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The midterm elections 2018 are shaping up to be decisive in the direction of the nation and the state. Texans will elect a governor, a U.S. senator and an array of statewide candidates. KERA and its partners in the Texas Station Collaborative -- KUT in Austin, Houston Public Media and Houston Public Media -- will chronicle those races, and with NPR will chronicle the early rumblings of the 2020 presidential campaign. Catch up on the latest election coverage here.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

For the first time in three decades, the 6th Congressional District in North Texas is an open seat. The race to replace longtime Rep. Joe Barton of Ennis, who announced he wouldn’t seek another term amid a scandal last year, touched off one of the most crowded Republican primary races in Texas.

After nearly a month of pronouncements, melodrama, headlines and strife, Round One of memo mania is finally complete.

House Intelligence Committee Republicans went first with their Feb. 2 salvo that alleged "biased" FBI and Justice Department officials had abused their surveillance powers by withholding information from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Then, on Saturday, committee Democrats released a rebuttal giving their perspective on the story — or at least part of it.

Texas Tribune

DALLAS — U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, an El Paso Democrat, once again reported raising more money than Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in what is shaping up to be an intense general election matchup, according to a campaign finance report obtained by the Dallas Morning News.

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.

Updated Feb. 18 at 9 a.m. ET

President Trump chided his national security adviser on Sunday, tweeting that H.R. McMaster "forgot to say that the results of the 2016 election were not impacted or changed by the Russians."

McMaster said on Saturday that it is now "incontrovertible" Russia interfered in the 2016 election.

Updated at 8:15 p.m. ET

A federal grand jury has indicted 13 Russians and three Russian entities in connection with the attack on the 2016 presidential election.

The defendants are "accused of violating U.S. criminal laws in order to interfere with U.S. elections and political processes," according to a statement from the special counsel's office. The indictment charges them with "conspiracy to defraud the United States, three defendants with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, and five defendants with aggravated identity theft."

Updated at 3:52 p.m. ET

Russian influence operations in the United States will continue through this year's midterm elections and beyond, the nation's top spies warned Congress on Tuesday.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told the Senate intelligence committee that Moscow viewed its attack on the 2016 election as decidedly worthwhile given the chaos it has sown compared with its relatively low cost.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

The race for Texas’ only open state Senate seat up for election this year is heating up. Two well-connected candidates with well-known names are spending millions to win the District 8 seat in Collin County, which was left empty when state Sen. Van Taylor announced he’d be stepping down to run for Congress.

Updated at 2:17 p.m. ET

Attorney General Jeff Sessions was interviewed last week by special counsel Robert Mueller as part of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Sessions is the first member of President Trump's Cabinet known to have been questioned by the special counsel's office in its investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

Justice Department spokesman Ian Prior confirmed Sessions' interview to NPR on Tuesday. Sessions cooperated voluntarily.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Vilma Ledferd, 17, who sang Saturday at the Women’s March in Dallas, is already experienced using her voice for women’s rights. Wanting to get others involved, she launched a local chapter of Ignite, a national nonprofit encouraging female students to get into politics, last year at her high school. 

Americans are split on whether they think the Justice Department's Russia investigation is fair and are unsure of special counsel Robert Mueller, but they overwhelmingly believe he should be allowed to finish his investigation, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

Fewer than half of Americans (48 percent) think the Russia probe has been fair, more than a quarter (28 percent) think it has not been and another quarter are unsure (23 percent).

The infamous Russia dossier was not the sole basis for the FBI's investigation into Donald Trump's ties to Russia, according to a newly public document that notched a tactical win for Democrats inside Washington, D.C.

An election in Virginia was decided this morning by luck. Luck of the draw, specifically. The race between Republican David Yancey and Democrat Shelly Simonds for the Virginia House of Delegates was tied after a recount. So, today the State Board of Elections put their names in a bowl and pulled out the name of the winner: incumbent Yancey.

The news around this unorthodox way to pick an elected official got the KUT Newsroom wondering: What would happen if there were a tie in Texas?

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.

Five months into his mandate, Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller III unleashed a legal version of "shock and awe" on Monday with criminal charges against President Trump's former campaign chairman and a guilty plea by a foreign policy aide.

Mueller made no public comment about the charges or the next steps in an investigation that's irritating the White House and riveting the nation. But there are some clues in the court documents about where the former FBI director and his investigators may be heading.

Facebook says 126 million people may have seen Russian content aimed at influencing Americans. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill want to weed out Russian operatives and extremist propaganda from Facebook.

But savvy marketers — people who've used Facebook's advertising platform since its inception — say that social media giant will find it hard to banish nefarious actors because its technology is designed to be wide open and simple to use.

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.

Updated at 3:40 p.m. ET

Paul Manafort, President Trump's former campaign chairman, has been indicted on federal charges that range from conspiracy against the United States to conspiracy to launder money. He was taken into federal custody Monday morning, along with his longtime deputy.

In a court hearing around midday, both Manafort and his co-defendant, Rick Gates, pleaded not guilty.

The Texas Tribune

Most Texas voters don’t want to remove Confederate memorials or put them in museums, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

This week in the Russia investigations: A progress report — sort of — from the Senate Intelligence Committee; Robert Mueller meets the author of the dossier; and Donald Trump Jr. may have a date on Capitol Hill.

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill to move California's primary elections in 2020 to the beginning of March, three months ahead of when they were held in 2016.

It's a move designed to increase the influence of the country's most populous state in deciding presidential candidates. By the June California primary elections in 2016, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were already their parties' presumptive nominees.

It is almost impossible to walk the streets of Berlin without running into history. It's everywhere — the physical markers of conquest, division, horror, and reckoning. I was struck by it when I first came here in 2005 as NPR's Berlin correspondent and I am no less moved by it today.

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.