russia-investigation

State Department Hedges on Proposed New Russia Sanctions
Trump administration “needs discretion”

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., questioned a senior State Department official Tuesday about sanctions against Russia. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A senior State Department official on Tuesday urged senators to give the Trump administration considerable leeway as lawmakers contemplate new punitive sanctions against Russia.

“We need discretion with those sanctions,” testified Wess Mitchell, assistant secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, at a Senate Foreign Relations hearing on relations with Russia. “Sanctions without discretion, in my mind, is the antithesis of diplomacy.”

What Michael Cohen’s Guilty Plea Means for Donald Trump
Here are 3 takeaways from the former fixer’s admission he broke the law

President Donald Trump enters the Capitol for a meeting with House Republicans in June. His former attorney, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to a list of charges on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS — By striking a plea deal, Michael Cohen essentially signed a disloyalty pledge to his former boss: Donald Trump. And it should give the president ample reasons to sweat.

Cohen pleaded guilty Tuesday in a surprise hearing in New York to multiple campaign finance, bank fraud and tax fraud charges. The hearing culminated several weeks of the former “fixer” and his team publicly criticizing Trump — and the president firing back.

Paul Manafort Convicted on Eight of 18 Federal Counts
Trump’s former campaign manager a key figure in Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation

Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, faced bank fraud and tax evasion charges. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, was found guilty on eight counts of tax evasion and bank fraud, a jury in Virginia declared Tuesday.

Manafort faces up to 80 years in prison pending a sentencing hearing with Judge T.S. Ellis III.

Russia Sanctions Getting on Senate September Calendar is ‘Pretty Slim,’ McConnell Says
Farm bill and spending bundles highlight work before Supreme Court debate

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has a busy September planned for the Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell outlined an aggressive September calendar Tuesday, though he conceded it probably won’t include debate on a new round of Russia sanctions.

“September’s pretty crowded already. I’m personally very interested in a Russia sanctions bill,” the Kentucky Republican said Tuesday. “I hope there can be a bipartisan coming together with something we can pass.”

Manafort Jury Indicates Discord on One of 18 Counts
Note to judge asked for instructions in the event of being stuck on a single charge

Jurors are in their fourth day of deliberations at the Albert V. Bryan U.S. Courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia, in the bank fraud and tax evasion case against former Donald Trump presidential campaign chairman Paul Manafort. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The jury in the tax evasion and bank loan fraud trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort appears stuck on one count, they indicated Tuesday in a note to the judge around 11 a.m.

The note included Tuesday’s date and the following message:

Microsoft Says Russians Tried to Hack Senate and Think Tanks
Operation used domain names similar to the Senate and two conservative institutions

Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, is chairman of the board of directors for International Republican Institute. Microsoft said the think tank was targeted by Strontium, also referred to as “Fancy Bear,” which is associated with Russian intelligence. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Microsoft announced late Monday that it thwarted a spearphishing attack against the U.S. Senate by a group affiliated with Russian intelligence.

In a statement, the tech giant said its digital crimes unit “executed a court order to disrupt and transfer control of six internet domains created by a group widely associated with the Russian government.”

Just a Little More Time — But No Verdict in Paul Manafort’s Trial
Jurors ask to extend their deliberations on Monday

Jurors in Paul Manafort’s bank fraud and tax evasion case extended their deliberations on Monday.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Judge T.S. Ellis III set Room 900 at the Albert V. Bryan courthouse in Alexandria, Va., abuzz just before 5 p.m. Monday when he announced that the jury in the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort had asked to extend their deliberations for the day to 6:15 p.m. — 45 minutes longer than they have been dismissed previously.

Reporters jockeyed for prime seats. Some created handmade signs indicating through a glass window to their colleagues just outside the courtroom a guilty or not guilty verdict for each of the 18 charges Manafort faces on tax evasion and bank fraud.

A Russian Oligarch Bought Maryland’s Election Vendor. Now These Senators Are Questioning the Rules
Letter to Rules Committee follows request to Treasury Secretary Mnuchin

Sens. Chris Van Hollen and Benjamin L. Cardin are concerned about Russian ownership of a Maryland election contractor. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Maryland’s Democratic senators want a Senate committee to require disclosures of foreign investments in U.S. election systems, an alarm bell set off by a Russian oligarch’s connection to their state’s voter registration system. 

The request to the Rules and Administration Committee comes from Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin and Sen. Chris Van Hollen. Van Hollen is also the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Dems Want to Know If Bolton Told White House About Contact With Alleged Spy
National security adviser appeared with Butina at gun rights roundtable when he worked for NRA

National Security Adviser John Bolton reportedly appeared with alleged Russian spy Maria Butina when he was a top official with the National Rifle Association. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

Top Democrats on the House Oversight Committee want to know if National Security Adviser John Bolton told the White House about his reported contact with alleged Russian spy Maria Butina before he was appointed by President Trump. 

Bolton appeared with Butina in a video roundtable discussion about gun rights, reportedly sponsored by the Russian organization Right to Bear Arms, in his previous position as a top National Rifle Association official, Democrats Elijah Cummings and Stephen Lynch wrote in a letter to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly delivered Monday. 

Trump Essentially Dares Brennan to Sue Over Stripped Clearance
President wants former CIA director’s ‘records, texts, emails and documents’

President Trump and his legal team are essentially daring former CIA Director John Brennan to sue the president over a terminated security clearance. (Photo By Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

Donald Trump on Monday essentially dared former CIA Director John Brennan to sue him over the security clearance the president revoked last week.

Trump ordered Brennan’s security clearance turned off after the former Barack Obama aide and Cabinet official harshly criticized the sitting president, even dubbing his performance last month alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin as “treasonous.”