There are currently four active investigations into Russia’s interference into the 2016 and the Trump campaign’s potential involvement: FBI Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the Senate Intelligence Committee, the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the House Intelligence Committee. There are three main components to Trump/Russia: Russia's use of social media, the hacking of the DNC and John Podesta's emails, and the Trump campaign’s potential collusion with Russia.

Executive Summary:

  1. Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, pleaded guilty to lying to the F.B.I. about conversations with the Russian ambassador last December during the presidential transition, bringing the special counsel’s investigation into the president’s inner circle.
  2. Former Trump campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and his deputy have been charged with a 12 count indictment by special counsel Robert Mueller, which includes money laundering and conspiracy against the US. Both pled not guilty and are currently under house arrest.
  3. A former foreign policy advisor to Trump was arrested in July for lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian officials during the campaign. He has pled guilty, confirming his contacts with Russia in doing so, and has been “proactively cooperating” with the special counsel investigations. This hits closest to the heart of the collusion component.
  4. The Senate Judiciary Committee’s investigation has gone its partisan ways and will be pursued separately by Republicans and Democrats on the committee. The committee’s focus has been obstruction of justice in relation to possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia, as it has oversight of the FBI.
  5. 126 million. This is the latest estimate of how many users were potentially reached by Russia’s disinformation and social media war. Facebook, Twitter, and Google have been cooperating with Congress and the special counsel, as well as working to implement safeguards for 2018 and beyond.

White House Counsel Don McGahn recused his entire staff from Robert Mueller's investigation last summer because many staffers "had been significant participants" in the firings of Michael Flynn and James Comey. Former White House lawyer Ty Cobb said McGahn's recusal was a key reason why he was hired last summer to manage Trump's response to the Russia investigation. (Politico)

Trump told G7 leaders that Crimea is Russian because everyone who lives there speaks Russian. In 2014, Russia invaded and annexed Crimea from Ukraine, leading to international condemnation, sanctions, and directly leading to Russia being kicked out of the then-G8. (BuzzFeed News)

Mueller's office claimed that Russian intelligence agencies are trying to meddle in the 2018 U.S. midterm elections. Prosecutors are trying to block foreign intelligence agencies and defendants from seeing evidence in the investigation of interference in the 2016 election, lest this "result in the release of information that would assist foreign intelligence services" and others in future operations against the U.S. Last February, Mueller obtained a grand jury indictment of three Russian companies and 13 Russian individuals on charges they sought to influence the 2016 presidential race. The only defendant in that case is the Russian firm Concord Management and Consulting, which is controlled by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Russian businessman known as Putin's chef. The pretrial process entitles a defendant the material assembled during the investigation. (Politico)

Michael Cohen told friends he believes he will soon be indicted and arrested as part of Robert Mueller's investigation into possible collusion between the Trump's campaign and Russia. Investigators are probing Cohen for bank fraud, wire fraud and campaign finance violations. (NY Daily News)

Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee want to interview Ivanka Trump as part of the investigation into Russian election interference. The committee wants to interview Ivanka about "two separate national security questions." Sen. Ron Wyden said investigators should ask about her role in connecting a Russian weightlifter, Dmitry Klokov, with Michael Cohen. Klokov offered to connect her father to Putin in order to facilitate building a Trump Tower in Moscow. The other issue Wyden said investigators should ask about is China's decision to grant Ivanka trademarks around the same time her father promised to help Chinese telecom manufacturer ZTE stay in business. (BuzzFeed News)

The millionaire businessman who bankrolled the Brexit campaign "met Russian officials multiple times before Brexit vote." Arron Banks gave about $16 million to the campaign, becoming the biggest donor in UK history. (The Guardian)

Several prominent Russians, including some in Putin's inner circle, met with NRA officials during the 2016 U.S. election campaign. The contacts have emerged as the Justice Department investigates whether Russian banker and lifetime NRA member Alexander Torshin illegally channeled money through the gun rights group to help Trump's 2016 presidential bid. (McClatchy DC)

The Treasury Department has imposed sanctions on five Russian entities and three individuals, saying they worked with Moscow's intelligence service on ways to conduct cyber attacks against the U.S. and its allies. (Reuters / CNN)

Robert Mueller filed witness tampering criminal charges against Paul Manafort and Russian national Konstantin Kilimnik. The superseding indictment charges the two men with obstructing justice, conspiracy to obstruct justice, and witness tampering. Kilimnik was indicted as part of the existing money laundering case against Manafort, who is also accused of illegal foreign lobbying and lying to federal officials. It's the first time Kilimnik was named, who was referred to as "Person A" and described as having links to Russian spy agencies in previous court filings. (CNBC / Bloomberg / New York Times / Washington Post / CNN / Reuters)

Trump called on the G7 to reinstate Russia after it was kicked out for annexing Crimea four years ago, putting him at odds with world leaders who have insisted that Moscow remain ostracized. "Russia should be in this meeting," Trump said. "Why are we having a meeting without Russia being in the meeting? … Whether you like it or not, and it may not be politically correct, but we have a world to run." Trump also threatened to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement, and is now engaged in a series of trade wars with numerous countries in Europe, North America and Asia. Trump will leave the G7 summit early. (Washington Post / New York Times / Politico)

The Justice Department will brief lawmakers next week about the FBI's use of an informant in connection with its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. The new offer is a concession to Republican demands for more information about the probe. The Justice Department and FBI "are prepared to brief members on certain questions specifically raised by the speaker and other members" and allow lawmakers "to review certain supporting documents that were made available during the prior briefing." Democrats are concerned that the briefings could allow Trump's legal team access to sensitive details of the investigation. (Washington Post / CNBC)

Paul Ryan insisted that there was "no evidence of collusion" between Trump's campaign and Russia, but that there is "more digging to do." (Associated Press)

Adam Schiff called on Republicans to release the House Intelligence Committee interview transcripts related to the Russia investigation, saying they could shed "additional light on the issues of collusion and obstruction of justice." Schiff said some witnesses "may have testified untruthfully" and that Robert Mueller and his team "should consider whether perjury charges are warranted." (NBC News)

Ivanka Trump connected Michael Cohen with a Russian who offered to introduce Trump to Putin during the campaign in 2015 in order to facilitate a 100-story Trump Tower in Moscow. Mueller's team and congressional investigators have reviewed emails and questioned witnesses about the interaction. There is no evidence that Ivanka's contact with former Olympic weightlifter Dmitry Klokov was illegal or election related. (BuzzFeed News)

Giuliani claimed Mueller's team is "trying very, very hard to frame [Trump] to get him in trouble when he hasn't done anything wrong." He added that Mueller's team "can't emotionally come to grips with the fact that this whole thing with Russian collusion didn't happen. They are trying to invent theories of obstruction of justice." Giuliani also reiterated the claim that Trump has the power to pardon himself, but won't do so because "he's innocent" and "he hasn't done anything wrong." (Associated Press)

Paul Ryan agreed that there is "no evidence" to support claims that the FBI spied on Trump's 2016 campaign for political purposes by using a confidential informant to contact members of the campaign while investigating its ties to Russia. Ryan added that Trump should not try to pardon himself, saying, "I don't know the technical answer to that question, but I think obviously the answer is he shouldn't. And no one is above the law." (New York Times / Politico)

Trump blamed Jeff Sessions for the ongoing Russia investigation into possible collusion, lamented asking Sessions to lead the Justice Department, and suggested that the probe would have been shut down by now if Sessions had not recused himself. In a tweet, Trump said the "Russian Witch Hunt Hoax continues, all because Jeff Sessions didn't tell me he was going to recuse himself." (Washington Post / Reuters / Politico)

George Papadopoulos' wife asked Trump to pardon her husband, who pleaded guilty last year to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russians. (The Hill)

Sarah Huckabee Sanders called herself "an honest person" while refusing to correct her August 2017 statement that Trump wasn't involved in drafting a misleading statement about Trump Jr.'s meeting with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower. (Politico / CNN)

Trump's lawyers sent a 20-page letter to Mueller's office asserting that Trump cannot be compelled to testify. The letter also argues that it's impossible for Trump to obstruct justice in the Russia investigation because the U.S. Constitution empowers the president to, "if he wished, terminate the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon." Giuliani responded to news of the leaked letter, saying that "if Mueller tries to subpoena us, we're going to court" and that "our recollection keeps changing" about the 2016 Trump Tower meeting and that "this is the reason you don't let this president testify in the special counsel's Russia investigation." The letter confirms that Trump dictated a "short but accurate" statement issued by Trump Jr. about his 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer who an intermediary claimed had "dirt" on Hillary Clinton. (New York Times / ABC News)

Sarah Huckabee Sanders refused to answers about her August 2017 claim that Trump "certainly didn't dictate" the Trump Tower statement. At the time, Sanders said Trump only "weighed in" on Trump Jr.'s statement about the Russia meeting, saying "the statement that Don Jr. issued is true, there's no inaccuracy in the statement." (The Hill)

Jared Kushner's close friend Andrew Gerson has come under scrutiny from Robert Mueller's team. Mueller is interested in Gerson's supposed knowledge of meetings in January 2017 between Trump associates and foreign officials in the Seychelles. Gerson was in the Seychelles around the same time that Erik Prince secretly met with Russian and UAE officials, including Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan of Abu Dhabi, also known as MBZ. Gerson met with MBZ and Lebanese-American businessman George Nader, who organized the meeting with Erik Prince. (NBC News / Daily Beast)

Former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe wrote a confidential memo about a May 2017 conversation he had with Rod Rosenstein regarding the firing of James Comey. The memo says Trump originally asked Rosenstein to reference Russia in the public memo used to justify firing Comey. McCabe thought that seemed like evidence that Comey's firing was actually about the Russia investigation and that Rosenstein was helping to provide a cover story by writing about the Clinton investigation. (New York Times)

Trump repeatedly pressured Jeff Sessions to reclaim control over the Russia investigation on at least four separate occasions. Three of those occasions were in-person, and the fourth was over the phone. The constant pressure made several other officials uncomfortable at the time, because they felt it was improper and could present its own legal and political problems. Two sources familiar with the conversations said Trump never directly ordered Sessions to reinsert himself into the investigation, but would instead ask Sessions whether he had "thought about" stepping back in. (Axios)

Robert Mueller is investigating Trump's request to Jeff Sessions that he reverse his decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation in March 2017. Trump berated Sessions in public and in private over his decision to step away, but Sessions refused Trump's request. Mueller is investigating the previously unreported confrontation as part of the ongoing obstruction of justice probe. Mueller's interest in Sessions suggests the investigation may be even more broad than Trump's interactions with and subsequent firing of James Comey. (New York Times / Washington Post)

Trump bragged about a classified battle between U.S. forces and Russian mercenaries in Syria while speaking to donors at a closed-door fundraiser. Trump said he was amazed by the actions of American F-18 pilots, suggested that the strikes lasted "10 minutes," and claimed they killed up to 300 Russians. The details of the battle remain classified. (Politico)

The Russian journalist who was believed to have been killed yesterday in Kiev showed up at a press conference today, very much alive. Arkady Babchenko apologized to friends and family who believed he was dead. "I'm still alive," he said. Babchenko's death was faked as part of a sting operation by the Ukrainian Security Service. (NPR / Associated Press)

Trump claimed that Robert Mueller's team will meddle in the 2018 midterm elections in favor of Democrats. "The 13 Angry Democrats (plus people who worked 8 years for Obama) working on the rigged Russia Witch Hunt," Trump tweeted, "will be MEDDLING with the mid-term elections, especially now that Republicans (stay tough!) are taking the lead in Polls. There was no Collusion, except by the Democrats!" (CNN / Washington Post)

Mitch McConnell said he supports the Mueller investigation and that nothing in Thursday's secret briefing on the Russia probe changed his mind. "The two investigations going on that I think will give us the answers to the questions that you raise — the [inspector general] investigation in the Justice Department and the Mueller investigation," McConnell said. "I support both of them, and I don't really have anything to add to this subject based upon the Gang of Eight briefing that we had today, which was classified." (NPR / NBC News)

Mueller's team has been investigating Roger Stone's finances as part of the probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians during the 2016 election. Mueller has questioned Stone's associates about his finances, including his tax returns. Stone claims he has not been contacted by the special counsel's office, and that he played no role in colluding with Russia. (CNN)

A Russian billionaire with ties to the Kremlin met with Michael Cohen at Trump Tower 11 days before Trump's inauguration. Viktor Vekselberg met with Cohen to discuss their mutual desire to improve Russia's relationship with the U.S. under the incoming Trump administration, according to Andrew Intrater. Intrater is an American businessman who invests money on behalf of Vekselberg and was present at the meeting in question. A few days after Trump's inauguration, Intrater’s private equity firm, Columbus Nova, signed a $1 million consulting contract with Cohen. (New York Times)

The FBI seized control of a key server in Russia's global botnet of 500,000 hacked routers. One of the goals of the operation was to use the information from the seized server to build a comprehensive list of victims in order to short-circuit the Kremlin's ability to reinfect targets. The FBI went after a complicated malware program called "VPN Filter" that has been linked to the Russian hacking group responsible for the breach of the DNC and the Clinton campaign during the 2016 election. (Daily Beast)

An ally of Vladimir Putin suggested that the meeting in the Seychelles with Blackwater founder Erik Prince was more than a simple chance encounter "over a beer," as Prince told Congress. Kirill Dmitriev, a Russian fund manager who was present at the January 2017 meeting, said he had wanted to meet with Prince in order to improve relations between the U.S and Russia. (ABC News)

Newly obtained documents and interviews provide the first public on-the-ground accounting of a battle between American forces and around 500 pro-Syrian government forces and Russian mercenaries. The incident was one of the single-bloodiest battles the American military has faced in Syria since deploying to the country to fight the Islamic State. (New York Times)

Democrats will be allowed to join Republicans at today's White House briefing on the secret FBI source who aided Mueller's Russia probe. After a day of negotiations, the White House reversed its earlier decision to only invite Republican lawmakers the briefing. (Washington Post)

Michael Cohen's business partner took a plea deal that requires him to cooperate with the government as a potential witness in state and federal investigations. Evgeny Freidman is a Russian immigrant known as the "Taxi King," and he specifically agreed to assist government prosecutors in state or federal investigations, according to a person briefed on the matter. Freidman was disbarred earlier this month, has been accused of failing to pay $5 million in taxes, and is facing multiple counts of criminal tax fraud and one of grand larceny. Freidman's cooperation is seen as potential leverage to pressure Cohen into working with Mueller's team on the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections. (New York Times / Washington Post / Politico / CNBC / Vox)

Who is Evgeny Freidman? Michael Cohen's "Taxi King" business partner may be key to Russia investigation. (Newsweek)

The White House did not invite Democrats to a private briefing on the FBI informant involved in the investigation into the Trump campaign's contacts with Russians during and after the 2016 election. Two senior House Republicans were invited to the briefing, which was coordinated by John Kelly and will be held on Thursday. Democrats are demanding that Democratic lawmakers be included in the briefing. Sarah Huckabee-Sanders said Democrats weren't invited because they didn't specifically ask for details about the informant. (Politico)

poll/ A majority of Americans — 59% — don't think Mueller's investigation into Russia and the 2016 presidential campaign has uncovered evidence of any crimes, even though the special counsel has already secured five guilty pleas and issued 17 criminal indictments. (Vox / Navigator Research)

Mike Pompeo says the U.S. will fight back against what he called "continued efforts" by Russia to interfere in the 2018 midterm elections. Pompeo did not provide any details as to what the "appropriate measures" would entail, but he said the U.S. has so far been unable to establish "effective deterrence" to halt Russia's efforts. (Associated Press)

James Clapper said the FBI did not spy on the Trump campaign at any point. "They were not," Clapper told The View. "They were spying — a term I don't particularly like — on what the Russians were doing." (Politico / The Hill)

Trump demanded that the Justice Department investigate whether the FBI "infiltrated or surveilled" his presidential campaign under Obama's orders. After accusing the FBI on Friday of sending a "spy" to infiltrate his campaign, Trump tweeted Sunday afternoon: "I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes, and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!" The FBI opened its counterintelligence investigation into Russia's efforts to influence the 2016 campaign on July 31, 2016. They sent an informant, a retired American professor, to talk to George Papadopoulos, Carter Page, and Sam Clovis after receiving evidence that the pair had contacts linked to Russia during the campaign. (New York Times / Washington Post)

Rod Rosenstein, FBI Director Christopher Wray and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats met with Trump at the White House. The meeting comes a day after Trump tweeted that he would "demand" the Justice Department investigate whether his campaign was improperly "infiltrated or surveilled" for political purposes. Rosenstein agreed that John Kelly would set up a meeting where congressional leaders can review "highly classified and other information they have requested" related to the Russia probe. (ABC News / CBS News / CNN / Bloomberg)

The RNC paid roughly half a million dollars to a law firm representing former White House communications director Hope Hicks and others involved in the Russia probe. Trout Cacheris & Janis received $451,780 from the RNC after Hicks hired the firm's founder as her personal attorney in September. The money used to pay the firm was originally meant to be used for election recounts and other legal matters, but RNC officials concluded that the money could be used to pay for the president's legal fees. (Washington Post)

Trump Jr. called a blocked number before and after the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower. On June 6, Trump Jr. was in contact with a blocked number for three to four minutes. Immediately after ending that call, Trump Jr. called Emin Agalarov, the pop star son of Russian oligarch Aras Agalarov. Two hours after the Trump Tower meeting occurred on June 9th, Trump Jr. placed another call to a blocked number that lasted three minutes. Then-candidate Trump spent that day at Trump Tower, where the private residence has a blocked number, and held no public events. (CNN / Washington Post)

Giuliani said Robert Mueller agreed to limit the scope of a potential interview with Trump to two topics instead of five. Mueller, according to Giuliani, is not interested in Michael Cohen or his business dealings. "The main focus we want is Russia," Giuliani said, adding: "The President would testify tomorrow if it was about the truth. The truth is he had nothing to do with Russia. The President is not going to lie." (CNN / Associated Press)

Senate Democrats called for a multi-agency inspector general investigation into the Trump administration's failure to implement mandated sanctions against Russia. In a letter addressed to the inspectors general of the State Department, Treasury Department and Intelligence Community, Democratic lawmakers said the administration has not complied with the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. (Daily Beast)

Trump marked Robert Mueller's one-year anniversary as special counsel by offering "congratulations" to America on "the greatest Witch Hunt in American History." Trump charged that the FBI had "SPIED" on his campaign with an "EMBEDDED INFORMANT," which makes the Russia investigation "bigger than Watergate!" Trump claimed he's had the "most successful first 17 month Administration in U.S. history," overcome a "disgusting, illegal and unwarranted Witch Hunt," and noted there is "still No Collusion and No Obstruction." He added that "the only Collusion was that done by Democrats who were unable to win an Election despite the spending of far more money!" (New York Times / Washington Post / CNN / NBC News)

Inside year one of the Mueller investigation. As the Mueller probe hits its one-year anniversary, the special counsel's team has brought charges against 22 people and companies, notched five guilty pleas and seen one person sentenced. While a number of those charges were related to Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election, so far none of them has extended to potential collusion between the Russian government and Trump associates. (CNN)

Is Trump's rhetoric about an informant in his campaign warranted? On the first anniversary of the appointment of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to take over the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign and any overlap with Donald Trump’s campaign, now-President Trump used his preferred political superlatives to disparage that inquiry on Twitter. (Washington Post)

Last Year Today: Rod Rosenstein appointed former FBI Director Bob Mueller to oversee the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. (WTF Just Happened Today)

Mueller's office filed under seal an unredacted memorandum that outlines the scope of his probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The filing was made as part of Mueller's criminal case against Paul Manafort, and was requested by the judge overseeing the case. (Reuters)

Mueller's team is examining a series of meetings that took place in the Seychelles, which have been characterized as an attempt by the U.S. to set up a backchannel with Russia. A Russian plane, owned by Andrei Skoch, a Russian billionaire and deputy in the Russian State Duma, the country's legislative body, flew into the Seychelles a day prior to the 2017 meeting. (NJ.com)

The aide said he remembered getting an email about Russian dirt on Hillary Clinton well before compromising Democratic emails were released. No one can find the message he mentioned.

The Senate Intelligence Committee endorsed the U.S. intelligence community's assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election in order to help Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton. The Senate committee's bipartisan conclusion contradicts Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, who dispute the intelligence community's findings that Putin was trying to help Trump. "We see no reason to dispute the conclusions," the Senate committee's chairman, Richard Burr, said. "There is no doubt that Russia undertook an unprecedented effort to interfere with our 2016 elections." (Washington Post / Politico / CNN / Wall Street Journal)

Senate Judiciary Democrats say the evidence is clear that the Trump campaign "was willing to accept Russia's assistance." The committee's preliminary findings on the Trump Tower meeting also suggest they found "evidence of multiple contacts" between the Trump campaign and Russia, including "offers of assistance and purported overtures from Vladimir Putin." The committee also found that Trump Jr. and the White House misled the public about the June 9, 2016, meeting with Russians at Trump Tower, and that Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner were frustrated "that more damaging information was not produced" at the meeting. (Feinstein / Senate.gov)

The Senate Judiciary Committee released more than 2,500 pages of testimony related to their investigation into the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort and the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, a self-described Kremlin informant. Trump Jr. was promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton, but testimony largely confirms that Veselnitskaya did not provide dirt that could be used in the campaign. (New York Times / Washington Post)

Trump Jr. told the Senate Judiciary Committee he never mentioned the Trump Tower meeting to his father or the offer of compromising information about Hillary Clinton. He also said he couldn't "recall" if he discussed the Russia investigation with his father. Trump Jr. told the committee he didn't think there was anything wrong with meeting a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower ahead of the 2016 presidential election, saying "I didn't think that listening to someone with information relevant to the fitness and character of a presidential candidate would be an issue, no." (Associated Press)

Robert Mueller issued two subpoenas to Roger Stone's social media consultant. Mueller has been probing whether anyone associated with the Trump campaign may have helped WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange or the Russians with the release of the hacked DNC emails. In particular, Mueller wants to know if Stone had advance knowledge of the hacked emails. Mueller has also been requesting interviews with former employees and friends of Stone in recent weeks, asking them about Stone's ties to Russia and Assange. (Reuters / Bloomberg)

The aide said he remembered getting an email about Russian dirt on Hillary Clinton well before compromising Democratic emails were released. No one can find the message he mentioned.

Wisconsin residents in a focus group are divided over Trump and the Russia investigation, but united about one thing: The president should not ax the special counsel.

Michael Cohen claimed in a January 2017 interview that the Trump Organization had no recent relationship or business dealings with Russia. Cohen, however, sent emails during Trump's 2016 presidential campaign seeking the assistance of the Kremlin in an effort to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Trump launched his presidential campaign on June 16, 2015. The Moscow project was dropped in January 2016. (CNN)

A Ukrainian politician involved in the controversial plan to resolve Ukraine's conflict with Russian-backed rebels has been called to testify before a grand jury as part of the special counsel's investigation. Andrii Artemenko did not give any details about his upcoming grand jury appearance, but he said he assumes he will be asked about his communications with Michael Cohen from early 2017. Artemenko said he plans to cooperate with the subpoena and appear in person. (Politico)

A former senior Trump campaign and transition aide is helping a Russian oligarch's company shed US sanctions. Bryan Lanza is lobbying on behalf of the chairman of EN+ Group, an energy and aluminum firm controlled by Oleg Deripaska, who was the target of US sanctions imposed last month. The company wants to reduce Deripaska's ownership in the company enough to be freed from US sanctions. (CNN)

A Russian company indicted by Robert Mueller accused the special counsel of inventing a "make-believe crime" in order "to justify his own existence." Concord Management is challenging the legal basis of Mueller's charge that the company funded Moscow's effort to disrupt the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Concord is one of three Russian businesses and 13 Russian individuals indicted in February for funding for a Russian troll farm that directed a social media campaign aimed at sowing discord among Americans and at favoring Trump over Hillary Clinton. Concord is owned by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a wealthy businessman who is known as Putin's chef. (New York Times / Politico)

The Russia controversy forms the cloudy backdrop of Trump’s presidency, enraging the commander in chief.

In 2014, the FBI warned that Viktor Vekselberg might be acting on behalf of Russia's intelligence services, saying a foundation he controlled "may be a means for the Russian government to access our nation's sensitive or classified research, development facilities and dual-use technologies with military and commercial applications." Earlier this week Michael Avenatti released a dossier that claims Columbus Nova, a Vekselberg company, made more than eight payments to Essential Consultants, totaling more than $1 million in payments between 2016 and 2017. Essential Consultants is owned by Michael Cohen, who is Trump's personal lawyer. Avenatti suggested that the Columbus Nova funds could have been used to reimburse Cohen for the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels in exchange for her silence about her alleged affair with Trump. (NPR)

Robert Mueller's team is investigating several Trump inauguration donors, including Andrew Intrater and Leonard Blavatnik, a dual U.S. and British citizen with business ties to Russia. Intrater is the CEO of Columbus Nova, a U.S.-based affiliate of the the Renova Group, which is controlled by Viktor Vekselberg. In particular, Intrater made a $250,000 donation to the Trump inauguration committee in early January 2017, and later made two more donations: a $35,000 to the Trump Victory fundraising committee and $29,600 to the Republican National Committee. Blavatnik gave $1 million to Trump's inaugural fund through his company, Access Industries. Mueller's team also questioned Thomas Barrack, a longtime Trump friend and confidant who oversaw the $107 million inaugural fundraising effort. (ABC News)

President Trump and Sarah Palin were among figures on the right targeted by outreach from Alexander Torshin, a Russian official recently sanctioned by the U.S., according to documents obtained by NPR.

The Russia-linked company that hired Michael Cohen registered a number of alt-right websites during the 2016 elections. Columbus Nova is listed as the registrant behind a handful of website domains named after the alt-right movement, including Alt-right.co, Alternate-right.com, Alternate-rt.com, Alt-rite.com, and others. The brother of Andrew Intrater, Columbus Nova's U.S. CEO, is named in the registration databases for the websites. Columbus Nova said Frederick Intrater was not acting on behalf of the company, even though he had used his work email address and listed the organization. Columbus Nova gave $500,000 to Cohen in the first half of 2017. (Washington Post)

Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee released 3,500 Facebook ads purchased by a Russian troll farm from mid-2015 to mid-2017. The ads, from the Kremlin-linked Internet Research Agency, reached at least 146 million people on Facebook and Instagram, spreading inflammatory and divisive messages on immigration, race, gun control, Islam, LGBT-centric topics, and more, in an attempt to polarize Americans. Facebook's targeting tools allowed the Russian agents to deliver their disinformation to groups of users according to their location, age, gender, and interests. (NBC News / USA Today / Washington Post)

"They sought to harness Americans' very real frustrations and anger over sensitive political matters in order to influence American thinking, voting and behavior," Rep. Adam B. Schiff said in a statement. "The only way we can begin to inoculate ourselves against a future attack is to see first-hand the types of messages, themes and imagery the Russians used to divide us."

A report from the Senate Intelligence Committee concludes that Russia conducted an "unprecedented, coordinated cyber campaign" in order to undermine confidence in U.S. voting systems starting as early as 2014 and continuing through Election Day 2016. Senators report that the Russians targeted at least 18 states looking for vulnerabilities, and in six states they tried to gain access to voting websites. In "a small number of states" they actually breached election computer defenses. The committee said it found no evidence that vote tallies or voter registration information were changed, but that Russian hackers were "in a position to, at a minimum, alter or delete voter registration data." (New York Times / The Hill)

Top White House officials withheld information sought by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, siding with senior FBI and national intelligence officials that the information could endanger a top-secret intelligence source. The Justice Department, however, invited Devin Nunes and Trey Gowdy for a classified briefing about their document request related to the Russia investigation after Nunes publicly suggested that he may try to hold Jeff Sessions in contempt for refusing to comply. Some administration officials worry that Trump will change his mind and support Nunes' argument that "Congress has a right and a duty to get this information." (Washington Post / CNN)

Robert Mueller's team interviewed Blackwater founder Erik Prince, who attended a meeting with the head of Russia's sovereign wealth fund in the Seychelles Islands on Jan. 11, 2017. The meeting is understood to have been an effort to establish a back channel between the incoming Trump administration and the Kremlin. (Daily Beast)

Let's try to untangle the latest news surrounding Michael Cohen, Russian oligarchs, and Stormy Daniels…

Michael Avenatti released an "executive summary" yesterday of material he says connects Trump's payment to Stormy Daniels to a Russian oligarch. Avenatti represents Daniels in her lawsuit against Trump and Michael Cohen. (NPR)

The Avenatti dossier claims that a company connected to Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg made eight payments to Essential Consultants, one of Cohen's shell companies, between January 2017 and August 2017. Avenatti suggested that the funds from Columbus Nova may have been used to reimburse Cohen for the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels in exchange for her silence about her alleged affair with Trump. (Daily Beast)

Robert Mueller's investigators questioned Vekselberg about a $500,000 payment from Columbus Nova to Essential Consultants that was made shortly after the 2016 election. Vekselberg was placed on a list of sanctioned Russians for election interference and other activities last month by the Trump administration. The purpose of the payments and the nature of the business relationship between Vekselberg and Cohen is still unclear. (CNN)

The shell company Michael Cohen used to pay Stormy Daniels received more than $1 million in payments from an American company linked to a Russian oligarch and Fortune 500 companies with business before the Trump administration. At least $4.4 million flowed through the shell company Cohen used, Essential Consultants, starting shortly before Trump was elected president and continuing to this January. Essential Consultants received about $500,000 from Columbus Nova, an investment firm in New York whose biggest client is a company controlled by Viktor Vekselberg, the Russian oligarch. (New York Times)

Mueller's investigators questioned a Russian oligarch about $500,000 in payments made to Michael Cohen after the election. Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for Stormy Daniels, alleges that Cohen received about $500,000 from Viktor Vekselberg, a Russian oligarch close to Vladimir Putin who was placed on a list of sanctioned Russians related to election interference. According to a dossier published by Avenatti, "Vekselberg and his cousin Mr. Andrew Intrater routed eight payments to Mr. Cohen through a company named Columbus Nova LLC beginning in January 2017 and continuing until at least August 2017." Vekselberg is also one of two Russian oligarchs the FBI stopped earlier this year after their private jets landed in New York-area airports. (CNN / Daily Beast / NBC News)

Alex van der Zwaan turned himself in after being sentenced for lying to investigators as part of Robert Mueller's investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. van der Zwaan is the first person sentenced to prison as part of Mueller's investigation and will serve a 30-day sentence. (Politico)

poll/ 53% of Americans think Robert Mueller's investigation is politically motivated, while 44% think the Russia investigation is justified. 73% think Trump should cooperate and be interviewed by Mueller. (CBS News)

Trump: There is no obstruction of justice, "it's called Fighting Back." Trump attacked Robert Mueller's team, tweeting that "The Russia Witch Hunt is rapidly losing credibility." He added: "The 13 Angry Democrats in charge of the Russian Witch Hunt are starting to find out that there is a Court System in place that actually protects people from injustice…and just wait 'till the Courts get to see your unrevealed Conflicts of Interest!" (NPR / NBC News / The Hill / CNN)

Robert Mueller interviewed Tom Barrack, one of Trump's closest friends and confidants. The special counsel interviewed Barrack as part of the investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 election campaign and afterwards. The questioning focused on Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, financial issues related to the campaign, the transition and Trump's inauguration in January 2017. The interview was "months ago." (Associated Press)

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes threatened to hold Jeff Sessions in contempt of Congress for failing to hand over classified materials related to the Russia investigation. On Friday, the Justice Department informed Nunes that providing the information on a "specific individual" could harm national security. Nunes has previously threatened on several occasions to hold Justice Department officials in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over documents, only to not read the materials once they were made available to him. (CNN)

Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee plan to release a trove of 3,000 Russian-linked Facebook ads later this week. The release of the ads would offer a broad picture of how the social network was used by the pro-Russian Internet Research Agency during and after the 2016 presidential election. (Wall Street Journal)

Devin Nunes opted not to read Justice Department records after publicly demanding a fully uncensored version of the documents that explain how the Russia investigation began in 2016. Nunes threatened Rod Rosenstein with contempt of Congress if he didn't comply. (CNN)

Giuliani: The special counsel's request for an interview is an effort to "trap" Trump "into perjury, and we're not suckers." Giuliani added that Robert Mueller's "silly deposition is about a case in which he supposedly colluded with the Russians but there's no evidence." He called on Jeff Sessions to "step in and close it and say enough is enough." (Washington Post)

Former Trump campaign aide Michael Caputo said it's clear that Mueller's team is "still really focused on Russia collusion," adding that Mueller's team knows "more about the Trump campaign than anyone who ever worked there." Caputo was interviewed this week behind closed doors by the Senate Intelligence Committee. (CNN)

Robert Mueller warned Trump's legal team that he could subpoena the president to appear before a grand jury if he refuses to speak to federal investigators involved in the Russia probe. Mueller raised the possibility of a subpoena during a tense meeting in March after Trump's attorneys insisted that Trump was under no obligation to speak with investigators. Unlike an interview with the special counsel, Trump would not be allowed to bring his lawyers to a grand jury hearing. (Washington Post)

Ukraine stopped cooperating with Mueller regarding Paul Manafort at the same time the Trump administration was finalizing plans to sell the country anti-tank missiles. Ukrainian law enforcement also allowed Konstantin Kilimnika, a potential witness to possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, to leave for Russia, putting him out of reach for questioning. (New York Times)

Robert Mueller has at least 49 questions he wants to ask Trump regarding his ties to Russia and alleged obstruction of justice. The questions deal primarily with Trump's firing of James Comey and Michael Flynn, as well as his treatment of Jeff Sessions and the 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Trump campaign officials and Russians who claimed to have damaging information on Hillary Clinton. Other topics of inquiry include Trump's conversations with Michael Cohen about a real estate deal in Moscow, Jared Kushner's attempts to set up a backchannel to Russia, contacts Trump had with Roger Stone, and Trump's 2013 trip to Moscow for the Miss Universe pageant. (New York Times)

Trump tweeted that it was "So disgraceful that the questions concerning the Russian Witch Hunt were 'leaked' to the media." The leak didn't come from Mueller's office, but were provided to the New York Times by a person outside of Trump's legal team. "No questions on Collusion," Trump added. "Oh, I see…you have a made up, phony crime, Collusion, that never existed, and an investigation begun with illegally leaked classified information. Nice!" The list includes 13 questions related to possible cooperation between the Trump campaign and Russia. Trump followed up with another tweet 45 minutes later: "It would seem very hard to obstruct justice for a crime that never happened! Witch Hunt!"(Washington Post / Politico)

Former Trump campaign aide Michael Caputo met with the Senate Intelligence Committee investigators as part of the panel's probe into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. (ABC News)

The FBI questioned a Russian mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter linked to Putin, Trump, and Michael Cohen. The FBI showed up unannounced at Fedor Emelianenko's hotel room in Chicago. "All I can say is that, yeah, they showed up unannounced, knocking on our doors," Emelianenko's manager Jerry Millen said. Trump announced a joint venture involving MMA and Emelianenko in 2008. Cohen was the project's chief operating officer. (Associated Press / The Telegraph / NY Daily News)

The House Intelligence Committee found "no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded, coordinated, or conspired with the Russian government" in the 2016 election. The 253-page report criticized both the Trump and Hillary Clinton campaigns for "poor judgment and ill-considered actions" in their dealings with Russia-related figures. Democrats on the committee accused the Republicans of prematurely closing the investigation in "a systematic effort to muddy the waters and to deflect attention away from the President," asserting that Trump associates' willingness to accept Russian assistance suggests "a consciousness of wrongfulness, if not illegality." The report accused the intelligence community of "significant intelligence tradecraft failings," suggesting that Russia's main goal was to sow discord in the United States and not to help Trump win the election. (New York Times / Washington Post / Politico)

Minutes after the committee's report was released, Trump tweeted "Wow!" the Russia investigation is "A total Witch Hunt!" and "MUST END NOW." (The Hill)

Natalya Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who met with Trump campaign officials at Trump Tower in 2016, was an informant for Russian Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika. "I am a lawyer, and I am an informant," she said in newly released emails. "Since 2013, I have been actively communicating with the office of the Russian prosecutor general." Veselnitskaya insists that she met with Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, and others in a private capacity – not as a representative of the Russian government – despite an intermediary promising that Veselnitskaya had documents that would incriminate Clinton. (New York Times)

A federal judge dismissed Paul Manafort's civil suit challenging Robert Mueller's authority. Manafort's attorneys asked the judge to throw out all charges against Manafort, arguing that Mueller had exceeded his authority by bringing charges unrelated to Russian election interference. (CBS News / Politico)

Trump on his presidency: "I would give myself an A-plus." Asked during a "Fox and Friends" interview how he would grade his presidency, Trump answered by first complaining that the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election is a "hoax" and a "witch hunt" orchestrated by Democrats before eventually replying: "I would give myself an A-plus." (The Hill)

poll/ 58% of voters approve of Robert Mueller's conduct so far, saying they believe he has "stayed within the boundaries of the Russia investigation." (The Hill)

Mueller's raid on Paul Manafort's condo and storage locker last July was to gather documents related to the Trump Tower meeting between Russian lobbyists and Manafort, Trump Jr., and Jared Kushner. A new court filing by the special counsel confirmed that Mueller's team raided Manafort's home in July 2017 to recover "Communications, records, documents, and other files involving any of the attendees of the June 9, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower, as well as Aras and Amin Agalorov." Manafort has been indicted on five counts, including conspiracy against the U.S., money laundering, and acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign government, and is fighting to suppress evidence collected in the raid. (Newsweek / Politico / Bloomberg / Law and Crime)

Russian hackers likely targeted more than 21 states before the 2016 election, a top Department of Homeland Security official said. (The Hill)

Keith Schiller, Trump's bodyguard, testified before Congress that "a Russian participant" offered to send five women to Trump's hotel room on November 9th. Schiller reportedly rejected the offer and stood outside Trump's hotel room until he went to bed for the night.

