President Trump's young presidency has been haunted by one major thing: The inquiry into whether there was a collusion between his presidential campaign and Russia. And for the past few months, a pattern has emerged with the name "Michael Flynn" coming up over and over again in the investigation.
You might remember the former national security adviser, who resigned in February after just 24 days in the position because he misled Vice President Mike Pence about the nature of his conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and made public statements that were found to be false. However, he didn't disappear from the spotlight after his resignation.
Flynn is a retired lieutenant general and served in top-level military intelligence positions, such as director of the Defence Intelligence Agency from 2012 to 2014. (His time there was reportedly cut short because of clashes with top officials in the Obama administration.) After leaving the DIA, Flynn was outspoken on the war on terror, to the point of writing a book about it.
He was one of Trump's earliest supporters, even though he was a registered Democrat, and spoke at the Republican National Convention. But he keeps popping up in your newsfeed because of his long, complex relationship with Russia — a history that was reported long before he became Trump's national adviser.
It all boils down to this: The fact that Flynn, who was part of Trump's campaign team, was in some way in contact with Russia during the 2016 election raises serious questions about whether anyone in Trump's team was involved in actions that might have influenced the results.
When a foreign power interferes to alter the outcome of the election that on itself is a threat to democracy. If the Trump team actively collaborated with Russia, that would definitely undermine his legitimacy as president. It would also put into question whether any laws were broken and whether anyone in his team is compromised by Russian intelligence.
All of this, of course, has been repeatedly denied by the White House. But as both the Department of Justice and Congress continue their Trump-Russia investigations, we're bound to keep hearing Flynn's name.
Ahead, we list everything that's happened with the former national security adviser in relation to Russia since December 2015. We'll continue to update this story as more developments come to light.
Timeline of events
May 18, 2017:
May 17, 2017:
The New York Times reports Flynn told Trump's transition team before the inauguration that the federal government was investigating him for secretly working as a paid lobbyist for Turkey. But despite this information, Trump appointed him anyway.
May 10, 2017:
May 9, 2017:
April 25, 2017:
During an outing at a restaurant in Virginia, Flynn tells a small group of loyalists that he remained in communication with Trump. According to Yahoo News, he said, "I just got a message from the president to stay strong."
April 4, 2017:
April 1, 2017:
March 30, 2017:
March 9-10, 2017:
February 14, 2017:
"I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go," Trump said, according to a memo written by Comey. "He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go."
The White House denies this is true.
February 13, 2017:
February 9, 2017:
The Washington Post publishes a story confirming that Flynn and Ambassador Kislyak discussed the sanctions imposed by President Obama. The report also says FBI counterintelligence agents were conducting an investigation into the phone call.
February 8, 2017:
February 1, 2017:
Top Democrats on six House committees send a letter to Defence Secretary James Mattis demanding an investigation into Flynn's relationship with Russia Today (RT), a media outlet controlled by the Russian government.
January 28, 2017:
Flynn joins a call between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
January 26, 2017:
The Justice Department, led by former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, informs White House counsel Donald McGahn that Flynn misled Vice President Pence and could be at risk of being blackmailed by Russia.
McGahn informs President Trump of the information relayed by Yates.
January 24, 2017:
Flynn is interviewed by FBI agents about the content of his phone call with the Russian ambassador.
January 15, 2017:
January 14, 2017:
January 13, 2017:
January 12, 2017:
The FBI begins investigating Flynn's phone conversation with Kislyak.
December 29, 2016:
November 18, 2016:
November 10, 2016:
December 10, 2015:
Flynn flies to Moscow and attends the 10th anniversary dinner of Russia Today (RT), a state-owned media outlet. At the event, he sits next to President Putin. CNN reported he was paid $34,000 to speak at the dinner.