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 House of Representatives is expected to vote Tuesday on a civil contempt resolution against Attorney General William Barr and former White House counsel Don McGahn.

Here's what you need to know about what it means and how it came about:

Democrats vs. DOJ

Democrats, who control the majority in the House, want Barr to give them an unredacted copy of the report filed by former special counsel Robert Mueller on his Russia investigation.

They also want the underlying evidence that Mueller's office developed.

Former special counsel Robert Mueller could have declared whether President Trump broke the law if Mueller had wanted — albeit still without the ability to bring any indictment, Attorney General William Barr says in a new TV interview.

Barr told CBS News in an interview scheduled to air on Thursday evening and Friday morning that he believed Mueller had more latitude to state his views than the special counsel may have permitted himself.

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Prosecutors unsealed bribery charges Thursday against a Chicago banker who made loans to Paul Manafort allegedly expecting they would help him get a top job in the Trump administration.

A grand jury in Manhattan returned an indictment against Stephen Calk, chairman of Federal Savings Bank, in a case with strong echoes of the earlier ones made against Manafort, who has since been convicted and sentenced to prison.

Updated at 1:55 p.m. ET

Negotiations over a potential infrastructure program fizzled on Wednesday as a White House meeting between President Trump and Democrats escalated into blame-trading and political threats — including impeachment.

The president was the first to appear after the session in a Rose Garden availability that he used to renew his call for Democrats to abandon investigations into him if they want to negotiate over improving the nation's roads and bridges or other legislation.

Updated at 7:09 p.m. ET

A federal judge ruled against President Trump on Monday in a subpoena dispute not long after the White House said it is seeking to block its former top lawyer from talking to Congress.

The events amounted to a win — and a loss — apiece for Republicans and Democrats in their ongoing high-stakes legal and political war over separation of powers and oversight in the aftermath of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

The McGahn matter

Updated at 6:18 p.m. ET

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed a special counsel to investigate Russian election interference — a move that enraged President Trump — confirmed on Monday that he is stepping down from his post at the Justice Department.

Rosenstein submitted a letter to Trump that said his resignation will be effective on May 11, likely after the Senate has confirmed the man nominated to replace him, Jeffrey Rosen.

Updated at 5:05 p.m. ET

The House Judiciary Committee issued a subpoena on Friday to the Justice Department demanding access to the full work product of special counsel Robert Mueller, including grand jury testimony and other material not made public.

Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said he wants everything by May 1.

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Updated at 7:24 p.m. ET

When President Trump learned two years ago that a special counsel had been appointed to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election, he was distraught.

Trump "slumped back in his chair and said, 'Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I'm f***ed,' " according to the report by special counsel Robert Mueller that was released Thursday in redacted form.

Updated at 12:33 p.m. EST

The Justice Department says it plans to release special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Thursday morning. Here's what you need to know.

What is it?

Updated at 9:57 p.m. ET

The Justice Department announced Thursday that it is charging Julian Assange, setting the stage for a historic legal showdown with the controversial founder of WikiLeaks.

The unsealing of an indictment dated more than a year ago followed a whirlwind reversal of fortune for Assange, who was ejected from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he confined himself for years, and then hauled into custody by officers of the Metropolitan Police.

Updated at 9:43 p.m. ET

Lawyer Michael Avenatti, who attained national prominence as a legal antagonist of President Trump, has been arrested on federal bank fraud and wire fraud charges.

Prosecutors in California say he embezzled client money to pay his own expenses and debts.

Avenatti was arrested in New York on separate federal charges. He was released released on $300,000 bond, according to The Associated Press.

Special counsel Robert Mueller's work is done, but the Russia imbroglio likely has a few more encores before the curtain closes.

Attorney General William Barr notified Congress on Sunday of a huge milestone in the saga: Mueller has submitted a report that did not find that President Trump's campaign conspired with the Russians who interfered in the 2016 election.

Updated at 6:56 p.m. ET

Special counsel Robert Mueller did not find evidence that President Trump's campaign conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 election, according to a summary of findings submitted to Congress by Attorney General William Barr.

