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Facebook and Twitter said on Thursday they had removed several hundred fake accounts linked to Russian military intelligence and other Kremlin-backed actors involved in previous efforts to interfere in U.S. politics, including the 2016 presidential election.

Updated at 9:23 p.m. ET

President Trump resumed questioning the integrity of this year's election on Thursday after the White House sought to walk back his earlier comments suggesting he might not accept the results if he were to lose.

The back-and-forth started on Wednesday evening at a press conference.

Nearly 500 national security experts – both civilians and former senior uniformed officers — have endorsed Joe Biden for president, saying the "current president" is not up to "the enormous responsibilities of his office."

Addressed to "Our Fellow Citizens," the 489 national security experts include 22 four-star officers. The letter never mentions President Trump by name.

Michael Caputo, the top spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services and a longtime ally of President Trump's, is taking a 60-day leave of absence after a social media tirade in which he falsely accused government scientists of engaging in "sedition."

Michael Caputo, the top spokesman at the Department of Health and Human Services, confirmed to NPR on Tuesday that he made comments during a Facebook Live event on Sunday that have attracted attention and concern – but he said that some of the comments had been taken out of context.

The longtime political strategist did not dispute that he said he believes there are scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who are trying to undermine President Trump and accused them of "sedition."

Updated at 4:39 p.m. ET

Authorities in government and Big Tech unveiled a number of actions and announcements on Thursday in the ongoing effort to defend the 2020 election from foreign interference.

The Treasury Department announced it's sanctioning a member of the Ukrainian parliament who waged an influence campaign aimed at the 2020 election — one who specifically spread "false and unsubstantiated narratives" about former Vice President Joe Biden.

A Department of Homeland Security official said in a whistleblower complaint that the head of DHS told him to stop reporting on the Russian threat to the U.S. election because it "made President Trump look bad."

The White House and DHS denied the allegations. However, the president's Democratic critics say the accusations are the latest sign that the Trump administration is attempting to politicize the intelligence community and downplay Russian attempts to interfere in this year's election, as Moscow did in 2016.

The former FBI agent whom President Trump once accused of treason is out with a new book that claims Trump is a threat to national security.

Peter Strzok, former deputy of the FBI counterintelligence division, was at the heart of investigations into Hillary Clinton's email server and the 2016 Trump campaign's ties to Russia.

Facebook and Twitter said Tuesday that they had removed accounts linked to Russian state actors who tried to spread false stories about racial justice, the Democratic presidential campaign of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and President Trump's policies.

In August 2016, during the run-up to the last presidential election, U.S. intelligence officials began briefing congressional leaders on what they described as unprecedented Russian interference efforts.

The Russians had a history of meddling, but this time was different, Mike Rogers, then the director of the National Security Agency, told All Things Considered co-host Mary Louise Kelly.

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort passed internal Trump campaign information to a Russian intelligence officer during the 2016 election, a new bipartisan Senate report concludes.

The findings draw a direct line between the president's former campaign chairman and Russian intelligence during the 2016 campaign.

Google, Facebook, Twitter and other major tech companies met with U.S. government officials on Wednesday to discuss their plans to counter disinformation on social media in the run-up to the November election.

Updated at 7:10 p.m. ET

The top counterintelligence official in the U.S. government warned Friday of ongoing interference and influence efforts by China, Russia and Iran.

William Evanina, who leads the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, said that the U.S. government has assessed that China prefers President Trump losing the election, because Beijing considers him "unpredictable," while Russia is working to undermine Democrat Joe Biden.

This week, two more books appeared on the ever-widening shelf of literature lambasting President Trump and his presidency. One sold nearly 1 million copies on its first day, based on the name of the author and weeks of publicity. But the other is the better book to buy for insight into what Trump's rise and rule really mean — here and abroad — for democracy in our time.

Updated Saturday at 10:22 a.m. ET

President Trump on Friday evening commuted the prison sentence of his longtime friend Roger Stone, a veteran Republican operative who was convicted of lying to Congress about his efforts to contact WikiLeaks during Russia's interference in the 2016 election.

Russian military intelligence, known as the GRU, was founded a century ago under the leadership of the revolutionary Leon Trotsky.

