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Russia

J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press

Sen. Rob Portman is expressing doubts about a bill that would protect special counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading the investigation into Russian election interference and possible collusion by the Trump campaign.

Updated at 9:58 p.m. ET

President Trump believes Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller has gone too far in his probe of potential ties between Trump's campaign and Russian interference in the 2016 election, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Tuesday.

Her statement to reporters did little to tamp down speculation that Trump may seek to fire Mueller — an authority that Sanders says Trump enjoys.

Special counsel Robert Mueller notified President Trump's lawyers last month that the president is being investigated as part of the Russia probe, but a source familiar with the situation says they were told Trump was not a criminal target at that time.

Updated at 10:09 p.m. ET

Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he is not appointing — for now — a second special counsel to investigate allegations of wrongdoing by the FBI and Justice Department, telling Republican lawmakers that he has already asked a veteran prosecutor to look into the matter.

Republicans on Capitol Hill, including the chairmen of the Senate and House judiciary committees, have ramped up their push in recent weeks for a second special counsel to investigate what they say was misconduct by the FBI and Justice Department in 2016 and 2017.

The House intelligence committee has completed its "Choose Your Own Adventure" story about the Russia imbroglio. Republicans wrote a happy ending for President Trump. Democrats wrote a cliffhanger.

Even though members of the committee say they're taking separate ramps off this highway, however, the road goes ever on. Here are 4 more mileposts still to come in the remainder of the Russia imbroglio.

The man leading the Justice Department's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election has been keeping busy.

Special counsel Robert Mueller has been on the job for about nine months. But he has already charged 19 people with wrongdoing — and won guilty pleas from the president's former campaign vice chairman and his former national security adviser.

Scholars who focus on politically charged investigations that may lead into the White House have been taking note.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sounded an alarm this week: The Russians are already meddling in the 2018 midterm elections.

"The point is that if their intention is to interfere, they're going to find ways to do that," Tillerson told Fox News. "I think it's important we just continue to say to Russia, look, you think we don't see what you're doing. We do see it, and you need to stop."

Updated on Feb. 5 at 5:15 p.m. ET

The recently-released Republican memo alleging abuses of covert surveillance powers by the Justice Department and FBI to investigate a former member of President Trump's campaign team will not have "any impact on the Russia probe," said Republican Trey Gowdy, R-S.C.

Gowdy, a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, was speaking on CBS's Face the Nation on Sunday. He also said that even if the controversial Steele dossier didn't exist, there would still be a Russia investigation.

Updated 5:35 a.m. ET Friday:

President Trump ordered White House counsel Don McGahn to fire Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller last summer — but McGahn refused and threatened to quit himself if the president went ahead, according to an explosive report in The New York Times.

Trump, in brief remarks as he entered the conference hall at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, dismissed the story in what has become his characteristic fashion.

Updated at 4:27 p.m. ET

President Trump refused to say Wednesday whether he would grant an interview to special counsel Robert Mueller, who is probing Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible ties between the Trump campaign and the Russians who attacked that election.

"Certainly I'll see what happens," Trump said. "But when they have no collusion, and nobody's found any collusion at any level, it seems unlikely that you'd even have an interview."

The International Olympic Committee has suspended the Russian Olympic Committee "with immediate effect," essentially banning the country from the upcoming Winter Olympics over Russia's system of state-supported cheating by athletes using performance-enhancing drugs.

Russian athletes can compete in the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the IOC said Tuesday — but the athletes will have to pass strict scrutiny, and instead of wearing their nation's uniform, they will compete under the title "Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR)."

Updated 12/2, 11:47 a.m. ET

President Trump's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, pleaded guilty Friday to lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian ambassador during the transition, and he is cooperating with the special counsel's investigation into Moscow's interference in last year's election.

Flynn told investigators that he was instructed to engage with the Russians by senior members of the Trump transition team.

Senior White House adviser and son-in-law to the president Jared Kushner failed to hand over to Senate investigators emails concerning contacts with WikiLeaks and a "Russian backdoor overture," according to a letter sent by two senior lawmakers.

The letter, released Thursday by Sen. Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and its ranking Democrat, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, says Kushner failed to turn over "September 2016 email communications to Mr. Kushner concerning WikiLeaks" and other emails pertaining to a "Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite."

Updated at 10:30 a.m. ET

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump Jr. was in direct contact with WikiLeaks at the same time the muckraking website was publishing hacked emails from Democratic officials that proved damaging to the Clinton campaign, according to several major publications.

Following the reports, Trump Jr. acknowledged the contact in a tweet detailing one exchange with the radical transparency organization.

Updated at 3:40 p.m. ET

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

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

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