WNPR

Russia

Updated at 5:28 p.m. ET

Rick Gates, the business partner of Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, pleaded guilty on Friday to two charges and will begin cooperating with federal prosecutors investigating the Trump campaign and Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Gates appeared in federal court on Friday afternoon. He told Judge Amy Berman Jackson he was making the plea of his own free will.

Updated at 8:32 p.m. ET

A federal grand jury unveiled new charges on Thursday against Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates, accusing them of a broader range of financial crimes.

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."

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sounded an alarm this week: The Russians are already meddling in the 2018 midterm elections.

"The point is that if their intention is to interfere, they're going to find ways to do that," Tillerson told Fox News. "I think it's important we just continue to say to Russia, look, you think we don't see what you're doing. We do see it, and you need to stop."

Latvian Foreign Ministry / Flickr

Both Connecticut senators slammed a controversial memo released to the public today from the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

Updated on Feb. 5 at 5:15 p.m. ET

The recently-released Republican memo alleging abuses of covert surveillance powers by the Justice Department and FBI to investigate a former member of President Trump's campaign team will not have "any impact on the Russia probe," said Republican Trey Gowdy, R-S.C.

Gowdy, a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, was speaking on CBS's Face the Nation on Sunday. He also said that even if the controversial Steele dossier didn't exist, there would still be a Russia investigation.

The U.S. has named 96 Russian billionaires to its blacklist of more than 200 influential Russians, issuing its "List of Oligarchs" along with documents that were required by last year's sanctions. As it submitted the list to Congress, the Trump administration also told lawmakers it won't seek new sanctions, saying that existing punishments for Moscow's interference in U.S. elections are having an effect.

While a number of top Russian politicians are on the list, it doesn't include one prominent name: that of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was briefly detained Sunday after a scuffle with police, who seized him amid protests in various cities calling for a boycott of the March 18 presidential election.

Navalny — a prominent Putin critic and anti-corruption campaigner who leads the country's Progressive Party and has been disqualified from running for president — was wrestled to the ground by police near a demonstration at Moscow's Pushkin Square.

A liberal group is filing a complaint with the Federal Election Commission on Monday to demand an investigation into whether the National Rifle Association took contributions from Russians, which would be a violation of the law.

Updated at 12:04 p.m. ET

Attorneys for President Trump are emphasizing how much they've cooperated with investigators as negotiations continue over how and when he might talk with Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller.

Lawyers for the president on Thursday released a list that they said detailed the information and access the White House and Trump campaign have given to Mueller's Russia probe and congressional inquiries.

The Pentagon unveiled its National Defense Strategy, a document that focuses on the "eroding" U.S. military advantage with regard to Russia and China, and will likely influence future spending on weapons systems and other military hardware.

"The department needs to focus on Russia and China," said Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Force Development Elbridge Colby, during a question and answer session with reporters at the Pentagon. "The erosion of our military advantage is the problem."

Americans are split on whether they think the Justice Department's Russia investigation is fair and are unsure of special counsel Robert Mueller, but they overwhelmingly believe he should be allowed to finish his investigation, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

Fewer than half of Americans (48 percent) think the Russia probe has been fair, more than a quarter (28 percent) think it has not been and another quarter are unsure (23 percent).

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort may not be headed for trial on money laundering and conspiracy charges until late autumn. The judge in his case expressed puzzlement over some of the legal positions he has taken.

Lawyers for Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller have turned over thousands of pages of material to Manafort and his former business partner Richard Gates, a process that prosecutors said is continuing.

But at least part of the holdup in the case is Manafort's own making, Judge Amy Berman Jackson said.

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, already under indictment by Department of Justice special counsel Robert Mueller, now has a new legal worry: a civil lawsuit filed by a company linked to a Russian oligarch.

Oleg Deripaska, the oligarch, is an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Updated at 4:42 p.m. ET

The former British intelligence officer who authored the infamous Russia dossier wanted to show it to the FBI because he was concerned that then-presidential candidate Donald Trump was being "blackmailed."

Pages