Only in recent years has it come to the fore with a series of brazen actions. They include Russia's military operations in Ukraine and Syria and the hack of Democratic Party emails in the 2016 U.S. election.

Updated 11:45 p.m. ET Monday

In a tweet late Sunday night, President Trump said the intelligence community told him he was not briefed about allegations that Russia had offered the Taliban bounty payments to kill Western forces — including U.S. troops — because it did not find the reports credible.

President Trump and his Chinese counterpart spoke about Trump's reelection prospects "frequently," former national security adviser John Bolton told NPR.

According to Bolton, Chinese President Xi Jinping lamented that Trump couldn't run for a potential third term, to which Trump "said yes," Bolton recounted.

The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee says he believes Attorney General William Barr should be impeached, but conceded on Sunday that any such effort would be futile in the Republican-controlled Senate.

"I don't think calls for his impeachment are premature any more than calls for the president's impeachment were premature, but they are a waste of time at this point," said Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) in an interview with CNN.

Nadler called the Senate "corrupt" for its decision to acquit the president earlier this year on two articles of impeachment.

Updated at 7:55 p.m. ET

Nearly half of the Twitter accounts spreading messages on the social media platform about the coronavirus pandemic are likely bots, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University said Wednesday.

Researchers culled through more than 200 million tweets discussing the virus since January and found that about 45% were sent by accounts that behave more like computerized robots than humans.

The U.S. Supreme Court has temporarily blocked a lower court order requiring the Trump Justice Department to turn over to the House Judiciary Committee secret evidence compiled by the grand jury during the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller last year.

The withheld evidence was first requested more than a year ago, prior to the beginning of formal impeachment proceedings against President Trump and his acquittal by the Senate this past February.

It's 2016 all over again — at least from Russia's perspective.

Russia's state-sponsored messaging about Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign was more neutral in the fall.

But over the past six weeks, this coverage has shifted to mirror pro-Sanders talking points first used in the last presidential campaign, said Clint Watts of the Foreign Policy Research Institute, who has been monitoring Russian interference continuously.

"What's really come on strong just in the last 30 to 45 days are very similar narratives that we saw in 2016 about Sanders," Watts told NPR.

Russia's trolling specialists have evolved their disinformation and agitation techniques to become subtler and tougher to track, according to new research unveiled on Thursday.

A cache of Instagram posts captured by researchers showed that the Russians were "better at impersonating candidates" and that influence-mongers "have moved away from creating their own fake advocacy groups to mimicking and appropriating the names of actual American groups," wrote Young Mie Kim, a University of Wisconsin professor who analyzed the material with her team.

Updated at 8:01 p.m. ET

A federal judge in Washington on Tuesday heard arguments from Roger Stone's lawyers and federal prosecutors on the longtime Republican operative's bid for a new trial based on his allegations of juror misconduct.

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Updated at 3:23 p.m. ET

A federal judge sentenced Roger Stone, a political adviser to President Trump, to more than three years in prison on Thursday amid an uproar about what critics call Trump's interference in the workings of justice.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson found herself in the middle of a political sandstorm as she and the parties closed in on sentencing for Stone following his conviction last year.

Stone also was ordered to pay a $20,000 fine and to serve two years of supervised release.

More than 1,100 former Department of Justice officials are calling on Attorney General William Barr to resign after his department lowered the prison sentence recommendation for Roger Stone, a longtime ally of President Trump, in a move that's led to accusations of political interference.

The elections office of Florida's third-most populous county was breached by a crippling cyberattack in the weeks leading up to the 2016 election, NPR confirmed on Thursday.

There is no indication that the ransomware attack was connected to Russian interference efforts leading up to the last presidential race, but the revelation about it now shows how election officials are preparing for this year's election without knowing all the details of what happened before.

Updated at 6:56 p.m. ET

Four federal prosecutors withdrew from the Roger Stone case on Tuesday, hours after the Justice Department took the unusual step of intervening in the case to seek a shorter sentence for the longtime ally of the president.

The four prosecutors who filed their papers with the court to withdraw are Aaron Zelinsky, Jonathan Kravis, Adam Jed and Michael Marando.

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