Trump's new national security adviser chaired a nonprofit that promoted misleading and anti-Muslim news. Bolton was chairman of the Gatestone Institute from 2013 until last month. The advocacy group claims that a "jihadist takeover" of Europe is leading to a "Great White Death," which was amplified by a Russian troll factory that sought to portray Western society as at risk of "Islamization." (NBC News)

Trump's legislative affairs director won't rule out Trump firing Robert Mueller or Rod Rosenstein, saying the special counsel has moved outside his original mandate. Marc Short said: "We believe the scope has gone well beyond what was intended to be Russian meddling in the election," adding, "We don't know how far off the investigation is going to veer." (Politico)

The Treasury Department eased sanctions on a Russian aluminum producer tied to Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch who is close to Putin. (Politico)

The Democratic National Committee filed a lawsuit against the Russian government, the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks alleging a conspiracy to help Trump win the 2016 election. The 66-page lawsuit claims that Russian hacking, the Trump associates' contacts with Russia, and the public cheerleading by the campaign of the hacks amounted to conspiracy to interfere in the election and cause damage to the Democratic Party. DNC Chairman Tom Perez said in a statement: "This constituted an act of unprecedented treachery: the campaign of a nominee for President of the United States in league with a hostile foreign power to bolster its own chance to win the presidency." If the lawsuit proceeds, Trump and his campaign aides could be forced to submit to depositions that require them to answer questions under oath. (Washington Post / Reuters / New York Times / CNN)

Trump invited Putin to the U.S. during a phone call on March 20. Trump reportedly said he "would be glad to see [Putin] in the White House," according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. (Reuters)

Trump tweeted that Michael Flynn's life is now "totally destroyed" while "Shadey James Comey can Leak and Lie and make lots of money from a third rate book." Flynn pleaded guilty in December to lying to federal agents and is cooperating with Robert Mueller's probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election and whether the Trump campaign was involved. (Bloomberg)

Putin once told Trump that Russia has "some of the most beautiful hookers in the world," according to Comey. In a memo dated Feb. 8, 2017, Comey writes that Trump "brought up the 'Golden Showers thing,'" saying that "'the hookers thing' is nonsense." (The Hill)

Comey explained why he thinks "it's possible" that Russia has compromising information on Trump. First, he says, is that "the President is constantly bringing it up with me to deny it." And, second, Trump "wouldn't criticize Vladimir Putin even in private, which struck me as odd." (CNN)

Strzok helped oversee the probe of Hillary Clinton's email use and the investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Trump's congressional allies threatened to impeach Rod Rosenstein if he didn't provide them with documents about the FBI's conduct related to the Russia probe and the investigation into Hillary Clinton's email server. Representatives Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan said Rosenstein could also be held in contempt of Congress if he doesn't satisfy their demands for documents. Critics say the two Republicans are attempting to build a case against Rosenstein in hopes of closing the Mueller investigation. (Washington Post)

The special counsel suspects that Paul Manafort served as a "back channel" between the Trump campaign and Russians intent on meddling in the presidential election. Manafort "had long-standing ties to Russia-backed politicians," Justice Department attorney Michael Dreeben said. "Did they provide back channels to Russia? Investigators will naturally look at those things." Manafort's lawyers argued that Robert Mueller exceeded his authority when he indicted Manafort on charges of laundering millions of dollars while acting as an unregistered agent of the Ukrainian government. (Bloomberg)

Trump: We'll put sanctions on Russia "as soon as they very much deserve it," adding that "there has been nobody tougher on Russia than Donald Trump." The third-person comment capped a four-day stretch of confusion over whether the Trump administration would punish Moscow for its role in a recent chemical attack in Syria. (The Hill)

Michael Cohen dropped a pair of libel suits against BuzzFeed and Fusion GPS over the publication of the dossier that details alleged ties between Trump and Russia. The dossier claims Cohen met with Russian operatives somewhere in Europe to "clean up the mess" created by the public disclosures of Trump associates' ties to Russia. Pursuing the suit would require Cohen to "face a discovery process that would have forced him to defend his reputation and address the allegations of the Steele dossier under penalty of perjury." (Politico / Washington Post)

Defense Secretary James Mattis wanted to get Congressional approval before bombing Syria last week. Trump overruled him because he wanted his tweets to be supported by action, despite warnings that an overly aggressive strike could spark a larger dispute with Russia. A limited airstrike on three targets was the compromise. (New York Times)

Nikki Haley: "I don't get confused." The comment by the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations comes in response to a White House official attributing her statement that Trump would impose sanctions on Russia to "momentary confusion." Larry Kudlow, the president's national economics adviser, said Haley "got ahead of the curve." Later, Kudlow called Haley to apologize, saying "she was certainly not confused." He added: "She was basically following what she thought was policy. The policy was changed and she wasn't told about it, so she was in a box." The White House sent out a document – titled "White House talking points" – to surrogates on Saturday letting them know that Trump had decided to take punitive action against Moscow. (New York Times / Politico / CNN)

Trump denied that he fired James Comey because of the Russia investigation, directly contradicting his own comments on Comey's dismissal. In May 2017, Trump told NBC's Lester Holt that his decision to fire Comey was "this Russia thing," which he called "a made up story" and "an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won." Today, Trump tweeted that "Slippery James Comey, the worst FBI Director in history, was not fired because of the phony Russia investigation," adding the requisite all-caps "NO COLLUSION (except by the Dems)!" (CNN / Washington Post / Axios)

Trump rejected a new round of sanctions that would have been imposed against Russia on Monday. Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that "a decision will be made in the near future," and Trump has now decided to not move forward with the sanctions. She added that Trump "has been clear that he's going to be tough on Russia, but at the same time he'd still like to have a good relationship with them." (New York Times)

Trump's National Economic Council chairman said Nikki Haley "got ahead" of herself in announcing new sanctions on Russia. Larry Kudlow insisted there was no confusion within the administration about the sanctions. Trump signed off on the sanctions package, but changed his mind following the airstrikes in Syria. "Russia sanctions were a part of the agreed-upon plan going into the strike and going into the weekend," said a senior administration official. "As recently as Saturday that was reconfirmed as part of the plan." (CNN / Politico)

poll/ Roughly 7 in 10 Americans support tougher U.S. sanctions on Russia, while nearly half say Trump has done "too little" to address Russia's alleged violations of international law. Meanwhile, 52% say Trump should invite Putin to the White House in order to help improve U.S.-Russia relations; 42% oppose the invitation because they feel it would give Putin legitimacy. (Washington Post-ABC News poll)

James Comey called Trump "morally unfit to be president" and likened "the loyalty oaths" to a mob boss at "the dominant center of everything" who is doing "tremendous damage" to institutional and cultural norms. In his Sunday interview with George Stephanopoulos, Comey said that it is "possible, but I don't know" if Russia has compromising information on Trump. (ABC News / Reuters)

The Pentagon said there has been a "2,000% increase in Russian trolls in the last 24 hours," following the airstrikes against Syria on Friday night. (Axios)

The Trump administration walked back Nikki Haley's announcement that the U.S. Treasury plans to issue additional sanctions on Russia following the chemical weapons attack in Syria last week. "We are considering additional sanctions on Russia and a decision will be made in the near future," Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. (The Hill)

Trump was "furious" that his administration was being portrayed in the media for taking the toughest stance on Russia following the announcement that the U.S. planned to expel 60 Russian diplomats and suspected spies. Trump believed that France and Germany would match the United States' response. Instead, they each expelled four Russian officials. (Washington Post)

Nikki Haley: Trump is "locked and loaded" to strike again if Syria uses chemical weapons again. The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations' comment came during an emergency Security Council meeting called by Russia. (Washington Post)

Russian military claimed that Syrian air defenses shot down 71 of the 103 missiles fired by the US and its allies. The Pentagon denied the claim. (The Guardian)

Robert Mueller has evidence that Michael Cohen made a secret trip to Prague during the 2016 presidential campaign, entering through Germany in "August or early September." Confirmation of the trip corroborates part of the Christopher Steele dossier that Cohen met with an ally of Putin. Cohen has denied that he has ever been in Prague and that he colluded with Russia during the campaign. (McClatchy DC)

A former Russian spy worked on the Moscow Trump tower deal during the 2016 presidential campaign. The former agent, who had served in the GRU, negotiated for financing for a Trump-branded tower in Moscow from a Russian state-owned bank that was under US sanctions at the time. The former Russian spy also passed intelligence to the US on key national security matters, including al-Qaeda's weapons caches and North Korea's attempts to develop nuclear weapons. (BuzzFeed News)

James Comey called Trump an "unethical" man "untethered to truth and institutional values" in his new book, "A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership." Comey describes Trump and his advisers as being unconcerned with whether Russia meddled in the election, but rather "debat[ing] how to position these findings for maximum political advantage." Trump, as president-elect, disputed the Steele dossier allegations that he watched sex workers urinate on each other. Comey writes that Trump insisted that "there's no way I would let people pee on each other around me" because he is a self-professed germaphobe. "I don't know," Comey told ABC News, if Trump "was with prostitutes peeing on each other in Moscow in 2013." (NBC News / New York Times / CNN)

poll/ 69% of Americans support Mueller's investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. 64% support Mueller investigating Trump's business activities, and 58% support looking at allegations that Trump’s associates paid hush money to women who say they had affairs with him. (ABC News)

Trump has been pushing for an attack on Syria that would punish the Syrian regime, Russia, and Iran. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, meanwhile, is warning that retaliation must be balanced against the threat of a wider war in order to "keep this from escalating." (New York Times / Wall Street Journal)

A Trump interview with Robert Mueller is now unlikely to take place following Monday's FBI raid of Michael Cohen's home, office, and hotel room, which has "significantly complicated" negotiations for a presidential interview, according to a person familiar with the discussions. Trump's lawyers wanted a potential interview to last only a few hours, as well as force Mueller to release his report within three or four months. An interview was considered one of the last steps Mueller needed before closing the obstruction of justice portion of his Russia investigation. (NBC News)

The White House is preparing talking points designed to undermine Rod Rosenstein's credibility and cast the deputy attorney general as too conflicted to fairly oversee the Russia investigation. The White House is hoping that Trump's defenders will paint Rosenstein and Comey as close colleagues and argue that Rosenstein is approving an expanding investigation as "payback for the President firing one of his best friends." (CNN)

Trump tweeted that an attack on Syria "could be very soon or not soon at all!" Trump, trying to clarify his tweet yesterday that U.S. missiles "will be coming," claimed that he "never said when an attack on Syria would take place." In response, Syria moved its military aircraft to the Russian base near Latakia yesterday. (New York Times / Washington Post)

poll/ Obama is more admired than Trump in every country except one: Russia. Obama ranked first in 19 of 35 countries, including the U.S. Trump, meanwhile, ranked 2nd in the U.S. and 11th in Russia. Obama ranked 12th. (YouGov)

Trump tweets that "smart" missiles "will be coming" toward Syria in response to a chemical attack, taunting Russia to "get ready." Russia's ambassador to Lebanon said any U.S. missiles fired at Syria would be shot down and the launch sites targeted. Trump also condemned Moscow's backing of Bashar al-Assad, saying: "You shouldn't be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!" In a pair of subsequent tweets, Trump said relations between the U.S. and Russia are "worse now than it has ever been" and the "Fake and Corrupt Russia Investigation," Democrats, and everybody that worked for Obama are to blame. (New York Times / Washington Post)

The NRA said it accepted contributions from about 23 Russians, or Americans living in Russia, since 2015. (NPR)

Mueller is using the Paul Manafort investigation to probe Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, search warrant documents reveal. Mueller is seeking information from Manafort about foreign political donations and the meeting between top Trump campaign officials and Russian operatives in Trump Tower, in addition to Manafort's interactions with a Russian real estate magnate and possible campaign finance violations. (CNN / Associated Press)

The Russian military has been jamming the GPS systems of U.S. military drones operating in Syria. The Defense Department did not say whether the jamming is causing drones to crash. (NBC News)

Trump vowed to make "major decisions" in the next 24 to 48 hours about how to respond to a suspected chemical attack in Syria that killed dozens of people. Trump said there will be a "big price to pay" for the "atrocious," "horrible," and "barbaric act." Trump directly criticized Putin, Russia, and Iran for backing "Animal Assad" in a tweet. Later, Trump said "Everybody's going to pay a price. [Putin] will, everybody will." (New York Times / Washington Post / Reuters)

Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook should have done more to prevent third-party apps from collecting users' data without their permission and for being "too slow to spot and respond to Russian interference" during the U.S. election. In written testimony, Zuckerberg said that "It's clear now that we didn't do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm as well" and that Facebook "didn't take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake." Zuckerberg is scheduled to testify before the Senate Commerce and Judiciary committees on Tuesday, and the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday. The social network said it would form an independent commission of academic researchers to study social media's impact on elections. (Reuters / Washington Post / New York Times)

Robert Mueller has evidence that questions Erik Prince's congressional testimony about a chance meeting last year in the Seychelles with Kirill Dmitriev, the manager of a state-run Russian investment fund close to Putin. George Nader, a cooperating witness with limited immunity, told investigators that he facilitated and personally attended a meeting between Prince and Dmitriev days before Trump was inaugurated. The goal of the meeting was to discuss foreign policy and to establish a line of communication between the Russian government and the incoming Trump administration. Prince told the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in November that "I didn't fly there to meet any Russian guy," and the meeting with Dmitriev was unexpected. Prince founded the private military contractor Blackwater USA and is the brother of Betsy DeVos, who serves as Trump's secretary of education. As of late March, Mueller's team has not asked Prince to appear before the grand jury. (ABC News)

Mueller's investigators questioned a Trump Organization associate about Michael Cohen's involvement in business deals in Georgia, Kazakhstan, and Russia. The special counsel's team showed up unannounced at the home of the business associate this week with a subpoena seeking information about the efforts by Trump's personal attorney and a former Trump Organization employee to expand the Trump brand abroad. (McClatchy DC)

The Trump administration imposed new sanctions on 17 Russian government officials, a state-owned weapons company, and seven oligarchs and 12 companies affiliated with them. "The Russian government operates for the disproportionate benefit of oligarchs and government elites," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said. "Russian oligarchs and elites who profit from this corrupt system will no longer be insulated from the consequences of their government's destabilizing activities." The sanctions were in response to the "totality of the Russian government's ongoing and increasingly malign activities in the world," including interfering in the 2016 election and aggressions in Crimea, Ukraine, and Syria. (New York Times / Politico / Washington Post / NBC News)

Trump considered replacing Jeff Sessions with Scott Pruitt as recently as this week. "He was 100% still trying to protect Pruitt because Pruitt is his fill-in for Sessions," a person familiar with Trump's thinking said. Trump remains frustrated that Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation more than a year ago. (CNN)

A cooperating witness in Robert Mueller's investigation may have information linking the United Arab Emirates to Russia. George Nader has received at least partial immunity for his cooperation. Nader's international connections helped him arrange several meetings that have drawn the attention of the special counsel, including a meeting in the Seychelles between Kirill Dmitriev, the manager of a state-run Russian investment fund, and a Trump adviser days before Trump took office. (New York Times)

Robert Mueller: Trump is not currently a criminal target in the Russia probe, but he remains under investigation. The special counsel also told Trump's lawyers during negotiations in early March regarding a possible Trump interview that he is preparing a report about Trump's actions and potential obstruction of justice. Mueller is required to report his conclusions confidentially to Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, who has the authority to decide whether to release the information publicly. Mueller's investigators plan to report on their findings in stages, starting with the obstruction issue. Trump has privately expressed relief at his legal status and has repeatedly told allies that he is not a target of the probe and believes an interview will help him put the matter behind him. (Washington Post)

Analysis: Mueller told Trump he's not a criminal target in the Russia probe. That may not mean what you think. (Washington Post)

Mueller's team has been questioning Russian oligarchs who travel to the US. Investigators want to know if wealthy Russians illegally funneled money directly or indirectly into Trump's presidential campaign and inauguration. Foreign nationals are prohibited under campaign finance laws from donating to US political campaigns. Mueller's team has stopped at least three Russian oligarchs for questioning in recent weeks. (CNN)

H. R. McMaster denounced Russia and said "we have failed to impose sufficient costs" in his last public remarks as Trump's national security adviser. "Russia has used old and new forms of aggression to undermine our open societies and the foundations of international peace and stability," McMaster said. Hours earlier, Trump claimed that "nobody has been tougher on Russia than I have." (Washington Post)

Trump is expected this week to impose additional sanctions against Russia, which are designed to target oligarchs with ties to Putin. The United States is expected to target individuals on a list of influential Russian political and business leaders that the Treasury Department released in January. (Washington Post)

Rod Rosenstein authorized Robert Mueller to investigate Paul Manafort for allegedly "colluding with Russian government officials" in a classified August 2017 memo. Mueller was also given authority to probe Manafort's work for the Ukrainian government. The memo was disclosed in a court filing as Mueller's prosecutors seek to counter arguments by Manafort's lawyers that his indictment should be thrown out. (CNN / Wall Street Journal)

A senior leader in Russia's spy agency has agreed to plead partially guilty to sharing information with foreign intelligence. Dmitry Dokuchaev is wanted by the FBI and suspected to be linked to Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election. (McClatchy DC)

Trump told White House aides not to publicly discuss a plan to provide new U.S. weapons to Ukraine to help the country fight back against Russian-backed separatists. Officials said Trump was concerned that doing so might agitate Putin. "He doesn't want us to bring it up," said one White House official. "It is not something he wants to talk about." (NBC News)

Russia's ambassador to the U.S. can't remember a period of worse relations between Washington and Moscow. Anatoly Antonov also said it's "impossible to imagine" that the Kremlin was responsible for meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, adding that "there is great mistrust between the United States and Russia" at present. (NBC News)

The FBI detained Ted Malloch and issued him a subpoena to testify before Robert Mueller about potential collusion between Trump's campaign and the Russian government. FBI asked Malloch about his relationship with Roger Stone and if he had ever visited the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange resides. Malloch is reportedly close to Trump, Steve Bannon, UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage, and Stone. (The Guardian / NBC News)

Czech officials have extradited a Russian hacker to the U.S. to face charges that he hacked into LinkedIn, Dropbox, and other American companies. Yevgeniy Nikulin, who denies that he is a hacker, was arrested by Czech officials in Prague in cooperation with the FBI in October 2016. (Associated Press)

Congress is investigating an August 2016 flight from Moscow to New Jersey in connection with a meeting between Paul Manafort and Konstantin Kilimnik. The jet, which is linked to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who has close ties with the Kremlin, landed in the U.S. shortly before Manafort and Kilimnik met in Manhattan. Kilimnik is the unnamed person with "ties to Russian intelligence" in Robert Mueller's indictment of Rick Gates. (Vice News)

Robert Mueller's team pushed Rick Gates last year to help them connect the Trump campaign to the Russians. Mueller's team plans to use information from Gates to tie Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman, directly to a Russian intelligence agency. As part of Gates' agreement to cooperate with the special counsel last month, he earned a reduced potential sentence and had several charges against him dropped. (CNN)

Mueller's team has also been questioning witnesses about an event attended by both Jeff Sessions and Sergei Kislyak during the 2016 Republican National Convention. The team also has been asking if Sessions had private discussions with the now former Russian Ambassador to the United States on the sidelines of a Trump campaign speech at the Washington Mayflower Hotel in April 2016. (Reuters)

Jeff Sessions said he will not name a second special counsel at this time. Instead, Sessions revealed that Utah's top federal prosecutor, John Huber, is investigating allegations that the FBI abused its powers in surveilling Carter Page, and that more should have been done to investigate Hillary Clinton's ties to a Russian nuclear energy agency. (CNN / Washington Post)

Russia will close the American consulate in St. Petersburg and kick out 60 U.S. diplomats. The move comes in response to the coordinated expulsion of Russian diplomats from the U.S. and several European countries. (Washington Post)

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is raising funds to help cover costs defending against ongoing government probes. McCabe was fired by Jeff Sessions but says he was terminated because he is a witness in the Russia investigation. (Reuters)

Rick Gates knowingly communicated with "a former Russian Intelligence Officer" during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to documents filed by Robert Mueller's investigators. Gates was in frequent contact with "Person A" – who has been identified as Konstantin Kilimnik – during the time he worked for Trump's campaign, including September and October 2016. The documents Mueller filed indicate that the communications between Gates and Kilimnik are "pertinent to the investigation." Kilimnik worked with Paul Manafort for four years on behalf of a Kremlin-aligned Ukrainian political party. (New York Times / Washington Post)

Gates told Alexander van der Zwaan that Kilimnik was a former intelligence officer with Russia's foreign intelligence service. The London-based lawyer, who previously worked with Gates and Manafort, pleaded guilty last month to lying to special counsel Robert Mueller's investigators about his interactions with Gates and Kilimnik. Gates communicated with Kilimnik and van der Zwaan in a "series of calls" in September and October 2016. (CNN / Politico / The Hill)

poll/ 58% of Americans want to see the investigation into Russian interference fully investigated, compared to 36% who think it's an effort to discredit Trump's presidency. 55% of Americans don't think Trump is doing enough to cooperate with the investigation. (CNN)

The NRA confirmed that it accepts foreign donations but denied that it uses the money for election purposes. The Federal Election Commission is investigating whether a top Russian banker with Kremlin ties illegally funneled money to the NRA to aid Trump's campaign for president. (NPR)

Trump's personal legal team is down to one member as he struggles to find lawyers willing to represent him. Jay Sekulow is the only personal lawyer for Trump working full time on Robert Mueller's investigation. He is assisted by Ty Cobb, a White House lawyer paid by taxpayers to represent the institution of the presidency rather than Trump personally. John Dowd, who had been leading the team handling the Russia inquiry, resigned last week after strategy disputes with Trump, while Marc Kasowitz's role was reduced after a series of clashes with Trump over the summer. Emmet Flood, the lawyer who represented Bill Clinton during his impeachment process, said he will not represent Trump if Kasowitz has any role on the team, and another, Theodore Olson, declined to represent Trump. (New York Times / Washington Post)

The U.S. will expel 60 Russian diplomats in response to the poisoning of a former Russian spy on British soil. The Russian consulate in Seattle will also be closed as part of the response. (NBC News)

George Papadopoulos was encouraged to improve relations with Russia because it was a top foreign policy goal of the campaign. Emails turned over to investigators, show Papadopoulos had more contact with key Trump campaign and transition officials than has been publicly acknowledged. (Washington Post)

The "lone hacker" known as Guccifer 2.0 is actually a Russian intelligence officer. Guccifer claimed responsibility for the breach of the Democratic National Committee and the data dump of the stolen DNC emails. He publicly portrayed himself as the "lone hacker" who was able to penetrate the DNC, but a team of investigators identified him as an officer of Russia's military intelligence directorate, or GRU, after he failed to turn on the virtual private network (VPN) that he used to disguise his IP address. As a result, he left a real, Moscow-based IP address in the server logs of an American social media company. (The Daily Beast)

Mueller's team has discussed four main topics with Trump's lawyers for a potential Trump interview. Specifically, the special counsel wants to know about Trump's role in crafting a statement aboard Air Force One about Trump Jr.'s June 2016 meeting with Russians at Trump Tower; the circumstances surrounding the Trump Tower meeting; and the firings of James Comey and Michael Flynn. Mueller's team is also looking at connections between Trump's campaign and Cambridge Analytica and how the data firm collected and utilized voter data in battleground states. (CNN / Associated Press)

Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee voted to end their investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, concluding that the evidence failed to amount to collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. (Politico)

The Senate Intelligence Committee recommended that states buy voting machines that produce paper ballots and that they secure voter databases ahead of November's midterm elections. Senators, concerned about Russian meddling in the midterms, called on Congress to "urgently" make funds available for states to update their voting systems, institute vote audits, and hire staff focused on cybersecurity. (New York Times)

Senators criticized the Trump administration for not doing enough to prepare for the 2018 midterms. "I hear no sense of urgency to really get on top of this issue," Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, said. Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen testified before the committee, saying the 2018 midterms and future elections are "clearly potential targets for Russian hacking attempts." (CNN)

Trump and John Kelly are reportedly furious over the leak that Trump congratulated Putin despite warnings from multiple national security advisers and briefing materials that said "DO NOT CONGRATULATE." It's still unclear if Trump read the guidance that was given to him by his advisers, but Trump defended his congratulatory call, tweeting that "Getting along with Russia… is a good thing," and that his "energy and chemistry" with Putin will be constructive. He capped off his second tweet with an all-caps: "PEACE THROUGH STRENGTH!" (CNN / Axios)

The former director of the CIA suggested that Russia may have compromising information on Trump "that they could always roll out and make his life more difficult." John Brennan, the CIA director under Obama, said the fact that Trump "had this fawning attitude toward Mr. Putin, has not said anything negative about him, I think continues to say to me that he does have something to fear and something very serious to fear." Brennan was the CIA director in 2016 when the dossier surfaced that claimed the Russians had compromising information on Trump. (CNN / New York Times)

Andrew McCabe oversaw a federal criminal investigation into whether Jeff Sessions lacked candor when testifying before Congress about contacts with Russians. McCabe authorized the investigation nearly a year before he was fired by Sessions for a "lack of candor." (ABC News)

Facebook's chief information security officer, Alex Stamos, is leaving the company following disagreements among top Facebook executives over their response to Russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections and potential interference in the 2018 midterms. The issue is rooted in how much Facebook should publicly share about the ways in which their platform was misused in the run-up to the 2018 midterm elections. Stamos oversaw Facebook's security team, which was once 120 people, but is currently down to three people. Stamos plans to leave the company by August. (New York Times)

Trump called Putin to congratulate him on his recent re-election. The call comes days after the White House imposed sanctions on Russia for meddling in the 2016 U.S. election and "malicious cyberattacks." The Trump administration has also recently criticized Russia for its apparent role in a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy and his daughter in the U.K. (New York Times)

Three sources contradicted Jeff Sessions' claims that he "pushed back" against a George Papadopoulos proposal for Trump's campaign to meet with Russians in 2016. Some Democrats think the discrepancies in Sessions' testimony suggest the attorney general may have committed perjury. (Reuters)

Trump's personal lawyer wants Rod Rosenstein to end Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. "I pray that Acting Attorney General Rosenstein will follow the brilliant and courageous example of the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility and Attorney General Jeff Sessions and bring an end to alleged Russia Collusion investigation manufactured by McCabe's boss James Comey based upon a fraudulent and corrupt Dossier," John Dowd wrote in an email comment about McCabe's firing. Dowd initially said he was speaking on behalf of Trump "as his counsel," but later said he was not speaking on the president's behalf. (The Daily Beast)

Robert Mueller subpoenaed the Trump Organization to turn over documents related to Russia and other topics he's investigating. The subpoena was delivered in "recent weeks" and is the first known order directly related to Trump's businesses. (New York Times)

BuzzFeed wants to use Michael Cohen's libel suit against them to demand that Stormy Daniels preserve all records related to her relationship with Trump, including all negotiations, agreements, and payments involving Cohen and the $130,000 payment she received before the 2016 election as part of a nondisclosure agreement she is now trying to void. Cohen filed a libel suit in January against BuzzFeed and four staffers over the publication of the dossier of allegations about Trump's relationship with Russia.(Politico)

Trump imposed sanctions on Russian organizations and individuals in retaliation for interference in the 2016 presidential election and other "malicious" cyberattacks. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin called the cyberattacks "the most destructive and costly cyberattack in history," having caused billions of dollars in damage in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. (New York Times / Washington Post / Bloomberg)

The Trump administration accused Moscow of a deliberate, ongoing hacking operation to penetrate the U.S. energy grid, aviation systems, and other infrastructure. "Since at least March 2016, Russian government cyber actors" have targeted "government entities and multiple U.S. critical infrastructure sectors," including those of energy, nuclear, water and aviation, according to an alert issued by the Department of Homeland Security and F.BI. (Associated Press / Bloomberg / Politico)

Trey Gowdy contradicted his own Republican-led House Intelligence Committee's findings in the Russia probe. Gowdy said Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election was motivated in part "by a desire" to hurt Hillary Clinton's candidacy. The committee disagreed with the intelligence community's assessment "with respect to Putin's supposed preference for candidate Trump." (CNBC)

British Prime Minister Theresa May expelled 23 Russian "undeclared intelligence officers" following the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. May said there is "no alternative conclusion" other than Russia being responsible for their attempted murder. (Sky News)

Nikki Haley said U.S. believes Russia was responsible for the attempted assassination of a former Russian spy and his daughter in Britain. Haley told the U.N. Security Council it should hold the Kremlin "accountable." (NBC News)

Hours before being fired, Rex Tillerson called the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter an "egregious act" that "clearly" came from Russia. He added that Russia is "an irresponsible force of instability in the world, acting with open disregard for the sovereignty of other states and the life of their citizens." On Monday, British Prime Minister Theresa May said it is "highly likely" Russia is responsible for the poisoning, either directly or because it lost control of the nerve agent. The two were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent in the U.K. and were found unconscious. (NBC News)

Trump: "As soon as we get the facts straight, if we agree with them, we will condemn Russia or whoever it may be." (Reuters)

Russian exile Nikolai Glushkov was found dead at his home in London. The Metropolitan police said there was no evidence at present to suggest a link to the incident in Salisbury, where Sergei and Yulia Skripal remain in a critical condition. (The Guardian)

House Intelligence Committee Republicans said their investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. The committee agreed with the findings of the intelligence community that Russia had interfered, but they disagreed that the Russians favored Trump. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the committee, said the Republican decision to end the investigation was "another tragic milestone for this Congress, and represents yet another capitulation to the executive branch," adding: "By ending its oversight role in the only authorized investigation in the House, the Majority has placed the interests of protecting the President over protecting the country, and history will judge its actions harshly." (New York Times / CNN)

In the spring of 2016, Roger Stone said he learned from WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange that the organization had obtained the emails of John Podesta and of the Democratic National Committee. WikiLeaks released the documents in late July and October. U.S. intelligence concluded the hackers who obtained the emails were working for Russia. Stone has since denied any communication with Assange or knowledge of the document dumps by WikiLeaks. Assange and WikiLeaks have also said they never communicated with Stone. (Washington Post)

Putin suggested that Jews were responsible for the cyberattacks during the 2016 election when asked about 13 Russian citizens charged by the special counsel Robert Mueller. "Maybe they are not even Russians," Putin mused, "but Ukrainians, Tatars or Jews, but with Russian citizenship, which should also be checked. Maybe they have dual citizenship or a Green Card. Maybe the U.S. paid them for this. How can you know that? I do not know either." Top Democratic leaders in the House and Senate urged Trump to employ "all resources available" to extradite the 13 Russians. (New York Times / NBC News)

More than two-thirds of House Democrats have signed a letter "strongly urging" Trump to enact sanctions on Russia and adhere to the law he signed last summer. At least 137 of the Democrats in the House have signed the letter, which urges Trump to "reverse course, follow the letter and spirit of the law, and demonstrate that the security of our country and integrity of elections are sacrosanct." (Reuters)

The House Intelligence Committee has finished interviewing witnesses in its probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election. The Republican-run committee is preparing a report based on witness testimony and thousands of pages of documents. The panel is unlikely to come to a bipartisan conclusion on some of the central questions in the probe. (Wall Street Journal)

Theresa May said it was "highly likely" that Russia was responsible for poisoning a former Russian double agent and his daughter last week in the U.K. The British leader said the poison was identified as a "military-grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia" and that Russia either engaged in an "indiscriminate and reckless" attack against Britain or it lost control of the nerve agent it developed. Russian officials called May's remarks "a provocation" and "circus show." (The Guardian / BBC / Washington Post)

Trump will meet with Kim Jong-un to negotiate "permanent denuclearization" of North Korea, which will cease all missile testing while the negotiations are being held. The two leaders are expected to meet in the next 60 days. News of a potential meeting has been met with positive reactions from China, Russia, and South Korea. (New York Times / Fox News)

Trump's lawyers want to trade a Trump interview with Robert Mueller in exchange for ending the Trump-related portion of the special counsel's Russia investigation. Trump's legal team wants Mueller to commit to ending the probe 60 days after the interview, as well as limiting the scope of the questioning. (Wall Street Journal / CNBC)

Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort pleaded not guilty to an 18-count indictment as part of Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. The judge set the trial to begin July 10. Last week Manafort pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to launder money and failing to register as a foreign agent. (ABC News / Reuters)

Robert Mueller has evidence about an effort to establish a back-channel between the incoming Trump administration and the Kremlin. Erik Prince, the founder of the private military company Blackwater, met with a Russian official close to Putin in January, 2017. Prince described the meeting to congressional investigators as a chance encounter. A cooperating witness told Mueller's investigators that the meeting was set up in advance so that a representative of the Trump transition could meet with an emissary from Moscow to discuss future relations between the two countries. (Washington Post)

Trump's personal attorney received leaked witness testimony from within the House Intelligence Committee. The lawyer representing Michael Cohen contacted the lawyer of a former John McCain staffer after someone from the House Committee told Cohen's lawyer that the former staffer had information about the Steele dossier that could help Cohen. The information came from closed-door, committee-sensitive testimony. The dossier alleges that Cohen met with Kremlin officials, which Cohen denies. The conversation was reported to the House Intelligence Committee. Robert Mueller, meanwhile, has requested documents and interviewed witnesses about two or more episodes involving Russian interests and Cohen's involvement. (The Daily Beast / Washington Post)

Kellyanne Conway violated the Hatch Act on two occasions, the Office of Special Counsel said as it referred its findings to Trump "for appropriate disciplinary action." In her official capacity, Conway endorsed and advocated against political candidates during two television appearances in 2017. The Hatch Act prohibits government employees from engaging in political activities. The OSC is not affiliated with special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation. (The Hill / ABC News)

The ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee wants to interview Nunberg as part of its Russia investigation. Adam Schiff said Nunberg's assertion that Trump knew about the 2016 Trump Tower meeting before it occurred is an area that the committee needs to explore. Nunberg said he would be willing to testify. "I would go there, sure." (CNN / The Hill)

Sarah Huckabee Sanders refuted Nunberg's suggestion that the campaign colluded with Russia, saying "I definitely think he doesn't know that for sure, because he's incorrect. He hasn't worked at the White House, so I can't speak to him or the lack of knowledge he clearly has. As we've said many times before, there's been no collusion."

A Belarusian escort claims to have more than 16 hours of audio recordings that prove Russia meddled in the U.S. elections. Anastasia Vashukevich, who is close to a Russian oligarch, said she would hand over the recordings if the U.S. granted her asylum. (New York Times)

The author of the Trump dossier told Mueller's team that Russia asked Trump not to hire Mitt Romney as secretary of state. Instead Russia advised Trump to pick someone who would ease sanctions against Moscow for its actions in Ukraine. Christopher Steele spoke with the special counsel's investigators last September. In his 2012 presidential run, Romney called Russia "our No. 1 geopolitical foe." (The New Yorker)

The State Department has spent $0 of the $120 million it has been budgeted for combatting foreign interference in U.S. elections. None of the 23 analysts speak Russian at the Global Engagement Center, which is tasked with countering Moscow's disinformation campaigns. A hiring freeze has prevented the department from recruiting the kind of computer experts needed to track foreign efforts to meddle in the U.S. election process. (New York Times)

A Kremlin-linked Russian politician spent six years building leverage and connections in order to influence the NRA and gain access to American politics. Alexander Torshin, a Putin ally, also claimed that his ties to the NRA afforded him access to Trump. Robert Mueller's team is investigating whether Torshin, who serves as the deputy governor of the Bank of Russia, illegally funneled money to the NRA in order to help the Trump campaign in the 2016 presidential election. (NPR)

A large cache of internal documents from a Russian troll farm were leaked and put up for auction on a Russian "information exchange" in February 2017. The auction received no bids for the Internet Research Agency documents, which promised "working data from the department focused on the United States." The listing revealed details about the Kremlin-backed troll farm's efforts to push propaganda and disinformation in the U.S. (The Daily Beast)

Former Trump campaign deputy Rick Gates canceled a planned trip after an online commenter invoked the Russian mafia. Gates told a federal court that he and his wife believe it's "not prudent" to travel with their four children to Boston for spring break. (CNN)

Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee were behind the leak of text messages between the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee and a Russian-connected lawyer. The text messages between Senator Mark Warner and Adam Waldman, a Washington lawyer with Russian connections, were leaked to Fox News. They show that the senator tried to arrange a meeting with Christopher Steele, author of the so-called Trump dossier. Warner and Richard Burr, the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, were so "perturbed" by the leak that they met with Paul Ryan to raise their concerns about House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes and the Republicans willingness to leak classified text messages. (New York Times)

Putin warned that Russia has developed nuclear weapons that can't be intercepted by missile-defense systems and that they're planning to add nuclear-powered cruise missiles to their arsenal, which would allow them to strike any target on the globe. Putin added that Russia would consider any nuclear attack against itself or any of its allies an attack on Russia, warning that such an incident would lead to immediate retaliation. "No one listened to us," Putin warned. "Listen to us now." (Associated Press / Washington Post)

Robert Mueller's team is looking into Trump's attempts to fire Jeff Sessions last July, in order to determine whether those alleged efforts to oust Sessions were part of a larger pattern of attempted obstruction of justice by Trump and the administration. Mueller wants to know if Trump attempted to remove Sessions in order to install a loyal attorney general who would exercise control over the special counsel investigation into possible coordination between Trump associates and Russia during the 2016 presidential election campaign. (Washington Post)

Hope Hicks told the House Intelligence Committee that she sometimes has to lie for Trump. After an extended conversation with her lawyers, however, the White House communications director insisted that she has never lied about matters related to Russian interference or possible collusion with Trump associates. (New York Times)

Robert Mueller's investigators have been asking witnesses about Trump's business activities in Russia prior to the 2016 campaign. Mueller's team has been asking about the timing of Trump's decision to run, any potentially compromising information the Russians may have, and why a deal for a Trump Tower in Moscow fell through. (CNN)

Mueller's team is also asking witnesses whether Trump knew about the hacked Democratic emails before they were publicly released, and whether he was involved or aware of WikiLeaks' plan to publish the emails. Investigators have also asked about the relationship between GOP operative Roger Stone and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and why Trump took policy positions favorable to Russia. (NBC News)

Hope Hicks refused to answer questions under instructions from the White House during a closed-door House Intelligence Committee session today on Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. "We got Bannoned," a member of the House intelligence committee said, in reference Steve Bannon's earlier refusal to answer committee questions. The White House communications director is one of Trump's closest confidants and advisers. She was originally expected to appear before the committee in January, but her interview was cancelled due to concerns about the scope of questioning and conflicts over the White House's assertions of executive privilege. (Bloomberg / CNN / Washington Post)

Russian operatives "compromised" election systems in seven states prior to 2016 election, from hacking state websites to penetrating voter registration databases, according to a top-secret intelligence reported requested by Obama during his last weeks in office. Three senior intelligence officials said the intelligence community believed the states were Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Texas, and Wisconsin. Several of those states were notified that foreign entities were probing their systems, but none were told the Russian government was behind it. (NBC News)

The NSA director told lawmakers that he has not received orders from Trump to stop Russian hacking targeting U.S. elections. US Cyber Command chief Adm. Mike Rogers told the Senate Armed Services Committee: "I haven't been granted any additional authorities," adding, "I need a policy decision that indicates there is specific direction to [disrupt Russian election hacking]. The president ultimately would make this decision in accordance with a recommendation from the secretary of Defense." (The Hill / CNN)

poll/ 58% of Americans don't think Trump is taking the Russia investigation seriously enough, and 60% say they are not confident Trump is doing enough to prevent foreign countries from influencing future American elections. Meanwhile, 55% believe Trump attempted to interfere with the Russia investigation, up from 51% in January. (CNN)

poll/ 48% of Americans believe it is likely or very likely that Russia will meddle in the upcoming midterm elections – a seven-point increase from earlier this month. (The Hill / Marist)

poll/ 58% of Americans say they trust Robert Mueller's investigation, while 57% say they don't trust Trump's denials, and 76% believe Russian will continue to meddle in American elections. (USA Today)

Rick Gates pleaded guilty to conspiracy and making false statements and will cooperate with Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election, according to a letter Gates gave to family and close friends. Gates admitted to taking part in a conspiracy to hide tens of millions of dollars he and Paul Manafort obtained for their lobbying and consulting work related to Ukraine. (New York Times / Politico / Washington Post / ABC News)

The Republican National Committee has been paying more than $37,000 a month in rent at Trump Tower after the RNC came under pressure to stop paying Trump's personal legal bills in the special counsel's Russia investigation. (CNBC)

A Russian oligarch with close ties to Putin, said Russian mercenaries who attacked US troops in Syria this month were in close touch with the Kremlin and Syrian officials shortly before and after the assault. (Washington Post)

