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FBI

A major change that aims to keep more weapons out of the wrong hands is in the works for the FBI's gun background check process.

Examiners will be given access to a large, previously untapped database of more than 400 million records as they determine when gun purchases can go through nationwide. But for the survivors and victims' families of the 2015 church massacre in Charleston, S.C., the change did not come soon enough.

Updated at 4:44 p.m. ET

The Justice Department inspector general has asked prosecutors in Washington, D.C., to examine whether former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe should face criminal charges.

Inspector General Michael Horowitz has referred McCabe to the U.S. Attorney's Office for Washington, D.C., according to a source familiar with the matter. The source asked not to be identified as discussing the sensitive ongoing case.

Updated at 8:15 p.m. ET

President Trump unloaded on both Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, hours after federal agents raided the office of Trump's longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen.

"It's a disgraceful situation. It's a total witch hunt," Trump said on Monday. "When I saw this, when I heard about it, that is a whole new level of unfairness."

Updated at 9:15 p.m. ET

Congressional Republicans say they still support special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election interference even as the president continued his offensive Sunday against the investigation, as well as a recently fired high-ranking FBI official, Andrew McCabe.

Trump sent a flurry of tweets Sunday morning, in which he painted the Mueller-led special counsel probe as a politically biased witch hunt.

Updated at 10:25 p.m. ET

Before Washington, D.C., had fully processed the late-night firing of Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who was let go by Attorney General Jeff Sessions less than 48 hours before his planned retirement after more than two decades of service to the bureau, the saga took several new, head-spinning turns Saturday.

Updated at 12:30 a.m. ET Saturday

Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired outgoing FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe on Friday even though he was on the doorstep of retiring and receiving his pension after two decades of service to the bureau.

President Trump responded on Twitter just after midnight Saturday, calling McCabe's firing "a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI - A great day for Democracy."

Updated at 8:32 p.m. ET

A federal grand jury unveiled new charges on Thursday against Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates, accusing them of a broader range of financial crimes.

Graphic by Emily Albracht for The Texas Tribune

Texas Republican voter opinion turned against the FBI and special counsel Robert Mueller even before last week’s mass shooting in a Florida high school and indictments of Russian propagandists who tried to influence American elections, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

President Trump spent the weekend at his Mar-a-Lago resort tweeting about the Russia investigation after a federal grand jury on Friday indicted 13 Russians and three Russian companies in connection with what prosecutors describe as a covert Russian campaign to help Trump win the presidency.

Updated at 10:35 p.m. ET

The FBI says that someone called its tip line to report concerns about Nikolas Cruz, who has told police he killed 17 people in a Florida high school this week — but that the bureau failed to follow protocols to assess the threat.

The bureau says a person close to Cruz contacted the FBI's Public Access Line on Jan. 5 to report concerns about him. Those concerns included information about Cruz's gun ownership, a desire to kill people, erratic behavior and disturbing social media posts.

Updated 8:26 p.m. ET

House Democrats went on the offensive Saturday amidst a controversy surrounding a memo released a day earlier that argues the Justice Department and the FBI abused their surveillance authority.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, released a 6-page rebuttal memo he's circulated to his colleagues and given to the media, including NPR.

Updated at 3:34 p.m. ET

President Trump could notify Congress as soon as Friday that he endorses releasing the controversial memo that alleges the FBI and Justice Department abused their surveillance powers.

That would set the stage for it to become public, perhaps that afternoon, although the procedure is unclear.

Democrats went on the attack Thursday trying to stop the process and even to get rid of the man who has driven it, Trump ally Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of the House intelligence committee.

Updated at 3:30 a.m. ET Thursday

The FBI clashed with the White House on Wednesday over the much discussed Republican memo that alleges the bureau abused its surveillance powers. The bureau said it has "grave concerns" about the "accuracy" of the document that the president supports making public.

Meanwhile, the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, which voted to release the memo, says Republicans secretly made "material changes" to the document after the decision to make it public.

Updated at 9:45 p.m. ET

FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe is leaving the bureau after more than 20 years on the job, according to an individual familiar with the matter.

McCabe stepped down Monday from his post as the bureau's No. 2 official, and as expected he will take accumulated leave and remain on the payroll until March when he is eligible to retire with full benefits. The departure plan had been in the works for a while.

