Vladimir Putin

Arizona Sen. John McCain stepped up his criticism of the White House over the weekend, blasting President Trump for seeming to accept Russian leader Vladimir Putin's assurances that the Kremlin didn't interfere in U.S. elections.

"There's nothing 'America First' about taking the word of a KGB colonel over that of the American intelligence community," McCain said in a written statement, referring to Trump's stated foreign policy objective and to Putin, a former operative in the Russian intelligence service.

On his Asia trip last week, somewhere over Vietnam on Air Force One, President Trump told reporters he had asked Vladimir Putin again if Russia had interfered in the 2016 U.S. election.

"He said he didn't meddle," the president said. "He said he didn't meddle. I asked him again. You can only ask so many times."

Trump added: "Every time he sees me, he says, 'I didn't do that.' And I believe — I really believe, that when he tells me that, he means it. ... I think he is very insulted by it, if you want to know the truth."

Updated on Sunday at 12:25 a.m. ET

President Trump told the White House press corps Saturday that he had had several brief conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of an Asia Pacific summit the two men were attending in Vietnam. During those conversations, Putin once again denied any interference in last year's election, Trump said. And, the president said, he believed that Putin believed there was no interference.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced that Russia is expelling 755 U.S. diplomats and technical personnel in retaliation against new U.S. sanctions proposed against Moscow.

On Friday, Russia's Foreign Ministry had signaled that the U.S. would need to downsize its staff to 455, to exactly match the number of Russian diplomatic and technical staff in the U.S. Now, Putin has announced the exact number of staff he's ordered the U.S. Embassy in Moscow to cut.

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.

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.

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."

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.

Updated at 4:03 p.m. ET

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters Friday that President Trump raised the issue of Russian election interference in a bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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.

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.

"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 12:15 p.m. ET

Newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, had a whole lot of ground to cover Monday: Between the long-standing conflict in eastern Ukraine, the six-year-old civil war in Syria and their own countries' tattered ties, the Russian president's stop at the Palace of Versailles promised plenty of difficult topics for conversation.

When Donald Trump was running for president, the Kremlin didn't make a secret that it preferred him to Hillary Clinton.

The thinking in Moscow was that Clinton would follow President Obama in trying to diminish Russia's role in the world. Trump, on the other hand, promised not only to be friendlier to Russia, but to turn established U.S. foreign policy on its head.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says reports that President Trump gave Russian officials highly classified information make him think "the United States has been developing political schizophrenia."

Prompted by a chemical weapons attack, the U.S. loosed dozens of Tomahawk missiles last week on an air base operated by Syrian President Bashar Assad, the embattled ally of Russia.

A Russian billionaire paid former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort millions of dollars to boost the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Associated Press reports. The new allegations arise months after Manafort resigned from the campaign amid concerns over his work for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine.

President Trump has developed a consistent tactic when he's criticized: say that someone else is worse.

Despite ordering an "influence campaign" to help Donald Trump in last year's election, the Kremlin is scrambling to respond to a win it didn't expect, New Yorker editor David Remnick and staff writer Evan Osnos tell Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

Remnick, who lived and worked in Moscow from 1988 to 1992, and Osnos say Trump's victory has created unintended consequences for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

AP Photo

This years marks the 150th anniversary of the oldest Jewish congregation in Atlanta – the Temple, which was founded in 1867. The congregation was made up largely of well-to-do Atlantans – businessmen and their families who were well respected by many in the much larger Christian community.

Throughout Donald Trump's presidential campaign, and now during his first weeks in office, one country keeps re-emerging in the controversies that swirl around him: Russia.

For all the turbulence, Trump and his team have not addressed the larger and more important questions of how they plan to deal with Vladimir Putin's Russia on a host of critical issues: the war in Syria, the turmoil in Ukraine, the future of NATO.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that the Obama administration is attempting to "undermine the legitimacy" of President-elect Donald Trump.

U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that the Russian government, at the direction of Putin, hacked several U.S. targets as part of an "influence campaign" to shape the outcome of the election.

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Out of nowhere, a shocking video appeared on a Russian TV news program late one evening in March 1999. A surveillance tape showed a naked, middle-aged man who resembled Russia's top prosecutor, Yuri Skuratov, cavorting with two unclothed young women. Neither was his wife.

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Updated 5:30 p.m. ET

The intelligence report on Russia's interference in the U.S. elections concludes that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally ordered an "influence campaign" that aimed to help President-elect Donald Trump.

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