A Trump-appointed federal judge who donated to the Trump campaign and worked on his presidential transition team is refusing to recuse himself from overseeing a legal battle involving Fusion GPS, the research firm that produced the dossier of intelligence that contains claims Trump has ties to Russia. U.S. District Court Judge Trevor McFadden donated $1,000 to Trump's presidential campaign. (ABC News)

Trump challenged Jeff Sessions to investigate the Obama administration for not doing enough to stop Russian interference in the 2016 election. "If all of the Russian meddling took place during the Obama Administration, right up to January 20th, why aren’t they the subject of the investigation?" Trump tweeted. "Why didn't Obama do something about the meddling? Why aren't Dem crimes under investigation? Ask Jeff Sessions!" Trump has singled out his own attorney general several times for not doing enough to protect him from the Russia probe. In July, Trump tweeted that Sessions "has taken a VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes." A few hours later, Trump called Sessions "beleaguered." (CNN / New York Times)

Alex van der Zwaan pleads guilty in Robert Mueller's probe. The son-in-law of a Russia-based billionaire admitted to lying to investigators about his communications with Rick Gates, the former Trump campaign aide. Van der Zwaan also admitted that he deleted records of emails that prosecutors had requested. It's the fourth guilty plea Mueller has secured, but van der Zwaan is the first not to enter into a cooperation agreement with the special counsel's office. (New York Times / Bloomberg)

Robert Mueller charged an attorney with making a false statement to federal authorities as part of the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Prosecutors charged Alex Van Der Zwaan with lying to the FBI and Mueller's office about conversations he had with Rick Gates, the former Trump campaign aide who is cooperating in the Mueller probe, about work done in Ukraine six years ago. Van Der Zwaan was charged by criminal information, which typically precedes a guilty plea because it can only be filed with a defendant's permission and usually indicates the person is cooperating with investigators. (Bloomberg / New York Times / Washington Post)

Robert Mueller's interest in Jared Kushner has expanded beyond his contacts with Russia and now includes his efforts to secure financing for his company from foreign investors during the presidential transition. Mueller's investigators have been asking about Kushner's conversations during the transition to finance a Kushner Companies-backed New York City office building facing financial troubles. (CNN)

Trump blamed everybody but Russia as he lashed out against the Russia investigation in a nine-hour, profanity-laced, and error-laden tweetstorm. He attacked the FBI, CNN, the Democratic Party, his national security adviser, former president Obama, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Hillary Clinton, and more. He never criticized Russia or Putin's attempts to undermine U.S. elections. (Politico / Washington Post / CNN)

"They are laughing their asses off in Moscow": Trump takes on the FBI, Russia probe and 2016 election. (Washington Post)

National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster said the "evidence is now incontrovertible" that Russia meddled in the U.S. political system, essentially telling the Munich Security Conference to ignore Trump's tweet. Trump countered on Twitter, naturally: "General McMaster forgot to say that the results of the 2016 election were not impacted or changed by the Russians and that the only Collusion was between Russia and Crooked H, the DNC and the Dems." (Washington Post)

Trump suggested that the FBI could have stopped the school shooter at a Florida high school if they spent less time on the Russia investigation. "Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. This is not acceptable. They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign - there is no collusion. Get back to the basics and make us all proud!" Trump tweeted. (The Hill)

Robert Mueller's federal grand jury indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities for violating criminal laws with the intent to interfere "with U.S. elections and political processes." Mueller's office said that the government accuses all the defendants of conspiracy to defraud the United States. Three defendants are charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud. The indictment charges that a Russian organization, the Internet Research Agency, waged "information warfare" against the U.S. by using social media platforms and fictitious American personas for "supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump … and disparaging Hillary Clinton." Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said this "information warfare" didn’t affect the outcome of the presidential election. (CNBC / ABC News / Washington Post / New York Times / Bloomberg)

Mueller's investigation into collusion and potential obstruction of justice by Trump and his campaign is expected to continue for months. Trump, meanwhile, tweeted that the Russian indictments are vindication that there was "No collusion!" Rod Rosenstein said during his press conference today that there is "no allegation in this indictment that any American was a knowing participant" in the alleged scheme to interfere with the 2016 election. Mueller could still indict Americans for knowingly helping Russia. (Bloomberg)

Rick Gates is close to a plea deal with Robert Mueller. The former Trump campaign adviser has been involved in plea negotiations for about a month, and people familiar with the case say he is poised to cooperate with the investigation. If Gates agrees to a plea deal, he will be the third known cooperator in the special counsel's probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. (CNN)

Russia-linked bots are promoting pro-gun messages on Twitter in an attempt to sow discord in the aftermath of the Florida school shooting. (CNN)

Steve Bannon told the House Intelligence Committee yesterday that he had been instructed by the White House to invoke executive privilege on behalf of Trump and declined to answer questions pertinent to the Russia investigation. Lawmakers are considering whether to hold him in contempt. (CNN)

Steve Bannon was interviewed by Robert Mueller over several days this week, spending more than 20 hours in conversation with the team investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Bannon and his legal team also appeared for a closed-door meeting with the House Intelligence Committee, despite the White House telling lawmakers Bannon would not be answering questions pertinent to the Russia investigation. (NBC News / ABC News / CNN)

Reince Priebus convinced Jeff Sessions not to resign shortly after Trump fired James Comey in May 2017. Trump berated Sessions for recusing himself from the Russia investigation in a meeting in the Oval Office, which lead to Sessions offering his resignation. (New York Times / Vanity Fair)

Trump doesn't believe Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election, even though the heads of U.S. intelligence agencies testified to the Senate Intelligence Committee that Russia meddled in 2016 and is planning to do so again in 2018. (CNN)

A former senior FBI official is leading BuzzFeed's effort to verify the Trump dossier and defend itself from a Russian billionaire's lawsuit. BuzzFeed in turn is suing the DNC for information the publisher believes could show a link between the Russian billionaire and the e-mail hacking, which would undercut his libel claim. (Foreign Policy / Vanity Fair)

U.S. intelligence agencies expect Russia to meddle in the 2018 midterm elections through hacking and social media manipulation. During testimony at the Senate Intelligence Committee's annual hearing on worldwide threats, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told the committee: "Frankly, the United States is under attack" and that Russia will continue to engage in cyber attacks to "degrade our democratic values and weaken our alliances." He added: "There should be no doubt that Russia perceives its past efforts as successful and views the 2018 U.S. midterm elections as a potential target for Russian influence operations." (New York Times / USA Today / NBC News)

More than 200 Russian mercenaries were killed in a clash with U.S. forces in Syria last week. The fighters attacked a base and refinery held by the U.S. and were defeated. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis called the situation "perplexing," because it's not clear whether the attack was a rogue operation or if it was ordered by Russia. (Bloomberg)

Rachel Brand quit the Justice Department in part over fears that she'd have to take over the Russia investigation if Trump fired Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The Justice Department's No. 3 attorney had been unhappy with her job for months, telling friends that she felt overwhelmed and unsupported in her job, primarily because four of the 13 divisions she oversaw as the associate attorney general remained unfilled. (NBC News)

The Justice Department's No. 3 official resigned. Rachel Brand was next in line behind Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing the special counsel's inquiry into Russian influence in the 2016 election. Trump has called the investigation a witch hunt and even considered firing Rosenstein. (New York Times / CNN)

The FBI was monitoring Carter Page when he spoke to Steve Bannon about Russia in January 2017. The details of the call are vague, but national security experts say the FBI would have retained the conversation as evidence if it seemed pertinent to their investigation into allegations that Trump associates coordinated with the Kremlin. (Politico)

Trump said the White House would release a letter regarding the possible release of the Democrat's memo written which rebuts a Republican document claiming FBI and Justice Department bias against him in the federal probe of Russia and the 2016 U.S. election. (Reuters)

Russian hackers penetrated voter registration rolls in several U.S. states before the 2016 presidential election. A Homeland Security Department official said that of the 21 states that were targeted, a "small number" were successfully penetrated. Officials maintain that there is no evidence that voter rolls were altered. (NBC News)

poll/ 57% of Americans believe Russia will try to influence this year's midterm elections and 55% believe the federal government isn't doing enough to prevent it. (NBC News)

Rex Tillerson: Russia is already trying to influence the 2018 midterm election. Tillerson warned that Russia has "a lot of different tools" that it can use to influence the election. He added: "I don't know that I would say we are better prepared, because the Russians will adapt, as well. The point is, if it's their intention to interfere, they are going to find ways to do that." (Fox News / NBC News)

Trump's lawyers want him to refuse an interview with Robert Mueller, because they're concerned that he could be charged with lying to investigators. Trump, however, has said that he is "looking forward" to speaking with Mueller as part of the investigation into possible collusion between his campaign and Russia's election interference, and whether he obstructed justice. Ty Cobb, the White House lawyer Trump tapped to deal with Mueller's investigation, has said the White House is in "total cooperation mode." (New York Times)

Steve Bannon will not testify before the House Intelligence Committee today, thus risking being held in contempt for failing to comply with a subpoena. The panel wants Bannon to testify a second time in its investigation of Russian election meddling. Bannon's January 16th appearance failed to satisfy members of the committee. (CNN / Reuters)

The Justice Department sided with Robert Mueller in a lawsuit filed against him by Paul Manafort. Manafort filed the civil suit against Mueller on January 3rd, saying the special counsel's investigation into collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia exceeded its legal authority. (Reuters)

The memo confirms that actions taken by George Papadopoulos, the former Trump foreign policy adviser, were a factor in the opening of the investigation. Papadopoulos pleaded guilty last year to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russians.

The Trump administration called for the development of two new, "lower-yield" types of nuclear weapons for ballistic and cruise missiles launched from submarines. The weapons could be used to respond to "extreme circumstances," including non-nuclear attacks. The White House also publicly acknowledged for the first time that Russia is "developing" a "new intercontinental, nuclear armed, nuclear-powered, undersea autonomous torpedo." (Politico)

K.T. McFarland asked to withdraw her stalled nomination to be the U.S. ambassador to Singapore. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee was concerned about her testimony to Congress over communications with Russia. (Reuters)

CIA Director Mike Pompeo met with the head of Russia's foreign intelligence agency, even though the head of the GRU was barred from entering the US under sanctions put in place in 2014. Pompeo defended the meeting and claimed that he and other officials only met with the Russian operatives "to keep Americans safe." The Russian Embassy in Washington announced the meeting with Pompeo in a tweet on January 30th. (CNN)

Hope Hicks allegedly told Trump that the emails involving Trump Jr. and the Trump Tower meeting "will never get out" because only a few people have access to them. The White House communications director's comment was in response to Mark Corallo, who served as the spokesman for Trump's legal team, saying the statement they drafted aboard Air Force One would backfire when documents surface that the meeting was setup to get political dirt about Hillary Clinton from the Russians – and not about Russian adoptions. Corallo believed Hicks' comment indicated that she could be contemplating obstructing justice. Corallo will tell Robert Mueller about the previously undisclosed conference call with Trump and Hicks when he meets with the special counsel's team sometime in the next two weeks. Corallo resigned from Trump's legal team in July. (New York Times / CNN)

Trump is telling friends that The Memo™ is a way of discrediting the Russia investigation. He believes it would expose bias at the FBI and that the bureau is prejudiced against him. (CNN)

Carter Page was on the radar of U.S. intelligence agencies several years before he became a member of Trump's campaign. Page had his first brush with a U.S. intelligence official back in 2013, when he was interviewed by FBI counterintelligence agent Gregory Monaghan about his contacts with Victor Podobnyy, who was serving as a junior attaché at the Russian consulate in New York City at the time. (Wall Street Journal)

Trump asked Rod Rosenstein if he was "on my team" during a December meeting at the White House. "Of course, we're all on your team, Mr. President," Rosenstein said, who wanted Trump to push back on the Nunes memo. Trump, however, wanted to know where Robert Mueller's Russia investigation was going. It's Trump's fourth loyalty request from a Justice Department official. Last year, Trump asked for Comey to pledge his loyalty at a private dinner seven days after the inauguration. Comey declined. (CNN / Axios)

The FBI is investigating a second Trump-Russia dossier. This one, written by former journalist Cody Shearer, was provided to the FBI by Christopher Steele in October 2016. Steele warned that he could not vouch for the accuracy of the memo, but provided a copy because it corroborated what he had separately heard from his own sources. The FBI is still assessing details in the "Shearer memo," which suggests investigators have taken some aspect of it seriously. Both documents allege that Trump was compromised during a 2013 trip to Moscow that involved prostitutes urinating on a bed where the Obamas once stayed. (The Guardian)

Paul Ryan called for a "cleanse" of the FBI as he defended the way that Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes handled a vote to declassify The Memo™ of alleged surveillance abuses by federal law enforcement agencies. Ryan, however, warned against trying to use it to discredit Robert Mueller's probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 election. "Let it all out, get it all out there," Ryan said. "Cleanse the organization." (Fox News / Washington Post)

Mitch McConnell sees no need to protect Robert Mueller's Russia investigation or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. "My understanding is there's no effort under way to undermine or remove the special counsel," McConnell said. "Therefore I don't see any need to bring up legislation to protect someone who appears to need no protection." Trump has discussed both possibilities. (Bloomberg)

Trump will not impose new sanctions on Russia because the threat is already "serving as a deterrent," a State Department official said. A bipartisan bill overwhelmingly passed in July imposes penalties on companies doing "significant" business with Russian defense and intelligence entities. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said: "We estimate that foreign governments have abandoned planned or announced purchases of several billion dollars in Russian defense acquisitions." (Politico / Washington Post)

The US Treasury published a list of Russian oligarchs and senior officials at the Kremlin as part of the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. The report includes 114 senior political figures with close ties to Putin and 96 oligarchs with a net worth of $1 billion or more. The list is designed to shame individuals and put them on notice that they could be the subject of future sanctions. (CNN)

The Congress-mandated sanctions report was lifted from the Forbes "200 richest businessmen in Russia 2017" list, a Treasury Department spokesperson confirmed. Almost all 96 oligarchs listed in the government-issued report appear in the Forbes' ranking. (BuzzFeed News)

CIA Director Mike Pompeo has "every expectation" that Russia will attempt to influence this year's midterm elections. Pompeo said he still sees Russia primarily as an adversary and he hasn't "seen a significant decrease in their activity." (BBC)

Julian Assange thought he sent a direct message to Sean Hannity on Twitter offering news about Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election. Instead it was just a fake Sean Hannity account. (The Daily Beast)

Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee voted to release The Memo™ that accuses the Justice Department and FBI of misusing their authority to obtain a secret surveillance order on Carter Page. The vote effectively declassifies the memo, which was written by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes. Trump now has five days to review the document and decide whether to prevent it from going public. Last week, Trump called for the release of The Memo™, despite his own Justice Department warning him that releasing the memo to the public would be "extraordinarily reckless." Trump reportedly erupted in anger aboard Air Force One when he learned that a top Justice Department official advised against releasing the memo, warning Jeff Sessions and others that they need to excel at their jobs or go down as the worst in history. Democrats said the three-and-a half-page document is an effort to build a false narrative in order to undercut the ongoing Russia investigation, using inaccurately summarizes classified investigative materials that are designed to smear the FBI. (New York Times / Washington Post / Bloomberg)

The deadline to implement the Russia sanctions is today. In August Trump reluctantly signed the sanctions, which are designed to punish Moscow for meddling in the 2016 election, into law. The Treasury Department is required to produce a report on Putin-linked oligarchs and impose sanctions on entities doing business with Russia's defense and intelligence sectors. (Politico)

Russia accused the US of meddling in its upcoming presidential election. Moscow called the timing of the US Treasury report on Russian sanctions "a direct and obvious attempt" to interfere with the upcoming vote. (CNN)

Sarah Huckabee Sanders claimed that "poll after poll" says that nobody cares about the Trump-Russia investigation. She did not cite a specific poll. However, poll, after poll, after poll, after poll, after poll, after poll, after poll suggest Americans do care about the issue. (Washington Post)

A Russian military jet came within five feet of a US Navy P-3 Orion surveillance plane while flying in international airspace over the Black Sea. (CNN)

The Russian lawyer from the Trump Tower meeting has been named in a Swiss court case involving bribery, corruption, and "unauthorized clandestine behavior." (The Daily Beast)

The Senate Judiciary Committee intends to share Trump Jr.'s testimony with Robert Mueller. Democrats suggested that Trump Jr. may have made false statements to the committee, and are pressing the committee's Republican chairman to give Mueller the transcripts from the panel's interviews with key witnesses in the Russia probe. Chairman Chuck Grassley said he wants to release the transcripts the committee has done about the meeting at Trump Tower. (Politico / Reuters)

Dutch intelligence spied on the Russian group believed to be behind the hack of the Democratic Party ahead of U.S. elections. AIVD provided information about the Moscow-based group known as Cozy Bear, who are believed to be linked to the Russian government to the FBI. (Reuters / de Volkskrant)

Trump said he was "looking forward" to speaking with Robert Mueller's team of prosecutors under oath as they investigate Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign, as well as possible obstruction of justice. "I would love to do it, and I would like to do it as soon as possible," Trump said. "I would do it under oath, absolutely." He is expected to talk to Mueller's team in two or three weeks. (CNBC / New York Times / Washington Post)

Michael Flynn didn't tell the White House about his 2017 interview with the FBI. Flynn met privately with FBI investigators a year ago today to discuss his communications with Russia's ambassador. The meeting took place without a lawyer present and without the knowledge of the president or top White House officials. (NBC News)

Jeff Sessions was questioned by Mueller's team last week as part of the investigation into Russia's meddling in the election and whether Trump had obstructed justice since taking office. As attorney general, Sessions was involved in the firing of James Comey and it's the first time that special counsel investigators have interviewed a member of Trump's cabinet. Sessions was not under subpoena and was questioned for several hours. (New York Times / CNN)

Omarosa Manigault-Newman may have taped confidential West Wing conversations. The former White House staffer believes she may become a fixture in Robert Mueller's investigation into possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russia's election meddling. (NY Daily News)

Ty Cobb said Trump is "very eager" to talk to Robert Mueller in the hope that this will help wrap up the Russia investigation as quickly as possible. Trump's personal lawyer expects the investigation to end in the next four to six weeks. (The Hill)

The White House's top lawyer may have a conflict of interest. Don McGahn was personally involved in instructing Steve Bannon about what questions he shouldn't answer from the House Intelligence Committee's Russia investigation. He is also a witness to events under investigation by both Congress and Robert Mueller. (Bloomberg)

The FBI is investigating whether a Russian banker illegally funneled money to the NRA in order to help Trump win the presidency. Alexander Torshin is the deputy governor of Russia's central bank and has a close relationship with Putin. Torshin spoke with Trump Jr. during an NRA gala in May 2016, when Trump won the NRA's presidential endorsement. The NRA spent $30 million to support Trump in the 2016 election – three times what they devoted to Mitt Romney in 2012. (McClatchy DC)

Trump accused Russia of helping North Korea evade sanctions and claimed that Pyongyang is getting "closer every day" to being able to deliver a long-range missile to the United States. Russian tankers were caught supplying fuel to North Korea on at least three occasions in recent months. North Korea requires imported fuel to keep its intercontinental ballistic missile and nuclear program functioning. "Russia is not helping us at all with North Korea," Trump said. (Reuters)

Steve Bannon cited executive privilege and refused to answer questions from the House Intelligence Committee yesterday. House investigators in both parties were outraged by his refusal, leading the committee to subpoena Bannon on the spot, vowing to force him to answer their questions about Russian interference in the 2016 election. (Politico)

Robert Mueller's team is investigating newly uncovered financial transactions from Russian diplomatic accounts and people or businesses inside the United States. Among them are transactions by former ambassador Sergey Kislyak 10 days after the 2016 presidential election and a blocked $150,000 cash withdrawal five days after the inauguration. (BuzzFeed News)

Steve Bannon was subpoenaed to testify in front of a grand jury as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe. It's the first time Mueller has used a grand jury subpoena to get information from someone in Trump's inner circle. Mueller, however, may end up letting Bannon forgo the grand jury appearance if he allows investigators to question him at the special counsel's offices in Washington. (New York Times)

The FBI will notify U.S. companies and the public about Russian efforts to manipulate social media and interfere in upcoming elections. The FBI's "foreign influence" task force, which was created last year, could dramatically reshape the relationship between the government and social media companies. (Bloomberg)

Trump declined to commit to an interview with Robert Mueller when asked at a news conference today. He said it "seems unlikely," but that "we'll see what happens." Trump repeatedly argued there has been "no collusion" between his campaign and Russia, and questioned why he would need to be interviewed. (NBC News / Washington Post / New York Times)

The Trump administration waived fines for Deutsche Bank and four other multinational banks convicted of manipulating global interest rates. Trump owes Deutsche at least $130 million in loans. The German bank was also fined $425 million by New York State for laundering $10 billion out of Russia. (International Business Times)

A Senate Foreign Relations Committee report says the US is not prepared to defend against possible Russian meddling in the 2018 midterm elections or the 2020 presidential contest. (CNN)

Dianne Feinstein released the full transcript of Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson's testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The head of the research firm behind the dossier of allegations against then-candidate Trump told congressional investigators that someone from inside Trump's network had also provided the FBI with corroborating information during the campaign. Simpson had asked the committee last week for the transcript to be made public, but Republican leaders declined prompting Feinstein to post the transcript today with "no agreement" from committee Republicans. (CNBC / Washington Post / Politico)

White House officials believe that Trump will be "sunk" if Robert Mueller looks into Trump's finances as part of the Russia probe. "People don't think in the White House — don't think that he colluded with Russia," Michael Wolff said, author of Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House. "They do think that if the investigation goes near his finances, he's sunk." (The Hill / CNBC)

The Russian lawyer met Ivanka Trump after the Trump Tower meeting with Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner in June 2016. Natalia Veselnitskaya said that as she was leaving the building and waiting for an elevator, she exchanged pleasantries with a blond-haired woman whom she believed was Trump. (NBC News)

Trump's legal team anticipates that Special Counsel Robert Mueller will try to directly interview Trump as part of the Russia probe. The team wants to submit written responses to Mueller's questions instead of having Trump appear for a formal, one-on-one sit-down. Mueller informed Trump's lawyers last month that he may want to interview Trump "soon." A person with direct knowledge of the discussions described them as "preliminary and ongoing." (NBC News / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post)

Over the weekend, Trump defended his mental fitness, describing himself as a "very stable genius" in response to details in Michael Wolff's book that he is mentally unfit to serve. He insisted that opponents and the media were attacking his mental capacity because they had failed to prove collusion with Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign. Trump tweeted that "my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart." (New York Times / CNN / The Guardian)

Steve Bannon walked back his critical comments of Trump Jr. He said he "regrets" his "delay in responding to the inaccurate reporting" that the Trump Jr. meeting with Russians at Trump Tower during the campaign was "treasonous," "unpatriotic," and "bad shit." In a statement, Bannon called Trump Jr. "both a patriot and a good man," adding that "there was no collusion and the investigation is a witch hunt." (Axios / CNN)

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said there was already evidence of Russian meddling in Mexico's election, which is set for July. (Reuters)

Trump ordered the White House's top lawyer to stop Jeff Sessions from recusing himself from the Russia investigation, saying he expected his attorney general to protect him. Don McGahn unsuccessfully lobbied Sessions to remain in charge in March 2017. Trump reportedly erupted in anger in front of several White House officials. The previously unreported details have legal experts suggesting that there is currently a larger body of public evidence tying Trump to a possible crime of obstruction. Robert Mueller's investigation is currently investigating whether Trump obstructed justice while in office and whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. (New York Times)

Comey testified on May 3rd that the Russia investigation was ongoing to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

🇷🇺 What you need to know about the Russia investigation.

A third Republican called on Jeff Sessions to resign, saying he "is not able to take the reins and direct" the Russia probe because of his recusal. Chris Stewart, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, joins Mark Meadows, Freedom Caucus chair, and Jim Jordan, a member who sits on the oversight and judiciary committees in the US House of Representatives, who have called for Sessions to resign this week. (CNN)

Republican senators recommended possible criminal charges for the author of the Trump-Russia dossier. Charles Grassley and Lindsey Graham suggested that the Justice Department investigate Christopher Steele for possibly lying to the FBI. (Washington Post / New York Times)

Steve Bannon received a cease and desist letter from Trump's lawyer accusing him of breaching his confidentiality agreement by making "disparaging" and "outright defamatory statements" about Trump and his family. The letter comes after excerpts from Michael Wolff's book were made public, with Bannon calling the Trump Tower meeting with Russians "treasonous," "unpatriotic," and "bad shit." During the campaign, Trump had staffers sign a non-disclosure agreement which required all staff to refrain from making any disparaging comments about Trump, his family, or the campaign. (ABC News)

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Chris Wray met with Paul Ryan about the House Russia investigation. The meeting was related to a document request by House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes this summer. (Politico)

Steve Bannon called the Trump Tower meeting with Russians "treasonous," "unpatriotic," and "bad shit." He added: "The three senior guys in the campaign thought it was a good idea to meet with a foreign government inside Trump Tower … with no lawyers … You should have called the FBI immediately." Bannon's comments come from forthcoming book the Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, by Michael Wolff. (The Guardian)

Fusion GPS defended the dossier of alleged Trump-Russia ties and called on Republicans to release the firm's testimony. "The attack on our firm," the Fusion GPS founders wrote in a New York Times Op-Ed, "is a diversionary tactic by Republicans who don't want to investigate Donald Trump's ties to Russia." Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch write they hired Christopher Steele to investigate Trump's repeated efforts "to do deals in a notoriously corrupt police state that most serious investors shun." They added: "As we told the Senate Judiciary Committee in August, our sources said the dossier was taken so seriously because it corroborated reports the [FBI] had received from other sources, including one inside the Trump camp," referring to a drunk George Papadopoulos, who bragged about Russia having political dirt on Hillary Clinton to one of Australia's top diplomats. (New York Times)

A drunk George Papadopoulos bragged about the political dirt Russia had on Hillary Clinton to Australia's top diplomat at a London bar in May 2016. Australian officials passed the information about Papadopoulos to their American counterparts two months later, when leaked Democratic emails began appearing online. The FBI opened its counterintelligence investigation in July 2016 into Russia's attempts to disrupt the election following the revelation that the Trump campaign had information about the DNC's hacked emails Trump and his advisers have dismissed Papadopoulos' campaign role as just a "coffee boy." (New York Times)

White House aides are worried about 2018 as several senior officials are expected to depart in the coming year – with no replacements lined up – and Robert Mueller's Russia investigation looms. Aides expect few things to get done in Washington this year as they head into a contentious midterm election season. (Politico)

Trump: The Russia investigation makes the US "look very bad" and "puts the country in a very bad position." The comment came during an impromptu 30-minute interview with The New York Times at his golf club in West Palm Beach. Trump insisted 16 times that there has been "no collusion" discovered by Robert Mueller's investigation. Additional quotes below. (New York Times)

On collusion with Russia: "There is no collusion" and even if there was collusion, "it's not a crime."

Russia said the worsening relationship with the US is a major disappointment. A Putin spokesman told reporters that Russia still wants improved relations with the US, but they have to be based on a "mutual trust and mutual respect" and that "it takes two to tango." (Associated Press)

Robert Mueller is investigating whether the Trump campaign and the RNC coordinated their voter outreach using Russian-acquired information. Russian hackers stole voter information from election databases in several states in 2016. Mueller's prosecutors want to know if the Trump campaign used that information to target voters in key swing states and determine if the joint RNC-Trump campaign data operation effort was related to the activities of Russian trolls and bots aimed at influencing the election. Jared Kushner was in charge of the campaign's digital operation and has recently searched for a crisis public relations firm to handle press inquiries. (Yahoo News / Business Insider)

A jailed Russian said he can prove he hacked the Democratic National Committee computers on behalf of Russian intelligence. Konstantin Kozlovsky claims he left behind a data signature in a hidden data file that corresponds to his Russian passport number and the number of his visa to visit the Caribbean island of St. Martin. (McClatchy DC)

Trump claimed the "tainted" FBI is using the "bogus," "pile of garbage" dossier to go after him. The dossier contains allegations about Trump's connections to Russia and possible coordination between the campaign and the Kremlin during the 2016 election. Many of the details contained in the dossier have been verified. (Washington Post / Politico)

The FBI asked Cyprus for financial information about a defunct bank that was used by wealthy Russians with political connections. The FBI's request appears to be connected to Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation of Paul Manafort and money that flowed between former Soviet states and the US through Cypriot banks. (The Guardian)

Russian submarines have been prowling around undersea data cables that provide internet to North America and Europe. (Washington Post)

The House Intelligence Committee asked Steve Bannon and Corey Lewandowski to testify as part of their investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Both were asked to testify in early January as part of a voluntary, closed-door meeting. The committee hasn't received a response from either Bannon or Lewandowski, yet. (Bloomberg)

Carter Page failed his Ph.D. twice and blamed it on "anti-Russian bias." Examiners called the former Trump foreign policy advisor's thesis "verbose" and "vague." (The Guardian)

The White House counsel knew Michael Flynn had probably violated two federal laws in January. Don McGahn learned on December 29, 2016, that Flynn had counseled Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the United States, not to retaliate against economic sanctions imposed by the Obama administration. McGahn then researched federal laws dealing with lying to federal investigators and negotiating with foreign governments. He also warned Trump about Flynn's possible violations. (Foreign Policy)

Jeff Sessions asked the FBI to reexamine evidence in the dormant Uranium One deal. Trump and some Republicans have called the 2010 deal to sell U.S. uranium mining facilities to Russia's state atomic energy company corrupt, because several people involved had contributed millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation. Hillary Clinton, however, wasn't involved in the decision while secretary of state, the State Department official who approved the deal has confirmed. (NBC News)

poll/ 47% of Americans approve of Robert Mueller's handling of the Russia investigation. 56% say Trump's comments on the Russia probe have been mostly or completely false. (CNN)

The Trump administration has approved the commercial sale of weapons to Ukraine, which will be used by Ukrainian forces fighting a Russian-backed separatist movement. (Washington Post)

Russian trolls promoted autocracy and fear during key events in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. They infiltrated the online conversations of millions of Americans on Facebook and Twitter. (NBC News)

Donald Trump Jr. suggested that "people at the highest levels of government" have conspired to block his father's agenda, saying they "don't want to let America be America." He added that the investigations into Russian election meddling and his father's campaign are evidence of a "rigged system." Trump Jr. made the comments at a gathering of young conservative activists during an event in West Palm Beach, Florida. (CNN)

The Senate Intelligence Committee is looking at Jill Stein for potential "collusion with the Russians." The Green Party candidate attended a 2015 dinner in Moscow, which was also attended by Michael Flynn. Putin was seated next to Flynn and across the table from Stein. (Washington Post)

The FBI warned Trump in 2016 that Russia would try to infiltrate his campaign. Both Trump and Hillary Clinton received counterintelligence briefings by senior FBI officials, which advised them to alert the FBI to any "suspicious overtures to their campaigns." Trump was "briefed and warned" at the session about potential espionage threats from Russia. (NBC News)

Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee are trying to wrap up their Russia probe by the end of the year. Democrats have requested as many as 30 additional interviews with new witnesses, but none have been scheduled beyond the end of this month. Some witnesses are scheduled to be interviewed in New York this week, leaving Democrats to choose between attending those depositions or voting on the tax bill coming before the House. (New York Times / NBC News)

Trump unveiled his "America First" foreign policy, presenting both Russia and China as "revisionist powers" who "want to shape a world antithetical to US values and interests." Trump's strategy has four organizing principles: protect the American homeland, protect American prosperity, preserve peace through strength, and advance US influence. Trump attacked past administrations on immigration, the Iran nuclear deal, the Paris climate accord, trade pacts, and more. (Washington Post / CNN)

Cambridge Analytica handed over employees' emails to Robert Mueller's team as part of the special counsel's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. The firm provided the Trump campaign with data, polling, and research services during the race. The emails had previously been voluntarily turned over to the House Intelligence Committee. (Wall Street Journal)

Internet traffic sent to and from Google, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft was briefly routed through a previously unknown Russian Internet provider on Wednesday. Researchers called it suspicious and intentional. (Ars Technica)

Trump's daily intelligence briefings are often structured to avoid upsetting him. Russia-related intelligence, specifically, is usually only included in the written assessment and not addressed orally. When it is, the CIA analyst leading the briefing will adjust the presentation's structure in order to soften the impact (Washington Post)

Rex Tillerson told diplomats that Russia "interfered in democratic processes here," something Trump continues to call "fake news" intended to delegitimize his presidency. The comment came in a closed-door meeting with US diplomats where Tillerson also praised Trump for trying to focus on "productive engagement" with Russia. (The Daily Beast)

Trump's legal team is trying to protect him from Robert Mueller's "killers" in the Russia probe, while facing criticism that they are outmatched. (Washington Post)

Adam Schiff called the evidence of coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia is "pretty damning." The ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee said: "The Russians offered help. The campaign accepted help. The Russians gave help. And the president made full use of that help." (The Hill)

Robert Mueller's investigators are focused on an 18-day timeline related to possible obstruction of justice by Trump. Sally Yates testified that she told White House Counsel Don McGahn on January 26th that Michael Flynn had lied to senior members of the Trump team about his conversations with Russia's ambassador, Sergey Kislyak. Possible obstruction of justice hinges on when Trump knew about Flynn's conversations with Russia's ambassador during the transition and when he learned that Flynn had lied about those conversations to the FBI. Trump fired Flynn on February 13th, saying he did so because he had misled Pence. Mueller is trying to determine why Flynn remained in his job for 18 days after Trump learned of Yates' warning, and is interested in whether Trump directed him to lie to senior officials. (NBC News)

Putin ordered the partial withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria. Putin made a similar withdrawal announcement last year, but Russian military operations continued. (BBC)

Russian operatives tried to make contact with Hope Hicks at least twice since Trump took office and after US intelligence agencies publicly accused Moscow of trying to influence the presidential election. Hicks is one of Trump's top advisers and there is no evidence that Hicks did anything wrong. The FBI gave Hicks the names of the Russians who had contacted her, and said that they were not who they claimed to be. Hicks met with Robert Mueller's investigators this week as part of the investigation into Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 election. (New York Times)

Trump Jr. cited attorney-client privilege and refused to discuss a phone call he had with his father about how to handle the fallout from his June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer. He told the House Intelligence Committee that a lawyer was in the room during the call. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the committee, told reporters: "I don't believe you can shield communications between individuals merely by having an attorney present," adding "that's not the purpose of attorney-client privilege" and that "the presence of counsel does not make communications between father and son a privilege." (Politico / New York Times / Wall Street Journal)

Trump Jr.'s initial response was that the meeting focused on the issue of adoption. It was later revealed that Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort also attended the meeting after receiving an email stating that a Russian government lawyer would provide incriminating facts about Hillary Clinton as "part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump." No damaging information was delivered.

poll/ 59% of Americans think the Trump team "definitely" or "probably" had improper contacts with Russia during last year's presidential campaign. 56% are very or somewhat confident Robert Mueller will conduct his probe fairly. (Pew Research Center)

The British publicist who arranged the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting encouraged Dan Scavino to make a page for candidate Trump on the Russian social networking site VK, telling him that "Don and Paul" were on board with the idea. Don and Paul, of course, refer to Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort. The previously undisclosed emails from Rob Goldstone to a Russian participant and a member of Trump's inner circle later that summer raise new questions for congressional investigators about what was discussed at the meeting. Scavino is now the White House director of social media. (CNN)

Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee put KT McFarland's nomination on hold until she answers questions about her knowledge of communications between Michael Flynn and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. (CNN)

Devin Nunes met with Blackwater founder Erik Prince earlier this year despite his recusal from the Russia probe. Nunes discussed with Prince the House Intelligence Committee's investigation into the unmasking of Americans' identities in intelligence reports. (Business Insider)

Michael Flynn promised that sanctions against Russia would be "ripped up" as one of the Trump administration's first acts, according to a whistleblower. Flynn worked with Russia until June 2016 on a business venture to build nuclear power plants in the Middle East. Ending the sanctions would have allowed the project to move forward. During Trump's inaugural address, Flynn sent the whistleblower a text message directing him to tell those involved in the nuclear project to continue developing their plans and that the project was "good to go." The whistleblower approached the House Oversight Committee in June, but Robert Mueller's investigators asked him to "hold on the public release of this information until they completed certain investigative steps." (New York Times / Politico / CNN)

Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya told the Senate Judiciary Committee that Trump Jr. asked her for evidence of illegal donations to the Clinton Foundation during the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower. Veselnitskaya said she told Trump Jr. that she didn't have any meaningful information about the Clintons, at which point Trump Jr. lost interest and the meeting fizzled out. Veselnitskaya said that she wasn't working for the Russian government and that her motivation for contacting the Trump campaign was to convince them to reexamine the incident that led to the Magnitsky Act. (NBC News)

Robert Mueller issued a subpoena for Trump's banking records. The move forced Deutsche Bank – Trump's biggest lender – to turn over documents related to certain credit transactions and the $300 million Trump owes the lender. Legal experts said it showed Mueller was "following the money" in search of links between the campaign and the Kremlin since Deutsche Bank may have sold some of Trump’s mortgage or loans to Russian-owned banks, which could potentially give Russia leverage over Trump. Jay Sekulow, one of Trump's personal lawyers, denied that a subpoena had been issued. (The Guardian / Bloomberg / Reuters)

Paul Manafort was ghostwriting an op-ed with a longtime colleague "based in Russia and assessed to have ties to a Russian intelligence service" while out on bail last month. The editorial was related to Manafort's political work for Ukraine. Robert Mueller's investigators argue that Manafort's $10 million unsecured bail agreement should be revisited because it was written while he was on house arrest facing several felony charges, which would have violated a court order to not publicly discuss the case and "casts doubt on Manafort’s willingness to comply with court orders." If the court sides with Mueller, Manafort could remain under house arrest until his trial sometime next year. (New York Times / The Guardian / Washington Post / Associated Press)

Trump's former deputy national security advisor may have contradicted herself during Senate testimony about Michael Flynn's contacts with then-Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. In July, K.T. McFarland told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that she did not discuss or have any knowledge of Flynn's contact with Kislyak. A December 29th email exchange, however, shows McFarland wrote a colleague that Flynn would be speaking with Kislyak later that day. (New York Times)

Pence's aides maintain he doesn't know anything about Russia and the Trump campaign. (Politico)

Robert Mueller's Russia investigation has cost at least $3.2 million so far. Other Justice Department agencies spent an additional $3.5 million to support the investigation. (USA Today)

Germany sees Trump as a bigger challenge than North Korea or Russia. (Reuters)

Trump tweeted that he fired Michael Flynn because he lied to the FBI about his conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the presidential transition last December. "I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies," Trump tweeted. (New York Times)

Emails dispute White House claims that Michael Flynn acted independently in his discussions with Russia during the presidential transition and then lied to his colleagues about the interactions. (New York Times)

A conservative operative offered the Trump campaign a "Kremlin Connect" by using an NRA convention to make "first contact." Russia, Paul Erickson wrote, was "quietly but actively seeking a dialogue with the U.S." (New York Times)

The Senate Judiciary Committee is building an obstruction of justice case, according to Dianne Feinstein, the panel's top Democrat. "I see it in the hyper-frenetic attitude of the White House, the comments every day, the continual tweets," Feinstein said. "And I see it most importantly in what happened with the firing of Director [James] Comey, and it is my belief that that is directly because he did not agree to ‘lift the cloud’ of the Russia investigation. That’s obstruction of justice." (NBC News)

