Tim Mak

A former senior U.S. official from the Obama administration is warning that Russian efforts to influence U.S. politics have been so successful that other U.S. adversaries like China are beginning to emulate them.

Victoria Nuland told the Senate intelligence committee on Wednesday, "Other countries and malign actors are now adapting and improving on Russia's methodology, notably including China which now runs disinformation campaigns and influence operations in Taiwan, Australia and other neighboring countries."

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David Koch, one half of the billionaire duo that built one of the nation's largest privately owned companies and one of its most controversial political networks, has announced his retirement from politics and business.

In a letter to Koch Industries employees written by his brother Charles Koch, the men announced that David was stepping down due to health concerns.

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Donald Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen is facing legal peril, including an FBI raid of his home and office — and involvement in a civil lawsuit with adult film star Stormy Daniels.

But in the past, it was Cohen who sought to put legal pressure on others to solve problems for his boss.

For the first time, audio recordings of Cohen's legal threats, from a 2015 Daily Beast interview, are being published.

The net appears to be closing in on Roger Stone.

The outspoken, self-described "dirty trickster" and longtime confidant of President Trump is facing heat from congressional investigators, as well as a possible indictment from the Justice Department — or so he suspects.

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A federal judge is deciding whether to permit a lawsuit to go forward in which Democrats allege that Donald Trump's campaign colluded with Russian government's cyberattacks on the 2016 presidential election.

The parties appeared in federal court in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.

The three plaintiffs are represented by Protect Democracy, a watchdog group made up primarily of former Obama administration lawyers.

The Koch brothers are going rogue.

For years the political network funded by billionaires Charles and David Koch funded politicians on the right, laying the foundation for the libertarian causes the two support. Their support has gone almost exclusively to Republican candidates, with rare exception.

But in the era of Trump, what it means to be on the "right" is changing, and the Koch network's tactics are changing to reflect new realities.

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Today is the anniversary of an investigation. It was exactly a year ago when Robert Mueller was named special counsel in the Russia investigation.

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Yeah, and you could say a lot has happened since.

Updated at 10:55 a.m. ET

Kremlin-linked Russian politician Alexander Torshin traveled frequently between Moscow and various destinations in the United States to build relationships with figures on the American right starting as early as 2009, beyond his previously known contacts with the National Rifle Association.

As attendees of the National Rifle Association's annual convention ride on the interstate this week from the Dallas airport to their convention hall, they might look out the window to see a billboard questioning why the group has "cozied up" with Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin.

Diamond and Silk caused a spectacle on Capitol Hill on Thursday.

"Facebook along with other social media sites have taken aggressive actions to silence conservative voices such as ourselves," the pro-Trump social media stars charged.

It's a claim Facebook denies, pointing out that the social media network has changed its settings so that users see more content from friends — and less from political groups of all stripes.

Mark Zuckerberg left Capitol Hill last week with his primary mission complete.

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As the Trump administration evaluates potential military operations against Syria, the White House has declined to explain why it believes it has the legal authority to conduct them without authorization from Congress.

But the White House does have a secret seven-page memo that may make the case.

The National Rifle Association has accepted contributions from about 23 Russians, or Americans living in Russia, since 2015, the gun rights group acknowledged to Congress.

The NRA said in a letter to Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., unveiled on Wednesday, that the sum it received from those people was just over $2,500 and most of that was "routine payments" for membership dues or magazine subscriptions.

The National Rifle Association may have accepted more contributions from Russian donors than it first acknowledged, new documents show.

A Russian citizen who works for a U.S.-sanctioned arms manufacturer was arrested earlier this year when he tried to board a flight from Los Angeles to Moscow carrying a rifle scope — one authorities say requires an export license.

Soon, we might not be able to believe our own ears.

New technologies for creating faked audio are evolving quickly in the era of active information campaigns and their use of "fake news."

This has serious repercussions for politics: Influence-mongers could create fake clips of politicians to undermine them — or politicians could deny they said things they were really recorded saying, calling it fake audio.

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Amid all the talk of fake news, the technologies to create fake audio and video are quickly evolving. NPR's Tim Mak has been looking into this, and he brings us this report of how these technologies could impact our politics.

The National Rifle Association acknowledged that it accepts foreign donations but says it does not use them for election work — even as federal investigators look into the role the NRA might have played in Russia's attack on the 2016 election.

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The Russia investigation has shown few signs of having an impact in this year's congressional elections, but there's a House race in Orange County, Calif., where Vladimir Putin looms large.

In fact, the congressman running for re-election there says he once arm wrestled the Russian president.

Updated on March 6 at 11:45 a.m. ET

A former campaign aide to Donald Trump appears to have changed his mind and will not fight a subpoena he says he has received in the Russia investigation — after daring special counsel Robert Mueller to arrest him in multiple media appearances.

Sam Nunberg called reporters and TV news programs on Monday and said live that he'd gotten a grand jury subpoena as part of Mueller's investigation asking for communications with other people in the Trump orbit — but that he would not comply.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher is facing numerous challengers from the right and the left over his warm embrace of all things Russia. NPR went to Rohrabacher's district to explore the political campaign in America where Russia looms largest.

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Updated at 10:25 p.m. ET

A prominent Kremlin-linked Russian politician has methodically cultivated ties with leaders of the National Rifle Association and documented efforts in real time over six years to leverage those connections and gain deeper access into American politics, NPR has learned.

Russian politician Alexander Torshin said his ties to the NRA provided him access to Donald Trump — and the opportunity to serve as a foreign election observer in the United States during the 2012 election.

President Trump has appointed digital strategist Brad Parscale to lead his 2020 re-election effort, his campaign announced Tuesday.

"Brad was essential in bringing a disciplined technology and data-driven approach to how the 2016 campaign was run," said senior White House official Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law. "His leadership and expertise will be help build (sic) a best-in-class campaign."

The Trump campaign pledged its apparatus would not only prepare for the president's re-election, but also play a role in the 2018 midterm elections this year.

Outside a Trump campaign rally in West Palm Beach, Fla., there was a cage holding a person dressed up like Hillary Clinton in a prison uniform. In the outrageous state of the 2016 campaign, it wasn't altogether shocking to see someone at a Trump event staging the visual stunt, after the "lock her up!" chants that punctuated Trump rallies.

But it's now known that this moment was set up by Russians.

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