Russia

Olga Yakovleva / Miami Herald

Last summer Eli Nektalov, CEO of Big International Realty, was optimistic a Trump presidency would improve US-Russia relations--and the local real estate business. 

Nektalov, whose company serves many Russian clients, is still waiting for President Trump to relax the sanctions imposed on Russia by the U.S. and its European allies after Moscow's failure to comply with the 2015 ceasefire agreement in Crimea. 

"There is not too much change," he said. "We'd been expecting, of course, much more."

Associated Press

Wednesday is another big day of testimony before two Congressional committees investigating Russian attempts to influence the 2016 Presidential election. Notably, former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson (under President Obama) is scheduled to appear before the House Intelligence Committee at 10 a.m. EST.

Updated at 1:56 p.m. ET

If two nearly simultaneous hearings Wednesday by the House and Senate Intelligence Committees into Russia's meddling in last year's presidential election revealed anything, it's that U.S. officials saw what was going on but were all but powerless to stop it.

In his prepared remarks, former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said the Russian government, "at the direction of Vladimir Putin himself, orchestrated cyberattacks on our Nation for the purpose of influencing our election — plain and simple."

Updated at 6:37 p.m. ET

Less than a month after President Trump hired an outside lawyer to deal with inquiries related to the Russia investigations, Vice President Pence has followed suit.

Pence's office confirms he has hired Richard Cullen, who served as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia during the term of George H.W. Bush and later worked on George W. Bush's legal team during the 2000 Florida recount.

Updated at 9:55 a.m. ET on June 15

President Trump dismissed a potential obstruction of justice investigation into his conduct, calling allegations of collusion between him, his campaign or people associated with him and Russia a "phony story."

Of course, it's possible to obstruct justice without colluding.

As new reports emerge about Russian-backed attempts to hack state and local election systems, U.S. officials are increasingly worried about how vulnerable American elections really are. While the officials say they see no evidence that any votes were tampered with, no one knows for sure.

Jeff Sessions did exactly what he needed to do Tuesday — help himself in the eyes of his boss, President Trump, and, in turn, help Trump.

The attorney general, an early Trump supporter, revealed little in the congressional hearing about the ongoing Russia saga or Trump's role in possibly trying to quash the investigation looking into it.

Using vague legal justification, Sessions shut down potentially important lines of investigative questioning — and that may be exactly how the White House wants it.

Associated Press

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee at 2:30pm ET today, as the investigation continues into Russian attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election.

Sessions is expected to take questions about his recusal from the Russia investigation, his own meetings with Russian officials, and what if anything he knew about a private Oval Office meeting between President Trump and fired FBI Director James Comey.

Here is Sessions' prepared opening statement to the committee, annotated by NPR journalists.

Associated Press

Updated at 5:04 p.m. ET

Attorney General Jeff Sessions told a Senate committee Tuesday that any suggestion he colluded with Russia during last year's U.S. presidential campaign was an "appalling and detestable lie."

Updated at 1:15 p.m. ET

In what has ignited another firestorm of debate in polarized Washington, a longtime friend of President Trump said Monday night that Trump is "weighing" whether to dismiss Robert Mueller, the Justice Department special counsel investigating possible ties between the Russian government and the Trump campaign.

The nation's top legal officer is set to go before Congress on Tuesday to try to defuse a bomb that the former FBI director dropped into his lap.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is scheduled to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee less than one week after James Comey told the committee he could not discuss openly certain information about Sessions' recusal from the investigation into Russia's election meddling last year.

Updated at 6:30 p.m. ET

A Moscow court has sentenced Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny to 30 days in jail, after police arrested him outside his home Monday ahead of nationwide demonstrations against Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Protesters turned out anyway, and security forces detained hundreds of demonstrators in both Moscow and St. Petersburg.

President Trump has broken the silence he maintained during former FBI Director James Comey's testimony Thursday, saying on Twitter that he was vindicated in the hearing that explored Russian meddling in the U.S. election, its ties to Trump's security adviser, and Trump's dealings with Comey.

"Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication...and WOW, Comey is a leaker!" the president tweeted early Friday morning.

Updated at 7:28 p.m. ET

Former FBI director James Comey may have done more damage to Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday than even President Trump, whom Comey publicly accused of waving him off part of the Russia investigation.

Comey said he expected Sessions to recuse himself from the Russia investigation weeks before he did because of reasons that are classified. That does not comport with Sessions rationale when he announced his recusal in early March.

The Comey hearing isn't making waves in Russia

Jun 8, 2017
R
Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Bars opened early to accommodate watchers and Twitter exploded with commentary as thousands of Americans tuned in to watch former FBI Director James Comey testify before the Senate on Thursday.

President Donald Trump fired Comey, who was leading an investigation into his campaign’s ties to Russia, last month — setting off a flurry of leaked documents and increasing scrutiny of the Trump administration.

But did the revelations make waves in Russia?

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