Robert Mueller removed his top FBI agent this summer for sending anti-Trump text messages. During the presidential campaign, Peter Strzok and another member of Mueller's team had exchanged texts disparaging Trump and supporting Hillary Clinton. At the time, Strzok was investigating Clinton's use of a private email server. Strzok left the Russia investigation in August. (New York Times / Washington Post)

The Russia investigation is "wearing" on the White House and "everyone thinks they're being recorded." Michael Flynn's plea is the closest that Robert Mueller's probe into Russian meddling and collusion has come to the Oval Office. Flynn's plea deal includes an agreement that he could avoid a potential lengthy jail term in part by "participating in covert law enforcement activities." (CNN / Politico)

Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations he had with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the presidential transition last December. Flynn is the fourth Trump associate to be charged in Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. (New York Times)

Flynn promised "full cooperation" with Mueller's investigation and is prepared to testify that Trump directed him to make contact with the Russians. The FBI said Flynn communicated with Sergey Kislyak, then the Russian ambassador to the US, after being asked by a senior Trump transition official to find out where foreign governments stood on an upcoming UN Security Council resolution about Israel. The FBI did not name the officials. (ABC News / CNN)

Jared Kushner was the "very senior" Trump official who directed Michael Flynn to contact the Russian ambassador and several other foreign governments. Abbe Lowell, Kusher’s attorney, declined to comment. (Washington Post / CNN)

Trump lobbied several Senate Republicans over the summer "to wrap up" the Russia investigation. The chairman of the Intelligence Committee, Richard Burr, said Trump made a request "something along the lines of 'I hope you can conclude this as quickly as possible.'" Trump also approached Senator Roy Blunt, who sits on the committee, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell with requests to end the investigations. Trump has now asked at least seven officials in both houses of Congress and the Department of Justice to end the multiple investigations. The White House said Trump "at no point has attempted to apply undue influence on committee members." (New York Times / Newsweek)

Jeff Sessions declined to say if Trump ever asked him to obstruct the Russia investigation when questioned today during his House Intelligence Committee testimony. Sessions said his conversations with Trump were subject to executive privilege and he would not respond to the question either way. (The Hill)

Trump Jr. agreed to meet with the House Intelligence Committee on December 6th. It's the first opportunity for lawmakers to question Trump's son over his contacts with Russians during the campaign, including the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between campaign officials and Russian operatives promising dirt on Hillary Clinton. (CNN)

Michael Flynn may have violated federal law by failing to disclose a Middle Eastern trip on his security clearance renewal application in 2016. Flynn traveled to Egypt and Israel in 2015 as an advisor to a company hoping to build two dozen nuclear power plants in the region. The plan relied on help from Russians to build the plants and take possession of the spent fuel, which could be used to build a nuclear weapon. (Washington Post)

The FBI failed to notify US officials that their personal Gmail accounts were being targeted by Fancy Bear, a Russian-government-aligned cyberespionage group. Many officials learned of the hacking attempts only when informed by the Associated Press. (Associated Press)

The FBI warned Representative Dana Rohrabacher in 2012 that Russia regarded him as an intelligence source worthy of a Kremlin code name. (New York Times)

Roman Beniaminov, a low-profile real estate exec turned pop star manager, knew about Russia’s "dirt" on Hillary Clinton. (The Daily Beast)

Kushner failed to disclose that a senior Russian official tried to arrange a meeting between Putin and Trump. The Senate Judiciary Committee accused Kushner of withholding an email from Aleksander Torshin, who claimed to be acting at the behest of Putin in a May 2016 email. The subject line read: "Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite." Torshin's email came a few weeks after a professor with ties to the Russian government told George Papadopoulos that the Russians had "dirt" on Hillary Clinton in the form of "thousands of emails." Spanish anti-corruption officials say Torshin is a "godfather" of the Russian mafia. (New York Times / NBC News)

Robert Mueller issued a subpoena to Trump's campaign for Russia-related documents from more than a dozen officials. The subpoena, issued in mid-October, is the first time Trump's campaign has been ordered to turn over information. It does not compel any officials to testify but it surprised the campaign, which had been voluntarily complying with Mueller's requests for information. (Wall Street Journal)

Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak said he won't name all the Trump officials he's met with because "the list is so long" and that it would take him more than 20 minutes to do so. Kislyak made the remarks during an interview with Russia-1, a state-owned Russian TV channel. (CNBC)

The British publicist who helped set up the Trump Tower meeting will talk with Robert Mueller's office. Rob Goldstone has been living in Bangkok, Thailand and is expected to travel to the US at some point "in the near future" to discuss the meeting between Trump Jr. and a group of Russians in June 2016. (NBC News)

The Republican Party is no longer paying Trump's personal legal bills related to the Russia probe. Trump is working with the Office of Government Ethics and tax firm to use his personal funds to help current and former White House staffers caught up in the Justice Department's special counsel investigation with their legal costs. The RNC had previously paid out more than $230,000 for Trump's legal bills. (Bloomberg / CNN)

Jared Kushner forwarded emails about a "Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite" to campaign officials, according to a letter the Senate Judiciary Committee sent Kushner's lawyer. Kushner received emails in September 2016 about Russia and WikiLeaks, but failed to turn them over to lawmakers with the rest of his documents on November 3rd. In the letter to Kushner, Chuck Grassley and Dianne Feinstein wrote: "There are several documents that are known to exist but were not included." Kushner has been asked to turn over all relevant documents by November 27th. (Business Insider / Politico)

The author of the Trump dossier believes his report is 70-90% accurate. Christopher Steele's reports were commissioned by Fusion GPS as opposition report and detail allegations that the Kremlin had personally compromising material on Trump, including sex tapes recorded during a 2013 trip to Moscow, as well as evidence that Trump and his associates actively colluded with Russian intelligence to influence the election. (The Guardian)

Jeff Sessions told the House Judiciary Committee he didn't lie under oath, but he has "no clear recollection" of the proposed Trump-Putin meeting. Despite repeatedly answering "I do not recall" to questions about a March 2016 meeting where George Papadopoulos proposed that Trump meet with Putin, Sessions said he believes he rejected the suggested meeting. Later during testimony, Sessions was more direct: "At the meeting, I pushed back." In January, Sessions testified that he had no communications with Russians during the 2016 campaign. It was later revealed that he met with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak at least twice during the campaign. (Politico / Reuters / New York Times)

Sessions: There is "not enough basis" for assigning a new special counsel to investigate Hillary Clinton. Earlier, Sessions sent the House Judiciary Committee a letter informing them that the Justice Department was looking into whether a special counsel should be appointed to investigate the Clinton Foundation and a 2010 deal to sell a US uranium company to Russia. On November 3rd, Trump said he was "very unhappy," "disappointed," and "frustrated" with the Justice Department for not investigating Hillary Clinton. (Washington Post / New York Times / The Guardian)

The US embassy in Moscow hired a security firm owned by Putin's former KGB counter-intelligence director to provide "local guard services" for the US mission in Russia. Moscow forced Washington to cut its diplomatic staff in Russia from more than 1,200 to 455 in response to sanctions adopted against Russia in August. To make up for the loss of security guards, Washington awarded a $2.8 million no-bid contract to Elite Security, which was founded in 1997 by Viktor Budanov and his son Dmitry. Budanov retired from espionage in 1992. (The Telegraph / New York Times)

The FBI is investigating Russian embassy payments "to finance election campaign of 2016." The Russian foreign ministry made more than 60 wire transfers that exceeded $380,000 in total to its embassies around the world, most of them bearing the memo line "to finance election campaign of 2016." Nearly $30,000 was sent to the Russian embassy in Washington, D.C. (BuzzFeed News)

Trump asked Putin if Russia meddled in the election. Putin said they didn't. Trump believed him. After meeting on the sideline of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit meeting in Vietnam, Trump said he was done asking Putin about election meddling. "He said he didn’t meddle — I asked him again. You can only ask so many times … Every time he sees me he says, 'I didn’t do that,' and I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it." Trump added: "I think he is very insulted by it, which is not a good thing for our country." The comments came during a question-and-answer session with reporters aboard Air Force One on Saturday. (New York Times / CNN)

Trump called US intelligence leaders "political hacks" and labeled the community's conclusion that Russia interfered in the election as an "artificial Democratic hit job." Later Trump tweeted: "When will all the haters and fools out there realize that having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing." On Sunday, Trump walked back his comments, saying "I'm with our agencies." (Politico / The Hill)

CIA Director Mike Pompeo said he stands by the US intelligence assessment that Russia meddled in the election. Pompeo had falsely claimed Russian meddling didn't affect the election results. (CNN)

Former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates called Trump "shamelessly unpatriotic" for accepting Putin’s denial that Russia interfered in the 2016 election. (The Hill)

The former CIA director said Trump is being "played" by Putin regarding election meddling. "By not confronting the issue directly and not acknowledging to Putin that we know you’re responsible for this, I think he’s giving Putin a pass," former CIA director John Brennan said. "I think it demonstrates to Mr. Putin that Donald Trump can be played by foreign leaders who are going to appeal to his ego and try to play upon his insecurities." Brennan added that Trump called him and two other top intelligence officials "political hacks" in order to "delegitimize" the intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election. (Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)

Trump Jr. corresponded with Wikileaks during the campaign via Twitter direct messages, which were turned over to congressional investigators as part of its probe into Russian meddling. Wikileaks made multiple requests of Trump Jr., including asking for Trump's tax returns, urging the Trump campaign to reject the results of the election as rigged, not to concede if he lost, and, later, asking the president-elect to have Australia appoint Julian Assange as ambassador to the United States. Intelligence agencies believe Wikileaks was chosen by the Russian government to share the hacked DNC emails. (The Atlantic)

Robert Mueller is investigating Michael Flynn's role in a plan to extradite a Muslim cleric in the US and deliver him to Turkey in return for $15 million. Investigators are looking into the role Flynn and his son may have played in the alleged proposal to deliver Fethullah Gülen to the Turkish government. Erdoğan views Fethullah Gülen as a political enemy and has repeatedly pressed the US to extradite him. Flynn is facing military, congressional, and criminal investigations for concealing his financial ties to Turkey and Russia, and whether the ties played a role in his decisions as Trump's national security adviser. Any deal where a government official is bribed to act on behalf of a foreign government would involve multiple federal crimes. (NBC News / Wall Street Journal)

Mueller's team is investigating a meeting between Michael Flynn and a pro-Russia congressman. The meeting between Dana Rohrabacher and Flynn took place in Washington on September 20th, 2016, while Flynn was an adviser to Trump’s campaign. Rohrabacher has pushed for better relations with Russia, traveled to Moscow to meet with officials, and advocated for overturning the Magnitsky Act, a 2012 bill that froze the assets of Russian investigators and prosecutors. It's the first known time that Mueller's investigation has touched a member of Congress. (NBC News)

Michael Flynn is worried about his son's legal exposure as Robert Mueller continues to investigate Russian meddling and the business dealings of key campaign advisers to Trump. Flynn Jr. served as his father's chief of staff and top aide, and was actively involved in his father's consulting and lobbying work at their firm, Flynn Intel Group. In December 2015, the Flynns traveled to Moscow, where the elder Flynn dined with Putin at a gala for the RT television network, which US intelligence views as a Russian propaganda outlet. (CNN)

The House Intelligence Committee will interview the Russian-American lobbyist who was at the Trump Tower meeting with Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort. Rinat Akhmetshin will meet with House investigators next week. The panel last week interviewed Ike Kaveladze, a Russian who attended the meeting on behalf of Russian billionaire Aras Agalarov, the oligarch who initiated the session. (CNN)

Trump's bodyguard testified that Russians offered to "send five women" to Trump's hotel room in Moscow. "We don't do that type of stuff," Keith Schiller said. The comments came as Schiller disputed the allegations made in the dossier that describes Trump as having an encounter with prostitutes at the hotel during the 2013 Miss Universe Pageant. Schiller testified that Trump went to bed alone and that he stood outside the room for a time before going to bed. He could not say for sure what happened during the remainder of the night. (NBC News)

Corey Lewandowski's "memory has been refreshed" about Carter Page's trip to Russia. In March, Trump’s former campaign manager said he "never met Carter Page." On Tuesday, Lewandowski described Page as a "low-level volunteer" who had "no formal role in the campaign," and "to the best of my recollection, I don't know Carter Page." Page testified last week to the House Oversight Committee that he had asked Lewandowski and Hope Hicks for permission to travel to Moscow. After the trip, Page emailed Lewandowski, Hicks, Sam Clovis, JD Gordon, and then-Senator Jeff Sessions about his trip to Russia, where he met with Russian officials and discussed the presidential campaign. (Politico / Talking Points Memo)

Carter Page testified that he received permission from Corey Lewandowski to visit Moscow in July 2016, he told the House Intelligence Committee during his seven-hour testimony yesterday. Page also told senior campaign officials Sam Clovis, Hope Hicks, and JD Gordon, as well as then-Senator Jeff Sessions, about his trip to Russia. When he returned, Page sent an email to campaign officials saying he had received "incredible insights and outreach" from "senior members" of Putin’s administration and suggested that Trump should make a foreign policy speech in Russia and "raise the temperature a little bit." Page maintains that his trip was made as a private citizen and was unrelated to his role in the Trump campaign. (CNN / NBC News / Washington Post)

Jeff Sessions will testify before the House Judiciary Committee on November 14th about his past statements regarding contacts between Trump campaign and Russian intermediaries. Sessions is also expected appear in a closed session with the House Intelligence Committee on the same day. (Reuters)

Trump urged North Korea to "come to the table" and discuss giving up its nuclear weapons, casting the threat as a global crisis that required cooperation from Russia and China. Trump previously called Rex Tillerson's effort to negotiate with North Korea a waste of time and threatened to unleash "fire and fury" against Kim Jong Un if he continued to provoke the US. (Bloomberg / Politico)

Robert Mueller has enough evidence to charge Michael Flynn and his son as part of the Russia probe. Mueller's team is looking at possible money laundering charges, lying to federal agents, and Flynn's role in a plan to remove an opponent of the Turkish president from the US in exchange for millions of dollars. (NBC News / Reuters)

A Russian lawyer said Trump Jr. offered to have an anti-Russian law re-examined if Trump won the election. "Looking ahead, if we come to power, we can return to this issue and think what to do about it," Trump Jr. said of the Magnitsky Act, which the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, was lobbying against. Trump Jr. met with Veselnitskaya lawyer in June 2016 at Trump Tower with Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner after being promised "information that would incriminate" Hillary Clinton. (Bloomberg)

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross retained investments in a shipping company tied to Putin's inner circle. Ross and his private equity firm are the biggest shareholders in Navigator Holdings. Navigator's largest client is the Russian energy firm Sibur, which is partly owned by a Russian oligarch and Putin's son-in-law. The revelation comes after the so-called Paradise Papers were leaked to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung. The trove of more than 13 million documents reveal how some wealthy individuals have used offshore havens to avoid paying taxes. (New York Times / The Daily Beast / Washington Post)

Russian tech leader Yuri Milner invested $850,000 in a startup called Cadre that Jared Kushner co-founded in 2014. Kushner did not disclose his ownership in Cadre on his initial financial disclosure form when he became a White House adviser. In July, Kushner told the Senate Intelligence Committee in a closed-door meeting that he never "relied on Russian funds to finance my business activities in the private sector." (New York Times)

At least nine Trump associates had contacts with Russians during the campaign or presidential transition and include Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen, Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, George Papadopoulos, Carter Page, J.D. Gordon, Michael Flynn, and Jeff Sessions. Experts who've studied Russian tactics see a concerted and multifaceted Kremlin effort to infiltrate Trump’s campaign. (Washington Post)

poll/ 44% of Americans are "very concerned" about the Trump campaign's contacts with the Russians, up from 27% who said so in July. (CNN)

Current Status: Trump and Jeff Sessions have denied knowing about the Trump campaign's contacts with Russia. Court documents suggest otherwise. Records show that at a March 31, 2016, meeting between Trump, Sessions, and the campaign's foreign policy team, George Papadopoulos introduced himself and said "that he had connections that could help arrange a meeting between then-candidate Trump and President Putin." (New York Times)

Carter Page testified that he told Jeff Sessions about his 2016 trip to Russia during the presidential campaign. At a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in June, Sessions testified that he had "no knowledge" of any conversations between "anyone connected to the Trump campaign." During his confirmation hearing, Sessions was asked if "anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government" during the campaign. Sessions responded: "I'm not aware of any of those activities … I didn't have — did not have communications with the Russians, and I'm unable to comment on it." (CNN)

Republicans called on Robert Mueller to resign as special counsel over what they contend to be "obvious conflicts of interest." Matt Gaetz, Andy Biggs, and Louie Gohmert introduced a measure to put the House on record describing Mueller as unfit to lead the Russia probe because of his relationship with James Comey, who was Mueller's successor at the FBI. (Reuters / Politico)

The White House learned that Sam Clovis testified before the grand jury from media reports. Last week Clovis testified before the investigating grand jury and was questioned by Robert Mueller's team about his role on Trump’s campaign. Emails between Clovis and George Papadopoulos, whom he supervised, show Clovis encouraging Papadopoulos to engage with his Russian contacts. (ABC News)

Senate Democrats asked Jeff Sessions to clarify his confirmation hearing remarks regarding attempts by the campaign to coordinate a meeting between Trump and Putin. Both the Senate intelligence and judiciary committees asked Sessions to formally clarify his remarks after it was reported that Trump declined to rule out the idea proposed by George Papadopoulos. Sessions weighed in and rejected the proposal to use Papadopoulos' "Russian contacts" to arrange a meeting. During his confirmation testimony, Sessions testified that he was "not aware" of anyone from the Trump campaign communicating with the Russians. (CNN / NBC News)

Carter Page met with the House Intelligence Committee in private looking into Russian involvement in the 2016 election. Page originally wanted to be questioned by the panel in public. The committee agreed to release a transcript three days after the interview. (Bloomberg)

Paul Manafort wired millions of dollars into the US through a company linked to one of Russia’s most notorious criminals. The Cyprus-based Lucicle Consultants Limited received millions of dollars from a businessman and Ukrainian parliamentarian named Ivan Fursin, who is closely linked to Semion Mogilevich, who is frequently described as "the most dangerous mobster in the world." (The Daily Beast)

The Justice Department has identified at least six Russian government officials involved in the DNC hack that resulted in thousands of emails being released by WikiLeaks last year. Prosecutors have assembled evidence to charge the Russian officials and could bring a case next year. U.S. intelligence agencies have attributed the hack to Russian intelligence services. (Wall Street Journal)

The hackers who targeted Hillary Clinton's campaign had international targets corresponding with Russian interests. A digital "hit list" shows a multi-year operation that tried to break into the inboxes of 4,700 Gmail accounts worldwide and targeted the emails of Ukrainian officers, Russian opposition leaders, U.S. defense contractors, and more. The list was found by the cybersecurity firm Secureworks after the "Fancy Bear" hacking group forgot to set an active Bitly account to private. One of the experts who reviewed the list described the data as "a master list of individuals whom Russia would like to spy on, embarrass, discredit or silence." (Associated Press)

Trump and Jeff Sessions denied knowing if anybody from the campaign was in contact with the Russians. Records suggest otherwise. (New York Times)

Carter Page testified that he told Jeff Sessions about his trip to Russia. (CNN)

Trump did not dismiss the idea of meeting with Putin when it was suggested by George Papadopoulos in March 2016. "He didn't say yes and he didn't say no," according to a person in the room at the time. Jeff Sessions shot down the idea. However, in a July 2016 email to his Russian contact, Papadopoulos proposed a meeting in August or September between "my national chairman and maybe one other foreign policy adviser" and members of Putin's office and Russia's foreign ministry. "It has been approved by our side," Papadopoulos wrote. It's not clear if the meeting ever occurred, but Paul Manafort was the campaign chairman at the time. (CNN / Bloomberg)

Speculation: Jeff Sessions may have perjured himself. During his confirmation hearing in January, Sessions was asked "if there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government" during the campaign. Sessions responded: "I’m not aware of any of those activities… I didn’t have – did not have communications with the Russians, and I’m unable to comment on it." (New Republic)

Facebook, Google, and Twitter testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee. It was the second day in a row the tech companies answered questions on Capitol Hill. The tech firms admitted that they could have done more to prevent Russian meddling in the US election. Yesterday, the firms said that content by a Russian troll farm known as the Internet Research Agency sought "to create discord between Americans" during the election, but after the election, the troll farm sought to undermine Trump's legitimacy. (Washington Post / Politico)

Twitter offered Russian television network RT 15% of its US election advertising inventory for $3 million dollars. The US intelligence community describes RT as "the Kremlin’s principal international propaganda outlet." (BuzzFeed News)

Separately, Roger Stone told Trump that Kushner was giving him bad political advice. A former Trump campaign aide described "Jared [as] the worst political adviser in the White House in modern history," adding that "Trump is at 33 percent [approval] in Gallup. You can’t go any lower. He’s fucked." In a call with the New York Times, Trump said he was "not angry at anybody" and that the investigation into his campaign's links to Russia have "nothing to do with us." (Vanity Fair)

Court documents show that Papadopoulos shared his Russian outreach with several senior Trump campaign officials. Here's the breakdown:

"The Campaign Supervisor" named in the documents is Sam Clovis, who served as Trump's national campaign co-chairman. Clovis urged Papadopoulos to organize an "off the record" meeting with Russian officials.

The "High-Ranking Campaign Official" named is campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. Papadopoulos wrote to Lewandowski several times to let him know that the Russians were interested in forging a relationship with the campaign, including an email about discussing "Russia’s interest in hosting Mr. Trump."

"Another high-ranking campaign official" is Paul Manafort, who Papadopoulos sent an email to with the subject line "Request from Russia to meet Mr. Trump." Manafort forwarded the email to another campaign official, stating: "We need someone to communicate that DT is not doing these trips," referring to a trip to Russia. "It should be someone low level in the campaign so as not to send any signal." (Washington Post / US v. George Papadopoulos)

Sam Clovis was questioned by Robert Mueller's team last week and testified before the investigating grand jury. Clovis supervised George Papadopoulos during the campaign. The former co-chair and policy adviser to Trump’s campaign was also interviewed recently by the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. He was described as "a fully cooperative witness." Clovis is Trump's pick to be the Department of Agriculture's chief scientist and is awaiting Senate confirmation. He is not a scientist. (NBC News / Politico)

Facebook, Twitter, and Google appeared before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee today for the first of three public hearings. Facebook told members that Russians bought 3,000 Facebook ads, which had the potential reach of 126 million users – equivalent to more than half of the total U.S. voting population. Google found 1,108 videos with 43 hours of content related to the Russian effort on YouTube. And Twitter identified 2,752 accounts controlled by Russian operatives and more than 36,000 bots that tweeted 1.4 million times during the election campaign. (Washington Post / Bloomberg / CNN)

poll/ 49% of voters support impeaching Trump, to 41% who are opposed to doing so. Of Trump voters, 79% think he should remain in office even if collusion is proven, and 75% claim the entire Russia story is “fake news." (Public Policy Polling)

In a 12-count indictment, Robert Mueller charged Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates with conspiracy to launder more than $18 million, making false statements to the Justice Department, and other charges stemming from probes into possible Russian influence in US political affairs. The indictment of Manafort, Trump's former campaign chairman, and Gates focused on their work advising a pro-Russia party in Ukraine between 2006 to 2015, laundering money through 2016, and continuing the conspiracy against the US in 2017. The charges – the first by Mueller – make no mention of Trump or Russian election meddling. Both Manafort and Gates surrendered to Justice Department and pleaded not guilty on all counts today. (New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Politico)

Trump's former foreign policy adviser pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about an April 2016 conversation with a professor with close ties to the Russian government that said Moscow had "dirt" on Hillary Clinton in the form of "thousands of emails." George Papadopoulos repeatedly tried to arrange a meeting between the Trump campaign and Russian government officials. Papadopoulos was arrested in July 2017 and has been working with Mueller ever since as a "proactive cooperator," court documents show. The single felony count against Papadopolous directly relates to the 2016 presidential campaign. (New York Times / Bloomberg / NBC News / Politico)

Russian agents began reaching out to Trump's campaign as early as March 2016, the Justice Department established in documents released Monday. (NPR)

Trump hasn't imposed sanctions on Russia because Rex Tillerson dissolved the office that implements them. After the Coordinator for Sanctions Policy office was eliminated just one mid-level official is now responsible for coordinating the implementation of sanctions across the State Department and other government agencies. The administration missed the October 1st deadline to implement new penalties against Russia, which were adopted by Congress in August. (Foreign Policy / The Hill)

Trump claimed that it's "commonly agreed" that he didn't collude with Russia. Instead, he accused Hillary Clinton of working with the Kremlin amid reports that Clinton and the DNC paid for the dossier of accusations about Trump and his ties to Russia. Trump tweeted that "after many months of COSTLY looking, that there was NO collusion between Russia and Trump. Was collusion with HC!" (Politico / The Hill)

Republican lawmakers intend to wind down their Trump-Russia investigations even though the issue of collusion remains unresolved. The Senate Intelligence Committee wants the panel’s investigation to end by February – ahead of the first 2018 primary elections – while the House Intelligence Committee hopes to finish before that. (Politico)

The memo Natalia Veselnitskaya brought to the Trump Tower meeting was coordinated with the Kremlin, undercutting the Russian lawyer's claim that she was an independent actor when she sat down with Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort. In the months before the meeting, Veselnitskaya had discussed allegations that Democratic donors were guilty of financial fraud and tax evasion with Russia’s prosecutor general, Yuri Y. Chaika. The memo she brought to the meeting closely followed a document that Chaika’s office had given to Representative Dana Rohrabacher, a California Republican who is considered to be one of the most pro-Russia lawmakers in Congress and who heads a subcommittee that helps oversee U.S. policy toward Russia. (New York Times)

Trump personally directed the Justice Department to lift an FBI informant's gag order so they could testify to Congress about Russia's attempt to gain influence in the uranium industry in the United States during the Obama administration. The request is unusual for two reasons: 1) The DOJ limits the White House's involvement in criminal law enforcement, and 2) the request is related to Obama and the Clintons.

Before Obama approved the 2010 deal to give Moscow control of a large swath of American uranium, the FBI had evidence showing Russian nuclear officials routing millions of dollars to the US designed to benefit Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation while Hillary Clinton was serving as Secretary of State. She was not involved in the review by the Committee on Foreign Investment, which approved the deal. (CNN / The Hill)

It's been more than three weeks since the October 1st deadline passed for the White House to imposed new sanctions on Russia. The administration still has not implemented the sanctions that Congress passed with veto-proof majorities in July. The State Department issued guidance on how to implement sanctions shortly after Bob Corker and other Senate Republicans pledged to find out if the White House was intentionally delaying them. Trump signed the bill in early August, imposing new sanctions and limiting his authority to lift them. He called the bill "seriously flawed," but signed it anyway. (The Daily Beast / CNN)

Foreign steel imports are up 24% since Trump's "Buy American" pledge. In particular, a Russian steel company has won several pipeline contracts, including the Keystone XL. The biggest shareholder in Evraz North America is an oligarch and Trump family friend. (Bloomberg)

Trump's digital director will meet with the House Intelligence Committee about Russian meddling in last year’s election. It will be Brad Parscale’s first interview with any of the committees investigating the matter. Parscale claimed that Facebook, Google, and Twitter employees were "embedded" inside the Trump campaign. (Reuters)

Trump will spend at least $430,000 of his own money to cover the legal costs his aides have incurred related to the Russia investigation. The RNC has paid roughly $430,000 to lawyers representing Trump and Trump Jr. The White House said Trump has pledged to spend the same amount, from his personal finances, "to defray the costs of legal fees for his associates, including former and current White House aides." (Axios / Washington Post)

The State Department revoked the visa of a Putin critic after Russia placed Bill Browder on Interpol's wanted list. Browder was responsible for the Magnitsky Act, a law aimed at punishing Russian officials believed responsible for the death in a Moscow prison of Sergei Magnitsky. In response to the Magnitsky Act, Russia cut off the US adoption of Russian children, which was the premise for the Trump Tower meeting between the Russian lawyer and representatives of the Trump campaign. (NPR / The Guardian / The Hill)

The US rejected Russia's criminal complaint against Browder and allowed him into the country. The initial action blocking Browder had been taken automatically in response to an Interpol notice filed against him by Russia and was not an affirmative action by the American government. (New York Times)

Putin called on Americans to respect Trump. "Inside the country, disrespect is shown for him. This is a regrettable negative component of the U.S. political system," Putin said. He continued, saying that "Trump was elected by the American people. And at least for this reason, it is necessary to show respect for him, even if you do not agree with some of his positions." Putin's comments came the same day that U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley accused the Russian government of committing "warfare" against the United States. (The Hill)

Trump suggested that the Democratic Party, the FBI, or the Kremlin paid for the dossier alleging ties between him and the Russian government. "Workers of firm involved with the discredited and Fake Dossier take the 5th," Trump tweeted. "Who paid for it, Russia, the FBI or the Dems (or all)?" Two officials from Fusion GPS, the firm behind the dossier, invoked their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination and refused to answer questions from the House Intelligence Committee yesterday. (Politico)

CIA Director Mike Pompeo falsely claimed Russian meddling didn't affect the election results. A US intelligence report released in January concluded that Moscow’s aims were to undermine the democratic process and help elect Trump. It did not reach a conclusion about whether meddling had altered the outcome, because the question was considered out of the scope of the report. (Washington Post / NBC News)

Trump's former campaign manager met with the Senate Intelligence Committee for a closed-door interview. Corey Lewandowski said earlier this year that he did not have any contact with Russian officials, but if there was contact, it was made by Manafort or others on the campaign and Trump didn't know about it. (CNN)

On November 1st, the general counsel for both Facebook and Twitter will testify before the House and Senate intelligence committees on Russia's use of technology to try to interfere with the 2016 presidential election. Google, which was also invited, has not said if it will send a representative to testify. (NBC News / The Hill)

An exiled Russian oligarch believes Putin tried to collaborate with the Trump campaign. "I am almost convinced that Putin's people have tried to influence the U.S. election in some way," Mikhail Khodorkovsky said. He added that the Russian banker Jared Kushner met with last December was not "acting on his own behalf." (NBC News)

Several Republicans have called for the three congressional Russia investigations to end this year. The GOP members contend that the Democrats on a fishing expedition, which Trump has called a "witch hunt." Democrats say they don't want to rush testimony from witnesses. (CNN)

Putin's "chef" is believed to have financed the Russian "troll factory" that used social media to spread fake news during the 2016 US presidential campaign. Yevgeny Prigozhin is a Russian oligarch and the main backer of the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency. A declassified assessment by US intelligence concluded in January that the "likely financier of the so-called Internet Research Agency of professional trolls located in Saint Petersburg is a close Putin ally with ties to Russian intelligence." It did not name Prigozhin directly. Prigozhin was at one point, allegedly, Putin's "personal chef," in addition to having catering contracts with Russia's armed forces. He also once served caviar and truffles to George W. Bush during a summit in St. Petersburg. (CNN)

Sean Spicer met with Robert Mueller's team on Monday for an interview that lasted most of the day. Spicer was asked about the firing of former FBI director James Comey, his statements regarding the firing, and Trump’s meetings with Russians officials, including Sergei Lavrov in the Oval Office. (Politico)

The Senate Intelligence Committee subpoenaed Carter Page as part of its investigation into Russia meddling in the 2016 election. Page previously said he would not cooperate and would invoke his Fifth Amendment rights and refuse to answer questions. (NBC News)

Robert Mueller’s team interviewed Reince Priebus. The former chief of staff was present for many key moments, including Trump's efforts to limit questions about Russian meddling in the election and the discussions that led to James Comey’s firing. (Washington Post)

Paul Manafort's financial ties to a Russian oligarch total around $60 million over the past decade. Previously unreported documents revealed a $26 million loan between a Manafort-linked company and Oleg Deripaska, a billionaire with close ties to the Kremlin. (NBC News)

Trump's top allies aren't sure if he realizes his feuds with Republicans and lack of legislative wins are putting his presidency at risk. Top White House aides, lawmakers, donors, and political consultants have privately wondered if Trump grasps that losing the House next year could bring on new subpoenas, an intense focus on the Russia investigation, and possible impeachment proceedings. (CNN)

The background check chief said he has "never seen [the] level of mistakes" Jared Kushner made on his security clearance application. Kushner's initial SF-86 form did not mention any foreign contacts. He updated the form in the spring, listing about 100 contacts, but omitted the June 2016 meeting with the Russian lawyer, Trump Jr., and Paul Manafort. He updated the SF-86 forms once more in June to include that meeting. (CNN)

Twitter's privacy policy required it to delete data relevant to the Russia probe. Whenever a user removes a tweet, promotion, or account, Twitter is obligated to also delete that data from its servers. Because Russian operatives immediately erase all of their digital footprint, a substantial amount of valuable information held by Twitter has been lost. Twitter engineers are trying to determine what data is recoverable. (Politico)

Facebook removed thousands of posts from public view that were linked to the Russian disinformation campaign. The data was deleted a day after researcher Jonathan Albright published a report showing that the reach of the Russian campaign was at least twice what Facebook had said. Facebook claimed it simply fixed a "bug," which allowed researchers to access cached information from inactive Facebook Pages. (Washington Post)

Trump’s lawyers are open to having the president sit down for an interview with Robert Mueller in an effort to speed up the Russia probe and dispel suspicions surrounding Trump. Trump told reporters this spring that he was “100 percent” willing to testify under oath about alleged Russian ties to his campaign. Trump's personal lawyer, John Dowd, called the report that they were willing to cooperation with the special counsel “Totally false!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” (Politico)

Cambridge Analytica’s work for Trump’s campaign is now as part of the Russia probe. The company is in the process of turning over documents to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Steve Bannon had a stake in Cambridge Analytica worth between $1 million and $5 million as recently as April of this year. (The Daily Beast)

The House Intelligence Committee will publicly release the Facebook ads purchased by Russian operatives during last year’s presidential election. The committee received more than 3,000 politically divisive ads believed to have been purchased by Russia. (Reuters)

Russia hijacked Kaspersky Lab anti-virus software and turned it into a tool for spying. The software routinely scanned files looking for terms like "top secret" and classified code names of US government programs. (Wall Street Journal)

Carter Page told the Senate Intelligence Committee he will not cooperate with any requests to appear and would plead the Fifth. The Trump campaign's former foreign policy adviser met with Sergey Kislyak on the sidelines of the GOP convention last year. In addition, the FBI has been monitoring Page since he travelled to Russia and met with high-level associates of Putin last year. (Politico)

The House Intelligence Committee issued subpoenas to the partners who run Fusion GPS, the research firm that produced the dossier of memos of alleged Russian efforts to aid the Trump campaign. Chairman Devin Nunes signed off on the subpoenas that demand documents and testimony. Nunes recused himself from the House's panel earlier this year after going directly to the White House with information about “incidental” surveillance of Trump's transition team. (CNN)

The attorney for the Russian billionaire who pushed for the Trump Tower meeting said an email shows the meeting wasn't about Hillary Clinton. In the newly disclosed email, Natalia Veselnitskaya asked music publicist Rob Goldstone if she could bring a “lobbyist and trusted associate" to the meeting, because of his knowledge of the Magnitsky Act, a 2012 law that imposed financial sanctions on wealthy Russians as punishment for human rights abuses. The email was disclosed by Scott Balber, who represents Aras and Emin Agalarov, the billionaire real estate developer and his son who requested the June 2016 meeting.

The emails between Goldstone and Trump Jr. tell a different story, however. Goldstone requested the meeting Trump Jr., saying the Russian government wanted to help the Trump campaign by providing documents that “would incriminate Hillary" and "be very useful to your father.” Trump Jr. replied: “If it’s what you say I love it." (Washington Post / CNN)

Google said Russian agents bought ads aimed to spread disinformation on YouTube, Google Search, Gmail, and DoubleClick, the company’s ad network. The ads don't appear to be from the same Kremlin-affiliated troll farm that bought ads on Facebook. Google runs the world’s largest online advertising business, and YouTube is the world’s largest online video site. (Washington Post)

Robert Mueller's investigators met with the author of the Trump dossier, Christopher Steele, this past summer in an effort to understand if people associated with the Trump campaign and suspected Russian operatives broke any laws. US intelligence agencies reportedly took the Steele dossier more seriously than previously acknowledged, keeping it out of a publicly-released January report on Russian meddling in order to not divulge which parts of the dossier they had corroborated. Trump and his allies have repeatedly called the dossier "totally made-up stuff" written by a "failed spy." (CNN / Associated Press)

Christopher Steele is talking with the Senate Intelligence Committee about formally speaking with its leaders. The sticking point for the former British intelligence operative, who authored a 35-page dossier alleging that the Trump campaign had colluded with Russia, has been over his unwillingness to discuss who underwrote his work. Steele was hired by Fusion GPS to conduct opposition research, which was originally funded by undisclosed Republican opponents of Trump. During the general election, unknown Democrats began picking up the tab. Senators had previously said they have had unable to get traction on the dossier, because Steele had not agreed to meet with investigators or the senators. (NBC News)

Russian hackers stole NSA data about US cyber defense after an employee removed the highly classified material, put it on his home computer, and used an antivirus app made by Russia-based Kaspersky Lab. The US government had previously banned the use of Kaspersky Lab software over concerns of Russian cyberespionage. The stolen material includes details about how the NSA penetrates foreign computer networks, the code it uses, and how it defends networks inside the US. (Wall Street Journal)

Russian propaganda may have been shared hundreds of millions of times on Facebook, new research shows. From the 470 Facebook accounts that have been made public, the content had been “shared” 340 million times. (Washington Post)

The three Russians named in the Trump dossier are suing Fusion GPS for libel. Mikhail Fridman, Petr Aven and German Khan claim that their reputations have been unfairly ruined by the dossier. (Politico)

FBI deputy director on Russian hacking: We "should have seen this coming." Speaking at the Cambridge Cyber Summit, Andrew McCabe implied that Russian meddling hasn't stopped, either: "The experience in the 2016 elections allowed us to diagnose the problem. Have we cured it yet? Absolutely not." (CNN)

Two former CIA chiefs said Russia needed help targeting US voters and districts in the 2016 presidential campaign. "It is not intuitively obvious that they could have done this themselves," former CIA director Michael Hayden said. Russia either needed someone to help give it information on who to microtarget or it stole the necessary information through hacking. (Bloomberg)

Senate Judiciary Chairman said there is "no way of avoiding" a public hearing for Trump Jr., who has come under scrutiny from multiple committees in Congress for meeting with a Russian lawyer in June 2016. "Before this is over with," Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr said, "we will know everything about the Don Jr. meeting." (CNN)

Trump criticized the Senate Intelligence Committee for continuing its investigation into possible collusion between Russia and his campaign, tweeting: "Why Isn't the Senate Intel Committee looking into the Fake News Networks in OUR country to see why so much of our news is just made up-FAKE!" Trump tweeted. The tweet comes in response to yesterday's news that the committee is still investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential race. (The Hill / ABC News)

The Senate Intelligence Committee endorsed the conclusions of American intelligence agencies that Putin directed a campaign of hacking and propaganda to disrupt the 2016 presidential election. Richard Burr, chairman of the committee, said they "trust the conclusions" of the Intelligence Community Assessment that Russia was behind the hacking of the John Podesta’s email account and had attempted to exploit public opinion with false information through fake social media accounts. The issue of collusion remains open.

