Russia

A lot of people are counting on special counsel Robert Mueller.

FBI agents raided former Trump campaign ChairmanPaul Manafort's home, a spokesman for Manafort tells NPR's Tamara Keith. Manafort's name has come up as part of the U.S. investigation into Russia's attempt to meddle with last year's election.

The raid reportedly took place in late July, one month after Manafort registered as a foreign agent.

Presidents learn quickly to enthuse about how much they love to get out of Washington, D.C., but President Trump becomes almost a different man entirely.

One day, Trump signed legislation imposing new sanctions on Russia — and taking away his ability to lift them unilaterally — in part because Congress wanted to punish Moscow for its interference in the 2016 presidential election.

For weeks, there has been speculation that President Trump would try to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russia's involvement in the 2016 election.

To try to keep Mueller from being fired without cause by the president, two bipartisan bills have been introduced in the Senate.

Updated at 8:30 p.m. ET

Special counsel Robert Mueller is using a grand jury in Washington, D.C., in connection with his investigation into Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election and into possible collusion between Russia and top aides to the Trump campaign, a source with knowledge of the investigation confirms to NPR's Peter Overby. The source did not want to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter.

The Fox News Channel and a wealthy supporter of President Trump worked in concert under the watchful eye of the White House to concoct a story about the death of a young Democratic National Committee aide, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday.

The explosive claim is part of a lawsuit filed against Fox News by Rod Wheeler, a longtime paid commentator for the news network. The suit was obtained exclusively by NPR.

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.

Updated 9:40 p.m. ET

Stung by new American sanctions, Russia's Foreign Ministry says the U.S. must downsize its diplomatic and technical staff in Moscow and other cities. The ministry is also suspending the U.S. Embassy's use of two sites — a storage facility and a dacha on an island in the Moscow River.

President Trump said Friday night he would sign the sanctions legislation because Congress was responsive to his input on the bill.

The biggest story of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing scheduled for Wednesday might be about the people who aren't there.

The chairman, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and ranking member, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., wanted Donald Trump Jr., the president's oldest son, and Paul Manafort, the president's onetime campaign chairman, to appear and testify — either voluntarily or involuntarily, if necessary, under subpoena.

Those witnesses said they agreed — but they arranged with the committee to do so in private as opposed to under the TV lights.

Updated: 7:26 p.m.

The House overwhelmingly passed a sanctions bill on Tuesday that would punish Russia for interfering in the 2016 election and tie President Trump's hands in terms of lifting economic restrictions on Moscow.

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."

A Soviet-born American businessman was the eighth person present at a June 2016 meeting that included President Trump's son, son-in-law, campaign manager and a Russian lawyer who allegedly had promised to provide dirt on Hillary Clinton.

U.S. and Russian diplomats are planning to meet Monday to discuss two Russian diplomatic compounds that U.S. authorities seized in December because they were allegedly being used for intelligence activities.

The Obama administration shuttered the two Russian luxury estates — one in Long Island, N.Y. and the other in Centreville, Md. – in retaliation for the country's interference in the U.S. presidential elections. It also expelled 35 Russian officials.

Updated at 11:23 a.m. ET

When Donald Trump Jr. met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya last June at Trump Tower to gather information on Hillary Clinton for his father's presidential campaign, it's now clear there was at least one more Russian in the room. He has been identified in published reports as a Russian-American lobbyist named Rinat Akhmetshin.

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.

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