Russia

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Today on “Political Rewind,” the Senate fumbles on health care, but President Trump tries to recover. Will a lunchtime meeting put a bill back in play? Our panel looks at the latest iteration of the attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare and what it means for those of us who rely on medical insurance. Our panel voted to draft Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson, already lauded for his bipartisanship by the New York Times, to lead the way forward.

Updated at 5:40 p.m. ET

President Trump said he would invite Russian President Vladimir Putin to the White House "at the right time" when asked by a reporter on Air Force One Wednesday night.

"I don't think this is the right time, but the answer is yes I would," he said, according to a pool report released on Thursday. "Look, it's very easy for me to say absolutely, I won't. That's the easy thing for me to do, but that's the stupid thing to do."

Updated at 12:36 p.m. ET, July 11

Donald Trump Jr. was informed ahead of a June 2016 meeting with a Kremlin-linked lawyer that material damaging to Hillary Clinton that he was offered was "part of a Russian government effort to aid his father's candidacy," the New York Times reported Monday evening.

Trump's 'Impenetrable' Cyber Unit That Never Was

Jul 10, 2017

Spare a thought for the poor U.S.-Russia Joint Impenetrable Cybersecurity Unit, which didn't even survive an entire news cycle this weekend.

President Trump pitched the joint cyber-team with Russia in a tweet on Sunday.

He went on to rule out the idea in a second tweet on Sunday evening.

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

To hear President Trump tell it, there's still a lot of uncertainty as to whether or not Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. elections.

Police used water cannons and pepper spray to try to push back protesters who threw bottles, bricks and stones on Thursday ahead of the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, according to The Associated Press.

Some demonstrators wearing black hoods broke a police vehicle's window.

When Donald Trump meets Vladimir Putin on Friday, the whole world will be looking for clues as to where the fraught U.S.-Russian relationship goes next.

After months of speculation on the location and format of their first meeting, the two presidents will finally sit down together during a yearly gathering of Group of 20 leaders in Hamburg, Germany.

President Trump reaffirmed America's commitment to a core NATO defense policy and discussed Russia's meddling in the U.S. election Thursday, in remarks to reporters and in an address delivered during a brief visit to Poland.

Appearing next to Polish President Andrzej Duda, Trump accused Russia of "destabilizing behavior," delivering a rare criticism of the country. Trump has repeatedly said he wanted to improve relations between Russia and the U.S.

A majority of Americans believe President Trump has done something either illegal or unethical when it comes to Russia, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

President Trump arrives in Poland on Wednesday afternoon. Over the next few days, he'll be attending a Group of 20 summit and meeting with a wide array of world leaders.

It's likely none of those meetings will be more closely scrutinized than Trump's first face-to-face sit-down with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Trump has often said he would like to see closer ties between the U.S. and Russia. But that has been complicated by Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

The Breakrooms returns to discuss the new Transformers movie, covfefe, and Russian jets. Our guests are Soumaya Khalifa, Kalena Boller, Amber Scott, and Steve Brown. 

A firm headed by Paul Manafort, who served as President Trump's campaign manager last year, made more than $17 million in two years working for the pro-Russia political party that controlled Ukraine's government, according to documents filed late Tuesday.

Manafort, who resigned from Trump's campaign last August after his work for Ukrainian interests came under scrutiny, has registered as a foreign agent with the U.S. Justice Department, as did his deputy, Rick Gates.

The White House announced Monday night that it sees signs that the Syrian government is preparing to launch another chemical weapons attack in its war against insurgents. The White House press office released this statement:

"The United States has identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime that would likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including innocent children. The activities are similar to preparations the regime made before its April 4, 2017 chemical weapons attack.

The Russian Defense Ministry says it may have killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a late May airstrike on an ISIS meeting in Raqqa, Syria. But the development has not been confirmed, Russian officials said Friday. In recent years, previous reports of Baghdadi's death have proved inaccurate.

"So far, I have no 100 percent confirmation of this information," Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, according to state-run Tass media, hours after defense officials posted a notice about the May 28 attack.

"What's the difference between the FBI director and Mr. Snowden?" Russian President Vladimir Putin asked Thursday during his yearly live call-in show, saying that he would offer political asylum to fired FBI head James Comey in the same way Russia has sheltered former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says he wants flexibility as he tries to improve ties with Russia. U.S. lawmakers, however, are going in another direction.

The Senate has overwhelmingly passed a bill to impose new sanctions on Russia and to make sure the Trump administration doesn't change course without congressional buy-in.

Updated at 9:55 a.m. ET on June 15

President Trump dismissed a potential obstruction of justice investigation into his conduct, calling allegations of collusion between him, his campaign or people associated with him and Russia a "phony story."

Of course, it's possible to obstruct justice without colluding.

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Here in the Russian capital, and what a day it's been.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: (Chanting in Russian).

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: (Chanting in Russian).

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

TV networks have deployed countdown clocks. People are tweeting about places to watch and whether they'll offer morning cocktail specials. Congressional aides report that demand for seats inside the Senate hearing room has reached levels not seen for decades.

Anticipation is building for testimony from fired FBI Director James Comey, not least in the White House, where the president and his aides worry the telegenic former law enforcement leader could inflict both political and legal wounds.

What Comey might say

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions "at one point recently" offered to resign because his relationship with President Trump had grown so tense, according to reports from ABC News and multiple other news outlets.

America's sprawling elections infrastructure has been called "a hairball" — but as people in Silicon Valley might ask, is that a feature or a bug?

Then-FBI Director James Comey touted it as a good thing — "the beauty of our system," he told Congress, is that the "hairball" is too vast, unconnected and woolly to be hacked from the outside.

With an unusually public persona for a Russian businessman, Oleg Deripaska may be getting more attention than he bargained for because of his onetime ties to former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Deripaska, a 49-year-old metals giant from Dzerzhinsk, not only appears occasionally on television to discuss business trends, he has his own website devoted to his career, his philanthropic interests and his commercial activities.

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A government contractor in Georgia has been charged in federal court with leaking a classified report containing top-secret information to a news organization.

The Department of Justice announced Monday prosecutors charged 25-year-old Reality Leigh Winner of Augusta with mailing copies of classified documents to a reporter.

Call Me: Why Backchannels Matter

May 31, 2017

Backchannels, or secret lines of communication, are often used by the White House as diplomatic tools. But they’re also a way around intelligence agencies, which raises questions about why White House adviser (and President Trump’s son-in-law) Jared Kushner attempted to create a backchannel with Russia before Trump transitioned into office. Trump himself has also reportedly offered up his personal cell phone number to world leaders. What are the national security concerns around private communications with other countries?

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