Donald Trump

The first charges have been filed in the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the U.S. election, and the court documents help make clearer the timeline of Russia-related events that took place during the presidential campaign.

The Trump administration is pushing back against a growing bipartisan push for Congress to pass a new measure authorizing the use of military force against ISIS, Al-Qaida, and other terror groups.

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

On this edition of "Political Rewind," in this era of Donald Trump, is the “right” losing its mind? The popular conservative commentator Charlie Sykes thinks so, and he’s written a book to make the case. We talk with Sykes about the book and about the breaking news that’s sending tremors across Washington: Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, has surrendered to the FBI. He and his top aide are the first two handed indictments in the Special Counsel’s Russia probe.

George Papadopoulos, who worked for President Trump's campaign as a foreign policy adviser, has pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents about meeting a professor with Russian ties who had promised to provide "dirt" on Trump's Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.

Updated at 4:20 p.m. ET

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

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

When Donald Trump announced he would be running for president, he didn't seem like the obvious candidate for evangelical voters, given his multiple divorces, use of crass language and one-time admission that he had never asked God for forgiveness.

Nonetheless, he did manage to coalesce 81 percent of white evangelical voters behind him in November.

The conservative news website The Washington Free Beacon says during the 2016 campaign it first hired the firm that later produced a dossier of unsubstantiated information about Donald Trump's Russia ties.

The political research firm, Fusion GPS, commissioned former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, who went on to produce what's been called the "Steele dossier."

ALEX SANZ / AP PHOTO

On this edition of "Political Rewind," how did voter data end up being erased from state computers even as a lawsuit challenging the integrity of Georgia elections was underway? It’s a story that could haunt top candidates in next year’s statewide elections. Also, President Trump speaks out about the opioid crisis. Did he make it clear he’s ready to commit the resources necessary to make an impact? It matters in Georgia, where the crisis looms large. Plus, Obamacare rates are out for 2018, and Georgians will pay more than people in many other states.

Panelists:

The work of President Trump's commission studying voter fraud and other voting problems has been stalled by the eight lawsuits filed against it, according to one commission member.

Indiana's Republican Secretary of State Connie Lawson says the suits, which seek release of all of the commission's correspondence, among other things, have had a "chilling" effect.

Some Democrats on the 11-member panel have complained in recent weeks that they're being kept in the dark about its activities and plans.

Updated at 2:50 p.m. ET

President Trump declared a public health emergency to deal with the opioid epidemic Thursday, freeing up some resources for treatment. More than 140 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"We are currently dealing with the worst drug crisis in American history," Trump said, adding, "it's just been so long in the making. Addressing it will require all of our effort."

"We can be the generation that ends the opioid epidemic," he said.

The deputy attorney general strode onto the stage last week in a seventh-floor conference room at the Justice Department to announce criminal charges against two Chinese men who used the Internet to sell deadly synthetic drugs.

"These cases reflect a new and disturbing facet of the opioid crisis in America," Rod Rosenstein, the second-in-command at Justice, told reporters who gathered for what was billed as a major development in the fentanyl epidemic that's afflicting the nation.

A long-simmering fight is back on this week over the role of the infamous Donald Trump dossier after a new report that confirmed that the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign helped fund it.

The battle over the unverified dossier is a crucial front in the broader political fight over the Trump White House, the public's perceptions of the president and his stunning election win.

Congress In Chaos?

Oct 25, 2017
Andrew Harnik / AP Photo

Today on "Political Rewind," is Congress in chaos? Arizona Senator Jeff Flake says he won’t run for re-election just hours after Senator Bob Corker unloads on President Donald Trump. Where does the dissension leave the GOP’s push for tax cuts and how serious is the fracture in the Republican Party?

Sen. Jeff Flake, the Arizona Republican who announced his retirement in a withering speech aimed at President Trump, tells NPR that he is "deeply saddened" to leave the Senate, but that lawmakers must take a stand now against the administration's behavior or "lose that chance."

Updated at 7 p.m. ET

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., announced in an impassioned speech on the Senate floor that he will not seek re-election in 2018, decrying the coarse tone of politics and "flagrant disregard for truth or decency" ushered in by the election of President Trump.

Updated at 10:24 a.m. ET

Marching down Pennsylvania Avenue to send a message to Congress is a classic move in presidential political theater, and Tuesday is President Trump's inaugural performance. Trump makes his first visit to Capitol Hill to meet with Senate Republicans at their weekly meeting and the message is clear: Pass a tax cut.

Alex Sanz / AP Photo

Today on "Political Rewind," former President Jimmy Carter wants to help try and end the crisis with North Korea. Will President Trump let him do it? Carter and Trump are different in many ways, but they also have a lot in common. We discuss. 

Last week in the Russia investigations: Reports are growing about Russian-linked interference beyond the Web and in real life, three senators pitch a bill to tackle digital active measures and Big Tech says it'll play ball in Capitol Hill's big show on Nov. 1.

Influence-mongering in real life

Accounts are piling up in which Russian influence-mongers evidently did more than interfere with Americans online last year — they also did so in person.

It has been a quarter of a century since reliably red Alabama elected a Democrat to the U.S. Senate. But Democrats see an opening in the upcoming special election to fill Attorney General Jeff Sessions' old seat because of the controversial record of Republican candidate Roy Moore, which includes twice being removed from public office.

In a week that saw two of President Trump's predecessors issue thinly veiled warnings about where the country is heading under Trump's leadership, Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain fired off what appeared to be a long-delayed riposte to the man who once mocked his war record.

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