Russian meddling

Updated at 4:56 p.m. ET

Peril from foreign interference in American elections will persist through the 2020 presidential race, former special counsel Robert Mueller warned on Wednesday.

Asked whether Russia would attempt to attack future U.S. elections, as it did in 2016, Mueller replied: "They're doing it as we sit here."

Mueller didn't detail a prescription for how he believes Congress or the United States should respond, but he recommended generally that intelligence and law enforcement agencies should work together.

Annette Elizabeth Allen for NPR

Former special counsel Robert Mueller is appearing today in two separate hearings before the House judiciary and intelligence committees. Though Mueller has said his report on Russian interference in the 2016 election is his testimony, lawmakers have insisted that he testify in person.

The House judiciary and intelligence committees have scheduled hearings for 8:30 a.m. and noon.

Updated at 9:20 p.m. ET

Congress has delayed testimony by former special counsel Robert Mueller one week to permit lawmakers to get more time to question him, committee leaders said on Friday.

Mueller had been scheduled to appear on the morning of July 17 before the House Judiciary Committee and then that afternoon before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

That was put on hold after grumbling by some members of Congress over the rules of procedure for the sessions.

Updated at 3:25 p.m. ET

The Justice Department is to begin providing documents to the House Judiciary Committee after a dispute over a subpoena — but members of Congress are reserving the ability to continue to pursue contempt litigation down the line.

Former special counsel Robert Mueller says he would try to be an unappealing witness for Congress, promising he wouldn't say anything he hasn't said before.

House Democrats say that still sounds pretty good.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., reaffirmed on Wednesday that he continues to want Mueller to speak before his panel.

"Let's just say I'm confident he'll come in soon," Nadler told reporters.

He also emphasized that Mueller should testify in the open, not behind closed doors as the former special counsel had mused.

After two years of silence, special counsel and former FBI Director Robert Mueller spoke for 10 minutes Wednesday morning.

By the end, he had resigned and handed his caseload to Congress.

The man who headed the sweeping investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign, the Trump campaign's role and the actions of now-President Trump himself took no questions. He said he hoped this was the last he would have to say about it.

Updated at 1:14 p.m. ET

Special counsel Robert Mueller stepped down Wednesday after concluding not only one of the highest-profile investigations in recent history, but one of the most distinctive codas in the career of any top Washington official.

Mueller addressed reporters at the Justice Department in his first public statement since taking over the Russia investigation, ending two years of near-silence even under one of the hottest spotlights ever to burn on a public figure.

Updated at 4:12 p.m. ET

Special counsel Robert Mueller shut down his Russia investigation on Wednesday in an unusual appearance in which he restated his findings and made clear that he never considered it an option to charge President Trump.

"We are formally closing the special counsel's office," Mueller told reporters at the Justice Department on Wednesday morning.

Scott Keeler / Associated Press

Describing it as a “top priority,” Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday directed Secretary of State Laurel Lee to immediately start a review of the security of state and county elections systems after disclosures about Russian hacking during the 2016 campaign.

In a one-page letter to Lee, the state’s top elections official, DeSantis indicated the review will focus on cybersecurity and involve all 67 counties.

The search is on to determine which two Florida counties’ voter data was accessed by Russian hackers.

A South Florida Sun Sentinel investigation found that at least 13, and as many as 20, elections offices in Florida were sent an email by GRU, a Russian military intelligence agency. According to an FBI investigation, that email included an attachment that appeared to be a harmless Word document, but contained software that allowed the sender to access the computer files of anyone who opened the attachment.

Updated at 4:35 p.m. ET

Florida lawmakers were angry Thursday when they emerged from an FBI briefing that left them with unanswered questions about the two county election offices in their state that were breached by Russian cyberattacks in 2016.

Russian hackers breached the systems of two county elections systems in Florida in 2016, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday at a news conference. DeSantis said no data were tampered with and vote tallies were not affected.

The intrusions, which had not ever been publicly confirmed, were first disclosed in special counsel Robert Mueller's report about Russian interference in the 2016 election last month.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

The FBI will brief Florida’s congressional members this week on Russian attempts to hack the 2016 election, after the Mueller report revealed last month that the election system of at least one Florida county was compromised.

But even before details emerge, a former supervisor of elections in Florida is saying he is not surprised that the state’s system was compromised. Ion Sancho, the longtime former supervisor of elections of Leon County, said Friday on The Florida Roundup that Florida’s election infrastructure is, frankly, “not secure.”

Newly obtained documents describe what happened when two now-infamous Russians took their outreach campaign into the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve in 2015.

Alexander Torshin, then a Russian central banker, brought his protégée, Maria Butina, for meetings with senior officials and even sought another with the then-chair of the Fed, the documents confirm.

Updated at 5 p.m. ET

The House Judiciary Committee has voted to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress after the Trump administration invoked executive privilege over the contents of the Mueller report.

The developments Wednesday escalated the confrontation between congressional Democrats and the White House over documents related to the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

"We are now in a constitutional crisis," said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., after the vote.

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