Updated at 2:24 p.m. ET

Top Republican lawmakers do not support legislation aimed at protecting Department of Justice special counsel Robert Mueller and his Russia investigation from White House interference, insisting that it is unnecessary.

"The special counsel should be free to follow through his investigation to its completion without interference, absolutely," House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., told reporters Tuesday. "I am confident that he'll be able to do that. I have received assurances that his firing is not even under consideration."

Updated at 3:46 p.m. EDT

State elections officials need more funding and better safeguards against cyberattacks in order to prepare to defend the 2018 midterm elections, according to new Senate intelligence committee recommendations on Tuesday.

Vladimir Putin won a landslide election victory on Sunday — the fourth anniversary of the annexation of Crimea — extending his presidency by another six years as he easily breezed past a field of minor candidates left by the disqualification of his only credible rival.

If Putin serves to the end of his new fourth term, which expires in 2024, he would become the longest-serving leader of Russia since Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.

Updated at 9:15 p.m. ET

Congressional Republicans say they still support special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election interference even as the president continued his offensive Sunday against the investigation, as well as a recently fired high-ranking FBI official, Andrew McCabe.

Trump sent a flurry of tweets Sunday morning, in which he painted the Mueller-led special counsel probe as a politically biased witch hunt.

Updated at 9:15 p.m. ET

House intelligence committee Republicans on Monday cleared President Trump's campaign of colluding with the Russians who attacked the 2016 U.S. election, concluding a probe that minority Democrats had long argued was focused on appeasing the White House.

The type of nerve agent used to poison a former Russian spy and his daughter in the U.K. was developed in a top-secret laboratory in Moscow and was once a closely held secret of the Russian government.

Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were found slumped on a bench in the city of Salisbury on March 4. Experts quickly assessed that Skripal — a former Russian intelligence official accused of spying for the British — had been poisoned with a nerve agent.

On Monday, British Prime Minister Theresa May named the agent in a speech before Parliament.

One week after a Russian ex-spy and his daughter were found poisoned by a nerve agent in Salisbury, British officials are ramping up their probe into the attack, bringing military troops into the city and issuing their first public health advisory.

This after "trace contamination" was found in The Mill Pub and Zizzi Restaurant, England's Chief Medical Officer Sally Davies announced Sunday.

British police said Wednesday that a Russian ex-spy and his daughter, who collapsed near a shopping mall over the weekend in southern England, were exposed to a nerve agent, adding to suspicions of a Kremlin connection to the poisoning.

"Having established that a nerve agent is the cause of the symptoms leading us to treat this as attempted murder, I can also confirm that we believe that the two people who became unwell were targeted specifically," Metropolitan Police counterterrorism chief Mark Rowley said at a news conference in Salisbury.

Updated at 2:45 p.m. ET

Britain's foreign secretary has warned that the U.K. will respond "appropriately and robustly" to Moscow if it is found to have been involved in the mysterious poisoning of an ex-Russian spy who suddenly fell ill in southern England over the weekend.

Updated at 10:25 p.m. ET

A prominent Kremlin-linked Russian politician has methodically cultivated ties with leaders of the National Rifle Association and documented efforts in real time over six years to leverage those connections and gain deeper access into American politics, NPR has learned.

Russian politician Alexander Torshin said his ties to the NRA provided him access to Donald Trump — and the opportunity to serve as a foreign election observer in the United States during the 2012 election.

Updated at 4:31 p.m. ET on March 1

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is trying to defend President Trump in the Russia imbroglio, but Trump has slapped Sessions down — again — for work he says isn't good enough.

The admiral in charge of both the nation's top electronic spying agency and the Pentagon's cybersecurity operations would seem a logical point man for countering Russia's digital intrusions in U.S. election campaigns.

But National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command chief Adm. Michael Rogers told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday there is only so much he can do. That is because, according to Rogers, President Trump has not ordered him to go after the Russian attacks at their origin.

Annette Elizabeth Allen for NPR

Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee on Saturday released their rebuttal to Republicans' memo about the Russia investigation and Justice Department surveillance practices.

The Republicans' document was released swiftly and in full, while the Democrats' longer memo was delayed for redactions.


After nearly a month of pronouncements, melodrama, headlines and strife, Round One of memo mania is finally complete.

House Intelligence Committee Republicans went first with their Feb. 2 salvo that alleged "biased" FBI and Justice Department officials had abused their surveillance powers by withholding information from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Then, on Saturday, committee Democrats released a rebuttal giving their perspective on the story — or at least part of it.

Jeffrey Langlois / Palm Beach Daily News // via Miami Herald

A U.S. senator wants the Treasury Department to turn over records of a lucrative Palm Beach real estate deal President Donald Trump made with a Russian oligarch a decade ago.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, is asking for financial records of the deal between Trump and Russian fertilizer billionaire Dimitry Rybolovlev to be turned over to the Senate Finance Committee.

The committee is looking into Trump's ties to Russians.