Senators also acknowledged that they have been unable to get traction on the Steele dossier, which contains a series of claims about Trump and Russia. The memos’ author, Christopher Steele, has not agreed to meet with investigators or the senators. Robert Mueller's special counsel has taken over FBI inquiries into the Steele dossier. (New York Times / Washington Post / ABC News)

Facebook and Twitter agreed to testify publicly before the Senate intelligence committee as part of the congressional probe into Russian interference during the 2016 presidential election. Facebook will also testify at the House Intelligence Committee hearing. Twitter and Facebook have already briefed both committees on their findings regarding Russian use of their platforms to influence the election. While invited, Google has not said if it will also appear at either hearing. (Recode / The Hill)

The House intelligence committee is focusing on Russian ads bought on Google, search engine manipulation, fake news, and the potential uses of YouTube. Google had initially said it found no evidence of targeted tactics like the thousands of election-related ads purchased on Facebook. (Bloomberg)

Russian-linked Facebook ads specifically targeted Michigan and Wisconsin, two states Trump won by less than 1% of the vote. The ads promoted divisiveness and anti-Muslim messages. Trump beat Hillary Clinton in Michigan by about 10,700 votes out of nearly 4.8 million ballots cast. In Wisconsin, Trump won by only about 22,700 votes. (CNN)

Robert Mueller's top legal counsel is researching limits on pre-emptive presidential pardons. Michael Dreeben has been researching past pardons to determine if any limits exist as Trump's current and former advisers come under the special counsel's scrutiny. Trump previously tweeted that "all agree the U. S. President has the complete power to pardon." Pardons of a president’s campaign workers, family members, and himself are largely uncharted legal territory. Mueller has a team of 16 seasoned prosecutors investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election as well as any potential collusion between Russian and members of Trump’s campaign. (Bloomberg)

The CIA denied a request by the Senate Judiciary Committee to let them view information about Russian meddling that the intelligence committee was allowed to see. The material pertains to obstruction of justice matters that are in the Judiciary Committee’s jurisdiction. (Politico)

Russian operatives used Facebook's retargeting tool to target specific ads and messages to voters who had visited misleading web sites and social media pages designed to mimicked those created by political activists. By using Facebook's Custom Audiences, Russian-linked ad buyers were able to spend $100,000 on more than 3,000 ads that were seen by roughly 10 million users — approximately 44% of which were seen before the November 8th election. (Washington Post / CNN)

Trump's associates had two more previously undisclosed contacts with Russia during the 2016 campaign. The documents were turned over to congressional committees and special counsel Robert Mueller. Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, was invited to a conference in Russia that would be attended by Putin; in the other case, Cohen received a second proposal for a Trump-branded Moscow project during the campaign. Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, low-level foreign policy advisers and, now, Cohen were all contacted by Russians with interests in business and politics in the weeks before or after Trump accepted the nomination. (Washington Post)

Paul Manafort attempted to leverage his role on Trump's campaign team to curry favor with a Russian oligarch close to Putin during the campaign. Emails turned over to investigators show how the former campaign chair tried to please Oleg Vladimirovich Deripaska, one of Russia’s richest men. Manafort was ousted from the Trump campaign after Manafort’s name was listed in a secret ledger of cash payments from a pro-Russian party in Ukraine that detailed his failed venture with Deripaska. At the time, Manafort was in debt to shell companies connected to pro-Russian interests in Ukraine for some $16 million. (The Atlantic)

The National Security Agency warned senior White House officials against using personal cellphones and email, which could make them vulnerable to espionage by Russia, China, Iran, and others. The briefing came shortly after Trump was sworn into office on January 20, and before some top aides began using their personal email and phones to conduct official business. At least five current and former White House officials have used private email, including Kushner, Ivanka Trump, Gary Cohn, Steve Bannon, and Reince Priebus. (Politico)

Facebook is turning over more than 3,000 Russian-linked advertisements to congressional investigators. The House and Senate Intelligence Committees and the Senate Judiciary Committee will receive copies of the ads. The Senate Intelligence Committee also wants Facebook, Google, and Twitter to testify before a Congressional panel on November 1 regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election. None of the companies have confirmed they will attend. The House Intelligence Committee will hold a public hearing in October, and would like the three companies to attend as well. (New York Times / ABC News / The Hill)

Russia warned the US not to take action against their government-funded media outlets RT and Sputnik: "every step against a Russian media outlet will be met with a corresponding response." Earlier this month, the Department of Justice notified the company supplying services for RT America that it is obligated to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act due to the work it does for RT. Federal investigators are also looking into whether RT and Sputnik were part of Russia's influence campaign in the 2016 election. (CNN)

Twitter briefed members of the Senate and House intelligence committees about fake news spread by Russian accounts and what steps the company took to stop it. Twitter told Congress that about 200 accounts are tied to some of the same Russian-linked sources that purchased ads on Facebook. The vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee criticized Twitter for failing to aggressively investigate the Russian misuse of its platform beyond the accounts linked to fraudulent profiles already identified by Facebook. Mark Warner said the company's presentation “showed an enormous lack of understanding from the Twitter team of how serious this issue is, the threat it poses to democratic institutions and again begs many more questions than they offered." He added: “Their response was frankly inadequate on every level.” (Recode / New York Times)

An Oxford University study shows there was a higher concentration of misinformation, polarizing political and conspiratorial news shared on Twitter from Russian, WikiLeaks, and junk news sources in the swing states Trump won than in uncontested states. (Oxford Internet Institute)

A Russian hacker who previously worked for Putin’s United Russia party was arrested in Barcelona on a US warrant. Prosecutors charged Peter Levashov with operating a network of tens of thousands of infected computers used by cyber criminals. (Reuters)

The Senate Intelligence Committee has asked Facebook, Google, and Twitter to testify on Russian meddling at a public hearing on November 1st. The House Intelligence Committee also wants to hold a public hearing next month with representatives from several unnamed technology companies (hint, hint) in an effort to “better understand how Russia used online tools and platforms to sow discord in and influence our election.” (Reuters / New York Times / Politico)

A Russian-backed group impersonated a real American Muslim organization on Facebook and Instagram to spread misinformation. The United Muslims of America pushed memes that claimed Hillary Clinton admitted the US “created, funded and armed” al-Qaeda and ISIS, claimed that John McCain was ISIS’ true founder, and alleged Osama bin Laden was a “CIA agent.” (The Daily Beast)

Russian-bought political Facebook ads criticized Hillary Clinton, promoted Trump, and supported Bernie Sanders even after his presidential campaign had ended. The ads appeared designed to create divisions while sometimes praising Trump, Sanders, and Green Party candidate Jill Stein. A number of the ads questioned Clinton’s authenticity and touted liberal criticisms of her candidacy. Trump took to Twitter to suggest that Facebook had colluded with the news media against him during the campaign, tweeting: "Facebook was always anti-Trump. The Networks were always anti-Trump hence, Fake News @nytimes (apologized) & @WaPo were anti-Trump. Collusion?" He added: "But the people were Pro-Trump! Virtually no President has accomplished what we have accomplished in the first 9 months – and economy roaring." (Politico / The Hill)

Three Americans with Russian business connections contributed almost $2 million to political funds controlled by Trump. All three men are associated with Viktor Vekselberg, one of the richest men in Russia, who holds frequent meetings with Putin. Donations began flowing to the RNC just as Trump was securing the Republican nomination and culminated in two large gifts – totaling $1.25 million – to the Trump inaugural fund following his victory. Unless the contributions were directed by a foreigner, they would be legal donations. (ABC News)

Roger Stone rejected all allegations of collusion between Trump's associates and Russia during the 2016 election. In a closed House of Representatives Intelligence Committee hearing, Trump's longtime ally denied he had any contact with Russian operatives during the campaign. Stone also denied that he had any advance knowledge that emails of Clinton’s campaign chairman would be hacked and his emails released by WikiLeaks, despite tweeting days before that John Podesta’s “time in the barrel” would soon be coming. (Reuters / Washington Post)

Robert Mueller could start interviewing current and former White House staff as soon as this week. On Mueller's short list are Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer, Hope Hicks, Don McGahn, Josh Raffel, and James Burnham. Related, Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, has said he's been informed by Mueller that he will be indicted as part of the FBI's Russia probe. Mueller has been looking at Manafort's possible financial and tax crimes, his contacts with Russian officials, and his work as a foreign agent with links to the Kremlin and Ukraine's pro-Russia Party of Regions. A Democratic senator said he's "99% sure" Michael Flynn will also be indicted. (CNN / Yahoo / Business Insider / Politico)

Homeland Security notified 21 states that they had been targeted by Russian government hackers during the 2016 election campaign. Hackers penetrated computer systems in a handful of states, but there is no evidence that hackers tampered with voting machines. DHS left it to individual states to decide whether to publicly acknowledge if they had been targeted, but officials confirmed that Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin and Washington were among the states targeted. (Washington Post)

The White House and Justice Department have missed deadlines and are withholding records related to the Russia investigation by the House intelligence committee and the Senate judiciary committee. The Senate judiciary committee has requested information about the DOJ's decision to prevent two senior FBI officials from sitting down for transcribed interviews to provide eyewitness accounts of the Comey firing. The House intelligence committee is threatening to hold a public hearing over documents the DOJ failed to turn over regarding the FBI's ties to the British operative who compiled a dossier of allegations on Trump's connections with Russia. (CNN)

After Paul Manafort left the Trump campaign in 2016, the United States placed him under surveillance as part of its early investigation into Russian election interference. The monitoring did not include listening to real-time phone conversations. It is currently unclear when the surveillance was suspended. (Wall Street Journal)

Facebook agreed to turn over to Congress details of ads sold to Russia-linked accounts during the 2016 election. The decision represents a reversal of the company's previous position. Facebook has already provided the ads and information to special counsel Robert Mueller's team. On Twitter, Trump dismissed potential nefarious Russian use of the social media platform as a "hoax." (CNN / Washington Post)

Writing through an intermediary, Paul Manafort offered to give private briefings to a Russian billionaire during the 2016 campaign. Oleg Deripaska is an aluminum magnate and former business associate of Manafort's with close ties to the Kremlin. It is unclear if Deripaska received or acted on the offer. (Washington Post)

Manafort also used his Trump campaign email account to communicate with Ukrainian political operative Konstantin Kilimnik, seeking payment for previous consulting work in Ukraine. Kilimnik is suspected to have ties to Russian intelligence operations. Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni said it is "no secret" Manafort "was owed money by past clients." (Politico)

Mueller interviewed Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein about the Comey firing. The interview occurred in June or July. Since Jeff Sessions recused himself from the investigation, Rosenstein is ultimately in charge of overseeing the Russia probe. (Wall Street Journal)

Paul Manafort was wiretapped following an FBI investigation in 2014, and the surveillance continued through this year (albeit interrupted). A Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant was originally granted for Manafort's work for the former Ukrainian government and later discontinued due to lack of evidence. A second FISA warrant—concerning the Russia investigation—was obtained at some point last year. The details of the recorded communications have been provided to special counsel Robert Mueller. (CNN)

Trump is paying legal fees related to the Russia investigation with RNC and reelection campaign funds. Under the FEC, the move is legal, but Trump is the first president in modern history to use campaign funding in this manner. Trump lawyer John Dowd told reporters the question of financing Trump's legal bills was "none of your business.” (Reuters)

The Senate Intelligence Committee canceled an interview with former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen. Cohen was set to deny he'd ever "engaged with, been paid by, paid for or conversed with" Russia to interfere with the election. Cohen's lawyer said they look forward to "voluntarily cooperating with the House committee and with anyone else who has an inquiry in this area." (Washington Post)

Overheard in a Washington steakhouse, a White House counsel discussed the extent to which the administration should cooperate with the Russia investigation. Ty Cobb supports prompt turnover of all relevant emails and documents to special counsel Robert Mueller; Trump lawyer Don McGahn is concerned doing so might weaken the White House's future position. (New York Times)

Mike Flynn's family established a legal defense fund, citing a "tremendous financial burden" stemming from the Russia investigation. In a public statement, Flynn's siblings emphasized that the legal fees required of former Trump aides "far exceed their ability to pay." The Trump administration recently legalized anonymous donations to legal defense funds. (ABC News)

The Senate Judiciary Committee will take steps to ensure Trump cannot fire Robert Mueller. Two bills in development come after concerns that Trump was considering dismissing special counsel Mueller in his frustration about the Russia probe, despite White House claims to the contrary. House Judiciary Committee heads met with Mueller on Thursday. (CNN)

Flynn promoted a Middle East nuclear power plant deal while serving in the White House. The project, reported yesterday, originally involved several Russian companies, along with a group of former U.S. military officers with whom Flynn had worked on the potential deal. The deal would erect dozens of nuclear power plants in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the Middle East. (Wall Street Journal)

In a policy reversal, the Office of Government Ethics will now allow anonymous donations to White House legal defense funds. The anonymity frees up lobbyists and others "with business before the government" to step in and pay White House aides' legal fees, including those related to the Russia probe. (Politico)

Russia reduced the number of parking spots available to U.S. diplomats at their consulates. The move represents the latest in a series of U.S.–Russian diplomatic expulsions and denials. The parking spots were painted over with a pedestrian crossing. (AP)

Congressional Democrats told special counsel Robert Mueller that Michael Flynn failed to disclose a summer 2015 Middle East trip to broker a Saudi–Russian nuclear power deal. Upon returning to the States, the Democrats say, Flynn omitted his contacts with foreign nationals during his reapplication for security clearance, which includes paperwork and an FBI interview. (CNN)

Flynn's son, Michael G. Flynn, is a subject of the federal Russia probe, as well. The investigation focuses in part on Flynn's work with Mike Flynn's lobbying firm. (NBC News)

The U.S. government has banned the use of Kaspersky Lab software over concerns of Russian cyberespionage. Federal agencies will have three months to remove the software. Homeland Security called the risk that Russia could "capitalize on access provided by Kaspersky products" a national security threat. Kaspersky Lab denies any wrongdoing and claims it is "caught in the middle of a geopolitical fight." (Washington Post)

Earlier this summer, a handful of Trump lawyers believed Jared Kushner should step down due to legal complications arising from the Russia probe. After internal debate, the suggestion was ultimately dismissed as one of several efforts "focused on sabotaging" Kushner, who had several interactions with Russia during the 2016 campaign and transition. (Wall Street Journal / Washington Post)

Russian actors remotely organized and promoted pro-Trump, anti-immigrant protests via Facebook. A former FBI agent referred to the events as Russia's "next step" in its influence campaign. Facebook confirmed it "shut down several promoted events as part of the takedown" it reported last week. (Daily Beast)

The FBI is investigating whether Russian news agency Sputnik has violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act. The law bars organizations from acting as undeclared governmental propaganda arms. The FBI has obtained several thousand internal Sputnik documents and emails and has interviewed a former White House correspondent who was fired in May. It is unclear whether or not the investigation falls under Mueller's broader efforts. (Yahoo News)

Robert Mueller's team wants to interview White House staffers about Trump Jr.'s initial statement regarding his meeting with the Russian lawyer at Trump Tower during the campaign. Trump personally helped craft his son's misleading statement while aboard Air Force One. It claimed Trump Jr. "primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children" during his meeting with the Russian lawyer. That claim was later debunked by multiple accounts of the meeting. Mueller wants to know whether information was intentionally left out and who was involved. (CNN)

Trump Jr. met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya to determine Hillary Clinton's "fitness, character or qualifications" for office, according to a prepared statement delivered to Senate Judiciary Committee investigators. He maintains that nothing came of the meeting, and he denies explicit collusion with Russia. Trump Jr. took questions behind closed doors. (New York Times)

Facebook found $100,000 in ad spending during the election tied to a Russian “troll farm” with a history of pushing pro-Kremlin propaganda. Facebook said 3,300 ads had digital footprints that led to a Russian company targeting voters. The Facebook team also discovered 470 suspicious and likely fraudulent Facebook accounts and pages that were operated out of Russia. (Washington Post)

Trump Jr. will meet with the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday to discuss the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia. It's the first time someone from Trump's inner circle will speak with the committee members about the campaign’s alleged attempts to engage with Kremlin surrogates. Committee members still hope to interview Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner about the meeting they held at Trump Tower with the Russian lawyer claiming to have damaging information about Hillary Clinton. Kushner and Manafort have already spoken to the Senate Intelligence Committee. (Washington Post)

The House intelligence committee subpoenaed the FBI and Justice Department last month, seeking documents related to a dossier that alleged Russia collected compromising material on Trump. The pair of subpoenas were issued last month and are designed to "undermine" the claims about the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. "We've got to run this thing to ground," said Republican Rep. Michael Conaway, who is heading the House Russia investigation. Rep. Adam Schiff said that he and other Democrats on the committee objected to the subpoenas. (CNN / Reuters)

Black smoke was seen pouring from the Russian consulate in San Francisco. Yesterday, the Trump administration ordered Russia to close the consulate after the Kremlin cut American diplomatic and technical staff in Russia. (Associated Press)

Manafort's notes from the Trump Tower meeting mentioned "donations" near a reference to the Republican National Committee. Investigators want to know if the meeting included discussion of donations from Russians to either the Trump campaign or the Republican Party. It is illegal for foreigners to donate to American elections. (NBC News)

Mueller's grand jury heard testimony from the Russian-American lobbyist who attended the Trump Jr.-Russian lawyer meeting. Rinat Akhmetshin, a former Soviet military officer who served in a counterintelligence unit, testified before the jury for several hours on August 11th, signaling that Mueller is including the controversial Trump Tower meeting in his investigation. (Associated Press / The Hill / Financial Times)

Trump's lawyer "vehemently" denied working with Russia to disrupt the election. Michael Cohen gave Congress a point-by-point rebuttal of the 35-page dossier compiled by retired British spy Christopher Steele, which alleges he has deep ties to Russian officials. Cohen denied the dossier's claims, including that he had secret meetings in Prague with a Russian official last summer. (New York Times)

The State Department ordered Russia to close its consulate in San Francisco and two annex buildings in Washington, D.C. and New York City. The move comes in response to the Kremlin’s decision to cut American diplomatic and technical staff in Russia by more than half, which itself was in response to Congress approving new sanctions against Russia. (Reuters)

The Senate Intelligence Committee wants Michael Cohen to testify as part of its investigation into Russia’s meddling. Cohen has been in the spotlight this week following new revelations about his outreach to Russian officials for help with a proposal for a Trump Tower in Moscow. Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort are also likely to appear for closed-door interviews. Trump Jr. agreed to testify privately before the Senate judiciary committee in the “next few weeks.” (Politico)

Trump called the Senate judiciary committee chairman to pledge policy support for the biofuel ethanol industry, a key issue for Chuck Grassley. The Iowa senator is investigating Trump Jr.'s meeting with the Russian lawyer. (The Guardian)

Robert Mueller is investigating whether Trump tried to conceal the purpose of Trump Jr.'s meeting with the Russian lawyer. Prosecutors want to know what Trump's role was in crafting Trump Jr.'s response to reports about the meeting. The White House initially said Trump only "weighed in" on Trump Jr.'s statement about the Russia meeting. It was later reported that Trump personally dictated Trump Jr.'s statement about the meeting. (NBC News)

Michael Cohen said he didn’t inform Trump that he had sent the email to Putin’s top press official asking for “assistance” in arranging a licensing deal for a Trump Tower in Moscow. The Trump Organization attorney sent the email in January 2016 to Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin’s top press aide, at the recommendation of Felix Sater, a Russian-American businessman who was serving as a broker on the deal. Cohen said he never heard back from Peskov and the project never got off the ground. (Wall Street Journal / Politico)

Mueller issued subpoenas for Paul Manafort's current spokesman and his former lawyer seeking documents and testimony. The subpoenas are among dozens that the Mueller investigative team has sent out in recent months since taking over the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Manafort is under investigation for possible tax and financial crimes. (CNN)

Trump's company was pursuing a plan to develop a Trump Tower in Moscow while he was running for president. Discussions about the Moscow project began in September 2015 until it was abandoned just before the presidential primaries began in January 2016, emails show. The details of the deal had not previously been disclosed. The Trump Organization has turned over the emails to the House Intelligence Committee, pointing to the likelihood of additional contacts between Russia and Trump associates during the campaign. (Washington Post)

Trump's business associate promised that Putin would help Trump win the presidency if he built a Trump Tower in Moscow. “I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected,” Felix Sater, a Russian immigrant, wrote to Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, in 2015. “Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it,” Sater wrote in an email. “I will get all of Putins team to buy in on this, I will manage this process.” At the time, Sater was a broker for the Trump Organization and was paid to deliver real estate deals. (New York Times)

Trump's attorney sent an email to Putin’s personal spokesman to ask for help advancing a stalled Trump Tower project in Moscow. Michael Cohen sent the email in January 2016 to Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin’s top press aide, at the recommendation of Felix Sater, a Russian-American businessman who was serving as a broker on the deal. "I respectfully request someone, preferably you, contact me so that I might discuss the specifics as well as arranging meetings with the appropriate individuals," Cohen wrote. "I thank you in advance for your assistance and look forward to hearing from you soon." The email marks the most direct documented interaction of a top Trump aide and a senior member of Putin’s government. (Washington Post)

Four months into the presidential campaign, Trump signed a “letter of intent” to pursue building a Trump Tower in Moscow. The involvement of then-candidate Trump in a proposed Russian development deal contradicts his repeated claims that his business had “no relationship to Russia whatsoever." The Trump Organization signed a non-binding letter of intent in October 2015. (ABC News)

Trump declined to single out Russia as a "security threat," saying he considers “many countries threats.” He added that it would be beneficial for the US to have a better relationship with Russia, in order to ensure "world peace." (The Hill)

CIA Director Mike Pompeo has required that the unit investigating possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign report directly to him. Pompeo, who spends more time at the White House than his predecessors, has repeatedly played down Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Officials in the CIA counterintelligence unit say they have to “watch” Pompeo over fear he might report new information directly to Trump. The worry among some at the agency is “that if you were passing on something too dicey [to Pompeo] he would go to the White House with it.” (Washington Post)

Robert Mueller is examining what role, if any, Michael Flynn may have played in an effort to obtain Hillary Clinton’s emails from Russian hackers. The effort to seek out the hackers was led by longtime Republican activist Peter W. Smith, who in correspondence and conversations with his colleagues portrayed Flynn as an ally and implied that other senior Trump campaign officials were coordinating with him. Smith also named Flynn’s consulting firm and his son in the correspondence and conversations. At the time Smith was trying to find the emails, Flynn was a senior adviser to the Trump campaign. (Wall Street Journal)

Trump's now deputy chief of staff received an email in June 2016 from a person attempting to set up a meeting with Putin. The email occurred around the time that Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort met with the Russian lawyer at Trump Tower. At the time, Rick Dearborn served as Jeff Sessions' chief of staff. Investigators want to know if Dearborn played a role in arranging the two meetings that occurred between the then-Russia ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak, and Sessions. (CNN)

Kislyak downplayed his contact with the Trump campaign, calling allegations that he tried to recruit people within Trump's orbit as spies "nonsense." Kislyak is considered to be one of Russia's top spies and spy-recruiters in Washington. He left the US for Russia last month after concluding his tour of service. (CNN)

The private investigator behind the infamous Trump dossier spent almost 10 hours behind closed doors with the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday. Glenn Simpson, who cofounded the private research firm Fusion GPS, answered questions about the 35-page document. Fusion GPS hired a former British intelligence officer, Christopher Steele, to compile the dossier, which alleges that Trump had a long-running relationship with Russia and that the Kremlin holds compromising material on him.

Simpson is the first of three major players to speak with judiciary staff in the ongoing Russia probe. Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort both cut deals to speak with committee staff in private, but their dates have not been scheduled yet. (ABC News / NPR / CNN)

The Treasury Department sanctioned China and Russia for assisting North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. Six individuals and 10 companies were added to the sanctions list in order to increase economic leverage on North Korea and reduce the flow of money to its weapons development. (Bloomberg / CNBC)

The Senate intelligence committee wants Congress to declare WikiLeaks a “non-state hostile intelligence service,” which would force spy agencies to release information about Russian threats to the US and open Julian Assange and his pro-transparency organization to new surveillance. The bill passed the committee late last month on a 14-1 vote. (The Daily Beast)

Robert Mueller is investigating the Russian lobbyist with deep ties to Moscow who attended the Trump Jr. meeting. It was previously reported that Rinat Akhmetshin attended the June 2016 meeting between Paul Manafort, Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya. However, Akhmetshin's ties to the Russian government and Kremlin-backed oligarchs are much deeper than was previously known. Akhmetshin has been accused of being involved in various hacking schemes and nurturing a relationship with the former deputy head of Russia’s intelligence service, who was until last year a top aide to Putin. (New York Times)

Robert Mueller is focusing on Trump Jr.'s intent when he met with the Russian lawyer as prosecutors investigate possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. Trump Jr. has acknowledged that he was looking for negative information about Hillary Clinton, but he claimed he didn't receive anything useful. Prosecutors are trying to determine what information was provided. (BuzzFeed News)

Trump reorganized the military's Cyber Command, putting it on the same level as other combatant commands. The move will help the US bolster its cyber weapons so it can match Russia's capabilities in addition to giving it some operational independence. The head of Cyber Command will eventually report directly to the secretary of defense. (CNN / Axios / Vox)

One of Robert Mueller's top FBI investigators has left the team. Peter Strzok oversaw the beginnings of the Russia probe last summer. About a month ago, Mueller brought Strzok in to help manage the investigation into Russian election meddling. (ABC News / CNN)

A junior Trump campaign adviser repeatedly tried to setup a meeting with Putin. Starting in March 2016, George Papadopoulos sent at least a half-dozen emails to Trump campaign leadership to set up “a meeting between us and the Russian leadership to discuss US-Russia ties under President Trump.” He said that his Russian contacts welcomed the opportunity and that he was receiving “a lot of calls over the past month” about arranging a meeting. “Putin wants to host the Trump team when the time is right,” he wrote. Intelligence officials said the messages may have represented a Russian campaign to use lower-level aides to penetrate the 2016 campaign and see if the Trump campaign would be willing to cooperate. (Washington Post)

North Korea’s successful ICBM tests have been linked to a Ukrainian factory with ties to Russia’s Cold War missile program. The engine design on North Korea's latest missiles match those that once powered the Soviet Union’s missile fleet and are based on a technology too complex for North Korea to have switched to so quickly themselves, a classified report by American intelligence agencies says. The report suggests that North Korea purchased black market rocket engines that were probably from the Ukrainian factory. (New York Times)

Congressional investigators want to question Trump’s personal secretary as part of their ongoing probe into the meeting between Trump Jr. and the Russian lawyer. Rhona Graff worked at Trump Tower for nearly 30 years. Graff's name was mentioned in the June 2016 email exchange between publicist Rob Goldstone and Trump Jr. leading up to the meeting with Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya at Trump Tower. “Since her name is in the email, people will want her to answer questions,” said Peter King, a member of the House Intelligence Committee. (ABC News)

Federal investigators have sought the cooperation of Paul Manafort’s son-in-law in an effort to gain leverage over Trump’s former campaign chairman and turn him into a cooperating witness. Jeffrey Yohai, who hasn't been accused of wrongdoing, is a business partner of Manafort's. It's unclear if investigators have secured Yohai's cooperation. Manafort is a focus in the investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign. He and Yohai are also under investigation for some of their business and real estate transactions. (Politico)

Special counsel Robert Mueller subpoenaed Manafort's bank records. The subpoenas were sent in recent weeks from a Washington grand jury to global banks for account information and transaction records involving Manafort and some of his companies. It's unclear when it happened, but Manafort is responsible for alerting authorities to the meeting involving Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer who promised damaging information on Hillary Clinton. (Bloomberg)

poll/ 70% of Americans believe Trump's finances are fair game in the federal investigation into Russia's efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election. (CNN)

FBI agents raided the Virginia home of Paul Manafort last month, using a search warrant to seize tax documents and foreign banking records. The predawn raid at the home of Trump's former campaign chairman came on July 26, one day after he voluntarily met with the Senate Intelligence Committee. In that meeting, Manafort provided investigators with notes from the 2016 meeting with the Russian lawyer claiming to have damaging information on Hillary Clinton. Hours after the raid, Trump attacked Jeff Sessions for not firing Andrew McCabe, the acting FBI director. (Washington Post / New York Times)

The Trump campaign has started to turn over thousands of documents to the Senate Judiciary Committee as part of the panel’s investigation into Russian election meddling. The Trump campaign has turned over 20,000 pages of documents, while Manafort has provided about 400 pages, and Trump Jr. about 250 pages. (Bloomberg)

An unarmed Russian Air Force jet flew over the Pentagon, Capitol, and CIA as part of a longstanding treaty that allows the militaries of the United States and Russia to observe the other from the air. The flight is the 10th this year, which requires that the Russians give at least 72 hours notice and that the mission has American personnel on board as observers. (Politico / CNN)

Trump has sent private messages of "appreciation and greetings" to special counsel Robert Mueller. “The president has sent messages back and forth,’’ Trump's chief counsel John Dowd said, declining to elaborate further. Trump has publicly called the investigation into Russia's election meddling a "witch hunt" and a hoax. (USA Today)

Trump took to Twitter on his first day of vacation to lash out at the “Fake News” media and insist that his political base is only “getting stronger" despite a drop-off in his approval rating and the intensifying Russian investigation. “The Trump base is far bigger and stronger than ever before (despite some phony Fake News polling). Look at rallies in Penn, Iowa, Ohio and West Virginia,” Trump tweeted. “The fact is the Fake News Russian collusion story, record Stock Market, border security, military strength, jobs, Supreme Court pick, economic enthusiasm, deregulation and so much more have driven the Trump base even closer together. Will never change!” He added: “Hard to believe that with 24/7 #Fake News on CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, NYTIMES and WAPO, the Trump base is getting stronger!”

Trump called Richard Blumenthal “a phony Vietnam con artist" after the Democratic senator appeared on CNN to discuss the crackdown on leaks, sanctions on North Korea, and what he called "potential collusion" between the Trump campaign and Russia. Blumenthal was criticized during his Senate campaign for saying he had “served” in Vietnam, even though he did his full Marine service in the US. Trump, meanwhile, skirted Vietnam altogether due to bad feet. Blumenthal responded on Twitter that Trump's "bullying" won't be effective. (Washington Post / USA Today / CBS News)

Robert Mueller's grand jury has issued subpoenas related to Trump Jr.'s 2016 meeting with the Russian lawyer. The subpoenas, issued in recent weeks, seek documents and testimony from people involved in the meeting. Yesterday, it was reported that Mueller had convened a grand jury investigation in Washington to examine allegations of Russian interference in the election. When Mueller took over the investigation in May, he inherited a grand jury in Alexandria, VA, which was impaneled to assist in the Michael Flynn investigation and focus on Flynn’s work in the private sector on behalf of foreign interests. (New York Times / CNN / Reuters)

Trump used a campaign-style rally to attack the Russia investigation, hours after news broke that special counsel Robert Mueller had tapped a grand jury. He referred to the investigation as a "totally made-up Russia story" and a "total fabrication." He insisted that Democrats "can't beat us at the voting booths, so they're trying to cheat you out of the future and the future that you want. They're trying to cheat you out of the leadership you want with a fake story that is demeaning to all of us, and most importantly, demeaning to our country and demeaning to our Constitution." (Politico / CNN)

The FBI monitored social media on Election Day to track a suspected Russian disinformation campaign spreading "fake news" and identify possible disruptions to the vote. For the FBI, monitoring the news put them "right on the edge of Constitutional legality" given the First Amendment's free speech protections. (CNN)

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has launched a grand jury to investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections and whether Trump or any of his team colluded during the campaign. A grand jury will allow prosecutors to subpoena documents, put witnesses under oath and seek indictments, if there is evidence of a crime. The decision to impanel a grand jury suggests he believes he will need to subpoena records and take testimony from witnesses. Trump has denied any collusion with Russia, calling the investigation a "witch hunt." (Wall Street Journal / CNN)

Mueller has turned his attention to Trump and his associates’ financial ties to Russia. Federal investigators have widened their focus on possible financial crimes, which could offer a more concrete path toward potential prosecution than the broader questions of collusion in the 2016 campaign. Trump previously warned Mueller that his financial dealings were a red line that he shouldn't cross, despite Mueller being authorized to investigate matters that "arose or may arise directly from the investigation." (CNN)

Top FBI officials could be asked to testify against Trump. Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe told the highest-ranking members of the bureau that they should consider themselves possible witnesses in any investigation into whether Trump obstructed justice. McCabe acknowledged that he's also a potential witness in the probe, as well as the investigation into whether Team Trump colluded with the Russians. (Vox)

Congressional investigators want the phone records related to Trump Jr.'s meeting with the Russian lawyer. They want "all relevant documents" connected to the people before, during, and after the meeting, including Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort. It's unclear if it's the Senate Intelligence Committee or the House Intelligence Committee seeking the records. Senator James Risch, who serves on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said, "I guarantee you there were phone calls in addition to those emails, and I want to hear all of it before I answer the question you put to me." (CBS News)

Trump blamed Congress for the poor US relations with Russia, a day after he imposed new sanctions, which he called flawed and unconstitutional. Trump described America’s relationship with Russia on Twitter as “an all-time and very dangerous low." John McCain shot back that "our relationship w/ Russia is at dangerous low. You can thank Putin for attacking our democracy, invading neighbors & threatening our allies." (New York Times / The Hill)

Trump signed the bill to impose sanctions on Russia and limit his authority to lift them. He expressed concerns that the measure included “a number of clearly unconstitutional provisions,” leaving room for interpretation of how the law is enforced. Trump said he believed the bill to be "seriously flawed," but signed it anyway. The bill also imposes sanctions on Iran and North Korea. (New York Times / CNN / Bloomberg)

The House Judiciary Committee has prioritized investigating Hillary Clinton over Russian meddling, Trump’s decision to fire James Comey, and the public attacks on Jeff Sessions. The panel asked Jeff Sessions to appoint a second special counsel to investigate the “troubling, unanswered questions” about Clinton and officials appointed by Obama, after Democrats tried to force a resolution demanding more information on Sessions’s role in Comey’s firing. The House Judiciary Committee would have jurisdiction over any impeachment proceeding. (Bloomberg)

Tillerson won't spend nearly $80 million allocated for fighting terrorist propaganda and Russian disinformation, despite pleas from State Department officials. $60 million will expire on September 30th if it's not transferred to the State Department by then. The money is potentially unwelcome because attempts to counter Russian influence would anger Moscow. (Politico)

Trump personally dictated Trump Jr.'s statement about his meeting with the Russian lawyer, saying they had “primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children” when they met in June 2016. Trump Jr. ultimately acknowledged that he met with the Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer after receiving an email promising damaging information about Hillary Clinton. Trump's advisers fear his direct involvement leaves him needlessly vulnerable to potential obstruction of justice and could place members of his inner circle in legal jeopardy. (Washington Post)

The White House said Trump only "weighed in" on Trump Jr.'s statement about the Russia meeting. Sarah Huckabee Sanders said "The statement that Don Jr. issued is true, there's no inaccuracy in the statement. The President weighed in as any father would, based on the limited information that he had." The White House response contradicts what Trump's lawyer, Jay Sekulow, said in July: "The president did not draft the response…I can't say whether the president was told the statement was going to be coming." (CNN / Axios)

Jared Kushner told congressional interns that Trump’s election team was too disorganized to collude with Russia. “They thought we colluded, but we couldn’t even collude with our local offices,” Kushner said, adding: “I’m a lot more comfortable talking to you guys today ’cause there isn’t any press." (Foreign Policy / WIRED)

Fox News and a Trump donor created a fake news story to deflect attention from the administration's ties to Russia, a lawsuit alleges. The story is about the death of Seth Rich, a Democratic National Committee staffer, which first aired in May, but was retracted a week later. The lawsuit, filed by Rod Wheeler, a paid commentator for the news network, claims a Fox News reporter created quotations out of thin air and attributed them to him in order to propel the story. A month before the story ran, Trump donor Ed Butowsky and Wheeler met at the White House with Sean Spicer to brief him on what they were uncovering. At a press gaggle after the story ran, Spicer claimed to have no knowledge of the Rich story. Spicer now confirms meeting with the two. (NPR)

Trump plans to sign the Russian sanctions bill, which places sanctions on Russia, North Korea, and Iran. It also limits Trump's ability to lift sanctions unilaterally. It was passed by veto-proof margins in the Senate (98-2) and House (419-3). (NBC News)

Russia slashed 60% of US embassy and consular staff in response to new American sanctions. The US will need to cut 755 of its roughly 1,200 diplomatic staff in Russia, meant to cause discomfort for Washington and its representatives in Moscow. (New York Times / Reuters)

The Republican National Committee told staff to preserve all documents related to the 2016 campaign. RNC lawyers described it as precautionary, but necessary, as investigations continue into Russia’s meddling in the election. The memo orders employees not to “delete, destroy, modify, or remove from your paper files, laptop computer, desktop computer, tablet, mobile device, e-mail, or any storage system or device, any documents, records, or other materials that relate to the 2016 presidential election or that may relate to any investigation concerning the election.” (BuzzFeed News)

Russia retaliated against Congress' new sanctions bill, ordering the US to cut “hundreds” of personnel at its embassy and consulates in Russia. The Senate and House passed a bill that strengthens existing sanctions on Russia and gives Congress the power to block Trump from lifting them. (Bloomberg / New York Times / Associated Press)

The Senate approved sanctions against Russia, forcing Trump to decide whether to veto the bill or accept the tougher line against Moscow. The administration has said that Trump may veto the bill, despite there being veto-proof majorities in both the Senate and House. The Senate voted 98-2 to pass the bill two days after the House passed it 419-3. (Washington Post / New York Times / Reuters)

The House approved bipartisan sanctions against Russia while limiting Trump's power to waive them without a Congressional review. The package, which also includes sanctions against Iran and North Korea, passed 419 to 3. It sets up a veto dilemma for Trump: he can sign or veto the bill, but the Senate, like the House, is expected to pass the legislation by a veto-proof margin. (NBC News / Washington Post / CNN)

Russia threatened to retaliate against the new sanctions, warning of a "painful" response and saying the sanctions make it impossible to achieve Trump's goal of improved Russian relations. Russia has reportedly prepared “economic and political measures that will be adopted if the Senate and Trump support the bill." (Bloomberg)

Senate Democrats are planning a procedural move to prevent Trump from making recess appointments by forcing the Senate to hold "pro forma" sessions – brief meetings, often only a few minutes. Democrats are worried Trump could attempt to bypass Congress and appoint a new attorney general and undermine special counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing probe into alleged Russian meddling in the US election during the planned August recess. (CNN / Reuters)

The Senate Judiciary Committee issued a subpoena to Paul Manafort to testify in its Russia probe. Manafort had agreed to provide notes of the meeting at Trump Tower last year with the Russian lawyer, according to a person close to the investigation. Committee chairman Chuck Grassley and ranking member Dianne Feinstein said they had been “unable to reach an agreement for a voluntary transcribed interview with the Judiciary Committee” with Manafort. (ABC News / Politico)

