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Russia

Updated at 8:15 p.m. ET

One of the public's unanswered questions about Russia's attempts to break into election systems last year was which states were targeted. On Friday, states found out.

The Department of Homeland Security said earlier this year that it had evidence of Russian activity in 21 states, but it failed to inform individual states whether they were among those targeted. Instead, DHS authorities say they told those who had "ownership" of the systems — which in some cases were private vendors or local election offices.

Facebook will provide the contents of 3,000 ads purchased by a Russian agency to Congress. The political ads ran during the 2016 presidential election campaign. The move comes amid growing pressure on the social network from members of Congress to release the ads.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg live-streamed a statement in which he said that his company was "actively working" with the U.S. government in the ongoing Russia investigations.

Updated at 5:55 p.m. ET

Donald Trump Jr. told congressional investigators on Thursday that his June 2016 meeting with a Russian contingent after an offer of dirt on Hillary Clinton provided no useful information and was ultimately a waste of time.

In fact after it was over, Trump Jr. said, "I gave it no further thought."

The meeting, which took place at Trump Tower in New York City, has emerged as an important point of the investigations into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia's interference in last year's election.

Updated at 10:29 a.m.

The Senate is long gone. The House? Splitsville. The president is at his golf club in New Jersey. Only the hardiest swamp creatures continue to scuttle in and out of the half-empty offices of late-August Washington, D.C.

Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller and his team, however, haven't gone anywhere.

Annette Elizabeth Allen for NPR

The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing Wednesday morning about foreign agents and attempts to influence the U.S. election.

Updated at 11:23 a.m. ET

When Donald Trump Jr. met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya last June at Trump Tower to gather information on Hillary Clinton for his father's presidential campaign, it's now clear there was at least one more Russian in the room. He has been identified in published reports as a Russian-American lobbyist named Rinat Akhmetshin.

Updated 2 p.m.

A day late, the Justice Department complied this morning with a federal court order and released part of a security clearance form dealing with Attorney General Jeff Sessions' contacts with foreign governments.

On June 12, a judge had ordered the agency to provide the information within 30 days, a deadline that passed on Wednesday.

In a filing Thursday morning with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the Justice Department released that part of Sessions' form which poses the question:

The headlines get more breathless by the moment. "Explosive new charges!" "A bombshell!"

Was it a crime for Donald Trump Jr. to meet with a Russian government-connected lawyer who promised dirt on Hillary Clinton for use in the presidential campaign? Was it worse than a crime? Was it treason?

The latest Russian caper — this one involving the president's son, then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and the president's son-in-law Jared Kushner — has Washington (pardon the pun) atwitter.

Donald Trump, Jr. tweeted images of emails regarding his 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer on Tuesday. An intermediary said he could connect Trump Jr. with people who had information "that would incriminate Hillary [Clinton]... and would be very useful to your father."

Updated at 5:41 p.m. ET

Donald Trump Jr. on Tuesday tweeted an email exchange that seemed to show the president's son entertained an offer of Russian government help for his father to be elected president in 2016.

"This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump," said the text that Trump Jr. posted on Twitter.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has confirmed that the United States and Russia have agreed to a cease-fire in southwestern Syria.

Tillerson — speaking to the press following a much-anticipated 2 1/2 hour meeting between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin — said the agreement was set to take effect on Sunday. Jordan and Israel are also part of the deal, the Associated Press reports, quoting an unnamed U.S. official.

From Texas Standard:

President Donald Trump addressed thousands of people in Warsaw, Poland, Thursday, focusing, in part, on the nation's dependence on Russian energy. He said Poles will not be "held hostage" anymore by the Russian energy market, and pitched U.S. energy as an alternative.

President Trump arrives in Poland on Wednesday afternoon. Over the next few days, he'll be attending a Group of 20 summit and meeting with a wide array of world leaders.

