Philip Ewing

Philip Ewing is NPR's national security editor. He helps direct coverage of the military, the intelligence community, counterterrorism, veterans and other topics for the radio and online. Ewing joined the network in 2015 from Politico, where he was a Pentagon correspondent and defense editor. Previously he served as managing editor of Military.com and before that he covered the U.S. Navy for the Military Times newspapers.

Updated at 5:22 p.m. ET

Attorney General William Barr has launched his own informal inquiry about the origins of the Russia investigation, he confirmed to senators on Wednesday.

Barr told members of a Senate Appropriations Committee panel that he wants to understand how and why key decisions were made about the counterintelligence investigation opened by the FBI in the summer of 2016.

He said he isn't "putting a panel together" and the effort may not result in a criminal investigation or the finding of a crime.

Updated at 12:50 p.m. ET

Attorney General William Barr suggested on Tuesday he would negotiate with leaders in Congress who want to see the secret evidence that underpins special counsel Robert Mueller's report.

Barr reaffirmed to members of the House Appropriations Committee that the first version of the report he plans to release — within one week, he said — would be redacted.

If the leaders of the House and Senate judiciary committees want to see more, the attorney general said, he will play ball.

The leaders of the House Judiciary Committee agreed on Monday to call special counsel Robert Mueller to appear for a hearing. The question now is whether Mueller would agree.

Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., the panel's ranking member, opened the bidding with a letter in which he asked the chairman, Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., to invite Mueller to testify later this month.

Although the committee expects to hear from Attorney General William Barr, Collins wrote, it must go to the source to learn all it needs to know about the special counsel inquiry.

The headline findings by special counsel Robert Mueller delivered a political shot in the arm for President Trump and Republicans, they say — how long it lasts may depend on the full document.

Attorney General William Barr told Congress that Mueller's office didn't establish a conspiracy between Trump's campaign and Russian interference in the 2016 election, nor did it establish — per Barr — that Trump obstructed justice.

Special counsel Robert Mueller has given the Trump Train a shot of rocket fuel, the president's allies say, and now Republicans want to turn that momentum into payback.

President Trump suggested on Monday that he wants new investigations into the workings of the FBI and Justice Department and his political opponents.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said he wants to know more about "the other side of the story," including former President Bill Clinton's infamous meeting on the airport tarmac with then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch in 2016.

Updated at 9:43 p.m. ET

Lawyer Michael Avenatti, who attained national prominence as a legal antagonist of President Trump, has been arrested on federal bank fraud and wire fraud charges.

Prosecutors in California say he embezzled client money to pay his own expenses and debts.

Avenatti was arrested in New York on separate federal charges. He was released released on $300,000 bond, according to The Associated Press.

Special counsel Robert Mueller's work is done, but the Russia imbroglio likely has a few more encores before the curtain closes.

Attorney General William Barr notified Congress on Sunday of a huge milestone in the saga: Mueller has submitted a report that did not find that President Trump's campaign conspired with the Russians who interfered in the 2016 election.

Updated at 6:56 p.m. ET

Special counsel Robert Mueller did not find evidence that President Trump's campaign conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 election, according to a summary of findings submitted to Congress by Attorney General William Barr.

"The Special Counsel's investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election," Barr wrote in a letter to leaders of the House and Senate judiciary committees on Sunday afternoon.

Robert Mueller may have completed his report, but other investigations into President Trump are expected to carry on for months.

There are, broadly, two kinds: those being undertaken from within the executive branch and those being run by members of Congress — mostly Democrats in control of major committees in the House.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

OK, let's bring in now NPR's national security editor Phil Ewing, who has been listening to that conversation. Hey, Phil.

PHIL EWING, BYLINE: Hi, Ailsa.

Updated at 7:46 p.m. ET

Attorney General William Barr received a report on Friday by special counsel Robert Mueller about the findings from Mueller's investigation into the Russian attack on the 2016 presidential election.

Updated April 2 at 4:52 p.m. ET

Special counsel Robert Mueller's report has been a long time in the making.

Mueller was appointed in the spring of 2017 by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein after President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Michael Cohen is scheduled to return to Capitol Hill on Wednesday for a fourth session with members of Congress within two weeks — but even that likely won't exhaust the subject of his decade of work for President Trump.

For as much information as Trump's former lawyer has given Congress — and prosecutors — about his previous life, there are as many questions raised by his testimony that don't yet have clear answers.

Updated at 4:29 a.m. ET

The White House and the leader of the House oversight committee are squaring off for what could become a battle royale over security clearances within the Trump administration.