Trump confirmed a covert CIA program while tweeting that the Washington Post had “fabricated the facts” about his decision to end a program aiding Syrian rebels fighting the government of President Bashar al-Assad. Trump was referring to a story about ending an Obama program where the CIA armed and trained moderate Syrian rebels, a move long sought by the Russian government. (Washington Post / Politico)

Jared Kushner bought real estate from an oligarch's firm represented by the Russian lawyer. Lev Leviev was a business partner at Prevezon Holdings, where Natalia Veselnitskaya acted as legal counsel. Prevezon was being investigated by Preet Bharara for money laundering before he was fired by Trump in March. Prevezon Holdings attempted to use Manhattan real estate deals to launder money stolen from the Russian treasury. In 2015, Kushner paid $295m to acquire several floors of the old New York Times building at 43rd street in Manhattan from the US branch of Leviev’s company. The Prevezon case was abruptly settled two days before it was due in open court in May for $6 million with no admission of guilt on the part of the defendants. (The Guardian)

Jared Kushner told a closed-door Senate Intelligence Committee "Let me be very clear: I did not collude with Russia, nor do I know of anyone else in the campaign who did so." Kushner said he was unaware that the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with the Russian lawyer was about providing the Trump campaign with damaging information about Hillary Clinton. He added: "I had no improper contacts. I have not relied on Russian funds for my businesses and I have been fully transparent in providing all requested information." Kushner was not under oath for the Senate meeting. He will speak to the House Intelligence Committee tomorrow. (New York Times / Washington Post / Associated Press)

Kushner's statement included details of a previously undisclosed meeting with the Russian ambassador from April 2016. Kushner met Ambassador Sergei Kislyak at an event at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC in April 2016 – the same event where Jeff Sessions met with the Kislyak, but didn't remember. Kushner blamed the omission on his security clearance forms as a mistake made by his assistant. (Wall Street Journal / Politico)

Trump wants to know why "beleaguered" Jeff Sessions isn't investigating Clinton. On Saturday, Trump tweeted that “so many people” were asking why Sessions was not looking into Clinton and her deleted emails despite Trump telling the Justice Department they should not investigate Clinton after he won the election. Last week, Trump said he never would have nominated Sessions if he knew he intended to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. (CNN / New York Times)

Scaramucci: Trump is unconvinced that Russia attempted to influence the 2016 election. The new communications director said Trump doesn't accept the intelligence community's conclusion that the Russian government attempted to hurt Hillary Clinton and help Trump. Trump tweeted: "As the phony Russian Witch Hunt continues, two groups are laughing at this excuse for a lost election taking hold, Democrats and Russians!" (CNN)

Kellyanne Conway says Russia is "not a big story" and that Trump “doesn’t think he’s lying” about voter fraud and wiretapping. Conway claimed that the media doesn’t offer “complete coverage” of the Trump administration and that it's “incredibly unfair and systematically against this president.” Trump has claimed that millions have voted illegally and accused Obama of wiretapping him — despite having no proof of it happening. Conway said Trump "doesn’t think he’s lying about those issues." (CNN / Salon)

Trump’s pick to lead the DOJ's criminal division disclosed that he once represented a Putin-tied Russian bank while working for a US law firm. Brian Benczkowski is scheduled to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee for a confirmation hearing tomorrow. Alfa Bank is one of Russia’s largest financial institutions, whose owners have ties to Putin. Benczkowski previously worked in the Justice Department during the Bush era. (New York Times)

Scaramucci outs Trump as his anonymous source while disputing the conclusion that Russian meddled in the election. “Somebody said to me yesterday — I won’t tell you who — that if the Russians actually hacked this situation and spilled out those emails, you would have never seen it, you would have never had any evidence of them," Scaramucci said. After meeting with Putin in Germany, Trump said that "somebody did say" that if Putin did order the hacking, "you wouldn’t have found out about it." Trump didn't say who that "somebody" was but called the idea "a very interesting point." (The Hill / New York Times / Reuters)

Jeff Sessions discussed the Trump campaign with the Russian ambassador while serving as Trump's foreign policy adviser. US intelligence intercepts show Sessions and Sergey Kislyak had “substantive” discussions on Trump’s positions on Russia-related issues, prospects for US-Russia relations in a Trump administration, and other policy issues important to Moscow. Sessions initially failed to disclose his contacts with Kislyak, but later said that the meetings were not about the Trump campaign. (Washington Post)

Senator Chuck Grassley called on the anonymous leaker to release the alleged Sessions-Russia conversations. "LEAKER: stop tease/leak entire conversation/end speculation," Grassley tweeted. (The Hill)

The House and Senate reached a Russia sanctions deal. The legislation will give Congress the ability to block Trump from easing sanctions on Moscow. The bill includes new sanctions against Russia, Iran, and North Korea. The bill is set for a vote Tuesday. (CNN / Washington Post / ABC News)

The Director of National Intelligence said no US intelligence agencies dispute Russian election meddling, pushing back on Trump’s claim there was a misunderstanding between the agencies. “There is no dissent, and I have stated that publicly and I have stated that to the president,” Dan Coats said. Trump had previously claimed that only “three or four” agencies came to the conclusion that Russia meddled in the election. (The Hill)

Trump’s lawyers are discussing his authority to grant pardons to aides, family members, and himself in connection with the Russia probe. Because no president has ever pardoned himself, there is no precedent, which leaves the question open: can a president use their constitutional power to pardon themselves? The power to pardon is granted in Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution, which gives the president the power to “grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.” (Washington Post)

Trump’s lawyers are exploring ways to stymie Robert Mueller's Russia investigation. They're scouring the professional and political backgrounds of investigators hired by the special counsel, looking for conflicts of interest they could use to discredit the investigation or force members of the team to recuse themselves – and possibly build a case to fire Mueller. Trump has been particularly upset that Mueller could access his personal tax returns, which he has repeatedly declined to release to the public. (New York Times / The Hill)

Robert Mueller asked White House staff to preserve all documents relating to Trump Jr.'s meeting with the Russian lawyer. The notice, called a document preservation request, asked White House staff to save any text messages, emails, notes, voicemails, and other communications and documentation from the June 2016 meeting. (CNN)

The Russian lawyer Trump Jr. met with had Russian intelligence connections. Natalia Veselnitskaya had previously represented Russia’s top spy agency, the Federal Security Service, in a land dispute in Moscow. There is no information that Veselnitskaya is an intelligence agent or an employee of the Russian government. (Washington Post)

Russia's foreign minister suggested Trump may have had more meetings with Putin at the G-20 summit. Sergey Lavrov shrugged off the importance of the encounters, dismissing speculation about the leaders' meetings, and joking that "maybe they went to the toilet together." Trump and Putin met three times at the summit. (NBC News)

Susan Rice privately met with the Senate intelligence committee as part of the committee's investigation into Russia meddling in the election. Rice, who served as Obama's national security adviser, is under scrutiny from House Republicans because they believe she improperly "unmasked" the identities of Trump associates in US intelligence reports. (CNN)

Trump reshuffled his legal team. Marc Kasowitz, Trump's longtime personal attorney who has been the lead lawyer on the Russia investigation, will step aside as the role requires Washington-centric expertise. John Dowd and Jay Sekulow will now be Trump's primary personal attorneys for the investigation, with Dowd in the lead. From inside the White House, Ty Cobb will take the lead on the investigation from a legal and communications perspective. (CNN)

poll/ 57% of all Americans say Trump Jr. shouldn't have taken the meeting with the Russian lawyer. 83% of Democrats say the group should not have taken the meeting, while 48% of Republicans say they should have. (CNN)

Trump would have never hired Jeff Sessions had he known he would recuse himself from the Russia investigation. "Sessions should have never recused himself," Trump said, "and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job, and I would have picked somebody else." Trump called the decision “very unfair to the president. How do you take a job and then recuse yourself?" Asked if Robert Mueller’s investigation would cross a line if it started to look at his family’s finances beyond Russia, Trump said, “I would say yes,” but declined to say what he would do about it. “I think that’s a violation. Look, this is about Russia.” (New York Times)

Jeff Sessions plans to stay in his role despite Trump’s comments that he'd have picked someone else had he known Sessions would recuse himself from the Russia investigation. Sessions said he's had the “honor of serving as attorney general,” and he planned “to continue to do so as long as that is appropriate.” (Washington Post / CNN)

Robert Mueller expanded his probe to include Trump's business transactions, ignoring Trump's warning not to dig into matters beyond Russia. Investigators are looking at Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a SoHo development with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008. In Trump's interview with the New York Times, he defended his involvement with Russia saying, "it’s possible there’s a condo or something, so, you know, I sell a lot of condo units, and somebody from Russia buys a condo, who knows? I don’t make money from Russia." (Bloomberg)

Paul Manafort was in debt to pro-Russia interests when he joined Trump’s campaign in March 2016. Shell companies linked to Manafort's businesses in Ukraine owed as much as $17 million. (New York Times)

Trump’s embrace of Russia places him at odds with his national security and foreign policy advisers. "Deep divisions" are growing in the White House on the best way to approach Moscow. Foreign officials have said Trump and his team have sent “mixed signals” with regards to their Russia policy, leaving diplomats and intelligence officials “dumbfounded” by Trump's approach. (Associated Press)

Trump and Putin met for nearly an hour in a second, previously undisclosed meeting during a dinner for G20 leaders. The White House called the meeting "brief" and said Trump spoke with Putin through Russia's translator. No other American officials other than Trump were present for the meeting. (CNN / New York Times / Reuters)

A Republican congressman attempted to alter Russian sanctions after receiving a confidential document while in Moscow. Dana Rohrabacher tried to set up a virtual "show trial" last June, around the same time that Trump Jr. met with the Russian lawyer, in an attempt to undermine a set of sanctions placed on Russia. The document contends that the US – and the rest of the world – was "duped by a fake $230 million scandal that resulted in sanctions being imposed on 44 Russians linked to murder, corruption, or cover-ups." During a congressional hearing, Rohrabacher wanted to present "a feature-length pro-Kremlin propaganda movie" made by the "Prosecutor General’s office in Moscow, which is run by Yuri Chaika, a close associate of President Vladimir Putin." (The Daily Beast)

The Russian lawyer said she's willing to testify to Congress about what she called "mass hysteria" regarding her meeting with Trump Jr. Natalia Veselnitskaya told Russia's Kremlin-backed RT TV channel that she never obtained damaging information about Clinton and that she has no ties with the Kremlin. (Reuters)

poll/ 32% of Trump voters don't believe Trump Jr. had a meeting with the Russian lawyer about information that might be harmful to Hillary Clinton. 45% believe the meeting happened and 24% say they're not sure despite Trump Jr. confirming the meeting took place and tweeting out the email chain used to setup the meeting with the Russian lawyer. (Public Policy Polling)

The eighth person at the Trump Tower meeting has been identified. Ike Kaveladze, attended as an interpreter for the Russian lawyer, is an American-based employee of a Russian real estate company owned by Emin and Aras Agalarov, the Russian developers who hosted the Trump-owned Miss Universe pageant in 2013. In October 2000, a report by the Government Accountability Office accused Kaveladze of laundering $1.4 billion of Russian and Eastern European money through US banks. Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team is investigating the meeting. (Washington Post / CNN / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / The Daily Beast)

White House staff is worried that Jared Kushner's security clearance is in jeopardy. Kushner has an interim security clearance, but met with the FBI on June 23 to be interviewed for his permanent security clearance – two days after amending his SF-86 form for a third time with details of the meeting with Trump Jr. and the Russian lawyer at Trump Tower. Without a security clearance, Kushner wouldn't be able to take part in most West Wing decisions and it would hamstring his foreign policy work. (CNN)

Trump's lawyer blamed the Secret Service for vetting and allowing Trump Jr.'s meeting with the Russian lawyer. The Secret Service pushed back, saying that Trump Jr. was not a "protectee of the USSS in June, 2016. Thus we would not have screened anyone he was meeting with at that time." On ABC's "This Week," Jay Sekulow said: "Well, I wonder why the Secret Service, if this was nefarious, why the Secret Service allowed these people in. The President had Secret Service protection at that point, and that raised a question with me." (Reuters / CNN)

Sean Spicer contradicted both Trump and Trump Jr. on the Russian lawyer meeting. Spicer said that “there was nothing as far as we know that would lead anyone to believe" that the meeting was about anything other than international adoption policy. The statement contradicts the contents of Trump Jr.'s email setting up the meeting. And, earlier in the day, Trump tweeted that "Most politicians would have gone to a meeting like the one Don jr attended in order to get info on an opponent. That's politics!" (The Daily Beast)

A former Soviet counterintelligence officer attended the Trump Jr. meeting. The Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, was accompanied by Rinat Akhmetshin, a Russian-American lobbyist and former Soviet counterintelligence officer suspected by some US officials of having ongoing ties to Russian intelligence. The revelation brings the total in attendance to eight: Trump Jr., Kushner, Manafort, Veselnitskaya, Akhmetshin, publicist Rob Goldstone, who helped set up the meeting, and at least two other people: a translator and a representative of the Russian family who had asked Goldstone to set up the meeting. Senator Charles Grassley said Akhmetshin failed to register as a foreign agent even though he had been lobbying in the US for Russian interests. Grassley also said that Akhmetshin had been working with the opposition-research firm that compiled the highly disputed dossier on Trump. Akhmetshin has denied ever working as an intelligence agent. (NBC News / Associated Press / CNN / Washington Post)

The former intel officer was accused of hacking a Russian mining company and stealing documents. Court papers from 2015 say Rinat Akhmetshin was paid $140,000 to organize a public relations smear campaign targeting International Mineral Resources. Shortly after he began that work, IMR was hacked and gigabytes of data were allegedly stolen. Akhmetshin has denied the accusation, but admitted to passing around a “hard drive” filled with data on IMR’s owners he’d gotten from the former prime minister of Kazakhstan. The charges were later withdrawn. (The Daily Beast)

Veselnitskaya presented the Trump team with documents that she believed showed people tied to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Clinton. Veselnitskaya brought a plastic folder with printed-out documents detailing the flow of illicit funds to the DNC and suggested that making the information public could help the Trump campaign. Trump Jr. said he did not receive the information he was promised. (Associated Press)

The lawyer Trump Jr. met with was in contact with Russia's top prosecutor. Natalia Veselnitskaya said she wasn’t working for Russia, but regularly met with and shared information with the Russian prosecutor general’s office, which included Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika. Rob Goldstone, the British publicist who arranged the meeting, wrote in an email to Trump Jr. that Aras Agalarov had met with Russia’s "crown" prosecutor – Yuri Chaika – and offered to provide the Trump campaign with incriminating information on Clinton. Veselnitskaya said she asked Agalarov to help arrange the meeting with the Trump campaign. Both Veselnitskaya and Agalarov denied that the meeting was arranged at Chaika’s request. Agalarov also denied meeting with Chaika as described in Goldstone's email. (Wall Street Journal)

Trump’s lawyers learned of Trump Jr.'s email chain more than three weeks ago. The White House has said Trump heard about the meeting "in the last couple of days" and hadn't see the emails until Trump Jr. released them. Trump's lawyer for the Russia investivation, Marc Kasowitz, and the chief legal officer for the Trump Organization, Alan Garten, were both informed about the emails in the third week of June, after they were discovered by lawyers for Kushner. (Yahoo)

The White House is shaking up its legal team, bringing on board a veteran Washington criminal defense lawyer. Ty Cobb will join the White House staff as a special counsel to the president and will handle all legal and media-related issues relating to the Russia probe. Fun fact: The attorney is a relative of the baseball legend of same name. (Yahoo / Bloomberg)

Kushner's lawyer dropped the Russia case and turned over all responsibilities to Kushner's other attorney, Abbe Lowell, a well-known Washington criminal defense lawyer. Jamie Gorelick will continue to represent Kushner on issues relating to ethics and his security clearance form. Gorelick was a partner at WilmerHale, where Bob Mueller was also a partner until becoming the special counsel. (Politico / National Law Journal)

Homeland Security contradicted Trump's claim that Loretta Lynch let the Russian lawyer into the US. "DHS paroled Natalia Veselnitskaya into the U.S. in concurrence with the U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York, allowing her to participate in a client’s legal proceedings," the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement. In Paris, Trump said that "that her visa or her passport to come into the country was approved by Attorney General Lynch […] So, she was here because of Lynch." Almost immediately, a spokesperson for Lynch put out a statement insisting that she had no authority over whether or not the Russian lawyer was allowed to enter the country. (BuzzFeed News)

poll/ 53% think Trump Jr.'s meeting with the Russian lawyer was inappropriate, while 22% thought it was appropriate and 25% were unsure. 47% of Republican respondents said the meeting was appropriate. (The Hill)

The DOJ issued a mostly blank security clearance form detailing Jeff Sessions’ contacts with the Russians. The form shows he denied having any contact with foreign governments or their representatives in the past seven years. The page, used to apply for a security clearance, was released in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. (NPR / The Atlantic)

Trump, again, defended Trump Jr.'s meeting with a Russian attorney, saying that “zero” improprieties occurred in a meeting that “most people would have taken.” He added that “it’s called opposition research or even research into your opponent” as justification for the meeting with the "Russian government attorney." (Washington Post)

Sarah Huckabee Sanders claimed the White House is "as transparent as humanly possible" in an off-camera briefing. “Every single day we do our very best to give you the most accurate information that we have,” Sanders said in response to a question about why so many members of the administration have not divulged meetings they had with Russian individuals. (Politico)

A 2013 video shows Trump attending dinner with the associates tied to Trump Jr.'s email controversy. Trump dined with Aras Agalarov and Emin Agalarov, and their publicist Rob Goldstone. Aras Agalarov has ties to Putin. In the 2016, Goldstone claimed to have damaging information against Hillary Clinton and setup the meeting between Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner with the Russian lawyer. (CNN)

Pence’s press secretary repeatedly refused to say if the VP had met with any Russians during the campaign. "Clear up a few things for us now. Did the vice president ever meet with representative from Russia?” Bill Hemmer, host of Fox News' America’s Newsroom. “The vice president is not focused on the areas where, you know, on this campaign, especially things that happened before he was even on the ticket. As he has said, that when he joined the campaign his entire focus was on talking to the American people, taking the case that President Trump was going to make to the American people,” Pence’s spokesman Marc Lotter replied. (HuffPost)

Trump won't say whether he believed Putin's denial of Russian meddling in the election. He did say, however, that he’s willing to invite Russian president to the White House. (Bloomberg)

Trump claimed he's "done more in five months than practically any president in history." He added that the current mood in the White House is "fantastic," despite recent pressure following allegations of Trump Jr.'s involvement with Russia during last year's election campaign. (CNBC)

Kellyanne Conway used flash card props to explain the Russia controversy and how the White House views the scrutiny of Trump's associates' ties to Russia. "What's the conclusion? Collusion? No. We don't have that yet. I see illusion and delusion," Conway said. (CNN)

Investigators are examining if Trump's digital operation helped guide Russia's election meddling. The digital team was overseen by Jared Kushner. The House and Senate Intelligence committees and the Justice Department are focusing on whether Trump’s campaign pointed Russian cyber operatives to certain voting jurisdictions in states that supported Hillary Clinton. (McClatchy DC)

The White House won’t say whether Jared Kushner still has a security clearance after he omitted the interaction with the Russian lawyer on his application for a security clearance. He later included the meeting on a supplemental form. Sarah Huckabee Sanders dodged the question, saying the White House has “never discussed the security clearance” of a staff member. (Talking Points Memo / CNN)

4/ Trump's lawyer said the President didn't see the emails until Trump Jr. released them. Jay Sekulow also said Trump was not aware Trump Jr. was offered information about Clinton from Russia. "The President, by the way, never saw an email – did not see the email – until it was seen today," Sekulow said, referring to Trump Jr.'s tweets containing copies of the email chain. Trump said he did not fault his son for holding the meeting. "I think many people would have held that meeting," he added. (CNN / Reuters)

5/ Trump’s other lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, isn't seeking a security clearance. Several lawyers who have represented presidents and senior government officials said they could not imagine how Kasowitz could handle a case full of sensitive material without a clearance. Kasowitz is Trump's attorney in the Russia investigations. (ProPublica)

Kasowitz wants to wall off Jared Kushner from discussing the Russia investigation with Trump. The goal is to protect Trump from special counsel Bob Mueller's investigation into Kushner's three meetings with the Russians. Kasowitz has "complained that Kushner has been whispering in the president's ear about the Russia investigations […] while keeping the lawyers out of the loop." (Axios / New York Times)

US intelligence overheard Russian officials discussing Trump associates before the campaign began. Starting in the spring of 2015, intelligence agencies detected conversations where Russian government officials discussed meetings with Trump business associates and advisers. It's not clear which Trump associates or advisers the Russians were referring to, or whether they had any connection to his presidential aspirations. (Wall Street Journal)

Trump Jr. was told – in an email – that the Russian government wanted to help the Trump campaign. The email was sent by Rob Goldstone, who brokered the June 2016 meeting with a Kremlin-connected lawyer – Natalia Veselnitskaya – that promised damaging information about Clinton as part of a Russian government effort to aid the Trump campaign. The meeting took place less than a week before thousands of DNC emails were released by hackers. Goldstone is a publicist who represents a Russian pop star, whose father – Aras Agalarov – helped bring Trump's 2013 Miss Universe pageant to Moscow. Agalarovis is also a close friend of Putin. (New York Times)

The email sent to Trump Jr. said the documents “would incriminate Hillary" and "would be very useful to your father.” Within minutes, Trump Jr. replied: “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer." Four days later, Goldstone wrote back proposing a meeting with a “Russian government attorney.” Trump Jr. agreed, saying he would bring “Paul Manafort (campaign boss)” and “my brother-in-law,” Jared Kushner, now one of the president’s closest White House advisers. (New York Times)

Trump Jr. tweeted out the email chain used to setup the meeting with the Russian lawyer. “To everyone, in order to be totally transparent, I am releasing the entire email chain of my emails," he wrote. “I first wanted to just have a phone call but when that didn’t work out, they said the woman would be in New York and asked if I would meet. […] To put this in context, this occurred before the current Russian fever was in vogue." (Politico)

The White House said Trump didn't know about his son's meeting with the Russian lawyer. Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump learned of the meeting "in the last couple of days," adding that Trump Jr. "did not collude with anybody to influence the election." Kellyanne Conway denied evidence of collusion, saying "everybody is trying to convert wishful thinking into hard evidence and haven't been able to do that." (CNN / Politico / ABC News)

Ten times Trump denied collusion with Russia. We can count at least 10 times when President Trump has directly said there was no collusion between Russia and his 2016 campaign. (NBC News)

Trump called Trump Jr. a "high-quality person" after emails about the Russian lawyer and meeting were released. Sarah Huckabee Sanders held an off-camera press briefing to address the emails, which offer the most direct link between Trump’s campaign and the Russian government during the 2016 presidential campaign. She stood by her statement that there was no collusion, declining to clarify how the situation described in Trump Jr.’s emails was not collusion. (Politico)

The Russian lawyer denied having any connection to the Kremlin or damaging information on Clinton. Veselnitskaya said she met with Trump Jr. in 2016 to discuss sanctions between Russia and the US. “I never had any damaging or sensitive information about Hillary Clinton. It was never my intention to have that,” Veselnitskaya said. “It is quite possible that maybe they were longing for such an information. They wanted it so badly that they could only hear the thought that they wanted.” Trump Jr. has confirmed that the meeting occurred, saying the topic of conversation was primarily about adoption. (NBC News)

The man connecting Trump Jr. to the Russian lawyer checked in for the meeting at Trump Tower on Facebook. A screenshot from Rob Goldstone's Facebook page suggests he was at Trump Tower the day of the meeting. The caption reads “preparing for meeting.” (Business Insider)

Donald Trump Jr. met with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer to acquire damaging information about Hillary Clinton in June 2016 at Trump Tower in New York City. On Saturday, Trump Jr. said the meeting was about the issue of US adoptions of Russian children and not the campaign. However, in March, Trump Jr. said he never met with any Russians while working in a campaign capacity. The meeting – attended by Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner – was disclosed when Kushner filed a revised form in order to obtain a security clearance. Manafort also recently disclosed the meeting, and Trump Jr.’s role in organizing it, to congressional investigators looking into his foreign contacts. (New York Times / Washington Post)

Trump Jr. tried to downplay his meeting while hiring a lawyer to represent him in the Russia probe. He tweeted that "obviously I'm the first person on a campaign to ever take a meeting to hear info about an opponent." He added that there was "no inconsistency" in his two statements, saying the meeting ended up being primarily about adoptions. Trump Jr. hired Alan Futerfas, a criminal defense attorney that's represented organized crime and cybercrime cases. (ABC News / Reuters / BuzzFeed News)

The Kremlin denied knowing about Trump Jr.'s meeting with a Russian lawyer. A Putin spokesman said the Kremlin doesn't know the lawyer, adding that they “cannot keep track of every Russian lawyer and their meetings domestically or abroad.” (Washington Post)

Trump backtracked on his push for a US-Russia cybersecurity unit, saying it cannot happen. On Sunday, Trump tweeted that he and Putin "discussed forming an impenetrable Cyber Security unit so that election hacking […] will be guarded." Just 12 hours later, Trump returned to Twitter to clarify his remarks, saying just because they discussed it "doesn't mean I think it can happen. It can't." (Politico / CNBC)

Putin said Trump was "satisfied" with his denial of election meddling. Putin told Trump that Russia was not behind the hacking of emails belonging to rival Hillary Clinton's campaign. Trump called it "a tremendous meeting" with Putin. (USA Today / Reuters)

Putin denied election hacking after Trump "pressed" him. The two had a "robust" conversation about the allegations that Russia tried to interfere in the election, discussing a "commitment that the Russian government has no intention" of interfering in future elections. The Russians have asked the US for proof of their interference in the election. Tillerson said the meeting did not focus on punishing Russia for hacking and leaking information that helped Trump win the election. Instead, Tillerson said the two focused on “how do we move forward." (Washington Post / Associated Press / CNN)

Trump tweets: "Everyone" at the G-20 summit is talking about why John Podesta wouldn't give the DNC server to the FBI and CIA. Podesta did not run the Democratic National Committee, he chaired Clinton's presidential campaign. Podesta fired back at Trump with tweets of his own, telling him to “Get a grip man, the Russians committed a crime when they stole my emails to help get you elected President. Maybe you might try to find a way to mention that to President Putin.” He added: "I had nothing to do with the DNC… Dude, get your head in the game. You’re representing the US at the G20.” A DNC spokeswoman tweeted that "1) Podesta never ran the DNC. 2) DNC worked with FBI to kick out Russians. Worked with DHS. 3) Putin make you tweet this before mtg?" (Politico / The Daily Beast / Associated Press)

Russian spies have stepped up their intelligence-gathering efforts, emboldened by the lack of retaliatory response from both Trump and Obama. It's believed the Russians now have nearly 150 suspected intelligence operatives in the US. (CNN)

The US and Russia reached a cease-fire deal in Syria, set to take effect Sunday at noon Damascus time. The agreement is part of broader discussions on trying to lower violence in the country. (Associated Press / Wall Street Journal)

Trump downplayed Russian election meddling, saying it "could be Russia" but "nobody really knows for sure." He added that it "could’ve been other people and other countries," casting doubt on the conclusion of 17 US intelligence agencies and likening it to the incorrect assessment that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. He blamed Obama for not doing anything to stop the meddling. (Bloomberg / CNN / The Daily Beast)

Trump to Russia: stop “destabilizing activities” and end support for “hostile regimes,” like Iran and Syria. The remark came during his speech in Poland the day before he meets with Putin for the first time. (New York Times / NBC News)

3/ Democrats are urging Trump to confront Putin, calling it a "severe dereliction of duty" not to do so. Five Senate Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, sent a letter to Trump telling him to "set the agenda from the start” with Putin “and make absolutely clear that Russian interference in our democracy will in no way be tolerated." (NBC News / Politico)

Meanwhile, the Trump Organization renewed its Russia-related domain names. TrumpRussia.com and TrumpTowerMoscow.com are just two of more than 1,000 domain names renewed by the organization, which has said it will not pursue any new foreign business deals while Trump is in the White House. (Politico)

poll/ A majority of Americans believe Trump has done something either illegal or unethical when it comes to Russia. 54% believe he has done something illegal or unethical, with 25% saying he has done something illegal and another 29% thinking he has done something unethical although not necessarily illegal. (NPR)

Investigators are exploring if Russia colluded with far-right, pro-Trump sites during the election in order to spread bogus stories aimed at discrediting Hillary Clinton. The top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee said that at least 1,000 “paid internet trolls working out of a facility in Russia” were pumping anti-Clinton fake news into social media sites during the campaign. The head of Trump's digital team, Brad Parscale, has been asked to appear before the House intelligence committee. (The Guardian)

Trump's top aides are worried he'll get "boxed in" when he meets with Putin this week. After months of controversy involving Russia, foreign policy experts are starting to think Trump's actions have made it impossible to improve relations with Russia. Trump will meet with Putin on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg on Friday. (New York Times / Washington Post)

A GOP opposition researcher sought Clinton's emails while claiming to represent Michael Flynn. Peter W. Smith considered Flynn an ally in his effort to contact hackers hoping to find the 33,000 personal emails deleted by Clinton. “He said, ‘I’m talking to Michael Flynn about this – if you find anything, can you let me know?’” said a computer security expert who searched hacker forums on Smith’s behalf. Smith, who died on May 14, supported Flynn’s efforts to establish relations with Russian officials. (Wall Street Journal)

The House intelligence committee to interview another former Trump adviser in its Russia probe. Michael Caputo, a former Trump campaign communications adviser, has agreed to come before the committee next month. Caputo once worked in Moscow and has connections to Russia. He has denied any collusion with Russian officials. (CNN)

A Russian-funded radio station replaced a bluegrass station in DC. 105.5 FM now broadcasts Sputnik, a “global wire, radio and digital news service" funded by the Russian government. (DCist)

The House Intelligence Committee wants to talk to Trump’s longtime bodyguard-turned-White House aide as part of their investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign. Keith Schiller is the former head of security for the Trump Organization and now serves as the White House director of Oval Office operations. He's been at Trump’s side for nearly 20 years. (ABC News)

Trump's advisers are struggling to convince him that Russia still poses a threat. There is no paper trail – schedules, readouts or briefing documents – to indicate Trump has dedicated time to the issue. He has, however, continued to tweet about Obama failing to stop Russian meddling in the election. Trump has repeatedly blamed the Democratic National Committee, China, and "someone sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds" for election-related cyberattacks. (CNN)

Paul Manafort's consulting firm received more than $17 million from a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party. In Manafort's retroactive registration as a foreign agent, he indicated that he was retained by the Party of Regions to advise Ukrainian officials in their dealings with American government officials. The report makes Manafort the second former senior Trump adviser to disclose work for foreign interests. Michael Flynn was the other. (New York Times / Bloomberg / Washington Post)

The FBI interviewed at least a dozen employees of a Russia-based cyber-security company, gathering facts about how Kaspersky Lab works, including to what extent the US operations report to Moscow. Kaspersky has long been of interest to the US government, whose founder graduated from the KGB-backed Institute of Cryptography, Telecommunications, and Computer Science. Kaspersky Lab paid former national security adviser Michael Flynn $11,250 in 2015 for cyber security consulting. (NBC News)

At least 10 Trump aides have hired lawyers for the Russia probe, or are planning to do so. Inside the White House, Trump, Pence, and Kushner have hired private attorneys, as have former campaign advisers Michael Caputo, Boris Epshteyn, and Roger Stone, among others. (Wall Street Journal)

Sarah Huckabee Sanders lectured reporters about the "constant barrage of fake news" by the media. She then promoted a video by James O'Keefe, a journalist known for his deceptive video editing and interview tactics, who released an undercover video where a CNN producer called the network's Russia coverage "mostly bullshit." She conceded that she did not know "whether it's accurate or not," then added that "if it is accurate, I think it's a disgrace to all of media, to all of journalism." (Washington Post / Politico / HuffPost)

Trump tweeted that CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, The New York Times, and The Washington Post are all "fake news" after CNN retracted a story tying a member of Trump’s transition team to the ongoing Russia investigations. (Politico)

Trump will meet with Putin in Germany next month. Trump wants a full bilateral meeting, while the State Department and National Security Council are urging for restraint. All 17 US intelligence agencies have agreed Russia was behind the hack of DNC's email and tried to influence the election to benefit Trump. A former KGB general said Putin has “other priorities” than discussing the accusations that Russia hacked the election, such as easing sanctions, raising oil prices, as well as next year’s presidential elections in Russia. (Associated Press)

A Russian government official making $75,000 per year spent nearly $8 million on Trump condos in South Florida. There is also no public disclosure of Igor Zorin's properties in Russia, which is illegal under Russian law. None of Zorin’s property purchases used bank financing, meaning he most likely paid cash. He made roughly $75,000 in 2015 and $159,000 in 2016. In one sale, a Florida company transferred a condo valued at $1.5 million to Zorin. No deed of sale was recorded, meaning the price paid — if any — is unknown. (Miami Herald)

Russia is recalling Sergey Kislyak as the FBI and Congress continue to investigate the 66-year-old diplomat’s contacts with Trump’s team during the 2016 presidential campaign. Kislyak spent nearly 10 years at the center of US–Russia relations. (BuzzFeed News)

The Trump administration has done little to prevent Russian hacking in the next election. Trump has shown no interest about how to prevent future election interference. Comey testified that Trump never asked him about how to stop a future election attack, while Jeff Sessions, who sits on the National Security Council, testified that he has not received a classified briefing on Russian election interference. Sean Spicer has never addressed the topic with Trump, either. Despite blaming the 2016 hacks on Obama, Trump hasn't said what he would do to stop Russian hacking. (NBC News)

Trump tweets that Democrats are "OBSTRUCTIONISTS" and that Obama “colluded or obstructed” on Russia. Here is Trump's full tweetstorm: "The Democrats have become nothing but OBSTRUCTIONISTS, they have no policies or ideas. All they do is delay and complain.They own ObamaCare! The reason that President Obama did NOTHING about Russia after being notified by the CIA of meddling is that he expected Clinton would win and did not want to 'rock the boat.' He didn't 'choke,' he colluded or obstructed, and it did the Dems and Crooked Hillary no good. The real story is that President Obama did NOTHING after being informed in August about Russian meddling. With 4 months looking at Russia under a magnifying glass, they have zero 'tapes' of T people colluding. There is no collusion and no obstruction. I should be given apology!" (CNN / The Daily Beast)

Kushner finalized a $285 million loan from a bank trying to settle a federal mortgage fraud case and charges that it aided a possible Russian money-laundering scheme. The loan came a month before the election and both cases were settled in December and January. Deutsche Bank is Trump’s biggest lender. (Washington Post)

Obama weighed pre-election retaliation against Moscow for the Russian assault on the US election. The Obama administration debated dozens of options for deterring or punishing Russia, including cyberattacks on infrastructure, the release of CIA material to embarrass Putin, and sanctions that could “crater” the Russian economy. Instead, he expelled 35 Russian diplomats and closed two compounds. Obama also approved an operation in late December to embed "digital bombs" in Russia’s infrastructure that could be detonated if the US found itself in an escalating exchange with Moscow. The project was still in its planning stages when he left office, leaving Trump to decide whether to use the capability. “It is the hardest thing about my entire time in government to defend,” a former senior Obama official said. “I feel like we sort of choked.” (Washington Post)

The director of national intelligence told House investigators that Trump seemed obsessed with the Russia probe and repeatedly asked him to publicly acknowledge there was no evidence of collusion. At a Senate hearing earlier this month, Dan Coats said Trump never pressured him to do anything inappropriate, but refused to confirm or deny allegations that Trump asked him to push back against the FBI probe into collusion between the campaign and the Russian government. (NBC News)

Frustrated by the Russia probe, Trump loses patience with his White House lawyer. Trump took Don McGahn to task in the Oval Office for not doing more to squash the Russia probe early on despite having handed over the Russia investigation to his personal attorney Marc Kasowitz. (Politico)

West Wing aides struggle to keep Trump calm on Russia. His new morning routine begins at 6:30 AM with a venting session with his outside legal team in an effort to prevent the Russia probe from consuming him all day. (Washington Post)

Two of the top intelligence officials told Robert Mueller that Trump suggested they refute collusion with the Russians. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers described the interaction as odd and uncomfortable, but that they don't believe Trump gave them orders to interfere. The two repeatedly refused to say whether Trump asked them to intervene in the Russia probe during their public Senate intelligence committee testimony. (CNN)

Trump at Iowa rally: "All we do is win, win, win." He then blamed Democrats for his problems, boasted about his "amazing progress," and called the Russia investigation a "phony witch hunt" at his campaign-style rally in Cedar Rapids last night. During the 70-minute speech, Trump promised to lay out the next steps in “our incredible movement to make America great again," but continually veered off on tangents, reflected on the past, and contradicted himself. He knocked trade deals the Iowa economy relies on, dismissed wind energy in a state filled with thousands of turbines, and denounced the war in the Middle East despite reauthorizing troops in Afghanistan. Trump also revealed his plan for putting solar panels on his proposed border wall "so it creates energy and pays for itself." (New York Times / Washington Post / CBS News)

House Democrats want to suspend Jared Kushner's security clearance. Kushner's previously undisclosed meetings with Russian officials have drawn the attention of investigators. Democrats say these contacts should be enough to suspend his access to sensitive information. (ABC News)

Hackers successfully altered at least one voter roll in 2016 and stole voter records that contain private information like partial Social Security numbers. Investigators have not identified whether the hackers in that case were Russian agents. (Time)

The White House is urging House Republicans to weaken its Russia sanctions bill, which was overwhelmingly passed by the Senate. The bill would place new sanctions on Russia for its meddling in the 2016 election and allow Congress to block Trump from lifting penalties against Moscow. (New York Times)

CIA Director Mike Pompeo continued to brief Michael Flynn on national intelligence despite concerns Flynn was vulnerable to Russian blackmail. The FBI, the CIA, the Justice Department, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence all concluded that Flynn had become susceptible to blackmail. Pompeo never raised these concerns with Trump. “Either Director Pompeo had no idea what people in the CIA reportedly knew about Michael Flynn, or he knew about the Justice Department’s concerns and continued to discuss America’s secrets with a man vulnerable to blackmail,” Senator Ron Wyden said in a statement. “I believe Director Pompeo owes the public an explanation.” (New York Times)

Jeff Sessions hired a personal lawyer amid the expanding Russia investigation. The Attorney General's longtime friend Charles Cooper has been providing counsel to Sessions, both for his Senate Intelligence Committee hearing last week, as well as during his January confirmation hearing. Sessions recused himself from the FBI’s investigation into Russia meddling and whether any Trump associates colluded in that effort. Special counsel Robert Mueller could seek information from Sessions about the circumstances surrounding the firing of James Comey. (Bloomberg / USA Today / National Law Journal)

Russian-linked hackers targeted election-related computer systems in 21 states. Systems involved in vote counting were not affected. The hackers appeared to be scanning for vulnerabilities. In May, it was reported that Russian hackers had hit election systems in 39 states, accessing software used by poll workers on Election Day. The Russian military intelligence executed a cyberattack on at least one US voting software supplier last year, sending spear-phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials days before the election. (Washington Post / CNN)

Spicer hasn't talked to Trump about whether Russia interfered in the election. The US intelligence community concluded that Russia orchestrated a hacking and influence campaign to swing the election in Trump's favor. “I have not sat down and asked him about the specific reaction,” Spicer said. “I'd be glad to touch base with him and get back to you.” Trump's repeatedly raised doubts about their conclusions. (Politico / The Hill)

