'How did we get here?': Watch Jake Tapper 'connect the dots' on Mueller's Trump-Russia investigation
Jake Tapper (Photo: screen capture)

CNN’s Jake Tapper on Monday laid out all of the evidence (so far) that led to the indictments of two former Donald Trump associates and guilty plea from a third.

“How did we get here?” Tapper asked, following a deluge of news reports surrounding special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign. The CNN host went on to “briefly review” what reporters have learned “about Russia, the DNC and Clinton emails and the Trump team.”

“It comes in four stages,” Tapper explained. “There's the hack, the dangle, the fishing and then the release.”

Tapper noted that in July 2015 and March 2016, Russian hackers breached the DNC and stole a massive number of emails. Likewise, in March 2016, hackers managed to obtain emails from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.

“Here comes the dangle,” Tapper continued. “April 2016, Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos is told that Russia has dirt on Hillary Clinton, thousands of her e-mails, according to his plea agreement. In May 2016, a request to the campaign from Russia to meet with Mr. Rrump is made. That's also in the plea agreement. June 3, 2016, Donald Trump Jr. gets an email telling him that the crown prosecutor of Russia is going to provide the Trump campaign with official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary Clinton.”

Tapper then played a clip of a June 7 speech, where then-candidate Trump promised to “give a major speech” on Clinton and Russia.

“Okay, that's the dangle,” Tapper said.

“Here comes the fishing—the attempt to get that information,” he continued. “On June 9, Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manfort actually have a meeting with the Russians, but they later say nothing is presented to them in terms of incriminating information about Hillary Clinton, and it turns out candidate Trump never gives that speech on Hillary Clinton that he said he would.”

“From mid-June through mid-August, according to the plea agreement, Papadopoulos is trying to set up a meeting between Trump officials and Russian officials. July 7th, Paul Manafort offers private briefings in an email to a Putin friend.”

“On July 22nd, WikiLeaks publishes the first in a series of emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee, but we should note they don't contain anything particularly damaging to Hillary Clinton,” the CNN host said. “They are damaging to the Democratic National Committee.

Tapper said the following week is when Trump asked Russia to find Clinton’s 30,000 missing emails. Also around this time, Republican operative Peter Smith—who claimed to be in contact with top Trump associates prior to his apparent suicide in 2017—was trying to recruit people to help find Clinton’s emails.

“Sometime in the summer we also know that chief executive of Cambridge Analytica, a data firm that the Trump campaign had hired, they contacted Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, and they asked him for access to e-mails from Hillary Clinton's private server,” Tapper said. "Assange says he turned them down.”

As for the “release,” Tapper pointed out that shortly thereafter, Trump associate Roger Stone promised incriminating information on Hillary Clinton. Hours after the famed “Access Hollywood” tape dropped, Wikileaks released the damaging Clinton emails, and continued doing so until election day.

Watch Tapper connect the dots below, via CNN:

Part One --

Part Two --