Updated at 11:49 p.m. ET

Donald Trump apparently blessed the meeting his son held with a Russian delegation to get dirt on opponents in 2016 and welcomed advance word of efforts by WikiLeaks to disrupt the election, his former lawyer told Congress.

Michael Cohen intends to give Congress an account of what he calls President Trump's "lies, racism and cheating" — including lawbreaking since Trump took office, a person familiar with his plans said on Tuesday.

Members of Congress have some questions this week for Michael Cohen.

President Trump's former personal lawyer is set to begin a three-day marathon on Tuesday that will take him behind closed doors with the Senate intelligence committee, then before an open session of the House oversight committee on Wednesday and then to a closed House intelligence committee session on Thursday.

The Russia investigation could be on the verge of a spectacular finale — or it could be about to puff out like a damp firecracker.

Or, as has been the case so often before, Washington could be gearing itself up for a fireworks display that doesn't even happen. Despite some indications that special counsel Robert Mueller could be wrapping up, there has been no official word from the Justice Department confirming that's so.

The federal judge in Roger Stone's case has ordered him to appear in court this week following a critical post about her that was shared on his Instagram account.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson scheduled a hearing for Thursday at which Stone will be required to argue why Jackson should not alter the gag order she has imposed or reconsider the bail Stone was granted after his arrest.

A federal judge imposed a gag order on Friday in the case of Republican political consultant Roger Stone.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson ordered that lawyers and others in the case must not talk about it publicly in ways that "pose a substantial likelihood of material prejudice" and specifically they must not use the area outside court in Washington, D.C., as a venue for those kinds of statements.

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was afraid he would be fired and his replacement might attempt a cover-up to protect President Trump, he said in an interview recorded with CBS.

After then-FBI Director James Comey was fired, McCabe feared he would be next, he said in a clip released on Thursday.

Updated at 5:32 p.m. ET

Attorney General William Barr swore his oath of office on Thursday following his confirmation by the Senate earlier in the afternoon.

Senators voted 54-45 to confirm Barr to resume the post he first occupied in the administration of President George H.W. Bush.

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts then administered Barr's oath in a ceremony at the White House.

Updated at 5:32 p.m. ET

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker vowed Friday that he hasn't interfered in any way with the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Whitaker also told the House Judiciary Committee that although he's been briefed about the work of special counsel Robert Mueller, he has been the "endpoint" for all the information he's gotten and he hasn't discussed it with anyone at the White House.

Updated at 12:44 p.m. ET

President Trump wrote that new information about Donald Trump Jr.'s phone records in 2016 vindicates him and his eldest son in an important aspect of the Russia investigation.

Trump cited news reports that Senate investigators have established that Trump Jr. did not phone his father as he arranged the much-discussed Trump Tower meeting at which he expected to get dirt on Hillary Clinton.

Updated at 12:22 p.m. ET

President Trump governs despite what his national security advisers tell him, and he doesn't care who knows it.

Trump on Wednesday rejected testimony by his top intelligence chiefs in which they said that, among other things, Iran is still technically complying with the terms of the nuclear agreement from which he withdrew the United States.

Updated at 11:54 a.m. ET

Republican political consultant Roger Stone pleaded not guilty in federal court on Tuesday in Washington, D.C., to obstruction and other charges unsealed last week.

Updated at 8:45 p.m. ET

Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation is "close to being completed," Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said on Monday.

Whitaker said he has been fully briefed about Mueller's work and that he is looking forward to reviewing a final report.

"I hope that we can get the report from Director Mueller as soon as possible," he said.

The acting attorney general's comments were a rare official indication of any kind from within the Justice Department about Mueller's work.

Updated at 5:38 p.m. ET

The Justice Department unsealed criminal charges against China's most important telecommunications company on Monday, in a deepening of the ongoing geopolitical chill across the Pacific Ocean.

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said Huawei has been indicted on 13 criminal counts and that he is requesting that Canada extradite its chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested in Vancouver on Dec. 1 on a U.S. warrant.

Updated at 5:11 p.m. ET

Roger Stone, the longtime Republican political operator and confidant of President Trump, was arrested on Friday after being indicted on seven counts including obstruction, witness tampering and making false statements in connection with the Russian attack on the 2016 election.

Stone appeared at the federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He did not enter a plea. He was released on $250,000 bond and with travel restrictions that confine him to South Florida, New York City and the Washington, D.C., area.

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