Russian Interference

Updated at 2:00 p.m. ET

"I did not collude, nor know of anyone else in the campaign who colluded, with any foreign government," President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner said in a statement prior to his closed-door meeting Monday before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Speaking to reporters at the White House after the appearance, he said that documents and records that he provided the committee "show that all of my actions are proper, and occurred in the normal course of events of a very unique campaign."

Harry Obst, who worked as a German interpreter for seven U.S. presidents through Bill Clinton, says he can only remember one who ever dispensed with an interpreter during discussions with a foreign leader: Richard Nixon.

It was a bad idea for lots of reasons, the author of White House Interpreter: The Art of Interpretation tells NPR.

President Trump says if he had known ahead of time that Attorney General Jeff Sessions was going to recuse himself from the Russia investigation, he would have chosen someone else for the post, calling the move "very unfair."

In an interview with The New York Times, he also accused James Comey, the FBI director that he fired in May, of trying to save his job by leveraging a dossier of compromising material on Trump.

Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort, the president's eldest son and his former campaign chairman, are set to testify publicly next week before a committee probing Russia's attempts to influence the outcome of the 2016 election.

In a statement issued by the Senate Judiciary Committee, Trump Jr. and Manafort are listed as witnesses scheduled to appear on Wednesday, July 26.

The two men are expected to be questioned about allegations of collusion with Russia to influence the election.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP Photo

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.

The debate over whether the president of the United States can be charged with a crime is as old as the country itself.

Early evidence comes from the diary of a Pennsylvania senator, who recorded "a heated debate on this very issue" in September 1789, said Hofstra University Law School professor Eric Freedman.

"For those who believe in original intent, we have pretty good evidence of original intent," Freedman said. "The founders just disagreed on the very question."

David Goldman / AP Photo/File

Today on “Political Rewind,” if money talks, what do Casey Cagle's campaign contributions have to say? So far, a fair amount of his donations have come from lobbyists and political action groups. What will voters make of it?

The political bomb that went off recently when Donald Trump Jr. revealed he met with a Kremlin-connected lawyer in hopes of getting damaging information about Hillary Clinton has raised new questions about the Trump family's connections to Russia.

And investigators are looking for clues in what might seem like an unlikely place: the glitzy November 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow.

In November 2013, Donald Trump took the Miss Universe pageant to Moscow, bringing his trademark glitz and glamour to a country that had never hosted a major beauty contest.

Trump later boasted that he met a lot of important people at the pageant. They included the billionaire real estate tycoon Aras Agalarov, who is now figuring prominently in the investigations into the Trump campaign's ties to Russia. Here is a look back at how the Miss Universe contest came together and what happened there.

Last week sparked a deluge of speculation about Donald Trump Jr.'s 2016 encounter with a Russian lawyer, and what criminal charges — if any — might ensue.

But for a substantive answer, NPR asked a former federal prosecutor. Randall Eliason worked public corruption and government fraud cases; now he teaches law and writes the blog Sidebars, "a reflection on white collar crime and federal criminal law."

President Trump has hired a former federal prosecutor to assist in how the White House handles its response to the expanding Russia probes.

Ty Cobb, whose legal expertise lies in white-collar crime and congressional investigations, will be "in charge of overseeing the White House legal and media response" to the investigations, according to Bloomberg News.

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 4:35 p.m. ET

President Trump once again defended his son Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with a Russian lawyer in the midst of last year's presidential campaign, saying that his eldest son is a "wonderful young man" and that the meeting was one "most people in politics would have taken."

Trump's remarks came during a news conference in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron while Trump is visiting the longtime U.S. ally as part of France's Bastille Day celebration.

Updated 2 p.m.

A day late, the Justice Department complied this morning with a federal court order and released part of a security clearance form dealing with Attorney General Jeff Sessions' contacts with foreign governments.

On June 12, a judge had ordered the agency to provide the information within 30 days, a deadline that passed on Wednesday.

In a filing Thursday morning with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the Justice Department released that part of Sessions' form which poses the question:

Now that Donald Trump Jr.'s emails have produced the kind of solid evidence the Russia connection story had been lacking, what had been mostly speculative reporting has instead become the first draft of history.

Expect that history to be much debated. All accounts of political skulduggery with foreign actors tend to be "tangled and murky," as one foreign policy historian has written.

Andrew Harnik / AP Photo

Christopher Wray, President Trump’s nominee for FBI Director, faces the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday for his confirmation hearing. Wray would replace James Comey, whom Trump fired in May. 

If Senate Republicans get their way, former Justice Department lawyer Christopher Wray will soon become the next director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, recently told reporters he hopes the nomination will "not languish" and said it's his plan to get Wray confirmed before the August congressional recess.

But before any votes take place, Wray will have to face a series of questions about his background — and his backbone.

1. Will you be loyal to the justice system or to the president?

Updated at 5:41 p.m. ET

Donald Trump Jr. on Tuesday tweeted an email exchange that seemed to show the president's son entertained an offer of Russian government help for his father to be elected president in 2016.

"This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump," said the text that Trump Jr. posted on Twitter.

JEFF VINNICK / Getty Images

Donald Trump Jr. tweeted images of emails regarding his 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer on Tuesday. An intermediary said he could connect Trump Jr. with people who had information "that would incriminate Hillary [Clinton]... and would be very useful to your father." Trump Jr. agreed to the meeting, which former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Trump son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner also attended in June 2016.

Last June's meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer with Kremlin connections was arranged by a colorful British-born music promoter with ties to the son of a Azerbaijan-born billionaire.

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.

Charles Tasnadi / AP Photo

Today on “Political Rewind,” we take a deep dive into the summer of ’72 and the botched burglary that eventually toppled a president. Bill Nigut and the AJC’s Jim Galloway spend the full hour with Richard Ben-Veniste, chief of the special prosecutor’s Watergate Task Force.

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.

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

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

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There is another development in the Trump-Russia saga, and this one centers around the president's oldest son.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Updated at 12:50 p.m. ET on July 10

President Trump's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., admitted Sunday to meeting last summer with a Russian attorney because she "might have information helpful to" his father's campaign.

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.

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.

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