"The Special Counsel's investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election," Barr wrote in a letter to leaders of the House and Senate judiciary committees on Sunday afternoon.

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OK, let's bring in now NPR's national security editor Phil Ewing, who has been listening to that conversation. Hey, Phil.

PHIL EWING, BYLINE: Hi, Ailsa.

Updated at 7:46 p.m. ET

Attorney General William Barr received a report on Friday by special counsel Robert Mueller about the findings from Mueller's investigation into the Russian attack on the 2016 presidential election.

Updated at 3:16 p.m. ET

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort received a total sentence of about 7 1/2 years in federal prison on Wednesday following the guilty plea in his Washington, D.C., conspiracy case.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson effectively added about 3 1/2 years in prison to the sentence Manafort received last week from a different judge in the Eastern District of Virginia.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Michael Cohen is scheduled to return to Capitol Hill on Wednesday for a fourth session with members of Congress within two weeks — but even that likely won't exhaust the subject of his decade of work for President Trump.

For as much information as Trump's former lawyer has given Congress — and prosecutors — about his previous life, there are as many questions raised by his testimony that don't yet have clear answers.

Updated at 11:49 p.m. ET

Donald Trump apparently blessed the meeting his son held with a Russian delegation to get dirt on opponents in 2016 and welcomed advance word of efforts by WikiLeaks to disrupt the election, his former lawyer told Congress.

The Russia investigation could be on the verge of a spectacular finale — or it could be about to puff out like a damp firecracker.

Or, as has been the case so often before, Washington could be gearing itself up for a fireworks display that doesn't even happen. Despite some indications that special counsel Robert Mueller could be wrapping up, there has been no official word from the Justice Department confirming that's so.

Updated at 5:32 p.m. ET

Attorney General William Barr swore his oath of office on Thursday following his confirmation by the Senate earlier in the afternoon.

Senators voted 54-45 to confirm Barr to resume the post he first occupied in the administration of President George H.W. Bush.

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts then administered Barr's oath in a ceremony at the White House.

Updated at 5:32 p.m. ET

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker vowed Friday that he hasn't interfered in any way with the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Whitaker also told the House Judiciary Committee that although he's been briefed about the work of special counsel Robert Mueller, he has been the "endpoint" for all the information he's gotten and he hasn't discussed it with anyone at the White House.

Updated at 11:54 a.m. ET

Republican political consultant Roger Stone pleaded not guilty in federal court on Tuesday in Washington, D.C., to obstruction and other charges unsealed last week.

Updated at 5:11 p.m. ET

Roger Stone, the longtime Republican political operator and confidant of President Trump, was arrested on Friday after being indicted on seven counts including obstruction, witness tampering and making false statements in connection with the Russian attack on the 2016 election.

Stone appeared at the federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He did not enter a plea. He was released on $250,000 bond and with travel restrictions that confine him to South Florida, New York City and the Washington, D.C., area.

President Trump's former personal attorney Michael Cohen acknowledged on Thursday that he schemed to rig online polls that sought to make Trump seem like a more plausible presidential candidate.

The story was first reported by The Wall Street Journal. In a tweet following the report, Cohen said he sought to help Trump's political aspirations, having been directed by the candidate.

Updated at 1:05 p.m. ET

President Trump on Monday denied that he has been trying to conceal details about his discussions with Russian President Vladimir Putin after a pair of explosive press reports over the weekend.

"I never worked for Russia," Trump told reporters. "It's a disgrace that you even asked that question because it's a whole big fat hoax. It's just a hoax."

Updated at 7:25 p.m. ET

A federal judge delayed sentencing former national security adviser Michael Flynn on Tuesday after he pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about his talks with Russia's ambassador.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan said he has significant outstanding questions about the case, including how the government's Russia investigation was impeded and the material impact of Flynn's lies on the special counsel's inquiry.

Updated at 3:22 p.m. ET

A Russian woman who schemed to build back-channel ties between the Russian government and the Trump campaign pleaded guilty in federal court on Thursday to conspiring to act as a clandestine foreign agent.

Maria Butina also sought to connect Moscow unofficially with other parts of the conservative establishment, including the National Rifle Association and the National Prayer Breakfast.

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