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Was the Soviet Union involved in the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy?

Given Cold War tensions and the fact that shooter Lee Harvey Oswald had defected to the Soviet Union and lived there in the years leading up to the assassination, it's a question that has long intrigued even the mildly conspiracy-minded.

Some 2,800 documents released by order of President Trump on Thursday provide some possible insights into how the assassination was viewed inside the Soviet Union.

The Justice Department has experienced an "explosion" in the number of referrals, or requests for probes, this year from intelligence agencies over the leak of classified information, prompting the attorney general to consider whether to loosen regulations on when it can subpoena media organizations.

In the thick of the presidential race last summer — Donald Trump was attacking Hillary Clinton over Benghazi; Clinton was widening her lead in the polls — FBI agents uncovered something odd.

On June 28, federal cyber experts noticed that the network credentials of an Arizona county elections worker had been posted on a site frequented by suspected Russian hackers. The password and username discovered by the FBI could let someone access the state's voter registration system.

Updated 9:40 p.m. ET

Stung by new American sanctions, Russia's Foreign Ministry says the U.S. must downsize its diplomatic and technical staff in Moscow and other cities. The ministry is also suspending the U.S. Embassy's use of two sites — a storage facility and a dacha on an island in the Moscow River.

President Trump said Friday night he would sign the sanctions legislation because Congress was responsive to his input on the bill.

The biggest story of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing scheduled for Wednesday might be about the people who aren't there.

The chairman, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and ranking member, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., wanted Donald Trump Jr., the president's oldest son, and Paul Manafort, the president's onetime campaign chairman, to appear and testify — either voluntarily or involuntarily, if necessary, under subpoena.

Those witnesses said they agreed — but they arranged with the committee to do so in private as opposed to under the TV lights.

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The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday rescinded subpoenas for two key witnesses in the Russia imbroglio, including President Trump's former campaign chairman, as part of agreements in which they'd agree to talk with the committee behind closed doors.

"What's the difference between the FBI director and Mr. Snowden?" Russian President Vladimir Putin asked Thursday during his yearly live call-in show, saying that he would offer political asylum to fired FBI head James Comey in the same way Russia has sheltered former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Updated at 9:55 a.m. ET on June 15

President Trump dismissed a potential obstruction of justice investigation into his conduct, calling allegations of collusion between him, his campaign or people associated with him and Russia a "phony story."

Of course, it's possible to obstruct justice without colluding.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says he wants flexibility as he tries to improve ties with Russia. U.S. lawmakers, however, are going in another direction.

The Senate has overwhelmingly passed a bill to impose new sanctions on Russia and to make sure the Trump administration doesn't change course without congressional buy-in.

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions told a Senate committee Tuesday that any suggestion he colluded with Russia during last year's U.S. presidential campaign was an "appalling and detestable lie."

Sessions spent more than 2 1/2 hours before the Senate Intelligence Committee, which included several testy exchanges with Democratic senators who accused him of obstructing their investigation.

When Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, it will be in a hearing that is open to the public. A Justice Department spokeswoman tells NPR that Sessions requested it be public.

The hearing in the Hart Senate Office Building is scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m. ET.

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Former FBI director James Comey may have done more damage to Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday than even President Trump, whom Comey publicly accused of waving him off part of the Russia investigation.

Comey said he expected Sessions to recuse himself from the Russia investigation weeks before he did because of reasons that are classified. That does not comport with Sessions rationale when he announced his recusal in early March.

Frank Grace / Flickr

The eugenics movement of the early 20th century is a dark chapter in our nation's history. And while we may think of it as a practice we've long since abandoned, the truth is a bit more complicated.

Four months into the Trump administration, the president's lawyer needs a lawyer.

Intensifying investigations into Russian interference in last year's presidential election and ties between Russians and the Trump campaign have a lot of high-profile people in search of legal advice, if only out of an abundance of caution. And, two sources tell NPR, one of them is White House counsel Donald McGahn.

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Former CIA Director John Brennan told the House Intelligence Committee Tuesday that Russia "brazenly interfered in the 2016 election process," despite U.S. efforts to warn it off. Brennan testified in an open session of the committee, one of a handful of congressional committees now investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

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