Robert Mueller

Special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation has entered the West Wing.

Mueller's team is charged with looking into whether anyone on President Trump's campaign worked with the Russians who attacked the 2016 election, so it was inevitable that investigators would want to talk with aides now working in the White House.

Some, like top adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, communications director Hope Hicks and policy adviser Stephen Miller, were key players in the campaign as well.

The White House says it is playing ball with Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller, but some administration supporters in Congress want him out of a job.

A small number of House and Senate Republicans are at work building a storyline about Mueller that would oblige him to at least give up his role in the Russia imbroglio and, at most, become subject to investigation himself.

According to President Trump, some Republicans in Congress and conservative media outlets, the Russia scandal is heating up.

No, not that one.

It's an alternative Russia scandal. And the claims go like this:

As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton approved the 2010 sale of a mining company to Russia. This gave the Russians control of 20 percent of U.S. uranium and placed U.S. national security at risk. In return, the Clinton Foundation received $145 million in pledges and donations.

Last week in the Russia investigations: Mueller removes all doubt, the imbroglio apparently costs a man a government job and lots of talk — but no silver bullet — on digital interference.


Mueller time

How many more thunderbolts has Zeus in his quiver? Where might the next one strike? Who does the angry lightning-hurler have in his sights — and who will be spared?

Updated at 2:16 p.m. ET

The week started with "legal shock and awe," as Carrie Johnson, NPR's Justice correspondent described it on the PBS NewsHour.

It's hard to believe it was only Monday that indictments were handed down stemming from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the Trump campaign and Russia.

This week, Department of Justice special counsel Robert Mueller picked up the public pace of his team's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Indictments were unsealed, and a potentially important plea agreement revealed.

A federal judge on Thursday ordered President Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and his business associate Rick Gates to remain under home confinement and GPS monitoring for now.

U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson decided to keep in place the restrictions that were put on the two men at their initial court appearance on Monday. Jackson said the unsecured bonds set earlier this week — $10 million for Manafort and $5 million for Gates — may not be enough to ensure the two men remain in the court's jurisdiction. She set a bail hearing for Monday.

A former Trump campaign official has withdrawn from consideration for a job at the U.S. Department of Agriculture after being pulled into the imbroglio over Russia's interference efforts against the U.S. in the 2016 presidential race.

Sam Clovis said on Thursday that he would not go forward in trying to become the USDA's undersecretary for research, education and economics.

Evan Vucci / AP Photo

On this edition of "Political Rewind," the first indictments in the Russia collusion probe remain the chief pre-occupation in Washington, even as the president and the GOP try to shift focus to tax reform and a crucial Trump trip to Asia. Our panel will look at the latest developments in the Mueller probe and weigh in on emerging details in the tax plan. White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is under fire for his comments on the causes of the Civil War and the general who led the Confederate Army.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller unveiled a 12-count indictment against Paul Manafort that includes allegations of money laundering in the course of his work in Ukraine. Manafort has pleaded not guilty. In 2016, Manafort served as Donald Trump's campaign chairman.

In March, WNYC reported on three unusual real estate deals by Manafort in New York City .

Nearly a year after Election Day, Americans have the clearest picture yet about the extent of the influence campaign Russia ran against the United States in 2016.

The operation had a clandestine side and an overt side, and aspects that moved from one into the other. It involved a number of Russian government intelligence officers and cyber-operatives within Russia, as well as at least a few operatives working in the West.

And, according to at least one former top U.S. spymaster, it went better than its authors could have possibly imagined.

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

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

Updated at 1:40 p.m. ET

Before George Papadopoulos became the first legal casualty of Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia and the 2016 election, he was a 30-year-old energy lawyer best known in D.C. for getting name-dropped by Donald Trump and for reportedly embellishing his resume.

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.

Powerful Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta says he's stepping down from the firm he and his brother built – an unexpected, bipartisan shock wave from special counsel Robert Mueller III's indictment of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.

(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.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

For more on this, we go now to the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, California Democrat Adam Schiff. Congressman, thanks so much for being here.

ADAM SCHIFF: It's my pleasure.

Updated at 4:20 p.m. ET

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

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

Updated at 3:40 p.m. ET

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

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

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.

When Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced he was handing over the reins of the Justice Department's Russia investigation to a special counsel, he gave Robert Mueller the authority to look into "any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation."

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

Updated at 2:57 p.m. ET

The question remains "open" as to whether any Americans colluded with the Russian influencemongers who interfered with the 2016 presidential election, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee said Wednesday.

Last week in the Russia investigations: Washington gears up for the leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Twitter gets its turn in the barrel and states learn at last about the extent of last year's attack.

D.C. waits to hear from Burr and Warner

Before we take a look back at the past week in the Russia imbroglio, a look ahead: The chairman and vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee have scheduled a press conference for Wednesday.

Senate investigators met this week with the co-founder of the political research firm behind the explosive dossier of unsubstantiated and salacious material about President Trump's alleged ties with Russia.

Glenn Simpson, a former Wall Street Journal reporter who later helped found the private investigation firm Fusion GPS, sat down with Senate Judiciary Committee staff behind closed doors on Tuesday, congressional aides told NPR.

A lot of people are counting on special counsel Robert Mueller.

For weeks, there has been speculation that President Trump would try to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russia's involvement in the 2016 election.

To try to keep Mueller from being fired without cause by the president, two bipartisan bills have been introduced in the Senate.

Updated at 8:30 p.m. ET

Special counsel Robert Mueller is using a grand jury in Washington, D.C., in connection with his investigation into Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election and into possible collusion between Russia and top aides to the Trump campaign, a source with knowledge of the investigation confirms to NPR's Peter Overby. The source did not want to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Job growth seems to be strong in one of Washington's specialized professions: defense attorneys for the White House. Investigations by Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller and several congressional committees are driving the demand.

One question is this: Who is paying for all those lawyers?

Those who have recently lawyered up include President Trump, his son Donald Trump Jr., son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Vice President Pence.

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