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Natasha Bertrand

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Gina Haspel's Lose-Lose Proposition for Democrats

May 8, 2018 Confirmation hearings aren’t supposed to be fun, exactly, but some turn out to be far more brutal than others. A dramatic showdown seems likely for President Donald Trump’s nominee to serve as CIA Director, Gina Haspel, who will face a grilling on Wednesday by skeptical Democrats wary of her record...

There’s Nothing to Stop the 2018 Elections From Being Hacked

May 1, 2018 Russia’s successful interference in the 2016 election—when Moscow hacked both Democrats and Republicans—has spurred fears of a recurrence in 2018. But although congressional Democrats are pledging not to use stolen or hacked materials in their campaigns this fall, their Republican counterparts have so far declined to match that commitment. That...

Why Trump Hasn’t Fired Sessions

April 13, 2018 “DISGRACEFUL.” “Weak.” “Beleaguered.” President Donald Trump has been unsparing in publicly castigating his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, in the year since Sessions recused himself from the investigation into potential collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia. Privately, Trump has berated Sessions, reportedly calling him an “idiot” and saying that hiring him...

A Suspected Russian Spy, With Curious Ties to Washington

April 6, 2018 A longtime Republican operative with ties to the controversial data firm hired by President Donald Trump’s campaign team also has a nearly two-decade-long friendship and business relationship with a suspected Russian intelligence agent, Konstantin Kilimnik, who has landed in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s crosshairs. The Washington-based operative, Sam Patten, would...

The Shadowy Operative at the Center of the Russia Scandal

March 29, 2018 Buried in a late-night court filing in Robert Mueller’s expansive probe of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election was an explosive claim: An adviser to President Donald Trump’s campaign and transition teams had knowingly been in contact with a former Russian intelligence officer as late as September 2016, prosecutors...

A Controversial Record of Torture, But Maybe Not a Deal-Breaker for Democrats

March 14, 2018 A key domino effect of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s dismissal on Tuesday was the nomination of Deputy CIA Director Gina Haspel—a career officer who has been sharply criticized for the role she played in the CIA’s now-banned torture programs and the tape recordings of which she helped to destroy....

Mueller’s Latest Plea Deal Puts Pressure on Paul Manafort

February 20, 2018 Alex Van Der Zwaan, a former attorney at an international law firm, pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents about the last time he communicated with Paul Manafort’s longtime business partner, Rick Gates. Van Der Zwaan is the latest figure swept up in Robert Mueller’s expansive probe of Russian interference...

Mueller’s Indictment Puts Details Behind Claims of Russian Interference

February 16, 2018 Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russian nationals on Friday connected to Russia’s Internet Research Agency—a Kremlin-backed outfit whose employees posed as Americans and spread disinformation online in an attempt to influence the 2016 election. The indictment details highly specific allegations—including names, dates, and the text of private messages—that appear...

Mueller’s Indictment Reveals Details of Russian Election Interference

February 16, 2018 Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russian nationals on Friday connected to Russia’s Internet Research Agency—a Kremlin-backed outfit whose employees posed as Americans and spread disinformation online in an attempt to influence the 2016 election. The indictment details highly specific allegations—including names, dates, and the text of private messages—that appear...

The President's Power to Hide Secret Details About the Russia Investigation

February 15, 2018 President Trump has been receiving classified information about the Russia investigation from the House Intelligence Committee as he reviews and declassifies evidence being used in a probe that could implicate him and his campaign team, raising concerns about a potential conflict of interest. In their attempts to either chide or...