Philip Ewing

Philip Ewing is an election security editor with NPR's Washington Desk. He helps oversee coverage of election security, voting, disinformation, active measures and other issues. Ewing joined the Washington Desk from his previous role as NPR's national security editor, in which he helped direct coverage of the military, intelligence community, counterterrorism, veterans and more. He came to NPR 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 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.

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.

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 at 3:16 p.m. ET

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort received a total sentence of about 7 1/2 years in federal prison on Wednesday following the guilty plea in his Washington, D.C., conspiracy case.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson effectively added about 3 1/2 years in prison to the sentence Manafort received last week from a different judge in the Eastern District of Virginia.

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.

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.

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 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 5:11 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.

Updated at 3:42 p.m. ET

President Trump's former personal attorney Michael Cohen has postponed the public testimony he planned to give next month to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, citing "threats" from Trump.

A lawyer for Cohen said on Wednesday that "ongoing threats" against Cohen's family from the president and his attorney, Rudy Giuliani, "as well as Mr. Cohen's cooperation with ongoing investigations," had prompted him to decide not to appear as planned.

Updated at 10:45 p.m. ET

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, a living Marine Corps legend who made history by securing special permission from Congress to lead the Pentagon, is stepping down after a slow freeze-out by President Trump.

Drift between the two men reached a point at which Mattis objected so strongly to the president's policy choices that he opted to resign rather than go along.

Updated at 4:13 p.m. ET

A federal judge sentenced Donald Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen to three years in prison on Wednesday following Cohen's guilty pleas to a number of political and finance crimes.

Those three years would be followed by three years of supervised release, and Cohen also is subject to forfeiture of $500,000, restitution of $1.4 million and fines totaling $100,000.

Cohen had asked for leniency. He said in court, however, that he accepts responsibility for his actions.

Updated at 8:51 p.m. ET

Federal prosecutors have requested a "substantial term of imprisonment" for Donald Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen but asked that a judge consider his cooperation with the special counsel's Russia probe and other investigations in his sentencing.

Updated at 9:38 p.m. ET

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn has provided "substantial" aid in the Russia investigation and beyond — and that merits a judge's consideration at Flynn's sentencing this month, prosecutors said in court papers late Tuesday.

The government said in a memo to a federal judge that it believes sentencing for Flynn should be lenient and that even a sentence without prison time "is appropriate and warranted."

Updated at 3:03 p.m. ET

Donald Trump and his aides continued negotiations about a potential Trump Tower project in Moscow well into the 2016 presidential campaign, his ex-lawyer Michael Cohen acknowledged in a guilty plea in a New York federal court on Thursday.

Updated at 2:13 p.m. ET

President Trump has completed written answers to questions about the Russia investigation from Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller.

The president told reporters on Friday that he wrote the answers, not his lawyers, and that he did so "very easily."

Trump said he suspected some of the questions were designed to be pitfalls and catch him in a "perjury trap" — to induce him to lie about things for which prosecutors might already have contradictory evidence.

Updated at 6:48 p.m. ET

The office of Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller has notified the FBI about an alleged scheme to discredit Mueller that apparently backfired on Tuesday, a spokesman confirmed.

News organizations including NPR have received information about claims related to the alleged scheme. Reporters have so far not been able to verify them.

When the special counsel's office became aware of them last week, it alerted the FBI, said spokesman Peter Carr. The FBI declined to comment.

The alleged scheme

President Trump said Monday he wants a "comprehensive" reinvestigation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh so long as it is over within the one-week timetable as laid out in the Senate compromise reached Friday.

Trump said it "wouldn't bother me" if FBI investigators talked with all three women who have leveled allegations about sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh — allegations that the federal appeals court judge has denied — or pursue whatever other avenues they deem appropriate.

A wild turn of events on Friday flipped a new FBI investigation into Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh from a long shot into a sure thing.

That was one result of an eleventh-hour agreement among the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee after a contentious session of offstage horse-trading.

The panel voted to recommend the embattled Kavanaugh to the full Senate on the condition that the final floor vote not take place until after the FBI conducted a background investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct confronting the nominee.

Updated at 4:30 p.m. ET

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein remained in his job on Monday afternoon after a visit to the White House that sparked a flurry of reports suggesting he might resign or be fired.

A person close to Rosenstein said he was expecting to be fired after the New York Times story on Friday about his early tenure in office. The deputy attorney general oversees the special counsel's Russia investigation, which has made Rosenstein's job security part of the long-running political battle over the probe.

Updated at 8:47 p.m. ET

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein denied an explosive report on Friday that said he discussed secretly recording President Trump at the White House and that he might seek to recruit members of the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump.

Rosenstein called the story "inaccurate and factually incorrect."

Updated at 7:24 p.m. ET

The FBI has fired an embattled special agent who was removed from the Russia inquiry after internal investigators discovered he had criticized then-candidate Donald Trump in text messages with another bureau official.

Peter Strzok had remained on the FBI payroll until his employment finally was terminated on Friday, his attorney said Monday morning.

This week in the Russia investigations: The White House is trying to burn the clock to get into a better political position to handle the Russia imbroglio. Why it might — or might not — work.

Time trouble

In the championship chess match that is the Russia imbroglio, President Trump and the White House are hoping that Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller has stumbled into what players call "time trouble."

President Trump is open to visiting Russia if President Vladimir Putin extends a formal invitation, the White House said on Friday.

Putin said in South Africa earlier in the day that he has already talked with Trump about a visit to Russia, although it did not appear that the Russian government has gone through the official protocols involved with following up.

Updated at 3:50 p.m. ET

Russian President Vladimir Putin won't visit the United States this year after all, the White House said Wednesday, following an earlier invitation by President Trump after their recent summit in Helsinki.

"The president believes that the next bilateral meeting with President Putin should take place after the Russia witch hunt is over, so we've agreed that it will be after the first of the year," national security adviser John Bolton said in a statement released by the administration.

Updated at 2:14 p.m. ET

President Trump resumed acknowledging Russian election interference on Tuesday and said he fears that this year, it will benefit Democrats.

Trump, who goes back and forth about what he accepts about the years-long campaign of "active measures" against the West, now says the cyberattacks, online agitation and other techniques could be turned against him and Republicans in the 2018 congressional races.

Updated at 5:20 p.m. ET

President Trump wants to invite Russian President Vladimir Putin for a visit to Washington this autumn, the White House said on Thursday.

Press secretary Sarah Sanders said that Trump and Putin had agreed at their summit on Monday in Finland that their security staffs would have an "ongoing working-level dialogue" and as part of that, Trump told national security adviser John Bolton to invite Putin to the United States.

Updated at 4:34 p.m. ET

Charges accusing a woman of trying to build bridges between the Russian government and American political leaders via the National Rifle Association have delivered a breakthrough in understanding one aspect of the attack on the 2016 election: "infiltration."

Updated at 9:38 p.m. ET

The Justice Department charged 12 Russian intelligence officers on Friday with a litany of alleged offenses related to Russia's hacking of the Democratic National Committee's emails, state election systems and other targets in 2016.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who announced the indictments, said the Russians involved belonged to the military intelligence service GRU. They are accused of a sustained cyberattack against Democratic Party targets, including its campaign committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign.

Updated at 10:35 p.m. ET

Prosecutors unsealed more charges on Friday against Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and also accused a new defendant of conspiring with Manafort to obstruct justice.

Prosecutors allege that a Russian partner of Manafort's, Konstantin Kilimnik, helped him try to persuade witnesses to lie to the jury when Manafort's case comes to trial in Washington, D.C., this autumn.

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