Russian meddling

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, calling the allegations sensational, demanded on Friday that U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson provide proof to back up his statement that Russian operatives have penetrated some of his state's election systems ahead of this year's crucial election.

Scott, a Republican, is running against Nelson, a Democrat, in November's midterm elections. During a campaign stop in Tampa, Scott said Nelson must provide "evidence for his claims."

Miami Herald Archive

Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner wants clarification from the U.S. Senate on Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson’s comments to reporters that Russians have “penetrated” some voter-registration systems.

Detzner sent a letter Thursday to Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., requesting that federal officials share with his agency any “relevant, classified information about current and potential threats.”

Russians Have Penetrated Some Florida Voter Registration Systems, Sen. Bill Nelson Says

Aug 9, 2018
Lynne Sladky / Associated Press

Russian operatives have “penetrated” some of Florida’s voter registration systems ahead of the 2018 midterms, Sen. Bill Nelson said Wednesday, adding new urgency to concerns about hacking.

The state, however, said it has received “zero information” supporting his claim.

“They have already penetrated certain counties in the state and they now have free rein to move about,” Nelson told the Tampa Bay Times before a campaign event in Tampa. He said something similar a day earlier in Tallahassee but declined to elaborate.

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh shares one important view with President Trump: Both are deeply suspicious of any attempt to limit the president's power over executive branch officials.

That view could have important consequences for special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the Russian interference in the 2016 election, which includes allegations of collusion and possible obstruction of justice.

Updated at 4:10 p.m. ET

The counteroffer submitted by President Trump to Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller may be the "last, best chance" Mueller has to secure Trump's testimony, lawyer Rudy Giuliani told NPR on Wednesday.

That doesn't mean it's the White House's final offer or negotiations are closed, Giuliani said — but "if they said yes, we'd do it."

Updated at 7:05 p.m. ET

Paul Manafort's former business partner Rick Gates concluded three sometimes punishing days of testimony in Manafort's bank and tax fraud trial on Wednesday as prosecutors and defense lawyers battled over his credibility.

Gates spent the early part of the week corroborating prosecutors' version of events, but Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning, he endured a bruising cross-examination by Manafort's defense that touched on his admitted financial crimes and an extramarital affair.

Updated at 6:15 p.m. ET

President Trump asked his attorney general to stop Robert Mueller's special counsel investigation Wednesday morning, as the first trial stemming from that investigation entered its second day.

Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign chairman, is on trial in Alexandria, Va., for bank and tax fraud charges, not, as Trump noted in a Twitter thread Wednesday morning, for "collusion."

Updated at 2:20 p.m. ET

Facebook announced Tuesday afternoon that it has removed 32 Facebook and Instagram accounts or pages involved in a political influence campaign with links to the Russian government.

The company says the campaign included efforts to organize counterprotests on Aug. 10 to 12 for the white nationalist Unite The Right 2 rally planned in Washington that weekend.

Updated at 3:45 p.m. ET

President Trump denied a CNN report that he knew in advance that his son Donald Trump Jr. and other campaign officials planned to meet with a group of Russians in June 2016 who said they had dirt on 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

In a tweet Friday morning, Trump wrote "I did NOT know of the meeting with my son, Don Jr."

Updated at 3:50 p.m. ET

Russian President Vladimir Putin won't visit the United States this year after all, the White House said Wednesday, following an earlier invitation by President Trump after their recent summit in Helsinki.

"The president believes that the next bilateral meeting with President Putin should take place after the Russia witch hunt is over, so we've agreed that it will be after the first of the year," national security adviser John Bolton said in a statement released by the administration.

Updated at 2:14 p.m. ET

President Trump resumed acknowledging Russian election interference on Tuesday and said he fears that this year, it will benefit Democrats.

Trump, who goes back and forth about what he accepts about the years-long campaign of "active measures" against the West, now says the cyberattacks, online agitation and other techniques could be turned against him and Republicans in the 2018 congressional races.

Updated at 10:06 a.m. ET

A hot, newly released document offers a sliver of new understanding to the Russia imbroglio — but has not dislodged warring partisans from their long-term deadlock about evidence and surveillance in the case.

Updated at 6:47 p.m. ET

The White House is denying that President Trump believes Russia is no longer targeting U.S. elections and other infrastructure, despite his apparent answer to a reporter's question Wednesday morning.

Asked at the start of a Cabinet meeting whether Russia is still targeting the U.S., Trump shook his head and said "no."

Later, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders sought to clarify Trump's comments, saying his "no" meant that he was not taking any questions from reporters.

Given the attitude with which President Trump has greeted all news of the Russian interference in the 2016 election, his performance in Helsinki on Monday should have come as no surprise.

And yet there was surprise — even shock — when the president of the United States stood onstage alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin and accepted the former KGB officer's denials regarding that interference.

Updated at 7:19 p.m. ET

Many Republicans harshly criticized President Trump's performance Monday at a news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin, in which Trump said Putin's denial that Moscow interfered with the 2016 election is "strong and powerful" — despite U.S. intelligence findings to the contrary.

Pages