Trump's pick for FBI Director removed a past case involving the Russian government from his law firm bio at King and Spalding. Christopher Wray made the edit on January 12, when he was not considered for the FBI Director job, "or any position in government." Wray's law firm has worked closely with the Russian the energy sector, representing companies in deals with the Russian state-owned oil company Rosneft and Gazprom. (CNN)

Michael Flynn failed to report a business trip to Saudi Arabia where he represented US and Russian state-sponsored companies, and Saudi financing interests to build 16 nuclear power plants a congressional letter issued Monday shows. The letter questions why Flynn failed to mention one trip and underreported a second for the renewal of his federal security clearance. It also questions why Flynn failed to mention “any of these contacts with Saudi or other foreign officials on his security clearance application or during his interview with security clearance investigators." (McClatchy – DC)

The FBI is investigating Flynn’s former business partner and looking at whether payments from foreign clients were lawful. The now-defunct Flynn Intel Group received payments by three Russian companies and the Netherlands-based company Inovo. (Reuters)

Rex Tillerson has a three-point plan for future US-Russia relations in an effort to seek constructive working relationship with Putin on a limited set of issues. Step 1: Tell Moscow that aggressive actions against the US are a losing proposition. Step 2: Engage on issues that are of strategic interest to the US. Step 3: Emphasize the importance of "strategic stability" regarding geopolitical goals. (BuzzFeed News)

Trump tweets that his "MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN agenda is doing very well despite the distraction of the Witch Hunt" – aka Robert Mueller's Russia investigation. Mueller is considering whether there is evidence to launch a full scale obstruction of justice investigation. (CNN)

The White House is pushing the House Republicans for a friendlier sanctions deal against Russia. Senate Democrats fear the Trump administration will defang the bill designed to punish Russia for election meddling. The legislation would tie the White House's hands on US-Russia relations, the administration says. (Politico)

Jared Kushner is reconsidering his legal team. He's contacted high-powered criminal lawyers about potentially representing him in the wide-ranging investigation into Russia’s influence on the 2016 election. (New York Times)

Trump tweets that he's under investigation for his role in firing James Comey and accused Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein of overseeing the "witch hunt" against him. Rosenstein wrote the memo recommending Comey's firing, but also approved the appointment of Robert Mueller, the special counsel now leading the Russia investigation. (New York Times / CNN / Washington Post)

Rod Rosenstein urged Americans to "exercise caution" when evaluating stories attributed to anonymous officials. It's unclear why Rosenstein would issue the statement, but it follows several stories quoting unnamed sources on the direction of the Russia probe. (Washington Post)

Rosenstein privately acknowledged that he may have to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. Rosenstein told Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand, the Justice Department's new third-in-command, that if he were to recuse himself, she would have to step in and take over the probe. She was sworn-in little more than a month ago. (ABC News)

Jared Kushner's finances and business dealings are now part of the Mueller investigation. Kushner joins the list of Trump associates Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, and Carter Page who are now under investigation by FBI agents and federal prosecutors. Kushner has agreed to discuss his Russian contacts with the Senate Intelligence Committee. (Washington Post)

The Trump transition team ordered members to preserve Russia-related documents, including records related to Ukraine and certain campaign advisers and officials. The memo says members “have a duty to preserve any physical and electronic records that may be related in any way to the subject matter of the pending investigations.” (New York Times / Politico)

The House Intelligence Committee wants to talk to Trump's digital director about Russia and possible connections between the Trump team and Russian operatives. Brad Parscale played a critical role on the Trump campaign, directing online spending and voter targeting with the use of a data bank built by the Republican National Committee. (CNN)

Trump’s personal lawyer hires his own lawyer to navigate the Russia probe. Michael Cohen's decision is the latest sign that the Russia probe is intensifying and could end up focusing on many Trump associates, both inside and outside the White House. (Washington Post)

An American lobbyist representing Russian interests contradicted Jeff Sessions' sworn testimony about not having contacts with lobbyists working for Russian interests over the course of Trump’s campaign. Richard Burt attended "two dinners with groups of former Republican foreign policy officials and Senator Sessions." (The Guardian)

Trump tweets: The reports of my "phony collusion with the Russians" have been greatly exaggerated. Trump's twitter tirade this morning essentially confirms yesterday's news that special counsel Robert Mueller is now investigating Trump for possible obstruction of justice. Nevertheless, Trump persisted: "You are witnessing the single greatest WITCH HUNT in American political history". (CBS News / New York Times / Washington Post / New York Daily News)

Pence hired outside counsel to help with House and Senate committee inquiries, and the special counsel investigation into possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia. (Washington Post)

Despite being investigated by the FBI, Paul Manafort is still offering prospective business partners access to Trump. Manafort consulted on a proposal for a Chinese construction billionaire. A lawyer involved in discussions said, “He’s going around telling people that he’s still talking to the president and — even more than that — that he is helping to shape Trump’s foreign policy." Trump’s former campaign chairman is at the center of the FBI investigation into ties between Trump’s team and the Russians. (Politico)

Robert Mueller is now investigating Trump for possible obstruction of justice, marking a major turning point in the nearly year-old FBI investigation. The obstruction of justice investigation into the president began days after Comey was fired on May 9 with the team actively pursuing potential witnesses inside and outside the government. The White House is referring all questions about the Russia investigation to Trump’s personal lawyer, Marc Kasowitz. (Washington Post)

The Senate approved new bipartisan sanctions against Russia, which establishes a congressional review of any changes the Trump administration wants to make to the current penalties. Senators voted 97-2, but its future in the GOP-controlled House is unclear, as is whether Trump would even sign the bill. (Politico)

Robert Mueller met with the Senate intelligence committee to plot a path forward on their investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. The two sides discussed to share information and not step on each others' toes. (CNN)

Russian hackers hit election systems in 39 states, accessing software designed to be used by poll workers on Election Day. The scope and sophistication was so concerning that the Obama administration complained directly to Moscow, detailing Russia’s role in the election meddling and warned that the attacks risked setting off a broader conflict. (Bloomberg)

Senate leaders agree on bipartisan sanctions to punish Russia for election meddling, placing the White House in an uncomfortable position. The agreement would impose sanctions on “corrupt Russian actors" and people conducting “malicious cyberactivity on behalf of the Russian government," and “provide for a mandated congressional review” if the White House sought to waive or ease existing sanctions unilaterally. “I’d be very, very surprised if the president vetoes this bill,” the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee said. (New York Times / Politico)

The House Intelligence Committee is adding funding and staff to its Russia probe. A lack of resources has been an issue for the House investigation, due in part to Devin Nunes,the panel’s chairman, being forced to recuse himself over allegations that he was openly colluding with the White House. (The Daily Beast)

Trump is considering firing Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating possible ties between his campaign and Russian officials. Trump was "considering, perhaps, terminating the special counsel," Trump's friend Christopher Ruddy said. To do so, Trump would have to order Rod Rosenstein to rescind department regulations protecting a special counsel from being fired and then to fire Mueller. If Rosenstein refused, Trump could fire him, too. Trump is being counseled to steer clear of such a dramatic move like firing the special counsel. (New York Times / CNN)

Rod Rosenstein: Only I have the power to fire the special counsel on Russia. During testimony before the appropriations committee, Rosenstein said he would only comply with "lawful and appropriate" requests. Rosenstein added that there's no cause to fire Mueller and that he's "confident" the special counsel has full independence. (Washington Post / USA Today / Wall Street Journal)

Jeff Sessions declined to answer questions about his conversations with Trump, including whether he spoke to Trump about Comey’s handling of the Russia investigation. Sessions cited Trump's executive privilege to not answer questions about his confidential talks with the president despite Trump not having invoked executive privilege. Sessions called any suggestion that he colluded with Russians during the campaign an "an appalling and detestable lie." (Washington Post / New York Times / NBC News)

Jeff Sessions will testify in an open hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday about his role in the Russia investigation. Last week, James Comey testified that Sessions may have had a third, undisclosed meeting with Russia's ambassador to the US. Before Sessions recused himself from the investigation, Comey believed certain details made Sessions involvement in the investigation "problematic." The Committee hasn't allotted time for Sessions to privately discuss classified matters after his public forum. The hearing is scheduled for Tuesday at 2:30PM ET. (Washington Post / Politico / CNN)

Trump’s attorneys won't rule out firing Robert Mueller, the special counsel appointed to look into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia. "I'm not going to speculate on what he will, or will not, do," Trump attorney Jay Sekulow said. “That, again, is an issue that the president with his advisers would discuss if there was a basis.” (Politico)

Reince Priebus has until July 4th to clean up the White House. Trump has threatened to fire his chief of staff if major changes are not made. While Trump has set deadlines for staff changes before, he's under more scrutiny than ever with the sprawling Russia investigation. (Politico)

Trump breaks his Twitter silence, declaring "total and complete vindication" in response to Comey's testimony. The tweet ends his second-longest Twitter drought – at about 2,753 minutes – since he declared his candidacy. Comey detailed months of distrust during testimony and asserted that Trump had fired him to interfere with the probe of Russia's ties to the campaign. (ABC News / Washington Post)

Jeff Sessions may have met with the Russian ambassador a third time, Comey told senators in a closed hearing. The information is based in part on Russian-to-Russian intercepts talking about the meeting. (CNN)

Trump's lawyer said Comey made "unauthorized disclosures" of privileged talks designed to damage the president. Marc Kasowitz said Comey's testimony "makes clear that the president never sought to impede the investigation into attempted Russian interference in the 2016 election." (USA Today)

Paul Ryan: Trump asking for Comey's loyalty is "obviously" inappropriate and it's clear that Russia meddled in the US election. "What we need to determine is not whether they did it – we know that. It's what did they do, how did they do it, how do we prevent it from happening again? And then how do we help our allies so that this doesn't happen to them?" (CNN)

Trump's FBI pick has Russian ties. Christopher Wray's law firm – King & Spalding – represents Rosneft and Gazprom, two of Russia’s biggest state-controlled oil companies. (USA Today)

Trump doesn't plan to fire Sessions, despite his frustration with Sessions for the handling of the administration’s failed travel ban and for recusing himself from the Russia probe. (Bloomberg)

Two intelligence chiefs repeatedly refused to say whether Trump asked them to intervene in the Russia probe during their public Senate intelligence committee testimony. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers declined to discuss the specifics of private conversations they had with Trump and whether they had been asked to push back against an FBI probe into collusion between the campaign and the Russian government. Both hinted that they would share more information with senators privately. (CNN / Washington Post / Politico)

Comey's role in the Russia probe has Trump "infuriated at a deep-gut, personal level," Newt Gingrich said. "He's not going to let some guy like that smear him without punching him as hard as he can." Trump's lawyers and aides have been urging him to resist engaging on Twitter, but are bracing for a worst-case scenario tomorrow: he ignores their advice and tweets his mind anyway. (Washington Post)

Jeff Sessions offered to resign after a series of heated exchanges with Trump. Sessions wanted the freedom to do his job and is upset by Trump's tweets and comments about the Justice Department. Trump is still frustrated with Sessions' decision to recuse himself from the Russia probe, viewing the decision as a sign of weakness. (CNN / Wall Street Journal / New York Times)

James Clapper: Watergate "pales" in comparison to the Trump-Russia scandal. The former US director of national intelligence added that Trump sharing intelligence with Putin was "very problematic" and said firing James Comey was "egregious and inexcusable." (The Guardian)

Texas Democrat Al Green is drafting articles of impeachment against Trump, saying the president should be forced from office for firing James Comey in the middle of the bureau’s ongoing Russia investigation. (Politico)

US investigators believe Russian hackers planted a fake news report in Qatar's state news agency. The Qatar News Agency attributed false remarks to the nation's ruler that appeared friendly to Iran and Israel and questioned whether Trump would last in office. In reaction, Qatar's neighbors, led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, cut off economic and political ties, causing a broader crisis. (CNN)

poll/ 61% say Trump fired Comey to protect himself and most think Trump is trying to interfere with official investigations of possible Russian influence in the 2016 election. (ABC News)

Trump's frustration with Jeff Sessions grows, blaming him for the "watered down, politically correct version" of the travel ban. He's also upset with Sessions' decision to recuse himself from investigations related to the Russia probe. (New York Times)

Eric Trump called the Trump-Russia collusion allegations the "greatest hoax of all time." He added that the investigation into possible coordination between his father’s presidential campaign and the Kremlin’s election meddling was a "witch hunt." (The Daily Beast / ABC News)

The contractor that leaked classified NSA documents on Russian hacking was charged by the Justice Department. Reality Leigh Winner, 25, is accused of "removing classified material from a government facility and mailing it to a news outlet." She leaked a top-secret NSA report showing that Russian military intelligence executed a cyberattack on at least one US voting software supplier last year. Winner faces up to 10 years in prison for leaking classified information. (CNN / Washington Post)

The Russian attacks on the election systems were broader and targeted more states than those detailed in yesterday's leaked intelligence report. The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee said, "I don't believe they got into changing actual voting outcomes." (USA Today)

A top-secret NSA report shows Russian military intelligence executed a cyberattack on at least one US voting software supplier last year, sending spear-phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials just days before the election. The report indicates that Russian hacking penetrated further into voting systems than was previously understood and states unequivocally that it was Russian military intelligence that conducted the attacks. The NSA report is at odds with Putin’s denial that Russia had interfered in foreign elections: "We never engaged in that on a state level, and have no intention of doing so." (The Intercept)

Putin denied having compromising information on Trump. During an interview with Megyn Kelly, Putin called the dossier of unverified information "just another load of nonsense." He added: "I haven’t seen, even once, any direct proof of Russian interference in the presidential election in the United States." Seventeen US intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia interfered with the election. (Politico / The Daily Beast)

Jeff Sessions and Rod Rosenstein never told Comey they were uneasy with his "deeply troubling" and "serious mistakes" before they fired him. The former FBI director is "angry" they failed to flag their concerns and he wants the public to understand why when he testifies publicly this week about his axing, and alleged collusion between Trump associates and the Russian government. (ABC News)

The Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee asked to unmask organizations and individuals related to Russian meddling in the 2016 election. The requests came last year and required sign-off by Nunes, who's the chairman of the committee. Both Nunes and Trump have called unmasking an abuse of surveillance powers by the Obama administration. (Washington Post)

US intelligence agencies formally asked the Justice Department to investigate Russia-related leaks. As many as six recent leaks have been formally referred to the DOJ for criminal investigation. (ABC News)

The Russia probe now includes a grand jury investigation into Michael Flynn. Robert Mueller's investigation is looking into Flynn’s paid work as a lobbyist for a Turkish businessman and contacts between Russian officials and Flynn and other Trump associates during and after the election. (Reuters)

The Trump team wanted to lift sanctions on Russia when he took office, but career diplomats pressured Congress to block the move. Bipartisan legislation was introduced in February to bar the administration from granting sanctions relief without a congressional review. The proposed bill was shelved six days later when Flynn resigned, making it "clear that if they lifted sanctions, there would be a political firestorm." (Yahoo News / NBC News)

Congress is examining whether Jeff Sessions had a third undisclosed meeting with Russia's ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the presidential campaign. During his confirmation hearing on January 10, Sessions testified that he "did not have any communications with the Russians" during the campaign. In March, reports emerged that Sessions met with Kislyak in July and September. He insisted those meetings were part of Senate duties and not the campaign. (CNN)

Putin insists Russia never engaged in hacking, but praised Trump's lack of political background as a good thing. Putin denied any state role, but acknowledged that some individual "patriotically minded" private Russian hackers could have mounted an attack. He added that Trump is "a straightforward person, a frank person," which is a political advantage because "he has a fresh set of eyes." (Associated Press / New York Times)

The former pro-Brexit Ukip leader is a "person of interest" in the FBI investigation into Trump and Russia. Nigel Farage's relationships with both the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has raised the interest of the FBI. “If you triangulate Russia, WikiLeaks, Assange and Trump associates the person who comes up with the most hits is Nigel Farage. He’s right in the middle of these relationships." (The Guardian)

The administration is considering returning two Russian diplomatic compounds in NYC and Maryland, which were closed by Obama as punishment for interference in the election. The Trump administration told the Russians that it would give the properties back to Moscow if it would lift the freeze on construction of a new US consulate in St. Petersburg. (Washington Post)

The White House will stop answering questions about the Trump-Russia investigation. Spicer told reporters that any future questions about the investigation would be addressed by Trump's personal lawyer. (The Hill)

Comey will testify publicly about Trump pressuring him to end his investigation into Flynn's ties to Russia. Comey will appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee and is expected to confirm that Trump confronted him over the Russia investigations. Mueller and Comey discussed parameters to ensure his testimony won’t hurt the special counsel’s investigation. It will be Comey's first time speaking in public since Trump unexpectedly fired him. (CNN / Wall Street Journal)

The House Intelligence Committee issued seven subpoenas. Four are related to the Russia investigation – Michael Flynn and Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen, and their businesses. The other three – to NSA, FBI, CIA – are related to how and why the names of Trump's associates were "unmasked." (Wall Street Journal)

Al Franken: "everything points to" collusion between Trump's campaign and the Russians. "My feeling is that there was some cooperation between the Trump campaign and the Russians," the Minnesota Democrat said. (Bloomberg)

The Russia probe has slowed Trump’s effort to fill hundreds of vacant jobs across the federal government. The growing scandal is scaring off candidates and distracting aides from finding new recruits. The White House has announced nominees for just 117 of the 559 most important Senate-confirmed positions. (Politico)

Russians discussed having potentially "derogatory" information about the Trump team during the campaign. Intercepted communications suggest that the Russians believed "they had the ability to influence the administration through the derogatory information." (CNN)

The Russia investigation now includes Trump's personal attorney. Michael Cohen turned down invitations from the House and Senate investigators "to provide information and testimony" about any contacts he had with people connected to the Russian government. He said he'll "gladly" testify if Congress subpoenas him. (ABC News / CNN / New York Times)

Investigators are examining why Kushner met with a Russian banker during the transition and what they wanted from each other. It is not clear if Kushner wanted to use the banker as a go-between or whether it was part of the effort to establish a direct, secure line to Putin. The banker, Sergey Gorkov, is a close associate of Putin. (New York Times)

James Clapper says Russia "absolutely" meddled in the 2016 election. The former director of national intelligence said there has never been a case of election interference more aggressive than what happened in 2016. He added, however, that it's unclear if the "interference actually affected the outcome of the election." (CNN)

Kellyanne Conway called Kushner's Russian backchannel "regular course of business." Former national security officials have said that backchannels are out of the norm for a presidential transition and that could possibly be illegal. (Politico)

The White House communication director resigned after three months. Mike Dubke’s exit comes as Trump weighs larger staff changes in an effort to contain the deepening Russia scandal. Dubke stepped down as communications director on May 18, but offered to stay through Trump's first foreign trip, which just ended. (Politico / Axios)

Trump is considering big changes at the White House in an effort to contain the escalating Russia investigation that threatens to consume his presidency. “Everything is in play,” an advisor said. Trump may bring back a trio of former campaign officials (Corey Lewandowski, David Bossie and David Urban) to handle communications and political duties related to the Russia investigation, and – shockingly – he's even considering having lawyers vet his tweets. (Wall Street Journal / Washington Post)

Kushner wanted a secret communications channel with the Kremlin so Michael Flynn could discuss strategy in Syria and other security issues directly with senior military officials in Moscow. The channel was never set up, but was proposed by Kushner during an early December meeting at Trump Tower with ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Kushner suggested using Russian diplomatic facilities in the US for the communications. (Washington Post / New York Times)

Trump has "total confidence" in Jared Kushner, despite coming under fire that he tried to create backchannel with Russia to shield the Trump team from public view. Some Democrats are calling for Trump to revoke Kushner’s security clearances. (New York Times)

National security adviser: "I would not be concerned" by backchannel communications with Russia. H.R. McMaster didn't specifically comment on the controversy surrounding Kushner. (CNN)

Trump attacks "fake news" for reporting that Kushner had discussed setting up a secret communications channel with the Russians. (New York Times)

The Senate Intelligence Committee wants all of Trump's Russia-related documents, emails and phone records going back to his campaign’s launch in June 2015. It's the first time that Trump’s official campaign structure has been drawn into the Senate committee’s ongoing bipartisan investigation. (Washington Post)

A Russian oligarch with ties to Paul Manafort wants immunity for cooperating with congressional intelligence committees. The Senate and House panels turned him down because of concerns that immunity agreements will complicate federal criminal investigations. The two did business together in the mid-2000s, when Manafort was providing campaign advice to Kremlin-backed politicians in Ukraine. Oleg Deripaska is a member of Putin's inner circle. (New York Times)

Comey acted on Russian information he knew was fake for fear that if it became public it would undermine the probe into Hillary Clinton's email and the Justice Department. The Russian intelligence claimed that then-Attorney General Lynch had been compromised and suggested she would make the FBI investigation of Clinton go away. If the Russians had released the information publicly, there would be no way for law enforcement and intelligence officials to discredit it without burning their sources and methods. (CNN)

Jared Kushner is now a focus in the Russia investigation. Kushner is being investigated for possible coordination between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign to influence the 2016 presidential election, as well as possible financial crimes. (Washington Post / NBC News)

The FBI won’t provide Comey's memos to Congress, until it consults with Robert Mueller, the new special counsel overseeing the Russia investigation. (Politico)

Paul Manafort remained in contact and continued to advise the Trump team even after the FBI launched its Russia probe. Manafort called Priebus a week before the inauguration to tell him the dossier by a former British spy that alleged Russia had compromising information on Trump and his associates was "garbage." Manafort was forced to resign as Trump’s campaign chairman due to his ties to Kremlin-aligned politicians in Europe. (Politico)

Sessions was advised not to disclose his meetings with Russian officials when he applied for security clearance. Democratic lawmakers are demanding for Sessions’s resignation. "He’s lied under oath," Senator Kamala Harris said. "He’s misled on security clearance forms. It’s simple — he should not be the Attorney General." (New York Times)

Lieberman withdraws from consideration for FBI Director job. Once considered the front-runner to replace James Comey, he's formally withdrawn citing the appearance of a conflict of interest now that Trump’s tapped his boss, attorney Marc Kasowitz, as outside counsel in the Russia investigation. (Wall Street Journal / Politico / ABC News)

Jeff Sessions did not disclose meetings with Russian officials when he applied for his security clearance. Sessions met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at least twice last year, but didn't failed to note those interactions on the security clearance form. (CNN)

The House Intelligence Committee will subpoena Michael Flynn after he declined to appear before the panel. Flynn already rejected requests from the Senate Intelligence Committee for a list of his contacts with Russian officials, invoking his Fifth Amendments rights against self-incrimination. (Reuters / Associated Press / Politico)

Trump lawyers up and retains Marc Kasowitz for the Russia investigation. Related, former Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman joined Kasowitz' law firm in 2013 and was Trump's top choice for the FBI director job. The administration hit the reset button on the search today, wanting to see a broader list of candidates. (NBC News / CNN)

Russia may have successfully recruited Trump campaign aides and "brazenly" interfered in the election. John Brennan, the Former CIA Director, told the House Intelligence Committee that there was a “very aggressive” effort to intervene in the 2016 campaign, which he warned his counterpart in Russian intelligence about. Brennan said he didn't know if the Trump campaign colluded with Russia, but his confirmation that there was contact undermines Trump’s account of his campaign’s links to Russia. (Politico / Wall Street Journal / New York Times / Associated Press)

Flynn was hit with two new subpoenas by the Senate Intelligence Committee in an effort to compel him to turn over documents about his contacts with Russian officials. Flynn invoked the Fifth Amendment in response to the previous subpoena attempt. The new subpoenas are aimed at Flynn's businesses, believing they can't plead the Fifth. (Politico)

Comey's public House Oversight Committee testimony postponed. He wants to speak with Robert Mueller first, who is investigating the ties between Russia and the presidential election campaign. Comey is also expected to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the Russia probe later this month. (Reuters)

Michael Flynn will invoke his Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination as he notifies the Senate Intelligence committee that he will not comply with a subpoena seeking documents. His decision to invoke his Fifth Amendment right puts him at risk of being held in contempt of Congress, which can also result in a criminal charge. After Flynn rejected the subpoena, Elijah Cummings released a letter saying Flynn misled Pentagon investigators about his income from Russian companies when he applied for a top-secret security clearance last year. Separately, he also failed to properly register as a foreign agent while advising the Trump campaign. Both are felonies. (Associated Press / New York Times)

Trump: "I never mentioned the word or the name Israel" to the Russians. It was an off-script effort to push back and refute the damage he did to Israeli intelligence capabilities after revealing highly classified information to Russian operatives earlier this month. To add further insult to injury, he also told a room of Israelis that he "just got back from the Middle East." (CNN / Slate)

Comey believes that Donald Trump was trying to influence his judgment on the Russia probe. He initially thought he could teach Trump and the White House what was appropriate during their communications, despite noting that the new President was not following normal protocols during their interactions. (CNN)

Trump is assembling outside counsel to help him navigate the Russian investigation now that Robert Mueller has begun work on the possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russian officials. The outside legal team would be separate from the White House Counsel’s Office, which is led by Donald McGahn, who served as the Trump campaign’s lawyer. (Washington Post)

McMaster won't say if Trump confronted Russian officials about election interference during the meeting at the White House. He said "there already was too much that's been leaked from those meetings," but wouldn't deny that Trump called Comey "crazy, a real nut job." (ABC News)

A White House official close to Trump is now a person of interest in the Russia probe. The senior adviser under scrutiny by investigators is someone close to the president, according to multiple sources, who would not further identify the official. Investigators are also interested in people who were previously part of the Trump campaign and administration, including Michael Flynn and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort. (Washington Post)

Trump told the Russians in the Oval Office last week that firing Comey had relieved "great pressure" on him. A document summarizing the meeting quotes Trump as saying "I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job. I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off." (New York Times)

The Trump-Russia probe now includes a possible cover-up. Former FBI Director Robert Mueller, "has been given the authority to investigate the possibility of a cover-up," though that "does not mean that is part of the investigation" currently. (McClatchy)

American warplanes attacked a pro-Syrian government convoy, which ignored warnings and violated a restricted zone around a base where US and British Special Forces train rebels to fight the Islamic State. The Syria and its Russian allies condemned the attack, which marked an escalation in hostile US action toward Bashar al-Assad. (New York Times / Wall Street Journal)

The Trump campaign had at least 18 undisclosed contacts with Russians during the last seven months of the election. Six of the previously undisclosed contacts were phone calls between Sergei Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the US, and Trump advisers, including Michael Flynn. (Reuters)

Trump denies telling Comey to back off the Flynn investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Asked whether he urged Comey to ease up on the Flynn investigation, Trump said at a news conference, "No, no," before ordering the media to move onto the "next question." (Washington Post)

Trump Tweets: Where was the special counsel for Hillary and Obama? He then called the investigation into his campaign’s links with Russia “the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!” hours after issuing a more muted official statement in coordination with aides. (CNN)

Rod Rosenstein appointed former FBI Director Bob Mueller to oversee the investigation of Russian interference in election. Mueller will take command of the prosecutors and FBI agents who are working on the far reaching Russia investigation. Trump said that he expects the probe will find no collusion between his 2016 White House campaign and foreign countries, calling the Russia inquiry a “taxpayer-funded charade." (NBC News / New York Times / Washington Post / Politico)

Republicans blocked the Democrats attempt to force a vote on creating a bipartisan congressional commission to investigate Russian interference, how the intelligence community handled the matter, and the Trump administration's involvement. “You’re watching an obstruction of justice investigation developing in real time,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. "If there were ever any question about the need for an independent special prosecutor, this report is the nail on the argument." (New York Times / Washington Post / Reuters)

Putin offers to provide Congress with the transcript to prove Trump didn't pass Russia secrets, turning up the pressure on the White House to provide its own transcript of the meeting. Putin said Russia could hand over a transcript of Trump's meeting with Lavrov, if the Trump administration deemed it appropriate. (Reuters / New York Times / CNN / Washington Post)

Trump provided Russia with secrets so sensitive that news organizations are being asked not to report it. Trump told the Russian foreign minister and the Russian ambassador that the Islamic State had used stolen airport security equipment to test a bomb that could be hidden in electronic devices. US intelligence officials have asked media organizations not to report on the type of equipment, where it was stolen, and the name of the city where the intelligence was gathered. The intelligence has led to the new rules banning electronic devices in the cabins of certain flights. (NBC News)

Sally Yates disputed Sean Spicer's characterization of her warnings that Flynn could be open to blackmail by Russia as a "heads up." Yates said she expected the White House to act urgently on the information that Flynn had been compromised by his contact with Russian officials prior to Trump's inauguration. (CNN / NBC News)

poll/ Trump's approval rating hits a new low: 42% – and that's before claims that he disclosed sensitive information to Russian officials and tried to shut down an FBI investigation into Michael Flynn. (Politico)

Trump defended his decision to share ISIS intelligence with Russia, tweeting that he had an “absolute right” to do so in the interest of fighting terrorism. Trump's tweets undercut his administration's effort to contain the report, where Rex Tillerson, H.R. McMaster, and the deputy national security adviser for strategy all called the report that Trump revealed highly classified information to Russia false. The information was considered so sensitive that US officials had not shared it widely within the government or among allies. (New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)

McMaster backs Trump's sharing of sensitive intelligence with Russians: "It is wholly appropriate for the president to share whatever information he thinks is necessary." He added that Trump "wasn't even aware where this information came from. He wasn't briefed on the source or method of the information either." McMaster refused to confirm whether the information the president shared with the Russians was highly classified. (ABC News / Washington Post / Politico)

Israel was the source of ISIS-related intelligence that Trump shared with Russia last week. Two Israeli officials said that the intelligence shared by Trump "syncs up" with intelligence that shared with its US counterparts. The revelation is Israel's "worst fears confirmed" as it raises the possibility that the information could be passed to Iran, Russia’s close ally and Israel’s main threat in the Middle East. (New York Times / BuzzFeed News / NBC News / Wall Street Journal)

CIA Director Mike Pompeo will brief the members of the House intelligence committee today on what Trump discussed with Russian officials last week, following claims that Trump apparently revealed classified information. (CNN)

Republican and Democratic lawmakers to Trump: hand over the transcript of the meeting with the Russians. Members of Congress have spent several days demanding that Trump turn over tapes of White House meetings after he suggested that he records his conversations. Those calls intensified after Trump acknowledged on Twitter that he had shared sensitive information during his meeting with the Russians. White House aides have neither confirmed nor denied the possibility that Trump records his conversations at the White House. (Washington Post)

Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian diplomats during their Oval Office meeting last week, which has jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State. Trump’s decision to disclose information risks cooperation from an ally that has access to the inner workings of the Islamic State. A US official said Trump “revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies.” Trump’s disclosures are not illegal as he has the power to declassify almost anything. But sharing the information without the express permission of the ally who provided it represents a major breach of espionage etiquette, and could jeopardize a crucial intelligence-sharing relationship. (Washington Post / New York Times)

Comey declined to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee. The panel is investigating Russia’s election meddling and allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow. Testifying would have provided Comey a chance to discuss with lawmakers the circumstances of his firing. (Politico)

Trump shifts his reason for firing Comey to "this Russia thing" being a "made-up story." He labeled it "an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won." (New York Times)

The lawyers who said Trump has no ties to Russia was named Russian law firm of 2016. Morgan Lewis tax partners said that a review of Trump's last 10 years of tax returns don't show "any income of any type from Russian sources." Except for some income from the 2013 Miss Universe pageant that was held in Moscow as well as a property sold to a Russian billionaire in 2008 for $95 million. The attorneys did not release copies of Trump’s tax returns. (The Guardian / Associated Press / Reuters)

Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe vowed to report any meddling in the Russia probe and said that the firing of James Comey had not affected the Justice Department’s investigation. McCabe also told the Senate Intelligence Committee that Comey had not lost the confidence of rank-and-file FBI agents, contradicting a claim by the White House. Trump then offered a new version of his decision to fire Comey, saying he would have dismissed him regardless of whether the attorney general and his deputy recommended it. He called Comey a "showboat" and "grandstander," and said that while he never tried to pressure Comey into dropping the FBI probe of the Trump campaign, he did ask Comey whether he was under investigation. (Politico / New York Times / NBC News / ABC News / Reuters)

The White House was misled about the role of the Russian photographer and were surprised to see photos posted online showing Trump not only with Sergey Lavrov but also smiling and shaking hands with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Russian officials described the person as Lavrov's official photographer without disclosing that he also worked for Tass, a Russian state-owned news agency. (Washington Post)

Trump is "very likely" to visit FBI headquarters soon. One intelligence official said that agents are more determined than ever to pursue probes into the alleged Russian interference in the presidential election and that Trump had "essentially declared war on a lot of people at the FBI. I think there will be a concerted effort to respond over time in kind." Separately, Trump will meet with Acting Director Andrew McCabe today to discuss the morale at the FBI. (CNN / Washington Post / CNBC News)

Jason Chaffetz asked the inspector general to expand the Russia probe to include Comey's firing. The Trump administration has denied Comey’s firing was related to the FBI’s Russia investigation. (HuffPost / Politico / CNN / Reuters)

poll/ 54% think Trump's abrupt dismissal of Comey was not appropriate, while 46% think that Comey was fired due to the Russia investigation. (NBC News)

A sense of crisis deepens as Trump defends his abrupt dismissal of the FBI director. On Capitol Hill, at least a half-dozen Republicans broke with their leadership to express concern or dismay about the firing of Comey. They stopped short of joining Democrats’ call for a special prosecutor to lead the continuing investigation of Russian contacts with Trump’s aides. (New York Times)

The Senate intelligence committee subpoenas Michael Flynn for documents regarding his interactions with Russian officials. The order went out Wednesday after Flynn's attorneys informed the panel they would not cooperate with the probe unless the former general was granted immunity. The Senate panel first requested the documents on April 28. (Politico / CNN)

Trump met with Putin’s top diplomats at the White House. The talks came one day after Trump fired the FBI Director, who was overseeing an investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. Sergey Lavrov met with Rex Tillerson earlier in the day and sarcastically acknowledged the dismissal of James Comey by saying "Was he fired? You're kidding. You're kidding." The Kremlin said Trump's firing of Comey will have no effect on bilateral relations between the two countries. Trump also met with Sergey Kislyak, a key figure in the Flynn investigation. (Associated Press / Reuters / Washington Post / NPR)

Trump defended firing Comey and said both parties will thank him in an early morning tweetstorm. Trump justified dismissing Comey, saying Democrats and Republicans had lost faith in his leadership due to "scandals." Trump then mocked his critics and suggested that a Democratic senator be investigated after appearing on TV condemning the president’s action. Later, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Comey was dismissed because he committed “atrocities” and that Trump had been considering the decision to fire Comey before his inauguration. Putin weighed in, saying the firing will have "no effect" on US-Russia relations and that Trump acted in accordance with the US law and Constitution. Thanks Putin! (New York Times / Vox / Associated Press / The Daily Beast / CBS News)

Days before he was fired, Comey asked for a significant increase in money and personnel for the Russia investigation. Comey asked for the resources during a meeting last week with Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general who wrote the Justice Department’s memo used to justify his firing. (New York Times)

Trump also met with Henry Kissinger, Richard Nixon’s national security adviser, less than a day after firing Comey in Nixonian fashion. Kissinger was there to discuss "Russia and various other matters." (Slate)

Mitch McConnell rejected calls for a special prosecutor or independent commission to investigate Russia’s election meddling in the wake of the firing of FBI Director James Comey. The Senate Majority Leader said, "Today we'll no doubt hear calls for a new investigation, which could only serve to impede the current work being done." Democrats exerted pressure on their Republican colleagues, moving to shut down Senate committees, using procedural moves to block or delay hearings on Russia, cybersecurity, presidential nominees and more. (Politico / New York Times)

Federal prosecutors have issued grand jury subpoenas to associates of Michael Flynn seeking business records. The subpoenas represent the first sign of a significant escalation of activity in the FBI's broader Trump-Russia investigation. (CNN / Reuters)

Senate Russia investigators asked the Treasury criminal investigation division for financial information related to Trump, his top officials and his campaign aides. Sen. Mark Warner said they made the request to FinCEN, the federal agency that has been investigating allegations of foreign money-laundering through purchases of US real estate. (CNN)

The move sweeps away the man who is responsible for the investigation into whether members of Trump's campaign team colluded with Russia in its interference in last year's election.

