Russia Investigation

Liam James Doyle/NPR

Special counsel Robert Mueller is making a statement about his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Watch his remarks at the Justice Department live.  They are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Sen. Burr Facebook page

WASHINGTON (AP) — For much of the last two years, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr has been the Russia investigator who is seen but rarely heard on Capitol Hill.

In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press, the North Carolina Republican opened up about the investigation that has now consumed 19 months of his life. He says it has been "frustrating as hell" and much more difficult than he originally envisioned. But he says the integrity of the investigation — and its importance to the institution of the Senate — is something he has labored to protect.

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Republican Congressman Patrick McHenry held a town hall event in Asheville Wednesday.  The packed event at the Riceville Volunteer Fire Department was dominated by questions about President Trump's behavior and the Russia investigation.  BPR's Jeremy Loeb was there and videotaped the event.  

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein was among a bipartisan group of twenty attorneys general to urge Congress this week to do more to improve election security.  The move comes in the wake of President Trump's widely-condemned news conference in which he appeared to side with Russian President Vladimir Putin over U.S. intelligence agency conclusions that Russia attacked the 2016 election.  Stein told BPR's Jeremy Loeb the president's behavior was "disgraceful."

Updated March 18, 2019

What are "active measures"?

The Russian government launched a broad influence campaign against the United States starting in 2014. Intelligence professionals call it the latest examples of "active measures," secret tools of statecraft that have been used for centuries and were employed throughout the Cold War.

In recent years they have included many interlocking elements:

A North Carolina congressional candidate said the website she used when she campaigned for another office is now owned by a Russian.

WCU

 North Carolina election administrators are asking state lawmakers for additional money and changes in the law to improve the security of registration and balloting from external and internal threats.

State elections board Executive Director Kim Strach wrote Tuesday to General Assembly elections oversight committee leaders.

Strach's requests follow warnings by federal officials nationwide about Russian hackers during the 2016 elections. Two local election workers also pleaded guilty last year following separate investigations.

Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee have released their rebuttal to Republicans' memo about the Russia investigation and Justice Department surveillance practices. President Trump agreed to declassify and release the Republican document, which raises concerns about partisan influence in the FBI’s probe of Russian contacts with the 2016 Trump campaign. Democrats requested the release of their longer counter-memo and President Trump initially denied that request, sending it back for redactions.

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein sent a letter to U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen looking for information on election security in North Carolina.  This comes on the heels of last week's indictments by special counsel Robert Mueller of 13 Russian nationals and 3 Russian businesses for interfering in the 2016 election.  Stein joined BPR's Jeremy Loeb to discuss that and other matters.

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein has sent a letter to U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen asking for information on election security and possible tampering in North Carolina following last week's indictment of 13 Russian nationals and three Russian businesses accused of interfering with the 2016 election.

An anti-Trump event set up under false pretenses and bogus claims of voter fraud were used by Russians to influence North Carolinians, according to the latest indictment (pages 19 and 23 refer to events in North Carolina) filed by the Special Counsel's office as part of the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee say they haven't determined whether Russia colluded with Donald Trump's presidential campaign in an effort to influence last year's election. But, added committee chairman and North Carolina Republican Richard Burr, "You can't walk away from this and believe that Russia's not currently active in trying to create chaos in our election process."

Architect of the Capitol

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.

Matt Bush BPR

Bars were opening early all across the U.S. this morning to show former FBI director James Comey’s testimony to a U.S. Senate panel.  Asheville was no different.  Asheville Brewing Company’s Merrimon Avenue location includes a movie theater with its own bar, and when it opened at 10 a.m., around 30 people filed into it to watch the proceedings in D.C.  Others slowly trickled in as the political theater unfolded in the nation’s capital.  “I think there is some drama and excitement to be able to watch this with other people”, says Anne Fitten Glenn, Asheville Brewing Company’s spokesperson.

Eric Thayer/Getty Images

Former FBI Director James Comey is testifying before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence this week, speaking publicly for the first time since he was fired by President Trump nearly a month ago. On Thursday, June 8, Senators are expected to press Comey on the circumstances surrounding his dismissal as well as the investigation into Russian interference in the U.S. election. The White House has given conflicting messages about the reasons for Comey's firing. Sources close to Comey say the President told Comey to shut down the Russia investigation.