Russia Collusion

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

On this edition of Political Rewind, as the Florida shooting tragedy continues to dominate headlines, Georgia educators, parents and students are accessing the vulnerability of schools here.  But at the legislature, there’s little momentum toward passing new gun safety measures.  Meanwhile, President Trump blames the FBI for being too busy investigating Russia collusion to follow up on tips that the Florida shooter was a time bomb waiting to explode.  Then, as the legislature has moved past the halfway point of the session, our panel weighs in on the status of major bills today.  Plus, Robe

The story of Russian election interference started long before 2017, but it took on new urgency after the inauguration of Donald Trump, the candidate the Russian government wanted to win.

Updated at 5:24 p.m. ET

Opponents of special counsel Robert Mueller ramped up their attacks over the weekend with a new claim that he improperly collected thousands of emails from President Trump's transition team and is using them as an illegitimate basis for much of his investigation.

Mueller's office said his team has obtained all the evidence it's using in its investigation properly. And Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed him, told Congress last week that he monitors Mueller's operation closely and has seen nothing improper.

When Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein faces questions Wednesday on Capitol Hill about the investigation into Russia's election interference, he is certain to be asked about unflattering text messages exchanged by FBI agents about then-candidate Donald Trump.

In the text messages, seen by NPR's Carrie Johnson, between agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, Trump is referred to several times as an "idiot."

If the saga of Michael Flynn feels like it's been hanging over President Trump's head since Inauguration Day, that's because it has.

The story of how Trump's first national security adviser came to plead guilty to lying to FBI investigators and cooperate in the special counsel's Russia investigation spans two presidential terms and also touches government officials who were subsequently fired by Trump.

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is trying to sway public opinion of his case by working with a Russian collaborator who has ties to Russia's intelligence services, special counsel Robert Mueller's office said in court papers Monday.

Mueller's team said it learned last week that Manafort has been working with a Russian compatriot on a newspaper column that prosecutors say violates a gag order by U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson. Attorneys in the case were instructed not to talk about it in public.

Updated at 3:36 p.m. E.D.T. on December 4.

President Trump may have been involved with a change to the Republican Party campaign platform last year that watered down support for U.S. assistance to Ukraine, according to new information from someone who was involved.

Diana Denman, a Republican delegate who supported arming U.S. allies in Ukraine, has told people that Trump aide J.D. Gordon said at the Republican Convention in 2016 that Trump directed him to support weakening that position in the official platform.

Donald Trump's campaign was frenzied and frantic, people at the top have said — descriptions that could be highly consequential for the White House and to Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller.

For former campaign officials who've come into the administration, the descriptions of their work last year are meant not only to strengthen their denials regarding collusion with the Russian government in attacking the election, but also to emphasize how much of a miracle it was they made it through.

Updated at 2:45 a.m. ET

Jared Kushner, President Trump's son-in-law and senior advisor, was questioned last month by investigators for special counsel Robert Mueller, who are probing possible collusion between Russian officials and the Trump campaign to influence the outcome of the 2016 election.

Special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election interference has passed the six-month mark, and President Trump's staff is painting a picture of a process nearing its end.

"We still expect this to conclude soon," White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders has told reporters.

To the many mysteries swirling around the investigation of Russian election interference and the dismissal of FBI Director James Comey, add this one: Why is Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein continuing to supervise the investigation?

Rosenstein is the Justice Department official who pulled the trigger and named special counsel Robert Mueller to lead the probe in May, only days after President Trump fired Comey under questionable circumstances.

A report that President Trump asked CIA Director Mike Pompeo to meet with a former NSA employee who denies Russian interference in the U.S. election has drawn fire from two ex-intelligence chiefs.

The claim that emails were "leaked" rather than "hacked" is at odds with the assessment of the U.S. intelligence community, including Pompeo himself, who told the Senate Intelligence Committee as much in May.

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?

President Trump is taking a dog-eared page from the unofficial White House manual: When things are bad at home, go abroad.

With his domestic agenda seemingly stalled and indictments this week from special counsel Robert Mueller's office, the president will set off for Asia, where he no doubt hopes to shift the focus from Russia to North Korea.

It will be Trump's first trip to Asia as president — with a brief stop in Hawaii before heading to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines that wraps up on Nov. 14.

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.