Updated at 1:45 a.m. ET Wednesday

Members of Congress have not made life easy for the leaders of the Justice Department this month, and FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was next in line on Tuesday.

McCabe testified behind closed doors before the House Intelligence Committee as part of its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

His appearance follows attacks by President Trump and Republican allies on him specifically, the FBI, the Justice Department and special counsel Robert Mueller, including accusations of political bias.

Updated at 5:24 p.m. ET

Opponents of special counsel Robert Mueller ramped up their attacks over the weekend with a new claim that he improperly collected thousands of emails from President Trump's transition team and is using them as an illegitimate basis for much of his investigation.

Mueller's office said his team has obtained all the evidence it's using in its investigation properly. And Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed him, told Congress last week that he monitors Mueller's operation closely and has seen nothing improper.

Updated at 6:26 p.m. ET

FBI Director Christopher Wray defended his agency on Capitol Hill Thursday, speaking publicly for the first time since President Trump denigrated the agency last weekend. The questioning from lawmakers and the responses the new FBI director gave are a harbinger of likely issues to be raised again as the Justice Department's Russia probe appears to be intensifying after the recent plea deal of former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

If the saga of Michael Flynn feels like it's been hanging over President Trump's head since Inauguration Day, that's because it has.

The story of how Trump's first national security adviser came to plead guilty to lying to FBI investigators and cooperate in the special counsel's Russia investigation spans two presidential terms and also touches government officials who were subsequently fired by Trump.

Special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation has entered the West Wing.

Mueller's team is charged with looking into whether anyone on President Trump's campaign worked with the Russians who attacked the 2016 election, so it was inevitable that investigators would want to talk with aides now working in the White House.

Some, like top adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, communications director Hope Hicks and policy adviser Stephen Miller, were key players in the campaign as well.

The number of hate crimes reported last year rose by 4.6 percent compared to the previous year, according to data released Monday by the FBI.

The total tally of hate crimes in 2016 was 6,121, compared to 5,850 in 2015. More than half of those incidents were motivated by the victim's race.

The FBI statistics are based on voluntary reporting by nearly 16,000 local law-enforcement agencies. Civil-rights groups, however, say the figures are deeply flawed because of what they say is systemic under-reporting.

Updated at 4:20 p.m. ET

Apparent Russian agents began reaching out to Donald Trump's presidential campaign as early as March 2016, the Justice Department established in documents released Monday, with appeals for partnership and offers of help including "dirt" on Trump's opponent, Hillary Clinton.

That case is made in charging documents in the case of then-Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

Update at 3:05 p.m. ET: The Des Moines Register reports Comey was in Iowa for a family party.

Look who's talking.

Former FBI Director James Comey, who has cultivated a low public profile since his surprise firing last May, confirmed Monday that he is the author of a Twitter account that was previously anonymous — and signaled that he is going to rejoin the national conversation.

The Senate has easily confirmed Christopher Wray to be the next FBI director, a position he assumes after former Director James Comey was ousted by President Trump in May.

The 50-year-old former Justice Department lawyer was approved by a 92-5 vote.

Wray was Trump's choice to lead the FBI after he decided to fire Comey — a controversial decision that led to the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller to take over the bureau's investigation into Russian interference in last year's elections and possible collusion between top aides to the Trump campaign and Russia.

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Christopher Wray, President Trump’s nominee for FBI Director, faces the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday for his confirmation hearing. Wray would replace James Comey, whom Trump fired in May.

On yet another day when President Trump's tweets are dominating the news, the top Republican and Democrat leading the House Intelligence Committee's Russia probe said his tweets aren't quite enough for them.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee Tuesday, fiercely maintaining he did nothing wrong in meeting twice with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. during President Trump's 2016 campaign and also infuriating Democrats by refusing to detail any conversations he has had with the president.

President Trump said Friday he would be willing to testify under oath about his interactions with former FBI Director James Comey, whom he fired in May.

The president said Comey's testimony on Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee mostly vindicated his previous claims about their interactions.

Updated at 5:06 p.m. ET

Former FBI Director James Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee that he believed he was fired by President Trump over the growing Russia investigation and that other arguments by the White House were "lies, plain and simple."

Joshua Roberts / Reuters

Former FBI Director James Comey testified Thursday before the Senate intelligence committee as part of its ongoing investigation into Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

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