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.

The Treasury Department wove a sprawling epic about global power and money on Friday in announcing new sanctions that target some of Russia's most powerful men — including three with ties to Trump world.

The announcement included everything necessary for a first-class soap opera, from arms trafficking to organized crime to the smuggling of millions in cash in suitcases.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the time has come for the United States to shine a light on what Russia is doing:

The next time Vladimir Putin meets President Trump, he'll be dealing with a very different man — politically, at least.

In the months since the two leaders last were face-to-face, Trump has publicly blamed Russia for its attack on the 2016 election, increased sanctions, kicked out a horde of Russian intelligence officers and closed Russia's last diplomatic mission on the West Coast.

Tumblr has listed a number of accounts linked to Russian social media agitation giving the newest look at a sophisticated effort to sow discord among Americans — including black users.

The blogging service announced that it had discovered more than 80 accounts linked to the Internet Research Agency, the professional troll farm indicted by Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller.

This week in the Russia investigations: Washington turns its focus to election security. Will it be enough?

The Russia imbroglio is so vast that only parts of it come into focus at one time.

Updated at 1:24 p.m. EDT

House intelligence committee Republicans revealed Thursday why they're ending their investigation into Russia's attack on the 2016 election by concluding President Trump's campaign did not conspire with it: People involved said they didn't.

"When asked directly, none of the interviewed witnesses provided evidence of collusion, coordination or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russian government," according to new documents.

The White House could look for another political booster shot on Thursday if its allies on the House intelligence committee give more detail about how they cleared President Trump's campaign of colluding with Russia's attack on the 2016 presidential election.

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AILSA CHANG, HOST:

This week in the Russia investigations: Republicans on the House intelligence committee give President Trump a clean bill of health; Democrats say not so fast. It's a dispute over the basic nature of the Russia imbroglio.

What does Nunes know?

The chairman of the House intelligence committee, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., enjoys access not only to a huge breadth of information from America's spy agencies but also to some of their deepest secrets. He doesn't need to rely on press reports.

Updated at 12:30 a.m. ET Saturday

Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired outgoing FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe on Friday even though he was on the doorstep of retiring and receiving his pension after two decades of service to the bureau.

President Trump responded on Twitter just after midnight Saturday, calling McCabe's firing "a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI - A great day for Democracy."

The House intelligence committee has completed its "Choose Your Own Adventure" story about the Russia imbroglio. Republicans wrote a happy ending for President Trump. Democrats wrote a cliffhanger.

Even though members of the committee say they're taking separate ramps off this highway, however, the road goes ever on. Here are 4 more mileposts still to come in the remainder of the Russia imbroglio.

Updated at 1:10 p.m. ET

President Trump's nominee to take over the CIA faces a rocky confirmation hearing in the Senate and a narrow political path to secure the job.

Deputy CIA Director Gina Haspel is a career intelligence officer widely respected within the agency but tied up inextricably with one of the ugliest chapters in its history.

Updated at 3:00 p.m. ET

President Trump announced Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was fired on Tuesday morning in a tweet that followed a year of frequent tension between the two leaders.

Updated at 9:15 p.m. ET

House intelligence committee Republicans on Monday cleared President Trump's campaign of colluding with the Russians who attacked the 2016 U.S. election, concluding a probe that minority Democrats had long argued was focused on appeasing the White House.

This week in the Russia investigations: The "FISA abuse" counter-narrative might be running out of steam — and so, apparently, is President Trump's relationship with Attorney General Jeff Sessions; the House and Senate intelligence committees are at daggers drawn; does anybody here know anything about cyber-stuff?

Like a dull knife

The Russia imbroglio is so complex it's sometimes impenetrable. Maneuvering within it politically is much more difficult than any other big story these days.

Updated at 4:31 p.m. ET on March 1

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is trying to defend President Trump in the Russia imbroglio, but Trump has slapped Sessions down — again — for work he says isn't good enough.

