2016

Manafort Prosecution Comes Down to Three Key Points
Prosecutors present closing argument in former Trump campaign manager’s tax evasion trial

Kevin Downing, left, attorney for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and members of the defense team arrive at the Albert V. Bryan United States Courthouse on Wednesday as both sides were expected to present their closing arguments. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s prosecution team delivered its closing argument in the tax evasion and bank fraud trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on Wednesday.

Manafort faces a maximum 305-year prison sentence if the Eastern Virginia jury finds him guilty on all 18 charges.

Gary Johnson Mounting Third-Party Bid for New Mexico Senate Seat
Former GOP governor took 9 percent in state as 2016 Libertarian presidential nominee

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, the 2016 Libertarian presidential candidate, will run for Senate in New Mexico this November. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Libertarian presidential hopeful Gary Johnson has qualified to run for Senate in New Mexico, according to the secretary of state’s candidate list.

Johnson, who served two terms as New Mexico governor as a Republican, will make a formal announcement on his bid soon, his campaign manager told The Associated Press.

Sen. Rand Paul Invites Top Russians to U.S. as They Claim No Election Interference
‘We all do it,’ Kentucky Republican has said of election interference

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., invited top Russian government officials to the U.S. later this year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Rand Paul invited top Russian government officials to visit the U.S. later this year to continue a dialogue on important national security issues, he announced Monday.

The Kentucky Republican, who is leading a legislative delegation in the country this week, met with Konstantin Kosachev, the chairman of the Russian Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs. That committee is the Russian equivalent of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee that Paul sits on.

So... How Does the White House Really Feel About Russia?
Trump undercuts security officials again with ‘the Russian hoax’

President Donald Trump on Thursday dismissed criticism of his Finland summit with Vladimir Putin just hours after his national security team warned Putin is overseeing an ongoing campaign to upend the U.S. political system. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images file photo)

Senior U.S. national security officials were clear Thursday afternoon: The Kremlin was involved in meddling in the 2016 American election and continues to be oversee efforts to do so again. Hours later, however, President Donald Trump described himself and Russian President Vladimir Putin as buddies.

As it often does, the Trump White House on Thursday sent mixed — starkly opposite, really — messages about Moscow’s ongoing hostile actions to upend the American political system and U.S.-Russian relations. The confusion leaves those very officials and lawmakers — including Republicans who have criticized Trump as too weak on Putin — still searching for the official administration stance on election meddling and posture toward America’s Cold War rival.

In Pennsylvania, Trump Rips Casey as ‘Sleeping Bob’
GOP Senate nominee Barletta tells crowd Democrat will ‘take away your tax cuts’

Pennsylvania Democratic Sen. Bob Casey, right, talks with the state’s junior senator, Republican Patrick J. Toomey, in the Senate subway in July 2016. President Donald Trump visited the state Thursday night to campaign against Casey. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Looking to boost Republican Rep. Lou Barletta in his Pennsylvania Senate bid, President Donald Trump dismissed the Democratic incumbent Bob Casey at a rally Thursday as “Sleeping Bob,” calling him “overrated” and too controlled by his party’s leaders.

Trump called Barletta onstage near the start of the rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, calling him a “very special man” who has “been with me.”

Top 10 Trump Nicknames and Why They Stick to His Foes
Derisive monikers often ‘are code words for something else,’ Dem strategist says

President Donald Trump at a business session with governors at the White House earlier this year. He has a way of weakening opponents with nicknames his critics call offensive. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

ANALYSIS — President Donald Trump had the friendly crowd at a simmer during a campaign rally Tuesday evening in Tampa, Florida. Then the showman in chief dropped two words that sent them into a raucous boil: “Crooked Hillary.”

Trump had long pivoted away from the man he was ostensibly there to boost in his no-longer-long-shot bid for the Republican nomination for governor, Florida Rep. Ron DeSantis. Trump was touting Trump. Just before employing the derisive moniker that helped him vanquish his 2016 general election foe, Trump was boasting about moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

Russian Election Meddling Remains ‘Pervasive,’ Intel Chief Says
Coats: Kremlin wants to ‘weaken and divide the United States’

President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrive for a joint press conference after their summit last month in Helsinki, Finland. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

U.S. intel officials continue to see a “pervasive” effort by the Russian government to upend America’s political process, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said Thursday.

“Pervasive” is how the former GOP Indiana senator described what U.S. intelligence officials have concluded is a “messaging campaign by Russia to weaken and divide the United States,” Coats said during the daily White House briefing. But what Russia is doing this election cycle is not as “robust” as two years ago — “so far,” he noted.

Why Rick Gates Was Always Going to Testify Against Manafort
Former righthand man expected to say Manafort directed him to directed him to conceal foreign bank accounts and lie on bank loan applications

President Donald Trump's ex-campaign chief Paul Manafort arrives court in Washington, D.C., in June for a hearing on whether his bail should be revoked. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Prosecutors in the Paul Manafort trial affirmed Thursday that they have “every intention” to call the former political consulting titan’s righthand man, Rick Gates, to testify against him.

The prosecution was probably always going to call Rick Gates to testify against Paul Manafort — even though U.S. attorney Uzo Asonye threw that plan into question the day before.

5 Things You Should Know From the Paul Manafort Trial, Day 2
President swings at a straw man and prosecutors mull shelving ‘star witness’ Rick Gates

President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, here in Washington in June, is on trial, facing 18 counts involving tax evasion and bank loan fraud. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Day Two of the tax evasion and bank fraud trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manifort is in the books.

The day featured testimony from five witnesses — including Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign chief — and dozens of pages of evidence on Manafort’s lavish lifestyle.

No Obstruction in Trump Tweet on Mueller Probe, Sanders Says
‘Ax could fall on the Mueller investigation at any time,’ former Obama aide warns

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was peppered with questions Wednesday about whether President Trump gave his attorney general a direct order to end the Russia probe, and whether it amounts to obstruction of justice. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

The White House pushed back Wednesday on the notion that President Donald Trump obstructed justice with a morning tweet saying Attorney General Jeff Sessions should “stop” the Justice Department’s Russia election meddling probe “right now.”

“The president is not obstructing, he’s fighting back,” press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters. “He’s certainly expressing the frustration,” he has long felt over “corruption” by former Justice Department officials like former FBI Director James Comey and former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, she said.