomats in Russia to the annual Christmas party in the Kremlin.

January 11th, 2017

A Trump "dossier" is made public, revealing alleged links between the president-elect and Moscow after Republican senator John McCain had passed the dossier to FBI chief James Comey.

The dossier, which was subsequently revealed to have been authored by former M16 agent Christopher Steele, claimed, among other matters, that the Kremlin provided Trump with intelligence about the activities of the Democrats. The most lurid allegations were unsubstantiated.

January 15th, 2017

In an interview with Fox News, US vice-president-elect Mike Pence says that Mike Flynn did not discuss sanctions with the Russian ambassador during his conversations with him in December. "The conversations that took place that time were not any way related to new US sanctions on Russia."

January 20th , 2017

Trump inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States at a ceremony in Washington.

January 22nd, 2017  

Flynn sworn in as national security adviser.

February 5th , 2017

Trump attracts widespread criticism, including from senior Republicans, by appearing to ascribe moral equivalence to the actions of Russia and those of the United States during a prime time interview with Bill O'Reilly on Fox News. WhenO'Reilly describes Putin as a "killer", Trump replies: "There are a lot of killers. We've got a lot of killers. What do you think? Our country's so innocent?"

February 10th , 2017

A report in the Washington Post claims that Flynn rowed back on previous assertions that he had not discussed sanctions during his phone call with the Russian ambassador in December. Instead he said that "while he had no recollection of discussing sanctions, he couldn't be certain that the topic never came up".

February 10th, 2017

When asked about the report on Air Force One, Trump says he "hadn't seen it".

February 13th, 2017

The New York Times and Washington Post report that that former acting attorney general Sally Yates had warned the White House on January 26th –four days after Flynn's appointment – that Flynn may have misled senior administration officials about the nature of his phone call with the ambassador and could be vulnerable to Russian blackmail.

Yates was fired by Trump on January 30th for “betraying” the White House on her stance on the president’s executive order on immigration.

February 13th, 2017

Just before midnight, Flynn submits his resignation, conceding in his resignation letter that he had "inadvertently briefed the vice-president-elect and others with incomplete information". White House press secretary Sean Spicer confirms the following day that Trump had demanded his resignation.

February 14th, 2017

Spicer said that the decision by Trump to seek his national security adviser's resignation was a matter of trust. "The issue pure and simple came down to a question of trust," he said, adding that "ironically, the president has been incredibly tough on Russia". He also confirms that Trump was briefed about concerns about the Flynn phone call on January 26th – 18 days before he sought Flynn's resignation.

February 15th, 2017  

The New York Times and CNN report that FBI and law enforcement officials had found evidence that senior officials in the Trump administration had been in frequent contact with Russian intelligence officials during the presidential campaign.

The reports, based on four unnamed sources, name former Trump adviser Paul Manafort, who ran Trump's campaign before being dismissed in August, as one of the senior Trump officials. Manafort denied the charges.

Trump sends a number of tweets condemning the New York Times and CNN reports: "This Russian connection non-sense is merely an attempt to cover-up the many mistakes made in Hillary Clinton's losing campaign."

A second tweet says: “Information is being illegally given to the failing @nytimes & @washingtonpost by the intelligence community (NSA and FBI?). Just like Russia”