It's likely none of those meetings will be more closely scrutinized than Trump's first face-to-face sit-down with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Trump has often said he would like to see closer ties between the U.S. and Russia. But that has been complicated by Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Updated at 1:56 p.m. ET

If two nearly simultaneous hearings Wednesday by the House and Senate Intelligence Committees into Russia's meddling in last year's presidential election revealed anything, it's that U.S. officials saw what was going on but were all but powerless to stop it.

In his prepared remarks, former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said the Russian government, "at the direction of Vladimir Putin himself, orchestrated cyberattacks on our Nation for the purpose of influencing our election — plain and simple."

Graphic by Jacob Villanueva / Bob Daemmrich / The Texas Tribune

Most voters in the country’s biggest red state are wary of President Donald Trump — but Republican voters remain strongly supportive of him, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

Updated at 9:55 a.m. ET on June 15

President Trump dismissed a potential obstruction of justice investigation into his conduct, calling allegations of collusion between him, his campaign or people associated with him and Russia a "phony story."

Of course, it's possible to obstruct justice without colluding.

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.

Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Tuesday afternoon.

He fielded questions about Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election, the ongoing investigation of Russian contacts with Trump campaign and administration officials, and the dismissal of FBI Director James Comey. 

The nation's top legal officer is set to go before Congress on Tuesday to try to defuse a bomb that the former FBI director dropped into his lap.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is scheduled to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee less than one week after James Comey told the committee he could not discuss openly certain information about Sessions' recusal from the investigation into Russia's election meddling last year.

When Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, it will be in a hearing that is open to the public. A Justice Department spokeswoman tells NPR that Sessions requested it be public.

The hearing in the Hart Senate Office Building is scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m. ET.

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.

Updated at 6:28 p.m. ET

Former FBI Director James Comey will testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday that President Trump did ask him for "loyalty" at a January dinner and later told him alone in the Oval Office that he "hope[d] you can let" the investigation into former national security director Michael Flynn "go."

PBS Newshour / YouTube

The Senate Intelligence Committee begins two days of highly anticipated hearings Wednesday that could shed new light on the state of the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Updated at 5:51 p.m. ET

President Trump is responding to the backlash against the allegations that he shared "highly classified" information with the Russians by saying he had "the absolute right to do" so.

He tweeted Tuesday morning:

And he went a step further, again taking aim at fired former FBI Director James Comey and "leakers":

Updated at 9:45 p.m. ET

President Trump revealed "highly classified information" to two top Russian officials during a controversial Oval Office meeting last week, according to a report from The Washington Post.

Updated at 7:33 p.m. ET

Aboard a short flight on Air Force One Saturday, President Donald Trump told reporters he could find a new leader to fill the vacancy left by sacked FBI Director James Comey by this Friday, when he leaves on his first foreign trip since taking office.

After comments that the administration intends to move "very quickly" on the process, a reporter in the White House press pool asked the president if that could mean finding a permanent replacement to spearhead the agency by the end of the week. His response: "Even that is possible."

In a letter released Friday, President Trump's lawyers said a decade's worth of his tax returns show that he doesn't owe money to Russian lenders and that he has received no income from Russian sources, "with a few exceptions."

The exceptions include this: "In 2008, Trump Properties LLC sold an estate in Florida, that it had acquired in 2005 for approximately $41 million, to a Russian billionaire for $95 million."

From Texas Standard:

The firing of FBI Director James Comey is not just a matter of domestic politics. For a look at how it could affect foreign policy, Texas Standard host David Brown turns to Jeremi Suri – the chair for Leadership in Global Affairs at the LBJ School of Public Affairs.

Updated at 1:26 p.m. ET

The absence of former FBI Director James Comey loomed large over the Senate Intelligence Committee's hearing with top U.S. intelligence leaders, but his temporary replacement, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, assured lawmakers he would not bend to pressure from the White House.

"You cannot stop the men and women of the FBI from doing the right thing, protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution," McCabe said.

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