Updated at 6:17 p.m. ET

President Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has lost the top-level security clearance he has been using on an interim basis to do his work inside the White House, according to reports on Tuesday.

Instead, Kushner will begin using a lower level of access to classified information along with other White House staffers who had temporary clearances.

After nearly a month of pronouncements, melodrama, headlines and strife, Round One of memo mania is finally complete.

House Intelligence Committee Republicans went first with their Feb. 2 salvo that alleged "biased" FBI and Justice Department officials had abused their surveillance powers by withholding information from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Then, on Saturday, committee Democrats released a rebuttal giving their perspective on the story — or at least part of it.

This week in the Russia investigations: More newcomers join Mueller's roll of honor; the feds meet with state officials on election security; and Washington starts thinking about considering some potential planning to defend the 2018 midterms.

Guilty

Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller broke his own record this week for guilty pleas. On Tuesday, Dutch attorney Alex van der Zwaan appeared in federal court and admitted he had lied to investigators about his contacts with Donald Trump's former campaign vice chairman, Rick Gates.

America's top spies say to expect more interference in the 2018 elections, but politicians may not have much defense against one of the most potent weapons — their own inboxes.

Why didn't then-President Barack Obama stop Russia's campaign of active measures against the 2016 presidential campaign?

This week in the Russia investigations: A major new indictment from the special counsel's office that charges thirteen individuals and three companies and shakes up the political rhetoric as new facts are revealed in the sprawling imbroglio.

Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller prefers to let his work do the talking for him. On Friday, he delivered a stemwinder.

Updated at 8:15 p.m. ET

A federal grand jury has indicted 13 Russians and three Russian entities in connection with the attack on the 2016 presidential election.

The defendants are "accused of violating U.S. criminal laws in order to interfere with U.S. elections and political processes," according to a statement from the special counsel's office. The indictment charges them with "conspiracy to defraud the United States, three defendants with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, and five defendants with aggravated identity theft."

America's adversaries are circling like coyotes just beyond the light from the campfire, top intelligence officials warn — but that's not the scariest thing to some members of the Senate intelligence committee.

What bothers them is the need to convince people the coyotes are there.

"My problem is, I talk to people in Maine who say, 'the whole thing is a witch hunt and it's a hoax,' because that's what the president told me," said Sen. Angus King, I-Maine.

Updated at 3:52 p.m. ET

Russian influence operations in the United States will continue through this year's midterm elections and beyond, the nation's top spies warned Congress on Tuesday.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told the Senate intelligence committee that Moscow viewed its attack on the 2016 election as decidedly worthwhile given the chaos it has sown compared with its relatively low cost.

This week in the Russia investigations: Democrats defend Christopher Steele — for now — but lose Round 2 of memo mania; and the bosses of the spy agencies are due for a rare public appearance on Capitol Hill.

Reinforcing Steele

Memoranda have only been Washington's favorite dueling weapons for a short time but the art of wielding them has evolved quickly.

Witness the slow-motion jiujitsu between President Trump and his Democratic antagonists this week over a secret countermemo that rebuts the once-secret GOP memo unveiled last week.

Updated at 7:05 p.m. ET

The House intelligence committee voted without opposition on Monday to declassify a secret Democratic rebuttal to the once-secret Republican memo about alleged surveillance abuses that was unveiled on Friday.

The Democrats' document now goes to the White House, where President Trump will decide whether it should become public.

This week in the Russia investigations: The much-talked-about memo finally made its public debut.

After a week of hyperpartisan madness that critics warn could shatter key D.C. institutions forever, the inescapable, once-secret spying memo wound up falling like a drop of rain into the Pacific Ocean.

Updated 2:30 p.m. ET

President Trump joined his Republican allies on Friday in piling on with attacks about "bias" in the FBI and the Justice Department as Washington, D.C., waited on tenterhooks for the release of a controversial secret spying memo.

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