Democrats reacted with shock and alarm, accusing Trump of ousting the FBI director to escape scrutiny over his campaign’s Russia ties.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer urged deputy Rosenstein to appoint a special prosecutor for the federal probe into the Trump campaign’s ties with Russian officials — warning that failing to do so will lead the public to “rightly suspect” that Comey’s surprise firing “was part of a cover-up.” (Washington Post / New York Times / NBC News / CNN / Politico)

Trump is preparing a certified letter attesting he has no ties to Russia. Senator Lindsey Graham said he wants to explore possible ties between Trump's businesses and Russia. US intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia interfered in the election in attempt to help Trump. (Bloomberg)

Trump pointed the finger at Obama for failing to vet Flynn. At the time Flynn was fired, he had an interim clearance in order to allow him to do his job while he waited for his CIA clearance. The concerns about Flynn came after US intelligence realized he was discussing sanctions with the Russians and then misleading US officials about the nature of his conversations. He didn't disclose his payment from RT to government officials until after he was fired by Trump. (Washington Post)

Sean Spicer downplayed Sally Yates’ warnings about former Michael Flynn, calling her little more than a Democratic appointee with an agenda against Trump. Yates testified yesterday that the Justice Department believed Flynn had been “compromised” and was susceptible to blackmail after misleading Mike Pence about his discussions with the Russian ambassador to the US. (Politico)

Trump Photoshopped a tweet denying collusion with Russia into his Twitter header. During Senate testimony yesterday, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said he was not aware of any evidence that proves there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Trump has since changed his Twitter header to a picture without the Photoshopped tweet. (New York Magazine / The Guardian)

Obama warned then-President-elect Trump in November against hiring Michael Flynn as his national security adviser. Obama, who had fired Flynn as the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told Trump that he would have profound concerns about Flynn becoming a top national security aide. Trump hired Flynn anyway, only to fire him 24 days later when news broke that Flynn had lied to Mike Pence about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the United States, amid an ongoing investigation into connections between the Russian government and the Trump campaign. The warning, which has not been previously reported, came less than 48 hours after the November election when the two sat down for a 90-minute conversation in the Oval Office. (CNN / New York Times / NBC News)

Sally Yates said she warned the White House that Flynn could be "blackmailed" by Russia, and gave the White House a warning "so that they could take action." The former acting attorney general's testimony raises questions about how Trump responded to her concerns about Flynn, who wasn't fired until two weeks later. Former director of national intelligence James Clapper also testified, saying Russia launched “cyber operations” against the Democratic and Republican parties during the 2016 presidential campaign. He said Putin sought to “advantage” Trump’s campaign and confirmed that British intelligence officials shared “very sensitive” information about Russian connections to Trump’s campaign. (Washington Post / New York Times / NBC News)

Flynn never told the Defense Intelligence Agency that Russians paid him. Flynn was paid nearly $34,000 by a Russian state media outlet when the DIA renewed his security clearance in April 2016. (NBC News)

The Senate asks Trump associates for records of communication with Russians in an effort to accelerate its broad investigation into Russian meddling in the presidential election. Roger Stone, Carter Page, Paul Manafort, and Michael T. Flynn were all sent requests. (New York Times)

Trump called out Susan Rice for refusing to testify before a Senate committee investigating both Russian meddling in the 2016 election and allegations of Obama-era spying on Team Trump. Rice’s lawyer said she was declining to appear because the ranking Democratic member on the subcommittee did not agree Rice should testify, thereby making the request “a significant departure from the bipartisan invitations extended to other witnesses.” (Fox News)

James Comey said he’s "mildly nauseous" at the suggestions he swayed the election. The FBI director defended his "painful" decision on the Clinton email probe during testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee today. "This was terrible," Comey said. "But honestly, it wouldn't change the decision," because failing to inform Congress would have required an “act of concealment" which would have been "catastrophic." Comey added that Russia is actively involved in trying to influence US politics, emboldened after the outcome of last year's election, because "this works." (New York Times / Politico / Associated Press / CNN / CBS News)

Susan Rice declined to testify before the Senate subcommittee on Russian hacking. Republicans have raised concerns that Rice may have acted improperly, but GOP and Democratic lawmakers so far have found no evidence of wrongdoing. (CNN / Politico)

Hillary Clinton – describing herself as "part of the resistance" – criticized Trump’s conduct in office, his foreign policy, and for posting on Twitter. She also said that Trump “should worry less about the election and my winning the popular vote” than about urgent matters of policy confronting the country. While Clinton said she took “absolute personal responsibility” for her defeat, she said she believed she would have won if not for Russian meddling and Comey's surprise announcement. (New York Times)

Sally Yates is expected to contradict the administration's version of events surrounding Michael Flynn. The former acting attorney general is prepared to testify before a Senate panel next week that she gave a forceful warning to the White House that Flynn's was lying when he denied in public and private that he had discussed US sanctions on Russia in conversations with a Russian Ambassador, which made him potentially vulnerable to being compromised by Russia. (CNN)

Putin said allegations that Russia had meddled in the US election were based on rumors and that Moscow did not want foreign powers to interfere in Russian politics. He blamed the allegations on the result of domestic US political battles. (Reuters)

The Senate confirms the deputy attorney general who will now be in charge of the Russia probe. Rod Rosenstein takes over the high-profile inquiry and will make the decision on whether to appoint an outside prosecutor. (NBC News)

poll/ 56% think Russia tried to influence the election, and 39% think the Trump campaign intentionally tried to assist such an effort. (ABC News)

The House oversight panel says Flynn did not comply with the law. Trump's former national security adviser did not properly disclosed payments from Russia on his security clearance application. Flynn received $45,000 for a speech he gave to RT-TV in Russia. (CNN)

Flynn’s Turkish lobbying now linked to Russia. A Turkish man that gave Flynn a $600,000 lobbying deal just before Trump picked him to be national security adviser had business ties to Russia. (Politico)

The Senate probe into Trump's connection to Russia has no full-time staff. Seven part-time staffers are working on the inquiry, none with significant investigative experience, and no interviews with key individuals have been conducted. (Daily Beast)

Defense Secretary Mattis is in Afghanistan to discuss war needs and how best to confront Russia for providing machine guns and other medium-weight weapons to the Taliban. (ABC News)

Russian bombers fly near Alaska for the 4th time in 4 days. While the Russian aircraft did not enter sovereign airspace, American and Canadian fighter jets intercepted the two military aircraft flying around the north coast of Alaska and Canada. (ABC News)

Russian operatives tried to use Trump advisers last summer to infiltrate the Trump campaign. FBI investigators have found signs of possible collusion between the campaign and Russian officials, but there is not enough evidence to show that crimes were committed. (CNN)

The Treasury denied Exxon's request for a waiver from Russian sanctions. Exxon won’t be allowed to bypass US sanctions against Russia in order to resume drilling for oil. (Bloomberg)

The House Intelligence Committee asked former acting Attorney General Sally Yates to testify publicly in the panel’s probe into Russian interference in the US election. The committee has also asked FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Mike Rogers to return before the committee to testify in a closed setting. (The Hill)

Carter Page's trip to Russia last July became the catalyst for an FBI investigation into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign. In 2013, a Russian spy was trying to recruit Trump's former foreign policy adviser, and his 2016 trip further stirs the agency's interest in the businessman. It is unclear what about Page’s visit drew the FBI's interest: meetings, intercepted communications, or something else. (New York Times)

A Russian think tank controlled by Putin developed a plan to swing the 2016 US presidential election. Two confidential documents provide the framework and rationale for what intelligence agencies have concluded was an intensive effort to undermine voters’ faith in the American electoral system. (Reuters)

Trump blows his own deadline for developing an anti-hacking plan within 90 days of taking office. Yesterday was the 90-day mark. There is no team, there is no plan, and there is no clear answer from the White House on who would even be working on what. Trump has repeatedly promised to get to the bottom of Russian election hacking. (Politico)

Exxon has asked the Treasury for exemption from US sanctions on Russia in a bid to resume its joint venture with oil giant PAO Rosneft. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is Exxon’s former CEO. In 2012, Tillerson negotiated a deal for Exxon to explore Russia's arctic waters. 2014 sanctions sidelined the deal. (Wall Street Journal)

China and Russia have dispatched spy vessels to shadow Trump’s "armada" as it approaches North Korean waters. The two navies are hoping to track the movement of US ships in an effort to prioritize stability by “strengthening warning and surveillance activities in the waters and airspace around the area. (The Telegraph)

Russian TV says Trump is more dangerous than Kim Jong-Un. The Kremlin’s top TV mouthpiece said “Trump is more impulsive and unpredictable than Kim Jong Un." (Bloomberg)

Trump's strategy on North Korea is to apply "maximum pressure and engagement." The US is hopeful China and Russia will agree to tighter UN sanctions on North Korea if it conducts another nuclear test. The two countries are critical to pressuring North Korea because they both hold veto power on the UN Security Council. (Associated Press)

Russia said there is growing evidence that the Syrian chemical attack was staged. Russia says Syrian forces struck a building where terrorists kept the internationally banned chemical. The US says it has images proving the bomb left a crater in a road rather than hitting a building. (Bloomberg)

British spies spotted the link between Trump’s campaign team and Russian intelligence operatives in late 2015. The GCHQ alerted their counterparts in Washington of suspicious “interactions” between figures connected to Trump and Russian agents. As part of routine surveillance of Russian intelligence assets, agencies began to see a pattern of connections emerge. (The Guardian)

On the same day that Paul Manafort left Trump’s campaign he borrowed $13 million from Trump-connected businesses. Manafort’s ties to Ukraine and Russia have come under scrutiny as federal officials investigate Russian meddling in the American presidential election. (New York Times)

Putin meets with Tillerson in Moscow. Relations between the US and Russia have grown so tense that it was unclear whether Putin would meet with the Secretary of State. Tillerson's job is to persuade Moscow to abandon its support for Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad. (New York Times)

$1.2 million in payments from a pro-Russian political party have been linked to Paul Manafort's firm in the US. A handwritten ledger surfaced in Ukraine last August with dollar amounts and dates listed next to the name of Manafort, who was then Donald Trump's campaign chairman. Manafort originally said the transactions in the ledger were fabricated. Now, he says the transactions corroborated are legal. A Ukrainian lawmaker said $750,000 received by Manafort was part of a money-laundering effort. (Associated Press)

The White House accused Russia of engaging in a cover-up of the chemical weapons attack in Syria. US intelligence confirmed that the Syrians used sarin gas on their own people. In a declassified four-page report, the White House asserted that the Syrian and Russian governments sought to confuse the world community about the assault through disinformation and “false narratives.” (New York Times)

Tillerson warned Russia that Assad’s reign is “coming to an end" and that Russia is becoming irrelevant in the Middle East by supporting him. Putin insisted that the chemical attack had stemmed from anti-Assad rebel units and are "worth investigating thoroughly." Putin likened the accusations to the flawed intelligence that the Bush administration used to justify the invasion of Iraq. (New York Times)

Tillerson tells Moscow to pick Assad or the US. Putin immediately showed he wouldn't back down, saying Russia knew about planned "provocations" to blame Syria's government for using chemical weapons and that the U.N. should investigate the attack. (Associated Press)

The Trump administration demanded that Russia stop supporting the Syrian government with military aid and diplomatic cover. Rex Tillerson is set to meet in Moscow this week and says Russia bears partial responsibility for the chemical attack on villagers. The Kremlin said Putin has no plans to meet with the secretary of state. (Washington Post)

Tillerson is taking a hard line against Russia on the eve of his first diplomatic trip to Moscow. He called the country “incompetent” for allowing Syria to hold on to chemical weapons and accused Russia of trying to influence elections in Europe using the same methods it employed in the US. (New York Times)

Spanish police arrested a Russian programmer for alleged involvement in "hacking" the US election. Pyotr Levashov was arrested in Barcelona and was the subject of an extradition request by the US. (BBC)

Schiff says Russia is absolutely "complicit" in the Syrian chemical attack. He added "Russian intelligence may not be as good as ours, but it's good enough to know the Syrians had chemical weapons, were using chemical weapons." (ABC News)

Russia deploys warship to Mediterranean after US missile strikes. The missile-armed frigate is headed toward the Syrian port of Tartus on a routine voyage. The USS Porter and the USS Ross are stationed in the eastern Mediterranean sea. (The Hill)

Trump fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at Syria in response to a chemical weapons attack that killed more than 100 people. All but one of the missiles hit their intended target – a military airfield in Homs. Syria claimed at least six people were killed. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Russia failed to carry out a 2013 agreement to secure Syrian chemical weapons, adding that Moscow was either complicit or incompetent in its ability to uphold that deal. (NBC News)

The US is "prepared to do more" in Syria, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley warned. Haley said the Russian government "bears considerable responsibility" for Assad's use of chemical weapons. (CNN)

Russia condemns missile strike and suspends air operation cooperation with the US. The accord was meant to prevent accidental encounters between the two militaries. Russia said it would bolster Syria’s air defense systems. Syria called the strikes “a disgraceful act.” (New York Times)

The US warned the Russians ahead of Syria missile strikes. In a statement: "Russian forces were notified in advance of the strike using the established deconfliction line. US military planners took precautions to minimize risk to Russian or Syrian personnel located at the airfield." (CNBC)

The CIA had information last summer indicating that Russia was working to help elect Trump. The briefing revealed a split between the CIA and FBI, where officials believed that Russia’s cyberattacks were aimed only at disrupting America’s political system – not at getting Trump elected. (New York Times)

The House Intelligence Committee wants Susan Rice to testify in the probe of alleged Russian election interference. The White House and the House panel’s chairman have accused the Obama administration of improperly using surveillance information, including “unmasking” the redacted names of Trump’s transition team members for political gain. (Wall Street Journal)

Trump urged investigators to scrutinize alleged spying on his transition team. Trump's administration is concerned about the Obama administration’s role in unmasking identities in intelligence reports. Trump is facing two congressional investigations into Russia’s alleged meddling in the election. The FBI is also conducting its own investigation. (Wall Street Journal)

Blackwater founder Erik Prince and a Russian close to Putin established a back channel line of communication between Moscow and President-elect Trump. The meeting was brokered by the United Arab Emirates nine days before Trump's inauguration to explore whether Russia could be persuaded to curtail its relationship with Iran, which would likely require major sanction concessions. Prince had no formal role with the Trump campaign or transition team, but he was seen in the Trump transition offices in New York in December. His sister Betsy DeVos serves as education secretary in the Trump administration. (Washington Post)

Michael Flynn initially failed to disclose payments from Russian propaganda network. The former National Security Advisor’s financial disclosure forms made no mention of a $45,000 payment from a Russian state-run media network. (The Daily Beast)

FBI is probing whether Trump aides helped Russian intelligence carry out cyberattacks on the Democratic National Committee and other political targets in early 2016. The FBI is going back further than originally reported to determine the extent of possible coordination. (CBS News)

Obama administration officials made a list of Russian probe documents to keep them safe. The former administration was so concerned about what would happen to key classified documents after Trump took office that they created a list of document serial numbers to give to senior members of the Senate Intelligence Committee. (NBC News)

Mark Cuban doesn't think Trump could have pulled off Russia collusion. Cuban argued that Trump "isn't detail oriented, organized or big picture enough" to pull off any such "conspiracy." (The Hill)

Russian government posts April Fools' Day prank offering "election interference." The Russian Foreign Ministry posted on an audio message of an automated telephone switchboard to arrange a call from a Russian diplomat to “to use the services of Russian hackers,” and “to request election interference.” (CBS News)

Trump tweets at NBC to stop covering the "phony" story about Russian interference in the election. It's not clear what set Trump off, but he wants NBC News to devote more attention to the unproven claim that Obama spied on him. (The Hill)

Putin called Russia election meddling claims "fictional, illusory, provocations and lies." When asked if Russia interfered in the election, Putin responded: "Read my lips: No." He also downplayed the meeting between Kushner and Russian banker and says US-Russian relations have reached the "point of absurdity." (CNN)

FBI Director James Comey attempted to reveal Russian tampering months before the election. Obama administration officials blocked him. Comey had pitched the idea of writing an op-ed about Putin's effort to influence the election. It would not have mentioned whether the FBI was investigating Trump’s campaign workers or others close to him. (Newsweek)

The Senate Intelligence Committee has asked to question 20 people in its investigation into Russian interference in the election. The bipartisan composure contrasts the House Intelligence Committee, where Representative Devin Nunes ties to the Trump White House have raised doubts about his ability to conduct an impartial investigation. (New York Times)

Democrats call for Nunes to recuse himself in Russia probe. Pelosi and Schiff both say Nunes is too close to the White House to lead a thorough investigation into Russia. His behavior has discredited and tarnished the House Intelligence Committee, making it difficult for him to remain credible. The committee has scrapped all meetings this week amid the turmoil. (CNN)

Trump administration tried to block Sally Yates from testifying to Congress on Russia. The Justice Department notified Yates earlier this month that the administration considers a great deal of her possible testimony to be barred from discussion in a congressional hearing because the topics are covered by the presidential communication privilege. (Washington Post)

Trump repeatedly turned to wealthy Russians and oligarchs allegedly connected to organized crime. Trump and his companies have been linked to at least 10 wealthy former Soviet businessmen with alleged ties to criminal organizations or money laundering. (USA Today)

Trump tweets: "Russia story is a hoax." In a 37-minute, four-tweet Twitter tirade, Trump attacks Bill and Hillary Clinton, the "Podesta Russian Company," the Freedom Caucus, Democrats, and Obamacare. (Politico)

Paul Manafort has engaged in a series of real estate deals in New York City over the past 11 years that fit a pattern used in money laundering. The former Trump campaign manager is also facing multiple investigations for his political and financial ties to Russia. (WYNC)

Kushner to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee as part of their inquiry into ties between Trump and Russia. The Committee wants to question Kushner about previously undisclosed meetings he arranged with the Russian ambassador Sergey I. Kislyak. The Senate's decision to question Kushner would make him the closest person to Trump to be called upon in any of the investigations, and the only one currently serving in the White House. (New York Times)

Russians take to the streets in nationwide anti-government protest. The Kremlin dismissed the protests as "provocation" by anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny. Thousands of Russians turned out to protest corruption under Putin. More than 1,000 people taken into custody by police. (NPR)

Schiff says Nunes canceled the Russia hearing to spare the president a bad news cycle. Nunes said the hearing would be postponed to allow FBI director James Comey and NSA director Mike Rogers to address the committee in a closed session. (New York Magazine)

Russia's state news service applies for a White House press pass. The state-owned news website Sputnik is seeking membership in the White House Foreign Press Group in order to become a part of pool rotations. Sputnik has been described as the "BuzzFeed of propaganda." (Politico)

poll/ 66% of Americans want an independent commission to investigate Trump-Russia ties. 65% of respondents think alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election is either “very important” or “somewhat important,” and 63% said they were “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” about Trump’s relationship with Russia. (Politico)

Schiff: New evidence shows possible Trump-Russia collusion, suggesting "it's the kind of evidence" that a grand jury investigation would want to consider. (CNN)

Nunes cancels Tuesday's public hearing with the former director of National Intelligence, CIA director, and attorney general. The former members of the Obama administration were scheduled to testify on Russia's interference in the 2016 election. Schiff suggested the move was to avoid more bad publicity for the White House. (Politico)

Trump associates may have coordinated with Russians to release of information damaging the Clinton campaign. One official said the information suggests the "people connected to the campaign were in contact and it appeared they were giving the thumbs up to release information when it was ready." (CNN)

Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign chairman, secretly worked for a Russian billionaire to advance the interests of Putin a decade ago. He proposed a political strategy to undermine anti-Russian opposition across the former Soviet republics, contradicting assertions by the Trump administration and Manafort himself that he never worked for Russian interests. (Associated Press)

Schumer calls for delaying Gorsuch vote because of the Trump-Russia probe. While his demand is unlikely to gain traction with Senate GOP leaders, the move illustrates a strategy of using the stain of an FBI probe to undercut the rest of Trump’s agenda. (Politico)

Members of the Trump transition team were under inadvertent surveillance following the election. House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes said the surveillance appears to have been legal, incidental collection and that it does not appear to have been related to concerns over collusion with Russia. (Politico)

Trump's adviser Roger Stone repeatedly claimed to know of forthcoming WikiLeaks dumps as well as having a backchannel line to founder Julian Assange. Stone's comments about WikiLeaks have come under scrutiny as the FBI and congressional committees investigate the Trump-Russia connection. (CNN)

The FBI is investigating whether members of Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election. Comey’s testimony on Monday was the first public acknowledgment of the case. (New York Times)

Tillerson prioritizes Moscow and China over NATO. Tillerson is skipping what would have been his first meeting with the 28 NATO allies so that he can attend Trump's visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort. The move could be interpreted as another snub to the US' traditional allies in favor of Russia. (CNN)

Comey confirms FBI probe into Trump-Russia collusion. The director of the FBI says the probe is part of a larger investigation into whether Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. election, but sees “no information” to support wiretapping claim. (Politico)

Trump slams Comey hearing as "fake news" four hours before Comey confirmed the existence of a probe on "the Russian story." Trump preemptively tried to swat down lingering allegations that his campaign engaged in improper activities with the Russian government during the 2016 election. (Salon)

The head of the House Intelligence Committee said there is no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Rep. Devin Nunes wants to focus the committee on the alleged espionage and leaks of classified information, such as releasing information about Michael Flynn speaking to the Russian ambassador. (NPR)

Schiff: "Circumstantial evidence of collusion" exists between the Trump campaign and Russia despite denials from top intelligence officials that Russian operatives tried to interfere with the 2016 election. Schiff defended the House Intelligence Committee continuing to look into the matter. (NBC News)

Five things to watch at Monday's House Intelligence Committee’s Russia hearing. Both the FBI director and the director of the NSA will speak about alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 elections, including potential connections between Trump’s inner circle and the Kremlin. (Washington Post)

Russian elites invested nearly $100 million in Trump buildings. At least 63 people with Russian passports or addresses have bought $98.4 million worth of property in seven Trump-branded luxury towers in southern Florida. (Reuters)

Moscow paid $45,000 for Flynn’s 2015 talk at RT's 10th anniversary party. RT is the Russian state-owned television network described by U.S. intelligence officials as “the Kremlin’s principal international propaganda outlet." (Yahoo News)

Comey will testify on Russia investigation next week at a public House Intelligence Committee hearing. Separately, Comey will brief the two top senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee today. (Politico)

Justice Department charges Russian spies and criminal hackers in Yahoo intrusion. The indictments mark the first criminal cyber charges ever brought against Russian government officials. (Washington Post)

House investigators on a Trump-Russia "collision course" as the top Republican on the intelligence committee was also on Trump's transition team. The lead Democrat is a fierce Trump critic. (Politico)

Democrats may abandon the Russia inquiry if it is not "legitimate." The Republican-controlled panel may offer their best chance for scrutinizing links between people close to President Trump and Russian officials, but some House Intelligence Committee Democrats are warning that they may pull their support for the inquiry if it becomes mired in party-line politics. (New York Times)

John Huntsman reported to be named next U.S. ambassador to Russia. The former Republican governor served as ambassador to China under Obama. His appointment comes at a time when the complex relationship between the two countries has been particullary strained in light of recent developments surrounding the Trump administration. (New York Times)

FBI investigation continues into "odd" computer link between Russian bank and Trump Organization. Questions about the possible connection were widely dismissed four months ago. But the FBI's investigation remains open and is in the hands of the FBI's counterintelligence team – the same one looking into Russia's suspected interference in the 2016 election. (CNN)

Russian ambassador denied meeting with Trump or any campaign officials in October speech. But Jeff Sessions met with Kislyak last September in Sessions's DC office when he was still a US Senator and top Trump adviser. Sessions also interacted with Kislyak in Cleveland at a Heritage Foundation event held during the RNC in July. (CNN)

ACLU files ethics complaint against Sessions over communications with Russian ambassador based on his testimony to a Senate committee that he had no communications with the Russian government. (Washington Post)

The White House says Trump isn’t the target of any investigation despite Trump's unsubstantiated claim that Obama ordered the wiretapping of Trump Tower. Either the president’s assertions that Obama wiretapped him are baseless, or he may have implicated himself in a government investigation of contacts between his presidential campaign and Russia. (New York Times)

Jeff Sessions likely met with the Russian Ambassador a third time. The attorney general initially denied any contact with the Russians, then later admitted to just two meetings. (Huffington Post)

Trump met with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the campaign. The encounter with the Russian Ambassador resurfaced last week after revelations that at least five members of Trump’s campaign team - including Jeff Sessions - had contact with Kislyak before Trump took office. The meeting is at odds with a spokeswoman's claim that Trump had "zero" involvement with Russian officials during the campaign. (Bloomberg)

FBI’s Comey says "you're stuck with me" for another six years and intends to finish his full 10-year term as director. Comey signaled he has no plans to resign despite once again being at the center of a political storm – this time over probes into Russian hacking of the 2016 election and his request that Justice Department officials reject Trump’s claims that his predecessor “tapped” his phones. (Bloomberg)

Comey to testify in the House Intelligence Committee probe on Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential campaign. The hearing will likely be the first in-depth public inquiry into allegations of connections between Trump’s presidential campaign and the Russian government, as well as Russia’s efforts to influence the U.S. election. (Bloomberg)

poll/ 56% of registered voters support appointing a special prosecutor to investigate alleged ties between Trump’s campaign staff and the Russian government. (Politico)

Russian hackers are targeting U.S. liberals in a new wave of attacks, scouring the organizations’ emails for embarrassing details and attempting to extract hush money. (Bloomberg)

Russia's take on Trump: Glee gives way to frustration. Russian officials bemoan "witch hunt" and "hysteria" in Washington. (CNN)

poll/ Most back special prosecutor for Russia investigation. 65% of Americans would rather see a special prosecutor handle the investigation, while 32% think Congress is capable of handling it. (CNN)

Trump wants congressional probe of claims that Obama had him wiretapped during last year's election, but won't comment further. Trump is "requesting that as part of their investigation into Russian activity, the congressional intelligence committees exercise their oversight authority to determine whether executive branch investigative powers were abused in 2016," Spicer said. (USA Today)

Trump called “reports” about the wiretapping “very troubling” and said Congress should examine them as part of its inquiry into Russia’s meddling in the election. (New York Times)

Senator: Intel panel to look at alleged wiretap. Trump's unsubstantiated allegations that his predecessor ordered wiretaps of Trump Tower will become part of the committee's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. (ABC News)

Russia is the slow burn of the Trump administration, and it’s not going away. Not much is known about the controversy, but that there were contacts is not in dispute. The Session controversy shows the administration doesn't know what it doesn't know, leaving itself vulnerable to calls for more investigations. (Washington Post)

Trump went "ballistic" on his senior staff over the latest news reports connecting Russia with the new administration and Jeff Sessions abrupt decision to recuse himself. Trump felt Sessions' recusal was unnecessary. (ABC News)

Sessions will submit amended testimony and address Senators’ questions over his contacts with Russia's ambassador last year. The offer came after all nine Democratic senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee in a letter asked the committee chairman to bring Sessions back for a follow-up hearing to explain his past testimony and recent decision to recuse himself from any investigation involving the Trump campaign. (NBC News)

A growing list of contacts between Trump associates and Russia is drawing increased scrutiny. Part of the problem underlying the disputed contact is Trump’s pugnacious style that leaves little room for nuance. At a news conference last month, he said that he had “nothing to do with Russia,” and that “to the best of my knowledge, no person that I deal with does.” But in fact, reporting by multiple news organizations turned up multiple contacts between Trump associates and Russians who serve in or are close to Putin. (New York Times)

Moscow blames anti-Russian hysteria in the U.S. for Sessions’s plight, saying "fake news" and a "witch hunt" are intended to head off better relations. (Washington Post)

Trump cries "total witch hunt" as questions about Russia pile up as to why so many people had so many meetings with Russians that they all forgot about. (NBC News)

Photo contradicts Pelosi's statement about not meeting Russian ambassador Kislyak. The Democratic House leader sat with the Russian ambassador in 2010. (Politico)

Sessions used campaign funds for RNC trip, where he met Russian ambassador for "official" reasons. Records show the attorney general used campaign account for travel expenses to Cleveland, where he met the Russian envoy and spoke about Trump’s campaign at the event. (Wall Street Journal)

Lawyers say Sessions could face legal ordeal over testimony if a special counsel takes over Trump-Russia probe even if he didn't commit perjury. "It is, at best, very misleading testimony," said Richard Painter, formerly the top ethics lawyer in President George W. Bush's White House. "I don't go so far as to say that it's perjury, but there is a lesser charge of failing to provide accurate information to Congress." (Politico)

Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia inquiry and from any future investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. His conversations with the ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, came amid suspected Russian hacking directed at Clinton’s campaign. (New York Times)

Republicans continue to stick with Trump despite news that Sessions had met with the Russian ambassador, contradicting testimony he had given under oath. Republicans are resisting calls for a special prosecutor or select congressional committee to review the matter. (Washington Post)

The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee accused FBI Director James Comey of withholding information on Russia probe. "In order for us to do our investigation in a thorough and credible way, we're going to need the FBI to fully cooperate… to fully tell us the length and breadth of any counterintelligence investigations they are conducting," Rep. Adam Schiff told reporters after emerging from a classified meeting with Comey. "At this point the director was not willing to do that." Schiff raised the prospect of subpoenaing the agency. (Politico)

Kushner and Flynn met with Russian envoy in December to “establish a line of communication." The extent and frequency of their contacts remains unclear, and the disclosure of the meeting at Trump Tower adds to the emerging picture of how the relationship between Trump’s incoming team and Moscow was evolving to include some of the president-elect’s most trusted advisers. (New York Times)

Sessions met with Russians twice last year, but didn't disclose the encounters during his confirmation hearing when asked about possible contacts between members of Trump’s campaign and representatives of Moscow. Sessions oversees the Justice Department and the FBI, which have been leading investigations into Russian meddling and any links to Trump’s associates. He has so far resisted calls to recuse himself. (Washington Post)

House leaders are split on whether a Russian inquiry is needed. The top Republican and Democrat on the Intelligence Committee gave sharply conflicting views of their investigation into Russian efforts to influence the election, raising questions about whether they will be able to work together. Republican Devin Nunes said that there was no evidence anyone from the Trump campaign had communicated with the government in Moscow. Democrat Adam Schiff said that it was too early to rule out the ties, because the panel had not yet been provided with any evidence collected by intelligence and law enforcement agencies. (New York Times)

Sean Spicer personally arranged CIA and GOP intelligence push-back in attempts to discredit a New York Times article about alleged contacts between members of Trump’s campaign team and Russian intelligence operatives.

The Washington Post reported on the push back Friday with the article, "Trump administration sought to enlist intelligence officials, key lawmakers to counter Russia stories." (Axios)

Russia looks to exploit White House "turbulence" as it's becoming increasingly convinced that Trump will not fundamentally change relations with Russia. The Kremlin is instead seeking to bolster its global influence by exploiting what it considers weakness in Washington. Russia has continued to test the United States on the military front, with fighter jets flying close to an American warship in the Black Sea this month and a Russian naval vessel steaming conspicuously in the Atlantic off the coast of Delaware. (New York Times)

Rep. Darrell Issa backtracked on his call for a special prosecutor to look into Russian involvement in the 2016 Presidential election. “I think it’s very important to realize there’s been no allegation by any part of this administration or by anyone who’s been to the hearings about any crimes," Issa said. “So one of the challenges we have is a special prosecutor exists when you have an individual under suspicion. Currently we don’t have that.” Wat? (CBS News)

White House: Too early to say whether a special prosecutor should look into apparent election meddling by Russia. The assessment comes as a growing number of Democrats are calling for Jeff Sessions, who was a key figure in Trump’s campaign, to step aside as the FBI and the Justice Department probe what happened. (Washington Post)

poll/ Majority of Americans believe that Congress should investigate whether Trump's presidential campaign had contact with the Russian government in 2016. 53% of the American public wants Congress to look into the alleged communications, while 25% disagree and 21% say they don't have an opinion. (NBC News)

Trump administration sought to enlist intelligence officials and key lawmakers to counter news stories about ties to Russia. Acting at the behest of the White House, officials made calls to news organizations in an attempt to challenge stories about alleged contact between members of Trump’s campaign team and Russian intelligence operatives. The calls were orchestrated by the White House after unsuccessful attempts by the administration to get senior FBI officials to speak with news organizations and dispute the accuracy of stories on the alleged contacts with Russia. (Washington Post)

The FBI rejected a White House request to publicly knock down media reports about communications between Trump's associates and Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign. Comey rejected the request for the FBI to comment on the stories, because the alleged communications between Trump associates and Russians known to US intelligence are the subject of an ongoing investigation. The White House did issue its own denial, with Priebus calling The New York Times story "complete garbage." (CNN)

Chaffetz is investigating a months-old tweet from his state's Bryce Canyon National Park instead of Trump. The House Oversight Committee Chairman's probe comes amid criticism that Chaffetz is not aggressively investigating the Trump administration for potential conflicts of interest or collusion with Russia. Chaffetz recently launched a probe into Trump’s handling of classified intelligence information while on an open patio at his private Mar-a-Lago resort. (The Hill)

GOP senator wants Flynn to testify on Russia ties before the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. (Politico)

Trump has insisted that he had no contact with Russia during the campaign. Russia says otherwise. Russian officials have at least twice acknowledged contact with Trump aides before the election. That contact would have taken place during the period when it’s believed that the Russian government was trying to disrupt the election. (New York Times)

Russia compiles psychological dossier on Trump for Putin. Its preliminary conclusions is that Trump is a risk-taker who can be naïve. (NBC News)

Pence "disappointed" Flynn misled him about the nature of his conversations with Russia. In his resignation letter, Flynn said he "inadvertently" gave "incomplete information" about multiple calls with the Russian ambassador. He previously said he did not speak with Russian officials about the pending sanctions. (ABC News)

Trump’s personal lawyer advanced a back-channel plan for the conflict between Ukraine and Russia. The sealed proposal was hand-delivered to Trump's office and outlines a way to lift sanctions against Russia. (New York Times)

Priebus denies any involvement between Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russian officials. Priebus said he’s spoken with high-level intelligence officials in Washington who have told him that no such involvement occurred. (Politico)

Senators want Russia-related materials preserved. The Senate Intelligence Committee is asking more than a dozen agencies, organizations and individuals to preserve communications related to the panel's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. The move comes amid inquiries into whether Trump's campaign officials were in contact with Russian officials and other Russians known to US intelligence during the 2016 race. (CNN)

Pence: US will hold Russia accountable and stands with NATO. Trump has repeatedly called NATO “obsolete,” but U.S. officials appear to be concentrating more on pushing allies to meet NATO defense spending commitments rather than focusing on Trump’s desire for a new relationship with the Kremlin, a major fear in Europe. Many European allies see Russia as a security threat following its 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. (Washington Post)

The F.B.I. is pursuing at least three separate probes relating to alleged Russian hacking of the U.S. presidential elections. The FBI's Pittsburgh office is trying to identify the people behind breaches of the Democratic National Committee's computer system. The bureau’s San Francisco office is trying to identify the people who posted John Podesta’s stolen emails. And, agents based in Washington are pursuing leads from informants, foreign communications intercepts, and financial transactions by Russian individuals and companies who are believed to have links to Trump associates. (Reuters)

More Democrats call on Sessions to withdraw from Russia probe. A letter sent to Sessions by 55 lawmakers asks him to withdraw based on his ties to Trump’s campaign and key figures who have been alleged to have ties to Russia. (Washington Post)

Trump has a four-person short list for his national security adviser after retired Harward turned down the job. Trump gave no indication on how soon a decision could be made, but he is expected to move quickly even as questions grow over contacts with Russia by the former security adviser, Michael Flynn. (Washington Post)

In FBI interview last month Flynn denied discussing sanctions with Russian ambassador. The Jan. 24 interview potentially puts Flynn in legal jeopardy, as lying to the FBI is a felony, but any decision to prosecute would ultimately lie with the Justice Department. (Washington Post)

The Kremlin ordered state media to cut way back on their fawning coverage of Trump, reflecting a growing concern among senior Russian officials that the new U.S. administration will be less friendly than first thought. In January, Trump received more mentions in the media than Putin, relegating the Russian leader to the No. 2 spot for the first time since he returned to the Kremlin in 2012 after four years as premier. (Bloomberg)

Trump campaign aides had repeated contact with Russian intelligence during the 2016 campaign according to four current and former American officials. Phone records and intercepted calls show that the communications happened around the same time evidence was discovered that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee. U.S. intelligence agencies sought to learn whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians on the hacking or other efforts to influence the election. They have seen no evidence of such cooperation, so far. (New York Times)

It’s bigger than Flynn. New Russia revelations widen Trump’s credibility gap. Trump’s long-term fixation on and admiration for Vladimir Putin as well as Flynn’s departure has lent new gravity and intensity to long-simmering questions about Trump and Russia. (Washington Post)

Senators from both parties pledge to deepen probe of Russia and the 2016 election. Mitch McConnell said an investigation is “highly likely,” and the top two members of the Senate Intelligence Committee announced that the committee’s ongoing probe must include an examination of any contacts between Trump campaign officials and the Russian government. (Washington Post)

Jeff Sessions resists pressure to remove himself from his role in investigating Trump’s aides and their relationship with Russia. Democrats and outside groups say Sessions lacks the independence to oversee criminal investigations that might lead back to the White House. Sessions and Flynn were both early, influential advisers in Trump’s presidential campaign. (New York Times)

Trump lashed out at the nation’s intelligence agencies again, accusing them on Twitter of illegally leaking information to the news media. The flurry on tweets come as new disclosures about his dealings with Russia during and after the presidential campaign surfaced. (New York Times)

Russia has secretly deployed a new cruise missile despite violation of the arms control treaty that helped seal the end of the Cold War. The move presents a major challenge for President Trump, who has vowed to improve relations with Putin and to pursue future arms accords. (New York Times)

Trump knew Flynn misled officials on Russia calls for "weeks" the White House says. The comment contrasts the impression Trump gave aboard Air Force One that he was not familiar with a report that revealed Flynn had not told the truth about the calls. White House counsel Don McGahn told Trump in a January briefing that Flynn had discussed U.S. sanctions with Russia. (Washington Post)

A member of the Senate Intelligence Committee calls for an exhaustive investigation into Trump-Russia connections following Flynn's resignation. "The national security adviser of all the people that work with and for the President has to be absolutely trustworthy and truthful and apparently he wasn't and he paid the price for that…" (CNN)

Russian lawmakers defend Trump’s ex-national security adviser. Russia's foreign affairs committees are calling Flynn's resignation a dark campaign of Russophobia and "thoughtcrime”. (Washington Post)

How leaks and investigative journalists led to Flynn's resignation. Journalists at The Washington Post, The New York Times and other outlets spoke with government officials who provided vital information about Flynn's contacts with Russia. (CNN)

Michael Flynn resigns as National Security Adviser after it was revealed that he had misled Pence and other top White House officials about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the United States. Flynn served in the job for less than a month. (New York Times)

Flynn on thin ice but still in at the White House after turbulent few days. Despite a turbulent 72 hours caused by the national security adviser's inability to deny that he spoke about sanctions against Russia with the Russian ambassador before Trump took office, Flynn has no plans to resign and no expectations that he will be fired. (CNN)

Flynn apologizes after admitting he may have discussed sanctions with Russia. The apology was directed most notably to Pence, who had emphatically denied to CBS News last month that Flynn had discussed "anything having to do with the United States' decision to expel diplomats or impose censure against Russia." (USA Today)

The Justice Department had warned White House that Flynn could be vulnerable to Russian blackmail. Current and former officials said that although they believed that Pence was misled about the contents of Flynn’s communications with the Russian ambassador, they couldn’t rule out that Flynn was acting with the knowledge of others in the transition. (Washington Post)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie criticized Trump's national security adviser Michael Flynn, saying he needs to clear up questions about whether he discussed sanctions in his pre-inauguration conversations with the Russian ambassador to the United States. (CNN)

US investigators corroborate some aspects of the Russia dossier compiled by a former British intelligence agent. None of the newly learned information relates to the salacious allegations in the dossier. The intercepts do confirm that some of the conversations described in the dossier took place between the same individuals on the same days and from the same locations as detailed in the dossier. (CNN)

Russia considers returning Snowden to U.S. to "curry favor" with Trump. Trump has called the NSA leaker a "spy" and a "traitor" who deserves to be executed. Russia considers turning over Snowden to be a "gift" to Trump. (ABC News)

National security adviser Flynn discussed sanctions with Russian ambassador, despite denials. Flynn’s communications with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak were interpreted by some senior U.S. officials as an inappropriate and potentially illegal signal to the Kremlin that it could expect a reprieve from sanctions that were being imposed by the Obama administration in late December to punish Russia for its alleged interference in the 2016 election. (Washington Post)

In call with Putin, Trump denounced Obama-era nuclear arms treaty that caps U.S. and Russian deployment of nuclear warheads. When Putin raised the possibility of extending the 2010 treaty, Trump paused to ask his aides in an aside what the treaty was. The phone call with Putin has added to concerns that Trump is not adequately prepared for discussions with foreign leaders. (Reuters)

Whatever happened to the Trump-Russia story? The biggest election-related scandal since Watergate occurred last year, and it has largely disappeared from the political-media landscape of Washington. (Mother Jones)

Kremlin says it wants apology from Fox News over Putin comments. Fox News host Bill O'Reilly described Putin as "a killer" in the interview with Trump as he tried to press the U.S. president to explain more fully why he respected his Russian counterpart. (Reuters)

McConnell rebukes Trump's attack on the federal judge who temporarily halted his travel ban. The Senate Republican leader also distanced himself from the president on Russia, voter fraud and the travel ban. (Politico)

BuzzFeed sued over unverified Trump dossier. McClatchy says XBT Holdings, a tech firm with Russian ties named in the document, is suing BuzzFeed, editor in chief Ben Smith and former British spy Christopher Steele over the January 10 publication of what the suit calls “libelous, unverified and untrue allegations.” (The Hill)

Shouting match over Russia erupts at House hearing over Russian interference in the presidential election. Th fight exposed bitter frustration amongst Democrats that Republicans have kept the issue locked in a single committee. (The Hill)